About 13,000 disabled Pennsylvania workers are being paid far below minimum wage, earning an average of $2.40 an hour in legal sub-minimum wages, according to a recent PublicSource article by Halle Stockton.
Does this practice provide opportunities for people who wouldn't otherwise have a job? Or does it exploit those who could work for minimum wage?
Stockton says these workers are legally paid sub-minimum wages and are supervised by mostly non-disabled workers. Stockton says the working conditions can range from work programs on beautiful campuses, to those of industrial settings.
No matter the conditions, however, Stockton says the pay is based on “pieces.”
“This is all piecework. You get paid for every box of paper you shred; you get paid twenty cents. Or every jewelry box, eleven cents. So, these supervisors are watching and recording that. This person completed three this hour, or completed four, and that’s what translates into your paycheck.”
Curtis Decker is the Executive Director of the National Disability Rights Network. He says people don’t apply for jobs they don’t have the skill set for. Decker does not approve of these sub-minimum wage programs but still believes people need the training so they can realize their greater potential.