Our View of the Legislature: Employment

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This is a historic moment: The Commonwealth of Virginia now joins a small group of states to eliminate the practice of allowing employers to pay people with disabilities less than the state minimum wage.

On February 21, 2023, the Senate approved Delegate Hope’s HB 1924, which phases out subminimum wage employment for people with disabilities, starting this summer. Under the bill, wages that were formerly below minimum wage will come into complete compliance with the state minimum wage law, in stages, by July 2025. HB 1924 eliminates the state law reference to 14c and establishes stages for bringing those employees up to the state minimum wage. The bill now goes to the Governor; we expect him to sign it.

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 it finally possible to eliminate subminimum wage employment in Virginia.

In other employment-related good news, HB 2153 from Delegate Guzman was approved by both the House and the Senate. The bill makes some adjustments to the state’s alternative application process for people with disabilities. It now goes to the Governor for review.

dLCV is here to educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative and regulatory proposals, especially those impacting the employment of people with disabilities. Our 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. 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.