Renee Fabian


Why is it legal to pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage?

Now the government wants your feedback on this policy.

When the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990, it offered legal protections to prevent discrimination against employees with disabilities in the workforce. There is one law it did not overturn — the ability for employers to pay some workers with disabilities less than minimum wage. Now the government is asking for feedback on this law in a national online dialogue.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed in 1938, mandated protections for most workers across the country. Most notably, it guaranteed a minimum wage. FLSA also included another provision, section 14(C), that legalized subminimum wage for some people with disabilities. The initial purpose of issuing 14(C) certificates was to give companies financial incentive to hire “workers who have disabilities that impair their productivity for the work being performed.”

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