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About TIME: Pros and Cons of the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 01:48 PM

The TIME Act is sitting in a House of Representatives committee while the debate on the pros and cons of the bill that seeks to pay disabled workers minimum wage rages on.

The act, an acronym for Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment, seeks to change the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which allows businesses who give work to people with disabilities to pay less than minimum wage in some situations. TIME is supported by many organizations for people with disabilities, particularly the National Federation of the Blind. But will the bill have the affects its sponsors want?

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Here are the top pros and cons surrounding the debate of the TIME Act:

Pro: Disabled workers would be more self-sufficient.
The NFB argues that because of Section 14(c), disabled Americans cannot be as self-sufficient as their potential would allow. This leads to reliance on government assistance programs.

"Ninety-five percent of people with disabilities who are paid subminimum wage never obtain the competitive integrated employment they strive for," NFB said.

Con: Severely disabled Americans may not be able to work at all.
Bob Brown, a father of a severely disabled worker, wrote in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the bill will take away opportunities for his daughter to work. A member of the Opportunity Village Board of Directors, Brown argued the organization that provides classes and jobs for people with disabilities would not be able to employ the number of workers that they do if they have to pay minimum wage.

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Brown said his daughter's job is about more than a paycheck. "It's about quality of life and pride in earning a paycheck," he says.

Pro: Companies would be more accountable and fair.
The new bill recognizes the unrealistic productivity benchmarks that are set by the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to Huffington Post. The TIME Act would eliminate these benchmarks by ensuring all workers receive minimum wage.

The website reported that companies can exploit these already high benchmarks by testing workers on unfair standards, such as asking a blind worker to sort and hang clothes in a half hour.

Con: Workshops and enclaves set up for disabled Americans may no longer be sustainable.
Like Opportunity Village, the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities in Ohio expressed concern over the bill’s consequences. In a resolution opposing the legislation, quoted by WPKO, the board said, “The elimination of sub-minimum wage certificates would cause an undue hardship on many individuals and force them into habilitation options that are not meaningful, are not dignified and do not respect their individuality.”

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The TIME Act is sitting in a House of Representatives committee while the debate on the pros and cons of the bill that seeks to pay disabled workers minimum wage rages on.
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2015-48-02
Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 01:48 PM
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