Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) expressed its strong support for the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which provides states, service providers, subminimum wage certificate holders, and other agencies with the resources to help workers with disabilities transition into competitive, integrated employment.
“By introducing TCIE, Representatives Bobby Scott and Cathy McMorris Rodgers have shown extraordinary bipartisan leadership to once and for all end the antiquated and unconscionable practice of paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO, NACDD. “We need TCIE to make sure that workers in sheltered workshops receive the support they deserve to reach their employment goals, attain greater financial security, and be paid the same wages for the same work as their co-workers both with and without disabilities. To do this we must provide support for the providers and states who need to do the hard work transforming their business model so no one is left behind.”
Since 1938, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay wages less than the Federal minimum wage to workers who have disabilities. Originally envisioned to give training to people with disabilities to build employable skills, over time it has become a way to segregate people with disabilities and deny them fair wages.
“Thirty years ago, we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act giving everyone an equal right to the American dream which should have ended this practice of employment discrimination. This 1938 law is inconsistent with current disability law and we must end this practice now,” said Steve Gieber, Executive Director for the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities. “To end this misguided practice will require additional resources for providers and the states to make sure workers with disabilities have the support they need to transition to the jobs they deserve.”
Many states have moved to end the practice of paying subminimum wage and funneling workers with disabilities into segregated assembly line work regardless of the workers desires and economic needs. New Hampshire, Maryland, Alaska and Oregon have enacted policies to eliminate this unfair labor practice, and many other states have similar legislation pending.
“Workers with disabilities want real jobs making real wages alongside their peers without disabilities.,” said Rachel London, Executive Director for the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. “It is not their choice to be paid less than other workers. This federal legislation will help all states do the right thing and end 14(c) for good.”
For more information, please contact Erin Prangley at [email protected] or (818)456-6517.