As unfathomable and infuriating as this is, are you aware that there is an actual law that allows individuals with disabilities to be underpaid by their employers?

So many companies claim to be against discrimination in the workplace but speaking against it and putting action where words are are two very different things.

In New York, there is a growing movement to eliminate the subminimum wage for individuals with disabilities. The movement is bringing to light the challenges many individuals in New York face in finding equitable employment opportunities because of the antiquated law.

Advocates argue that it's time for New York to abandon this outdated practice, following the lead of 16 other states that have already taken steps toward ending subminimum wage for workers with disabilities.

The Subminimum Wage Issue

New York's subminimum wage policy traces its origins back to 1938 when section 14C of the Federal Labor Act was signed into law during the Great Depression. This provision allowed employers to pay people with disabilities less than the standard minimum wage. However, many disability rights advocates argue that this practice is discriminatory, as it is, and that it should be discontinued.

Progress in Other States

States such as California, New Hampshire, and Maine have successfully passed legislation to eliminate subminimum wage provisions for employees with disabilities, signaling a shift toward more inclusive employment practices. The momentum generated by these states has inspired advocates in New York to push for similar reforms.

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A Promising Bill

State Assemblymen Phil Steck and State Senator James Skoufis have sponsored a bill, A.4347/S.3434, aimed at abolishing the subminimum wage for individuals with disabilities in New York. This legislative effort seeks to address what many consider an antiquated and unfair system, bringing the state in line with the growing national trend toward equitable employment opportunities.

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