Workers with disabilities

If you have a disability you can be paid less than the minimum wage. But only if your disability actually impairs your earning or productive capacity for the work being performed. The fact that you may have a disability is not in and of itself sufficient to warrant the payment of a special minimum wage.

If your disability does impair your earning or productivity for the work being performed your employer can obtain a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay a lower minimum wage. The certificate also allows the payment of wages that are less than the prevailing wage to workers who have have disabilities for the work being performed on contracts subject to the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA).

The U.S. Department of Labor describes a worker with disabilities as someone whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those relating to age or injury. Disabilities which may affect productive capacity include blindness, mental illness, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, alcoholism and drug addiction. The following, taken by themselves, are not considered to be disabilities for purposes of paying special minimum wages: education disabilities, chronic unemployment, receipt of welfare benefits.

Read more on Subminimum Wage Employment for Workers with Disabilities