ROCKVILLE, MD — Goodwill Industries International President and CEO Jim Gibbons made the following statement in response to NBC News reports on the use of Special Minimum Wage Certificates by some local Goodwill® agencies:
“The Special Minimum Wage Certificate allows employers to focus on what workers with the most significant and multiple disabilities can do rather than penalizing them for what they can’t do. It is a tool that some community-based Goodwill agencies use to provide a safe, nurturing environment where people with the most significant disabilities can advance to reach their full employment potential — whatever level that may be. As a leading advocate for people with disabilities, we at Goodwill are always happy for a chance to further the discussion about the best ways to help people with significant disabilities enter the workforce and live happier, more fulfilled lives.”
Additional information about Goodwill and Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows for use of the Special Minimum Wage Certificate:
• Nearly 80 percent of people with disabilities nationwide are not part of the workforce because the market does not create opportunities for them.
• The Special Minimum Wage Certificate enables more than 3,400 employers nationwide to provide vocational opportunities for approximately 420,000 people with severe disabilities nationwide who otherwise might not be a part of the workforce.
• Without the Special Minimum Wage Certificate, many, if not most, of these individuals would likely fall out of the workforce. In the case of Goodwill employees, they would also lose access to the wider range of services that Goodwill provides to its employees.
Of Goodwill’s 113,000 team members, more than 30,000 are people with disabilities; that’s nearly one-third of its entire workforce. Goodwill estimates that approximately 7,500 employees are paid using the Special Minimum Wage Certificate — fewer than 7 percent of Goodwill employees. These team members are people with significant or multiple disabilities.