Should It Be Legal to Pay Disabled Workers Subminimum Wages?
Lawren Barber-Wood. December 9, 2016.
I. Section 14© and Who It Affects
In America, the current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Most states, though, have higher minimum wages, like Alaska, where the minimum wage is $9.75 an hour. Most American workers are paid whichever wage is higher where they live, but there are some exceptions; minors, waitstaff, and disabled workers can all legally be paid below minimum wage. Minors can only be paid below minimum wage for ninety days, though, and waitstaff can only be paid subminimum wages if they’re tipped. Even then, there are limitations on this; “if an employee’s tips plus cash wages do not add up to at least minimum wage… the employer is required to [pay enough to] make the employee whole” (Simpson). In regards to disabled workers, on the other hand, there is no limit to how low they can be paid or for how long they can be paid these low wages. This is because of a seventy-five year old addition to the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, called Section 14©.