Hillary Clinton: Disabled workers minimum wage loophole should end
Hillary Clinton hopes to fix the disabled workers minimum wage problem by eliminating a loophole called “subminimum wage.” Mrs. Clinton made the announcement after being posed a question by a lawyer with autism during a campaign rally.
Hillary Clinton wants to raise the disabled workers minimum wage and many disability rights advocates are applauding the news. On Monday, former New York Senator Hillary Clinton held a campaign rally at the University of Wisconsin where she had a Q & A session with the audience.
Nikki Vander Meulen, an attorney who is autistic, stood up and asked the former Secretary of State her opinion on the fact that people with disabilities receive a lower minimum wage, and how would she create jobs for the disabled population?
The Democratic presidential candidate said she believes that the “subminimum wage” for people with disabilities employed in specialized workplaces like at Good Will stores, other charities, and restaurants should be eliminated. The “subminimum wage” is a loophole in the federal minimum wage that allows employers to gain an exemption from the minimum for workers with disabilities. The grandmother stated:
“When it comes to jobs, we’ve got to figure out how we get the minimum wage up and include people with disabilities in the minimum wage. There should not be a tiered wage, and right now there is a tiered wage when it comes to facilities that do provide opportunities but not at a self-sufficient wage that enables people to gain a degree of independence as far as they can go.”
Mrs. Clinton went on to add:
“So I want us to take a hard look at raising the minimum wage and ending the tiered minimum wages, whether it’s for people with disabilities or the tipped wage. … When people talk about raising the minimum wage, they don’t always talk about the legal loopholes that we have in it and I want to get rid of those and I want to get rid of that for people with disabilities too.”
Clinton reaffirmed her plans to raise the minimum wage for able and workers with disabilities to $12 an hour. Disability rights advocates praised Clinton’s support for lifting the exemption.
Ari Ne’eman, a co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, was opposed to the practice of paying workers, who have disabilities less, and applauded Clinton’s remarks as “game-changing.” Ne’eman said:
“To see a major presidential candidate take a stance on this is a very significant step. We call on other candidates in the race to match Secretary Clinton’s commitment.”
Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, thanked Clinton in a statement:
“for stating boldly and unequivocally that she rejects the discriminatory practice of paying workers with disabilities subminimum wages.”
What are your thoughts on Clinton’s position on “subminimum wage?”