STATEMENT: CAP’s Rebecca Cokley Applauds Sen. Casey and Rep. Scott’s Bill Eliminating the Subminimum Wage for Disabled Workers

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which would eliminate the provision known as Section 14(c) in the minimum wage law that allows employers to pay disabled workers a fraction of the minimum wage. In recent years, an estimated 420,000 individuals with disabilities have been paid an average of just $2.15 an hour. The bill not only phases out Section 14(c), but also includes funding to support states and employment to transform business models to support individuals with disabilities as they transition to competitive, integrated employment and tracks their outcomes in a six-year phaseout period. Following the introduction of the bill, Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

CAP applauds Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Bobby Scott for working to repeal the discriminatory and fundamentally unfair subminimum wage for workers with disabilities. The subminimum wage segregates and traps workers in dead-end jobs, grounded in the low expectation that the livelihoods of disabled people aren’t as valuable as those of other workers. Additionally, the 14(c) provision denies workers the fundamental labor protections available to other workers, leaving them more susceptible to unfair treatment and abuse. Sen. Casey and Rep. Scott’s bill would change that, codifying the fair treatment of, regardless of disability status.

Eliminating the subminimum wage for disabled workers is a long overdue step in achieving true justice for and enabling them to attain economic security. We urge Congress to quickly consider and pass Sen. Casey and Rep. Scott’s bill.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick jcusick@americanprogress.org or 202-495-3682.