ACTION ALERT: Comment Today about the Impact of Subminimum Wage on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities!

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) is examining whether the continued use of 14(c) certificates under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which enables employers to legally pay employees with disabilities pennies on the dollar, violates the civil rights of people with disabilities, and they want to hear from YOU! 

NDSC believes that all individuals with Down syndrome should have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Unfortunately, employment for people with disabilities continues to lag significantly compared to those without disabilities. For too many people with disabilities, their only option is to work in segregated settings called “sheltered workshops,” where they are isolated from co-workers without disabilities and the broader society and are paid subminimum wages. Like so many other disability organizations, NDSC views Section 14(c) as outdated, discriminatory, and reinforcing a life of poverty, segregation, and dependency on public support. NDSC supports phasing out 14(c) in a responsible way along with capacity-building for competitive integrated employment.

On November 15, 2019, NDSC’s Policy Director Heather Sachs testified at USCCR’s briefing, “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities.” You can read her testimony here.  If you were unable to attend the briefing in person, you can watch the morning session here, the afternoon session here, and the open comment session here. You can learn more about invited panelists or read the written testimony panelists submitted to the Commission here.

USCCR is seeking written comments from members of the public – people with disabilities, their families, employers and advocates. Your story matters. The comments you submit will help shape a forthcoming report from USCCR based on its investigation of this issue that will include recommendations surrounding the 14(c) program. Submit written comments to by December 15, 2019.

There is no specified format for written comments, USCCR just wants to know your opinion on this issue. Some ideas on topics you can include in your comments are: (i) why a job in the community at fair pay is important to you/your family; (ii) relationships with co-workers; (iii) how you/your family member have grown in your job; and (iv) how your job has created more opportunities to be engaged in the community. If you/your family member previously worked in a sheltered workshop and has transitioned to community employment, please share that story and discuss the differences in employment settings.

NOTE: This is not our “typical” Action Alert. We are not asking you to contact your Senators and Representatives, and we do not have a template comment form for you to use. Rather, you will need to email your comments to USCCR at subminimumwages@usccr.govDeadline is December 15, 2019. Please make your voice heard!

Thank you for your advocacy efforts! 

The NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team


We encourage you to stay engaged in our advocacy efforts by: (1) Registering for NDSC Action Alerts- click "Quick Sign Up" (; (2) Subscribing to the NDSC Policy & Advocacy Newsline (; (3) Joining our national grassroots advocacy program, the National Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition (​) and (4) "liking" NDSC Policy & Advocacy on social media (

National Down Syndrome Congress
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