Disability Inequality: Developmentally Disabled Employees Earn Less than Minimum Wage

Let’s discuss how developmentally disabled individuals could earn more than minimum wage if they were hired for jobs where they could excel.

Is it really legal to pay developmentally disabled workers less than the minimum wage?

The Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938 included a provision that allowed employers to pay less than minimum wage to some individuals as an incentive to hire people with disabilities. The Developmental Disabilities Act of 1986 also remains an obstacle for people with disabilities. According to Disability Rights Nebraska, there are 17 organizations in Nebraska that pay subminimum wages to 490 disabled people.

How developmentally disabled individuals could earn more than minimum wage.

In order for developmentally disabled people to be able to make a living, they need jobs that will allow them to do what they are skilled at and can perform without assistance from others. For example, many developmentally disabled employees may be good at folding clothes which is a job that can be done without too much assistance. They could also work as a greeter at a store, ask for donations from the public, or even do data entry. These are just some of many jobs developmentally disabled people might excel in and deserve to have more than minimum wage paid to them.

What is vocational rehabilitation?

Vocational rehabilitation is the act of helping developmentally disabled people learn to work. It includes things like teaching developmentally disabled individuals how to use transportation, communicate with others, and do other tasks they would need in order to work at a job without assistance from someone else. 

Come be a part of the Team Works crew!

We support vocational rehabilitation eligible individuals with obtaining and keeping employment in the greater Omaha area! Our program provides the needed support for individuals to prepare for, find, apply to, and keep competitive employment opportunities that fit within their lifestyle. Our personalized approach to customized employment helps place skilled individuals in the workforce.

Watch this short video on the Team Works program.

We also offer area businesses guidance on recruiting, training and retaining employees with support needs. If you’d like to talk with a vocational rehab expert about enrollment or support for your business, we’re here to help! 402-614-8202 or info@angelguardians.org

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