Today, President Obama made good on his promise to raise the minimum wage for Federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour. In an Executive Order, the President outlined the details, which are included in a Fact Sheet (view it here). He made history by including workers with disabilities – including those currently paid less than minimum wage! Although this only effects service workers (not production workers), it is estimated thousands of workers who would otherwise be paid an average of $2.50 will now make real wages for the work they do.
We applaud the President and the US Department and the US Department of Labor for taking this important step to chip away at an archaic and discriminatory practice.
TASH joined with the Collaboration to Promote Self Determination, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and many other advocacy organizations to call on the President to include people with disabilities in his anticipated Executive Order. TASH’s Policy Statement on Subminimum Wage (2012) states:
While section 14(c) was intended to prevent the curtailment of opportunities for people with disabilities to work in the mainstream workforce, the program has largely become a tool for Medicaid-funded habilitation service providers to maintain artificial and segregated work environments which have proven ineffective in enabling individuals with disabilities to gain the competencies, skills and opportunities to transition to employment in the general workforce at competitive wages. These segregated environments are also in contradiction with the intent and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision. Other public funding streams and proven rehabilitation strategies now exist for enabling individuals with disabilities, who might otherwise be paid sub-minimum wages, to obtain and maintain employment in the general workforce. There is no longer a need, nor a justification for the continuation of section 14(c).
View TASH’s policy statement on subminimum wage