Our View of the Legislature: Employment

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Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor took a historic step by approving legislation that would end the practice of paying people with disabilities less than the state minimum wage.

Delegate Hope’s HB 1924 will phase out subminimum wage employment for people with disabilities, starting this summer, eventually coming into complete compliance with the state minimum wage law by July 2025. Currently, an employer who holds a “14c” certificate, issued by the US Department of Labor, is not required to comply with federal minimum wage laws when employing people with disabilities. Recently, the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services received a $13.9 million federal grant to assist with transitioning 14c employers to become minimum wage employers, making the elimination of subminimum wage employment a serious possibility for the first time in Virginia.

HB 1924 eliminates the state law reference to 14c and establishes stages for bringing those employees up to the state minimum wage. The House and the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor approved the bill. The bill now moves to the full Senate.

In other employment-related developments, HB 2153 from Delegate Guzman was approved by the full House and now is in the Senate Committee on Rules, which meets at the call of the Chair. The bill makes some adjustments to the state’s alternative application process for people with disabilities. Since all committees must complete their work by Monday, February 20th, we will be watching for a meeting of Senate Rules this week.

During the legislative session and all year long, we educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative and regulatory proposals, especially those impacting the employment of people with disabilities. Please let us know of any issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.