Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)



February 10, 2020

A coalition of Minnesotans with Disabilities is leading the charge to eliminate the subminimum wage and develop a more inclusive workforce in the 2020 Legislative Session.

Since 1938, Federal and State Labor laws have excluded people with disabilities and allowed employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage. Now in 2020, the coalition, calling themselves 4 Cents per Hour, is calling for the complete phase out of the use of 14(c) certificates and subminimum wage for all individuals with disabilities by 2024. While the subminimum wage may have historically been a valid strategy for enhancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, the evolution in disability rights law, modernization of the business marketplace, and advances in available community employment support, makes the 14(c) provision under the Fair Labor and Standards Act no longer necessary or acceptable.

The 4 cents an hour coalition is the first 100% disability led movement in the state, to call for the phase out of subminimum wage for people with disabilities. The issue has gained significant momentum at the Federal and State levels and has garnered support from advocacy organizations, federal officials, agencies, members of Congress, and various states that have either ended subminimum wage altogether or they are currently considering doing so.

The 4 cents an hour campaign is proud to serve as a pioneer on this issue along with so many other voices in this fight. Minnesota has made considerable progress towards increasing competitive, integrated employment of people with disabilities and decreasing the number of individuals being paid subminimum wage. However, there is still much to be done.

In calling for the phase out of subminimum wage and the use of 14(c) certificates, the 4 cents an hour coalition recognizes the importance of undertaking such action in a way that is carefully thought out and leads to successful movement of individuals currently being paid subminimum wage into competitive, integrated employment opportunities in the community at prevailing wages (minimum wage or above). To this end, it is vital to plan for this transition in an effort to avoid unintended consequences that would not only damage efforts to expand community employment, but potentially result in an actual loss of rights and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to full integration and inclusion in society.

4 Cents per Hour Coalitionś call to action:

✓ End issuance of new 14(c) certificates to businesses immediately

✓ Phase out of the subminimum wage over time with technical assistance provided to transform business models and funding support toward the outcome of competitive, integrated employment.

✓ Develop and implement a cross-agency task force dedicated to the phase out of 14(c) and subminimum wage

✓ Develop individualized plans using an informal decision making process as to how integrated employment situations will be achieved for individuals currently being paid under minimum wage


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