When people with disabilities were given more opportunities to enter the workforce by FLSA legislation in 1938, it was assumed a worker with a disability was less productive than one without a disability. This common thought rationalized lower wages for people with disabilities.
Today, we understand that people with disabilities, given equal opportunity and appropriate supports, can perform as well as co-workers without disabilities.
Current legislation calls for the phase out of subminimum wage allowances based on disability. Disability advocates call this an important civil rights issue and assert subminimum wages are in direct opposition to the fairness and equal opportunity guaranteed to every citizen of the United States.
Source: The Hill - Now is the time to end the subminimum wage for people with disabilities
Resistance to Change
Still, there is lingering resistance to ending subminimum wage for people with disabilities. The majority of people who now work in subminimum-wage programs are people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some workers' families and subminimum-wage programs are concerned that eliminating subminimum wage programs could threaten choice in employment and the well-being of people who are happy to be working.
Ultimately, the resistance to ending subminimum wage for people with disabilities comes down to a willingness to value the contributions of all workers, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Outreach to Subminimum Wage Populations
Use these resources to learn more about subminimum wage programs and promising practices around outreach and engagement with subminimum wage populations.
- Subminimum Wage: Effects of Employment for Individuals with Disabilities – TACQE U
Get an overview of the effects subminimum wage has on employment for individuals with disabilities.
- Subminimum Wage: Accessing Fair Wages - TACQE U
Examine current barriers and innovative policies and approaches toward building a sustainable future where everyone has an opportunity to benefit from full community participation through CIE.
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 101 – TACQE U
This training will help you to identify key statistics, define terminology, and gain a better understanding of the employment opportunities available for developmentally disabled persons.
- Outreach and Engagement of Underserved Populations – TACQE
Effective community engagement and outreach takes careful planning and acknowledgement that each population that we work with is unique and offers us opportunities to broaden our understanding of what makes a community. Here are some strategies to consider when building your outreach and engagement approaches.
- Engagement Plan Summary – Task Force on Eliminating Subminimum Wages
The Task Force on Eliminating Subminimum Wages was created by the Minnesota legislature. Public Sector Consultants (PSC) is helping the task force with engaging people, having meaningful conversations, and collecting feedback. This summary shows how PSC and its partners will reach out to people with disabilities and others who would be affected.
- Guidance on How to Obtain Data on the Use of Subminimum Wages Within a State to Inform Systems Change Activities – Partnerships in Employment and ThinkWork.org
Strategies that can be used to obtain information about the use of subminimum wages.
- Implementation of Section 511 Requirements - WINTAC
Get an overview of Section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act (subminimum wage) with information and links to promising practices and literature review; resources; training; laws, regulations, and policies; and frequently asked questions.