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U.S. Senate Calls For Phase Out of Sub-Minimum Wage

Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate recently called for a phasing out of “Section 14(c)” jobs where employers, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, apply for certificates that allow them to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage. Subminimum wages are based on the productivity of a person with a disability compared to someone without a disability. The senators requested information on how many workers with disabilities across the country are employed under 14(c) certificates and how much they earn. As of Thursday, it was reported that the Department of Labor had not responded to the letter.

Source: Disability Scoop

U.S. Department of Labor Acts to Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Workplace Exploitation

Consistent with its mission to protect the American workforce, the U.S. Department of Labor has revoked Rock River Valley Self Help Enterprises, Inc.’s certificate under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) after finding nearly 250 workers with disabilities were being exploited.

Section 14(c) of the FLSA is designed to offer more job opportunities for workers with disabilities when their disability affects their productive capacity for the work being performed. After applying for and receiving a certificate from the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the employer may gauge their hourly workers’ productivity and calculate the appropriate sub-minimum wage as a percentage of the rate for experienced workers performing similar jobs in the area under the Section 14(c) provisions.

The WHD investigation revealed a failure to timely perform appropriate wage surveys and failure to conduct proper time studies on all jobs performed by workers with disabilities. The investigation also revealed that the employer attempted to mislead and obstruct WHD’s investigation by concealing relevant information from WHD during the investigation, hiding work that the employer had not time studied but had the workers perform. On some weekends, Self Help unlawfully paid workers with gift cards instead of wages.

The nature of these violations, coupled with Self Help’s repeated failure to demonstrate current compliance with the law—despite being provided guidance and numerous opportunities to do so—led WHD to revoke the employer’s Section 14(c) certificate, effective immediately and retroactively. WHD also denied Self Help’s pending applications to renew their certificate. Absent this certificate, Self Help must pay all current workers at least the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.In addition, Self Help must pay back wages to all workers who performed work at the subminimum wage over the last two years. These determinations may be appealed to the WHD Administrator.

“The Department of Labor is committed to protecting Americans with disabilities from exploitation in the workplace,” said Ruben Rosalez, Acting Regional Administrator. “When employers violate federal law and obstruct investigators, we take decisive action to protect vulnerable workers, their families, and other employers who play by the rules.”

The Department is taking proactive steps to assist Self Help workers who may be impacted by the revocation and require additional assistance. In coordination with federal and state partners, the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Employment and Training Administration are working with local, state, and federal agencies to identify resources and support for the affected workers in Self Help’s geographic region, should they be needed.Additionally, law enforcement agencies have been notified of this action.

Source: DOL


DDA Releases Two-Year Rate Setting Study Report

On Friday, November 3rd the Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) released a two-year developmental disabilities service provider rate setting study. The rate study will allow the DDA to move from a prospective to a reimbursement payment model and streamline the payment process. There are four major advantages of the system recommended by the rate study:

  • Providers will receive the same payment for providing the same level of support.
  • Individuals will be supported by a flexible system that allows for changes in service authorization to meet needs without requiring a change in contract or rate – allowing for portability so individuals can easily relocate without financial concerns about care.
  • Increased accountability in the provider community and within DDA, including additional rate transparency around the authorization and payment for staffing required for individual care.
  • The system will be responsive both to different levels of support needs and local economic conditions through predetermined calculations for adjustment.

A series of town hall meetings are being held in each of DDA’s four regions for stakeholders to provide input on the results of the study. Each town hall will last from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Eastern Shore Region
Monday, November 13, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Express, 8561 Ocean Gateway

Easton, Md.
Western Maryland Region
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the Ramada Inn, 718 Underpass Way, Hagerstown, MD 21740

Central Maryland Region
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at the Central Owen Brown Interfaith Center, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045

Southern Maryland Region
Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the Southern Bowie Comfort Inn, 4500 Crain Hwy, Bowie, MD 20716

To read the report click here

Source: DDA

State Accepting Proposals to Invest in Apprenticeships

Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor today announced that the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has received exclusive Federal funding to establish an Apprenticeship Innovation Fund. The Federal grant allows Maryland to provide incentives for innovative apprenticeship solutions for Maryland’s businesses. This initial investment of more than $620,000 is a part of a United States Department of Labor ApprenticeshipUSA Expansion Grant, which was awarded to Maryland in October 2016.

“We are excited about this great opportunity for Maryland’s businesses. This new funding award spotlights the Maryland Department of Labor's deep commitment to the Apprenticeship model as a win/win for Maryland businesses and working families alike. The plan is for Maryland businesses to use this opportunity to invest in their company, their communities and the State by investing in offering apprenticeships,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz.

The Maryland Department of Labor plans to use this award to more strategically align apprenticeships with Maryland’s workforce system, to expand existing traditional apprenticeship opportunities and to create new opportunities grounded in labor market demand. The Apprenticeship Innovation Fund will provide seed money to businesses committed to creating new apprenticeship opportunities to meet their workforce talent pipeline needs.Under the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has increased apprenticeships from 7,186 in 2012 to more than 9,500 by the end of 2016.

For more information about Maryland apprenticeship opportunities, please visit theMaryland Department of Labor website, e-mail the Department’s Apprenticeship team, or contact the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at (410) 767-2173.

Source: DLLR






































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