Current Legislation that threatens disability services (US – Federal Level)
(Click box to see fact sheet)
Build Back Better Act, 2021 (also referred to as the HHS Reconciliation Bill)
Workforce Development Section
- Seeks to eliminate special “subminimum” wage provisions from the Fair Labor Standards Act by providing financial incentives to states that discontinue 14c provisions.
- “Subminimum wages” are ability based, commensurate wages based on productivity.
- The A-Team believes money to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities should expand, rather than eliminate, choices.
- By law, employers are already required to assess productivity twice a year and MUST pay minimum wages to people who work at average ability levels.
- Without this provision, people who are unsuccessful in competitive employment will no longer have the choice to work. because supported center-based work programs are a disability service and cannot afford to employ people who are not able to work at average ability levels.
- This action does NOT have the support of the people who are most directly affected.
- Urge your US lawmakers to support 14c provisions within this bill! Funding should be allocated to include and EXPAND employment options, not eliminate choices.
HR 603/S 53 RAISE THE WAGE ACT of 2021 (Section 6)
- Section 6 of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 seeks to replace Section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act with flat wage incremental increases in place of the current ability based, commensurate wages based on productivity.
- This is a One-Size-Fits-All bill provision that assumes that all people with disabilities have the same ability.
- While claiming to defend “equality”, it actually takes away equal rights to employment, since many people will be forced into unemployment and WILL NOT BE COUNTED!
- Supported center-based work programs will no longer be able to afford to operate and will be forced to close.
- This action WILL NOT improve competitive employment prospects for people who are able to work in those settings.
- People who are capable of competitive employment are not limited by allowing 14c provisions to exist for those who cannot work competitively.
- Urge your US lawmakers to cut Section 6 from the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 and restore 14c special wage certificate provisions from the Fair Labor Standards Act.
HR 2373 TRANSFORMATION TO COMPETITIVE EMPLOYMENT ACT
- This is a stand-alone bill sponsored by the US Dept. of Labor’s Employment First Initiative which promotes the false assumption that ALL people with disabilities, including those with very significant disabilities, prefer to be minorities among nondisabled people in unsupported environments and are ALL capable of competitive employment.
- Elimination of 14c will force this situation, at the expense of those who need and want extra support.
- Competitive work will NEVER be an option for some people due to the severity or nature of their disability.
- The civil liberty and choice to be a majority group among other people with similar abilities is being taken from people who may have a community of friends who are also disabled.
- Special ability-based wages are an ADA disability accommodation that allows otherwise unemployable people the choice to work.
- Urge your US lawmakers to VOTE NO on HR 2373 and support ability-based work under 14c Special Wage provisions for those who need and want this choice.
Efforts to help preserve or restore disability services
H.R. 4761 – Restoration of Employment Choice for Adults with Disabilities Act
H.R. 4761 Restoration of Employment Choice will give young adults with disabilities the opportunity to choose to train in a pre-vocational work center without failing in the community multiple times first. Also, it will fix the regulations attached to required career counseling set by the government.
H.R. 4762 – Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act
H.R. 4762 Workplace Choice will significantly improve workforce opportunities for individuals with disabilities by eliminating regulations put in place by the government to limit choice of environment and program.
A Voice of Reason (VOR) has been advocating for a full array of disability services since 1983. Their lobbying efforts help preserve and promote residential and vocational choices.
The Coalition for Preservation of 14c has hired K&L Gates to lobby at the Federal level to preserve services and funding for people with severe disabilities who need center-based vocational options and special wage provisions in order to work.
Both of these groups need your financial support to keep doing this important work!
Senator Amy Klobuchar
(202) 224-3244 425 Dirksen Office Building Washington DC 20510 https://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-amy
Contact Your Lawmakers!
The single most important thing you can do is let your lawmakers know how you feel and why the effects of these bills are personally important to you. EVERY VOICE COUNTS!
Hard copy letters and phone calls are particularly effective. Emails help too, but can sometimes get directed to the wrong category and you might receive a form letter in response that is unrelated to the issue.
Be sure to include your name, address, and contact information along with the name of your disabled loved one if you are contacting on someone else’s behalf. Lawmakers are elected to represent people in their own districts.
However, it is also helpful to send letters to committee members who are actively working on these bills, even if they are not in your district. Hard copy letters work best for this.
Not sure how to start? Click this box for to see a sample letter! https://ateamminnesota.com/sample-letter-to-lawmakers-and-agencies/
Click this box to learn more about the 14c Special Wage Provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act and why it is so important. https://img1.wsimg.com/blobby/go/ee900f84-8601-4a4d-9440-ba4c325a0ac2/downloads/MNFAC%20Report%2019%20January%202021.pdf?ver=1611167472164