How to determine the Requisite Pay for a Worker with Disabilities Under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) protects individuals who have a disability, however, the employer may, in some cases, pay less than minimum wage without being in violation with the ADA law or the Fair Labor Standards Act. Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act provides an exception that employers can take advantage of where an employee with a disability can be paid less than the federal minimum wage.
As an overview, such reduced pay for employees with disabilities is allowed only if the following circumstances are met: 1) the employee’s disability reduces his or her ability to complete the job; 2) a certificate from the Department of Labor is obtained by the employer which sanctions such reduced pay; 3) the employer gives each worker a statement in writing that he or she will be paid less; and 4) each worker’s parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s), as applicable, are provided with such statement in writing as well.
Further, each respective disabled employee’s actual pay must be determined pursuant to very definite statutory requirements. Specifically, a worker’s pay must be based on the amount of pay other employees receive at the same job and the disabled worker’s ability to do that job. Also, at least once per year, the employer must ask other employers in the area how much they pay experienced employees who do the same or similar job. Finally, workers must be tested within thirty (30) days on their ability to complete the job tasks. The statute also stipulates that every six (6) months, such disabled employees need to be re-tested. Note that job tasks are typically outlined in a written job description, which is advertised to the public once a job is available for hire.
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