House Passes Bill to End Subminimum Wage for People With Disabilities, Raise Minimum Wage to $15

 Fate of Disabled Workers in Hands of Senate Republicans

The House of Representatives voted 231-199 on Thursday passing the Raise the Wage Act to bump the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally over six years. The bill would also increase the subminimum wage for employees with disabilities, tipped employees and teenagers and until they all equal the general minimum wage.

Since the 1930s, employers were allowed to pay employees with disabilities less than minimum wage, if they obtained 14(c) certificates. The Labor Department will no longer be allowed to issue new 14(c) certificates and by 2025 all current 14(c) certificates would be deemed invalid.

“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 told Disability Scoop. “Disability rights are workers’ rights, and it’s encouraging to see that recognized in this bill.”

The future of the Raise the Wage Act remains precautious as it awaits its fate in the Republican-led Senate.

Political insiders compared the chances of this bill surviving the Senate to them voting for impeachment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not bring the bill to a vote. Fear not, supporters of getting rid of subminimum are confident in another bill that is in the pipelines and set to be introduced later this summer.

The Transformation of Competitive Employment Act will also phase out subminimum wage. However, to be business-friendly, the bill will also make grants available for businesses to ease the transition from paying a subminimum wage to being forced to pay people with disabilities the current $7.50 minimum wage.

Outside the beltway, states have already set the wheel in motion to discontinue paying people with disabilities less than the minimum wage. New Hampshire started this trend in 2015, which led fellow progressive state Maryland to follow in 2016.

This year, the city of Reno and the state of Washington joined the fun by passing laws that require states and city agencies to pay employees with disabilities minimum wage. Not all families want subminimum wage to go away.  For a lot of employees who have developmental delays, positions that pay subminimum wage might be their only opportunity at holding a job and living a full and productive life.

However, most advocates agree that it is time to do away with subminimum wage.

“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.

Latest News

Farmington, Utah

School District in Farmington, Utah Covered Up Over 200 Cases of Racial Harassment During a 5-Year Period

In a disturbing new report, officials with the Department of Justice have revealed that Black and Asian American students at a school district in Utah underwent years of verbal abuse and bullying while administrators willfully turned their back on the issue. In total, school records show at least 212 documented…

Three BASF Women Leaders Honored at the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP Ahead Awards

Originally published at basf.com. BASF ranked No. 12 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Three BASF leaders in manufacturing were among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program recognizes women…

Wells Fargo Pledges $1 Million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for HBCU Seniors

Originally published at newsroom.wf.com. Wells Fargo ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Wells Fargo and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) are teaming up to help close the graduation gap for college seniors attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The $1 million Thurgood Marshall…

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…