Our View of the Legislature: Employment

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People with disabilities make up one of the largest categories of “unemployed.” While the unemployment rate in 2021 was lower than in many previous years – 3.9% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is alarmingly higher.  Some reports place it as high as 30%.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia notes that there are some efforts to address that disparity within Virginia code in this year’s legislature, but with only partial success, including:

HB 676 (Hope) would have removed the provision in code that allows employers to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage. The bill was defeated in the House Committee on Commerce and Energy. For more information about this persistent problem, see our website at this employment rights link.

HB 710 (Keam) requires local governments to give preference in hiring for people with disabilities. This bill was requested by the National Federation for the Blind. The bill was approved by the entire House, on a unanimous vote, and now moves to the Senate.

For more information about unemployment and people with disabilities, click here.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia’s mission is to advance independence, choice and self-determination; protect legal, human and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation. We are available to educate policy makers about the potential impact of legislative proposals and budgetary considerations. Please let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.