Bill Text: CA AJR36 | 2013-2014 | Regular Session | Amended

Bill Title: Special Minimum Wage Certificate Program.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Engrossed - Dead) 2014-08-21 - Ordered to inactive file at the request of Senator Hueso. [AJR36 Detail]

Download: California-2013-AJR36-Amended.html


INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Gonzalez
   (Coauthor: Senator Hueso)

                        FEBRUARY 19, 2014

   Relative to wages.


   AJR 36, as amended, Gonzalez. Special Minimum Wage Certificate
   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 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, 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; and
   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
   WHEREAS, The policy developments regarding disabled youth and the
need for additional support services, individualized employment plans
and training, and the prioritization of competitive integrated
employment in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are
consistent with the goals of this resolution and the intent to shift
away from the use of subminimum wages and sheltered workshops for
disabled individuals, for which the United States Congress should be
applauded and encouraged to continue working on legislation to better
fulfill these goals and policy direction; now, therefore, be it

   Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of
California, jointly, That the Legislature of California requests 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.