In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Honest Labor Requirements Act establishing the federal minimal wage. But Part 14(c) of the act allowed employers to pay folks with disabilities lower than the minimal wage.

Beneath 14(c), these employees, who usually have cognitive or mental disabilities, are incomes as little as $4 or $5 per hour primarily by means of non-profit applications created to assist them. This appears unfair from the angle of the 23-year anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Act giving folks with disabilities the identical rights as all different Individuals. Advocates for the disabled just like the Autistic Self Advocacy Community argue 14(c) must be repealed.

This looks as if the apparent resolution till you think about what Laura Kovacovich’s mom has to say in a brand new PBS NewsHour phase. Her view is unpopular however price listening to. 

Laura, who has autism and obsessive compulsive dysfunction, completely loves her job stocking cabinets at a thrift retailer in rural Park Rapids in central Minnesota. She earns about $5 an hour and can be “unhappy” if she couldn’t work there. Laura additionally has a second job working a loom at a textile firm for Minnesota’s minimal wage of $10.59 an hour.

Laura’s mom, Daybreak Kovacovich, stated 14(c) is the one cause her daughter has that thrift retailer job. “You may’t simply stick somebody in a rural neighborhood” and anticipate native employers to accommodate employees with disabilities and pay them full wages, she stated. “You’re not going to search out that.”

Actually, the Division of Labor’s list of employers licensed to pay 14(c) wages is dominated by rehabilitation applications run by nonprofits and an occasional hospital or small employer with restricted sources that presumably makes use of it to fill in its workforce extra cheaply. Massive employers like Amazon and Goal are absent from the record.

However the Middle for American Progress, a liberal policy-oriented group, argues that Daybreak Kovacovich’s argument is wrong-headed: Part 14(c) “is among the most obvious examples of how the autonomy delusion has been used to justify financial inequity.”

It’s troublesome to think about a coverage that accomplishes two essential objectives: fixing the issue of high unemployment within the incapacity neighborhood and making certain equal pay.

Watch this video to see which facet of the controversy you’re on.

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