Tags: Minimum Wage | time act | employment | disabilities

About TIME: What Is Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act?

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 12:48 PM

Raising the minimum wage is a controversial, partisan topic surrounding today’s employment and societal issues. The TIME Act is differentiated from minimum wage legislation because it focuses on the idea of paying disabled workers the equal wages.

The act, an acronym for Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment, is the new name for the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act. The name change occurred to distinguish the legislation from the minimum wage debate, the National Federation of the Blind said in a blog.

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The ultimate goal of the act is to end Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers with Special Wage Certificates to pay disabled workers “subminimum wages,” the NFB said.

In January 2015, the bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce, after being cosponsored by 39 bipartisan representatives, according to GovTrack.us. The site said, however, that the bill only has about an 8 percent chance of getting past the committee, where the committee chair decides if it will continue or not.

Furthermore, the site said it has a 3 percent chance of being enacted, despite this topic’s heated history. The Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938 with the intention of encouraging employers to hire people with disabilities, NFB said.

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But the TIME Act argues that times have changed. It claims “advancements in vocational rehabilitation, technology, and training provide disabled workers with greater opportunities than in the past.”

In 2013, Rep. Gregg Harper, the same Mississippi Republican congressman sponsoring the TIME Act, introduced the Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act. The act never passed the committee despite national media attention, following a “Rock Center with Brian Williams” piece on NBC detailing the low pay of disabled workers at Goodwill.

Some outright oppose the consequences of the bill. Bob Brown, the father of a severely disabled worker, argued in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that not all disabled workers are alike. Specifically, some, like his daughter, require full-time assistance and can cause disruptions in the workplace.

Brown said the smaller paycheck his daughter earns is more fulfilling than none, which is what will happen if the bill is passed. He suggested investigating individual abuses, rather than overturning Section 14(c) as a whole.

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Raising the minimum wage is a controversial, partisan topic surrounding today's employment and societal issues. The TIME Act is differentiated from minimum wage legislation because it focuses on the idea of paying disabled workers the equal wages.
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2015-48-02
Tuesday, 02 Jun 2015 12:48 PM
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