Spotlight on Federal Disability Policy  

Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA) 

Ending Subminimum Wage and Encouraging Competitive Integrated Employment for People with Disabilities

Published March 2023.

Many Americans with disabilities still work in segregated environments with primarily other people who have disabilities and earn less than the federal minimum wage, or subminimum wages. Subminimum wage means that some people with disabilities can be legally paid less than minimum wage for work performed. In many cases, individuals are paid less than one dollar per hour.

At the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, our work with people with lived disability experience shows us that Community Integrated Employment opportunities create the possibility for financial independence and allow people with disabilities to be active members of the larger community. In 2014 the Work and Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) was passed and laid the foundations of the goal of employing people with disabilities in competitive integrated jobs.

The Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA) H.R.1263 and S.B.533 (Casey (PA)) will implement the goals outlined in WIOA by providing grants to states and employers who employ people with disabilities and provide subminimum wages.

The grants will go to supporting employers to transition into a more inclusive business model where they will pay at least minimum wage or higher to workers with disabilities and continue to provide employment supports and services for people with disabilities.

When asked about this new Legislation, Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy at the Institute had this to share: “With March being recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and April being recognized as a month to celebrate Autism Awareness, I can’t think of a better time for legislation that recognizes the right to real work for real pay for people with disabilities. We will be watching this legislation.”

Thanks to Raquel Mangual for her contribution to this article.


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