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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois


Tell Congress It’s Time To End the Subminimum Wage for People with Disabilities

Support H.R. 831—the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013

Under current federal law,  employers are able to obtain “special wage certificates” that allow them to pay workers with disabilities less that the federal minimum wage (referred to as subminimum wage).   The subminimum wage law gives employers an incentive to exploit the  cheap labor provided by workers with disabilities.  It also works as a disincentive to employers to prepare people with disabilities for integrated employment in the community that will pay them a competitive wage.

It is clear that with the appropriate services, training and tools, workers with disabilities can be as productive as workers without disabilities.  Right now, there are employers who pay the federal minimum wage or higher to their employees with disabilities — without affecting their profitability.  As a result, even individuals with significant disabilities have been able to successfully obtain employment that pays at least minimum wage if not more.   H.R. 831, which creates the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013, prohibits any new special wage certificates from being issued and requires existing special wage certificates to be phased out over a three-year period (after one year for private for profit entities; after two years for public or governmental entities; and after three years for non-profit entities).

The time for action is now

Contact your U.S. Representative  today to urge him or her to sign-on as a cosponsor and vote “yes” on H.R 831.  If your representative is already a cosponsor of the bill, please contact your representative  to thank him or her for their support.


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For more information about this Action Alert, contact:

Cheryl Jansen
Legislative Director
217-544-0464, ext. 6013

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Last updated: April 14, 2014

This website is made possible by funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of Equip for Equality and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of these agencies.

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