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Monday, February 27, 2023

Fewer Employers Take Part in Subminimum Wage Program

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the employment of people on the autism spectrum.

Through the 14(c) program, the Department of Labor (DOL) certifies employers to pay individuals with disabilities wages below the federal minimum—also known as subminimum wage. Employer participation in this program decreased by about half from 2010 to 2019, according to GAO's analysis of DOL data. During this period, the number of 14(c) workers also fell from about 296,000 to 122,000. Officials GAO interviewed from DOL and four stakeholder organizations attributed this decline, in part, to federal and state policies restricting the payment of wages below the federal minimum. Since August 2019, most 14(c) workers earned less than $3.50 per hour, while about 14 percent earned at or above the federal minimum of $7.25. Representatives from two of the four stakeholder organizations said these earnings patterns may reflect differences in workers' skills and abilities, employment opportunities, and state minimum wage laws.