Bill Text: CA AJR36 | 2013-2014 | Regular Session | Amended
Bill Title: Special Minimum Wage Certificate Program.
Status: (Engrossed) 2014-06-25 - From committee: Be adopted. Ordered to third reading. (Ayes 3. Noes 2.) (June 25). [AJR36 Detail]
BILL NUMBER: AJR 36 AMENDED BILL TEXT AMENDED IN SENATE JUNE 18, 2014 AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MARCH 25, 2014 INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Gonzalez (Coauthor: Senator Hueso) FEBRUARY 19, 2014 Relative to wages. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AJR 36, as amended, Gonzalez. Special Minimum Wage Certificate Program. This measure would urge the United States Congress to phase out the use of the Special Minimum Wage Certificate provision and eventually repeal Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act. Fiscal committee: no. WHEREAS, Meaningful employment, and the wages associated with it, can be an integral part of enabling human dignity and creating more meaningful lives for disabled
persons;persons who choose to work; and WHEREAS, The State of California has supported opportunities for employment for all disabled workers, specifically in the adoption of the Employment First Policy for the most vulnerable population of disabled workers, which states that "it is the policy of the state that opportunities for integrated, competitive employment shall be given the highest priority for working age individuals with developmental disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities"; and WHEREAS, The 1938 federal Fair Labor Standards Act sets out in Section 14(c) the ability for entities that employ disabled persons to obtain special minimum wage certificates from the United States Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division which entitle them to pay a disabled worker less than the legislated minimum wage rate; and WHEREAS, The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act's subminimum wage provisions were created in the era of the Great Depression with the intent of subsidizing sheltered workshops which could not afford to pay their workers full wages and, some may argue, incentivizing private companies to employ disabled persons; and WHEREAS, These special wage rates are calculated according to productivity with no specified wage floor; and WHEREAS, The productivity-based calculation of a special minimum wage is generally done by a complicated "time study" which entails an administrator comparing how fast a disabled worker is able to complete a certain task compared to nondisabled workers; and WHEREAS, There are differing work and equipment conditions beyond the worker's control, a lack of oversight and enforcement by the Wage and Hour Division for the special minimum wage certificates, a lack of consistency in the time study tests done by employers, and a singling out of disabled workers given that the general workforce is not subjected to standards of timed productivity; and WHEREAS, Time study practices used to determine special wage rates are both inconsistent and unfair and the subminimum wages they produce have been described by disabled workers throughout the media as humiliating, degrading, and making them feel like "second-class citizens"; and WHEREAS, Some entities have claimed that the special minimum wage certificates are an essential stepping stone to permanent and fully paid employment in the general workforce. The Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal published empirical evidence in 2004 which suggested that sheltered workshops are generally ineffective at progressing the disabled workers, while for other employers the special minimum wage certificates serve as an incentive to exploit disabled workers rather than integrate them into the mainstream economy; and WHEREAS, It has been widely documented that many of the organizations which employ disabled persons are in financial situations that would enable them to pay minimum wage to all of their disabled employees, evident in the high compensation packages paid to their executives; andWHEREAS, Some employers, such as the National Industries for the Blind, have already recognized the exploitive nature of paying disabled workers subminimum wage and have been able to transition to the payment of Federal minimum wage, or higher, to their disabled employees without a significant change in profitability or a reduction in their workforce; now therefore, be itand WHEREAS, These employers have proven that there are workable alternative employment models to Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act for disabled workers, such as Employment First, which allow for the successful development of individuals by providing quality training and supports for individuals with disabilities to obtain competitive integrated employment, as well as the successful operation of businesses and programs; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature of California requestrequests that the United States Congress should phase out the use of the Special Minimum Wage Certificate provision and eventually repeal Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to support the goal of competitive integrated employment of people with disabilities through the use of modern practices of vocational training, improved technology, and innovative rehabilitation and employment strategies; and be it further Resolved, That the Legislature of California requests that prior to and during the phasing out of Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act the United States Congress (1) promote the continuation of existing employment and support models for disabled individuals other than Section 14(c)of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as further identify and develop alternatives of access to a diverse range of employment opportunities, to be in place and widely available prior to the phasing out of Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act; (2) continue to collect comprehensive data that accurately reflects the number of disabled individuals working, the number of disabled individuals seeking employment, and the number of disabled individuals who have expressed an interest in working but who have not yet been successful in locating and securing gainful employment; and (3) continue to utilize strategies which identify the industries and types of work in demand in both the public and private sector, and the skills and abilities of potential workers with disabilities that either exist or need to be developed to move people into these positions; and be it further Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States.