Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers, after receiving a special minimum wage certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay special minimum wages (sub minimum wage) to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of July 1, 2019, 30 local Goodwill organizations held a certificate. The number of local Goodwill organizations utilizing the certificate continues to decline. Certificates are granted for a two-year period; it is possible for a Goodwill to be listed as holding a certificate without utilizing it because the organization has transitioned before the certificate expires.
Goodwill Industries International (GII) supports strengthened oversight and enforcement of certificate regulations. GII believes the responsible approach is to transition people with disabilities employed under the special minimum wage certificate into competitive, integrated employment as possible. Such a transition should honor individual choices and include supports, resources and assistance needed to succeed in those jobs are available and accessible – including well-planned systems of alternative supports, resources and services in communities where certificates are currently held. A phase-out should result in more people obtaining competitive integrated employment and staying in the workforce.
The Goodwill network is fully committed to supporting the success of job seekers and career advancers. National data demonstrates that, as of July 2019, there are 1,412 employers nationwide with issued certificates and 251 employers with pending certificates (1,663 potential certificate holders total). In some cases, a single employer may have an issued certificate as well as a pending renewal. According to DOL, applications provide employment opportunities to 109,728 people with disabilities. Employers include businesses, school work experience programs, community rehabilitation programs and employers of patient workers. Local Goodwill organizations collectively make up less than two percent of the total employers utilizing this certificate.