Monday, December 6, 2021

This Build Back Better offer will raise wages for workers with disabilities.

The House of Representatives’ Build Back Better bill is 2,135 pages and is ponderous.

Many of his historic proposals are well known and debated: universal pre-K, childcare overhauls, radical climate change and renewable energy programs, expanded health care subsidies, and reduced costs of certain prescription drugs.

WATCH: The Build Back Better bill aims to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Is it far enough?

But there are other estimates as well. We would like to start by reading the bill.

This is a total of 14 pages contained in sections 22201 and 22202 of the bill, entitled “Competitive Integral Employment”. This is a classic government phrase that applies to just about any job in any industry. What does this mean here? It is a fact of life for tens of thousands of American workers with disabilities: they are legally paid below the minimum wage under US law passed more than eight decades ago. NPR reported last year that some workers were paid as little as $ 3.34 an hour.

Why does the US allow lower wages for workers with disabilities?

This practice dates back to 1938, when Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which laid the foundation for modern labor laws, which set a federal minimum wage. But some in Congress have raised concerns that the minimum wage would deprive people of employment opportunities with visual impairments or other disabilities. Therefore, legislators have made the minimum wage exemption. Employers could obtain a certificate, commonly called “14 (c)” due to the section number in the law, and pay workers with disabilities an amount below the minimum wage.

How many disabled workers still receive below minimum wages?

Estimates vary, but no less than tens of thousands. According to the Department of Labor, more than 39,000 people currently earn less than the US minimum wage because their employers received 14 (c) certifications under the law. About 1,200 businesses have either applied for or received a certificate allowing this exemption. Many are for-profit or non-profit organizations that are specifically dedicated to providing jobs and other services to people with disabilities.

Is this allowed in every state?

No. Ten states have banned this practice. But it still exists in 40 states.

Who supports liberation and who is against?

There is a lot to be said on this topic. Here’s a very quick start.

We spoke with Maria Towne, President and CEO of the American Disabled People’s Association. She listed many reasons to change that. First, it is open discrimination. She also argues that the notion that people with disabilities are less productive or need prohibitively expensive housing is outdated and false.

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But other people in the disability rights community support the permit below the minimum wage. Evelyn Turner, director of the Charleston County Disability Council, South Carolina, told WCSC-TV earlier this year that she believed pay was in line with qualifications. “We have a group of people who can’t work competitively,” she said, “and that’s their job, and they like to come to it.” Some families told NPR they are concerned that higher wage requirements could mean fewer jobs for family members with disabilities.

How does Build Back Better handle this?

Overall, Democrats and some leading Republicans want to end this practice. To this end, the home building bill would be better allocated $ 324 million to help employers abandon the system for good. Governments and companies can receive grants for immediate wage increases and the transition to permanently paid employees with disabilities at the minimum wage or higher.

Why doesn’t the law just prohibit it?

Good question!

It boils down to something that is almost nonexistent in Congress in general and in the Senate in particular. Democrats have 50 votes in the Senate, 51 with a vice president’s tie-break. That’s far less than the 60 it takes for this bill to go through the usual Senate process, in which Republicans have the opportunity to filibuster. Their only viable option is to use another route known as “budget negotiation”. This requires only 51 votes in the Senate. But reconciliation is associated with certain conditions, primarily with the fact that legislation should primarily concern the federal budget and have a significant impact on it.

Outlawing this practice will not have a significant impact on the federal budget and, therefore, most likely will not go through harmonization. Instead, Democrats got creative – which often happens with reconciliation – and came up with this workaround, hoping to use grants and incentives to convince employers and more states to do it on their own.

WE WANT YOUR QUESTIONS! What do you want to know about the current draft of the Build Back Better plan? You can contact us at [email protected]

Nation World News Desk
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