The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), through its ePolicyWorks initiative, is inviting stakeholders to participate in their Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act National Online Dialogue—open until June 21, 2019—to gather and consider perspectives on the present and future of disability employment, including the roles of subminimum wages and competitive integrated employment. The goal of this online dialogue is to capture trends, experiences with transition, and visions for the future from those “on the ground.” Information gleaned from the comments will then be summarized to provide an overview of Section 14(c) at the state and national levels to ODEP.
How to Participate
To participate, start by going to the main Section 14(c) National Online Dialogue webpage at 14cdialogue.ideascale.com. You will need to register, and then you can log into the dialogue. There is more information about how to get started and participate in the dialogue on the “Getting Started” page.
We recognize that this format is not very accessible for many people. The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) has put together an online tutorial that may be useful.
If you are unable to contribute to the dialogue on the online platform, or if you have any issues or concerns about accessibility, the Department of Labor is accepting comments by email or phone. You can contact ePolicyWorks@dol.gov or contact ODEP at 202-693-7880 for assistance.
Sample Talking Points:
• 14(c) was enacted in the 1930s. It is outdated and needs to be eliminated to reflect the current reality of life with a disability.
• 14(c) was established as a stepping-stone to competitive employment for people with disabilities, but 95% of people remain in sheltered workshops and don’t leave to take jobs in the community.
• Disabled people live in poverty at disproportionate rates. Policies such as 14(c) are major contributors to this ongoing problem.
• Paying people with disabilities less just because they have a disability is discrimination.
• Disabled people can work, just like nondisabled people. Given adequate training, accommodations, and opportunity, people with significant disabilities can obtain competitive integrated employment and be as productive as their non-disabled counterparts.
• 95% of 14(c) certificate-holders are sheltered workshops. Workers in sheltered workshops often perform tasks that do not utilize their skills, interests, and talents and don’t transfer easily to competitive integrated employment.
• The possession of 14(c) certificates reinforces the misconception that people with disabilities are less capable and creates a barrier to future employment opportunities.