Fact 1:Employers who apply for and hold a 14(c) certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division are allowed to pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage.
Fact 2:As of October 2020, more than 1,200 organizations held or had applied for 14(c) certificates to employ workers with disabilities, often in segregated settings, where coworkers are exclusively individuals with disabilities.
Subminimum wage continues as an option despite years of data of people with significant disabilities benefiting from competitive integrated employment (CIE), defined by:
- paid work at or above the applicable minimum wage and commensurate with coworkers performing the same work;
- work occurring in integrated business settings with coworkers with and without disabilities; and
- opportunities for job advancement.
GAO grouped the factors that influence the transition from 14(c) to CIE to include 1) Employee, 2) Employers, 3) Public Policy and, 4) Local Economy:
- concern for maintaining Social Security benefits (employee)
- sufficiency of CIE resources for 14(c) certificate holder such as job coaching (employers)
- state resources for CIE (public policy)
- availability of transportation (local economy)