Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and Fair Wages for Disability Employees

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Because of a 75 year old section of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, companies that use sheltered workshops to train workers with disabilities, such as Goodwill Industries, can legally pay their employees just pennies an hour. The section of the Fair Labor Standards Act that legalizes this behavior needs to be repealed in order to ensure fair pay and treatment of every employee in today’s workforce. To begin, I will explain the use of sheltered workshops and the timed tests used to determine subminimum wages for employees with disabilities. I will then go on to discuss the history of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and how companies use a section of the legislation to get away with paying their employees with disabilities so…show more content…
In order to pay worker with disabilities below the federal minimum wage employers must first obtain a special minimum wage certificate from the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, which can be done online. The U.S. Department of Labor defines a person with a disability as “one whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those relating to age or injury.” So essentially, the law states that the worth of a person with a disability is determined by how many shirts they can hang in one minute. The piece of legislation that makes subminimum wage legal is Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Section 14 of the FLSA allows paying tipped workers, new hires under the age of 20, full-time students, interns, and people with disabilities below the federal minimum wage legal. The logic supporting this section is that tipped workers will earn a fair wage because of the tips they earn and that new hires, full-time students, interns, and people with disabilities are in a temporary training part of their career. However, this is not the case for the 300,000 people with disabilities who work at sheltered workshops. (NFB, 2013). As explained previously, people with disabilities are stuck working in sheltered workshops for many years, not just for temporary job training.

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