WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan sent a letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urging it to support repealing a discriminatory federal policy that allows employers to pay subminimum wages to employees who experience disabilities. Then-Governor Hassan led efforts to eliminate the payment of subminimum wages to individuals who experience disabilities in New Hampshire, which became the first state in the nation to outlaw this practice.
“I am pleased that as the first state in the country to eliminate the payment of subminimum wages in law, New Hampshire set the example and that other states have since followed, but it is imperative that the federal government eliminate this antiquated and unjust practice of paying individuals who experience disabilities less than their peers,” wrote Senator Hassan in her letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “I am encouraged that the Commission is taking this matter under consideration, and I hope you look to states who have led in eliminating this practice to demonstrate why the only appropriate next step is for the federal government to follow suit and eliminate the payment of subminimum wages.”
Senator Hassan’s letter comes as the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights considers whether or not to make a recommendation to the Department of Labor to discontinue the practice of allowing section 14(c) waivers under the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows for some employers to pay subminimum wages to individuals who experience disabilities. In the letter, Senator Hassan calls for additional support and resources to help ensure that more individuals who experience disabilities have access to competitive and integrated employment opportunities.
Senator Hassan has led efforts in the Senate to bolster the civil rights of individuals who experience disabilities. Senator Hassan is a cosponsor of legislation that would phase out the practice of paying subminimum wages nationally and provide funding to help states and certain eligible entities provide individuals who experience disabilities the resources that they need to transition to competitive integrated employment. The Senator has also introduced legislation to help increase employment opportunities for Granite Staters and Americans who experience disabilities, and cosponsored legislation to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
To read the letter Senator Hassan sent to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights click here.