ICI Data Drives Recent Civil Rights Commission Report on Subminimum Wage

On Sep. 17, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on subminimum wage for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

While reliance on subminimum wage has decreased in recent years, over 1,500 disability services providers employing over 100,000 people with IDD pay lower than the minimum wage for their work. This is legal due to Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act,which states that people with disabilities can be paid less than those without disabilities doing the same task based on their productivity.

With this new report, the USCCR is calling for the end of Section 14(C), acknowledging the role that this program has played in limiting people with IDD to reach their potential. The report also notes that the 14(c) program has lacked sufficient federal oversight and civil rights review.

This NPR story breaks down the history of 14(C) and the controversy around it in the disability community.

The new report draws heavily from ICI research, including the StateData Blue Book,an annual report about employment outcomes for people with IDD. The ICI’s John Butterworth, along with former Gopen Fellows John Anton and Finn Gardinertestified before Congress on this issue last November.

We are glad to see progress on the federal level around this important issue!