[Ohio-Talk] House Votes To End Subminimum Wage

Suzanne Turner smturner.234 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 19 15:49:48 UTC 2019

House Votes To End Subminimum Wage

by Michelle Diament | July 19, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill known as the Raise the
Wage Act, which would phase out subminimum wage for people with

For the first time, federal lawmakers have approved legislation that would
end a practice allowing employers to pay people with disabilities less than
minimum wage.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231 to 199 Thursday to pass the
Raise the Wage Act, a bill chiefly designed to increase the federal minimum
wage to $15 per hour by 2025. 

Tucked inside the legislation, however, is a provision that would phase out
subminimum wage for workers with disabilities.

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Employers are currently able to obtain so-called 14(c) certificates from the
Department of Labor allowing them to pay workers with disabilities less than
minimum wage under a federal law dating back to the 1930s. 

The measure approved this week would require the Labor Department to stop
issuing new 14(c) certificates and it would increase the minimum wage for
workers employed under existing certificates gradually over the course of
six years. At that point, any remaining 14(c) certificates would be invalid
and employees with disabilities would need to be paid at least the
prevailing federal minimum wage.

The House action marks the first time that either the House or Senate has
voted to end subminimum wage, advocates said. 

"We're thrilled by the inclusion of phasing out 14(c) in the bill. Everyone
deserves a fair wage for their work," said Julia Bascom, executive director
of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. "Disability rights are workers
rights, and it's encouraging to see that recognized in this bill."

Efforts to outlaw 14(c) certificates have gained steam in recent years. In
addition to federal proposals, a handful of
wage/26859/> cities and states from New Hampshire to Alaska have approved
their own restrictions on paying less than minimum wage to people with

But, many families have opposed such legislation arguing that subminimum
wage employment gives people with more severe disabilities who may not be
able to succeed in typical jobs a sense of purpose and an opportunity to

Prospects for the Raise the Wage Act remain uncertain in the GOP-controlled
Senate, with Republicans calling the legislation a job-killing bill.

Nonetheless, advocates who favor doing away with subminimum wage said they
hope the vote this week will help propel
another bill proposed in Congress that also seeks to phase out 14(c)

"We hope that the passage of the Raise the Wage Act by the House will give
some momentum to the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which not
only would phase out subminimum wages but, equally as important, would
provide funding to help states and providers increase capacity for
competitive integrated employment," said Alison Barkoff, director of
advocacy at the Center for Public Representation. 


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