Overview of Employment for People with Disabilities in Illinois

Overview of Employment for People with Disabilities in Illinois

ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Symposium

by Barry C. Taylor, Equip for Equality

Background on Subminimum Wage

In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed. It specified standards for basic minimum wage rates and overtime pay. Section 14c of the FLSA created a special exemption authorizing employers to pay wages that were significantly lower than the minimum wage to workers with disabilities, commonly referred to as subminimum wage. These wage provisions were originally created to provide job opportunities to people with disabilities unable to find work in the competitive job market. This well intentioned law that was supposed to provide training to people with disabilities so that they could ultimately engage in competitive integrated employment, but has developed into an industry that perpetuates the stereotype that people with disabilities cannot work in competitive and integrated employment.