House Passes Increase to the Minimum Wage, Ends Subminimum Wage for People with Disabilities

July 18, 2019
House Passes Increase to the Minimum Wage, Ends Subminimum Wage for People with Disabilities

For Immediate Release                 

Contact: David Card                
202.408.9514 x122
[email protected]

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and phase out section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a provision that permits employers to pay some people with disabilities even less than the minimum wage.

“The subminimum wage creates and reinforces a life of poverty and dependency on public support for people with disabilities,” said National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Executive Director Curt Decker.

“The 14(c) provision is discriminatory, archaic, and in direct conflict with other existing federal statutes and initiatives.”

People with disabilities can and do work in integrated and competitive positions in all sectors of the American workforce. Yet, the use of subminimum wages for people with disabilities remains prevalent. NDRN member agencies, the nation’s Protection and Advocacy and Client Assistance Programs, represent many people with disabilities around the country who want an opportunity to work at a competitive wage, but unfortunately, have ended up in positions only earning dollars or even pennies by the hour.

Many of their stories are told in two reports on the subminimum wage issued by NDRN called “Segregated and Exploited: A Call to Action” and “Beyond Segregated and Exploited.” Additionally, the work P&As and CAPs are doing to assist people with disabilities earning these poverty wages find integrated jobs at competitive wages was recently profiled in the documentary, Bottom Dollars.

“Ending the subminimum wage in the Raise the Wage Act is an important and historic step in acknowledging the inherent worth of workers with disabilities,” said Decker.

NDRN will continue to be a leader in the effort to finally end this unthinkable practice. Read the July 11, 2019 letter from NDRN and other national organizations that was sent to the full House in anticipation of the vote on the Raise the Wage Act.

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.