States May Require Higher Minimum Wage Rates for Disabled Workers
According to the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division, employers with a certificate that authorizes them to pay their disabled workers a subminimum wage rate will now be required to abide by state laws that require higher minimum wage rates for disabled workers. A subminimum wage is defined as an hourly wage lower than the $7.25 federal minimum.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Section 14(c), the labor secretary is allowed to issue a certificate that gives employers the ability to pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities. But since 2015, a few states have enacted laws that prohibit payment of subminimum wages to disabled workers. These states include:
- New Hampshire
The Wage and Hour Division has determined that the following state laws do not conflict with the FLSA:
- Prohibition of subminimum wage payments to workers with disabilities
- Creation of a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage requirement for disabled workers
Because of these determinations, the FLSA does not preempt a state law prohibiting the payment of wages less than the state minimum wage to disabled workers. The Wage and Hour Division has also stated that each application submitted for a Section 14(c) certificate will be considered independently. Certificates may be issued in a state that prevents subminimum wages for disabled workers if the employer has made a case that provides a basis for the use of the certificate that does not conflict with state law.
For more information about minimum wage rates, please visit our page Minimum Wage Rates page.