inclusion, group, wheelchair-5249903.jpg

Support HB 793 House Amendment 4: Dignity In Pay Act

Provides 5 1⁄2 years, robust provider support, and a careful path to phase out subminimum wages for workers with disabilities in Illinois

Overview

A provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 has allowed for payment of Subminimum Wage (SMW) to individuals with disabilities by entities with special authorization, generally referred to as 14(c) certificates. In recent years, the practice of paying SMW has come under scrutiny from entities such as the Department of Labor, Department of Justice and a multitude of Civil Rights and Disability Advocacy organizations. To date, 18 states have taken action to phase out the use of SWM and foster expansion of programs that increase inclusion and access to competitive integrated employment.

The Dignity in Pay Act requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Illinois Department of Labor to lead a responsible and gradual 5-year process to increase employment options for people with disabilities and phase out 14(c) subminimum wage authorizations in Illinois.

Key Changes

  • Eliminates permission for employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage, starting on December 31, 2029 (2 1⁄2 years later than the last version of the bill).
  • Requires the Governor to appoint at least two additional 14(c) subminimum wage certificate holders to the IDHS Task Force responsible for the phase-out program.
  • Establishes a Transition Grants Program for 14(c) providers to support them through the transition ($2M is included in the Governor’s proposed FY25 budget).
  • Increases the Personal Needs Allowance for CILA residents to $100 per month (currently at $60), beginning on January 1, 2025.
  • Requires HFS/DHS to file a waiver amendment with federal CMS to increase small group supported employment rates for organizations that provide disability employment programs.

Additional Context

This legislation represents a compromise reached after years of dialogue between the DD service provider industry, disability groups, and civil rights and anti-poverty advocates. It is reflective of growing momentum at state and federal levels to eliminate subminimum wage. Bipartisan federal legislation H.R.2373, the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act, was introduced in 2021 to phase out subminimum wage. The City of Chicago, and a range of employers across Illinois, have already phased out subminimum wage programs in favor of Supported Employment and meaningful day program opportunities – including Misericordia, the Arc, MarcFirst, Ray Graham, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, Thresholds, and Macon Resources, Inc., among many others.

 

Contacts

Taneka Jennings, Deputy Legislative Director, IDHS – taneka.h.jennings@illinois.gov, (312) 720-6027 Bess Johnson, Legislative Liaison, IDHS, bess.johnson@illinois.gov, (217) 761-0121

Yes. Many workers in Illinois classified as having “mild” or “moderate” disabilities are making less than $1/hour. These include people with epilepsy, polio, visual impairment, deafness, CP, mood disorders, and learning disabilities. These are tracked in Illinois Department of Labor records.

  • Vermont: Pop. Approx. 623,000

  • Tennessee: Approximately 6.9 million

  • California: Approximately 39.5 million

  • Kansas: Approximately 2.9 million

  • South Carolina: Approximately 5.2 million

  • Virginia: Approximately 8.6 million

  • Washington: Approximately 7.8 million

  • Colorado: Approximately 5.8 million

  • Oregon: Approximately 4.3 million

  • Rhode Island: Approximately 1.1 million

  • Delaware: Approximately 989,000

  • New Hampshire: Approximately 1.4 million

  • Maryland: Approximately 6.2 million

  • Washington, D.C.: Approximately 702,000

  • Hawaii: Approximately 1.4 million

  • Maine: Approximately 1.3 million

  • Alaska: Approximately 731,000

This bill will create more work for people with disabilities. By developing a serious plan crafted by experts, and allowing 5 years for phase-out, we can launch in a gradual and successful way. Also, we can learn from the states that have already done so.

Equal minimum pay for working adults – no matter the disability – protects everyone’s civil rights. It is important to guarantee equal protection under the law.


Study after study reveals that workers with disabilities are dependable and productive, add value to the work environment with their dedication and enthusiasm, contribute to the morale of other workers, and are loyal employees – these are all characteristics that cannot be measured by speed or an outdated 14 (c) model.

This bill recognizes the need for a broad overhaul of work and day activity options for people with disabilities. If money is not the motivation for a person, they deserve alternatives that are stimulating and fulfilling.

People with disabilities aren’t children – and they aren’t earning tips in sheltered workshops. They are adults who should have the opportunity to earn what other adults start at.

No. By emphasizing the ability of all workers to contribute with the right supports, employers will awaken to the possibility and benefits of hiringpeople with disabilities. A concerted, ambitious statewide focus on disability employment will give rise to previously unimagined work experiences for people with all types of disabilities.

Piece rates could still be paid exactly as is through July 2029.

Workers who become productive wage earners put their money back into the community. It is long past time we end the second-class citizenship that subminimum wages force on workers with disabilities.

People with significant disabilities who want to work can contribute to the workforce in a significant way. Allowing subminimum wages cements second-class citizenship for disabled people and reinforces false, damaging perceptions about the potential of disabled people.

Yes. Examples include the UCP Seguin, Misericordia, Macon Resources Inc., Arc of Iroquois County, MarcFirst, Ray Graham, the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Thresholds.

No.

No. The subminimum wage transcends partisanship: States as “red” as Tennessee, Kansas, South Carolina, and Virginia are among the 18. Former U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) has been a national champion on this issue.

Supporting Organizations

Special Olympics Illinois

Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF)

National Down Syndrome Society

Illinois Spina Bifida Association

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

The Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities

SIBS (Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters

Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago

Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living

Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Illinois AFL-CIO

Jewish United Fund

Equip for Equality

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Illinois

AFSCME Council 31

SEIU Healthcare Illinois

National Federation of the Blind

Illinois Association of the Deaf

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance

Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Arc of Illinois

National Council on Independent Living

United Food & Commercial Workers

National Association of the Deaf

Housing Action Illinois

Thresholds

Ray Graham Association

United Cerebral Palsy Seguin

El Valor

IPADD (IL Parents of Adults with DD) Unite

Progress Center on Independent Living

Illinois Assistive Technology Program

Trinity Services, Inc.

SPARC

Clearbrook

Shelby County Community Services

Sevita

Shore

Sertoma Star Services

Opportunity House

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Pathway Services Unlimited, Inc.

South Chicago Parents & Friends

Service, Inc. of Illinois

Centerstone

Independence Health & Therapy

Misericordia

HSS

Glenkirk

Little City Foundation

PACTT

Search, Inc.

Open Door Rehabilitation Center

MOSAIC

Kreider Services

Garden Center Services

Bright Spring Health Services

Horizon House

FAYCO

Beverly Farm

Orchard Village

Keystone Alliance

Envision Unlimited

Developmental Foundations Inc.

Crosspoint Human Services

Ray Graham Association

Bridgeway

Ada S. McKinley Community Services Inc.

The Arc of Iroquois County

CTF Illinois

DSC (Discover Self Community)

Goldie Floberg

Covenant Ability Network Illinois

Challenge Unlimited

The Arc of the Quad Cities Area

Aspire

Cornerstone Services

Caritas Family Solutions

Thrive Counseling Center

Illinois Department of Human Services

Illinois Department of Labor

Illinois Department on Aging

Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services

Illinois Department of Human Rights

Scroll to Top