January 23rd, 2017 by The Arc of Indiana
Reforms passed by Congress in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), require individuals receiving a sub-minimum wage to have the opportunity to prepare for, obtain, maintain, advance in, or regain competitive integrated employment, including supported or customized employment. The reforms also require that individuals be informed of these opportunities.
In response, local VR offices and staff from The Arc of Indiana have begun to contact providers who offer employment at a sub-minimum wage (known as 14(c) entities) to schedule Career Counseling & Information and Referral Services (CCIR) sessions for individuals employed at subminimum wage, starting with those employed on or after July 22, 2016.
When contacted by VR or The Arc of Indiana, providers will be asked to share information about the CCIR sessions with their employees and facilitate their attendance. Guardians are also encouraged to attend the sessions.
On July 22, 2014, Congress passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which amended several provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act). Among those changes, WIOA added Section 511 to the Rehab Act that prohibits providers of services to people with disabilities that hold special wage certificates under 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from employing individuals with disabilities at sub-minimum wage unless certain conditions are met.
Section 511 does not change the purpose of the Rehabilitation Act, promote subminimum wage employment, eliminate sheltered workshops or eliminate subminimum wages. The goal is to ensure that individuals with disabilities, especially youth with disabilities, have access to supported or customized employment opportunities.
Effective July 22, 2016, individuals with disabilities cannot continue to be employed at a subminimum wage rate regardless of their age, unless the 14(c) entity has received documentation that individuals with disabilities have completed certain requirements.
Local VR offices and staff from The Arc of Indiana are scheduling Career Counseling & Information and Referral Services (CCIR) sessions for individuals employed at subminimum wage, starting with those employed on or after July 22, 2016.
At the end of the presentation, attendees will receive a certificate of participation that will document the completion of these required activities. Attendees will be advised to share that documentation with their employer (the 14(c) entity).
FSSA has suggested that providers share the following information with employees and guardians regarding the upcoming CCIR sessions:
“Over the next several months, representatives from local Vocational Rehabilitation Services offices and self-advocates from The Arc of Indiana will be coming to our facility to conduct information sessions regarding local community organizations and resources that provide employment-related services and supports. Individuals working in an environment where they make less than minimum wage are required to participate in this information session in order to meet a new federal requirement. At the end of this session, you will be provided a certificate of participation for your records.”
Providers may also be asked to assist with ensuring adequate information is obtained to complete necessary documentation, such as the individual’s name and start date of employment.
Additional information about these new requirements can be found at Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – Section 511 Overview and FAQ.
If you would like more information regarding these information sessions, please contact Jill Smith, The Arc of Indiana Consumer Supports Grants Administrator, at 317-224-0242 (office) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.