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


Equip for Equality Applauds Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order Eliminating Sub-minimum Wage in State Use Contracts


Chicago (October 4, 2021) – Today, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an Executive Order that will prohibit Illinois from entering into contracts under the State Use program with companies that pay workers with disabilities sub-minimum wage. The Executive Order also requires the State to renegotiate current State Use contracts paying workers sub-minimum wage.

“Equip for Equality commends Governor Pritzker for taking this important action,” said Zena Naiditch, President and CEO at Equip for Equality. “Like all citizens in Illinois, people with disabilities have the right to be paid fair wages for their work. We hope that private companies that currently have contracts paying workers sub-minimum wage will follow Governor Pritzker’s lead.”

In 2013, Illinois passed the Employment First Act, which provides that competitive and integrated employment will be the first option for all people with disabilities. In 2014, then-Governor Quinn issued an Executive Order requiring that the State Use program, which provides no-bid contracts to organizations that employ people with disabilities, be changed to come in alignment with Employment First.

“For far too long, many companies have benefitted from State Use contracts, but paid their workers sub-minimum wage,” said Barry C. Taylor, Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality. “Today’s Executive Order will correct that injustice, and is a critical step to making the promise of Employment First a reality in Illinois.”

In 2014, Equip for Equality published the Illinois Employment First Blueprint to provide policymakers and stakeholders in Illinois with specific recommendations and actions steps to ensure full implementation of the Employment First Act. One of the recommendations of the Blueprint was to modify the State Use program so that people with disabilities working under these contracts are not paid sub-minimum wage.

“Today’s Executive Order addresses one of Equip for Equality’s long-standing concerns about the implementation of the Employment First Act,” said Cheryl Jansen, Director of Public Policy at Equip for Equality. “We now call upon the Illinois General Assembly to take the next step and eliminate the use of sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities in all jobs.”




About Equip for Equality: Established in 1985, the mission of Equip for Equality is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities in Illinois. Equip for Equality is a private not-for-profit legal advocacy organization designated by the Governor to operate the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy System to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities. For more information about Equip for Equality, go to

For more information: contact Barry C. Taylor at 312-895-7317 or

Last updated: October 04, 2021

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