Employment Advocacy

All persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to work in real jobs for real pay.

CPR advocates for federal and state policies that allow people with disabilities opportunities for real work for real wages.

Currently people with disabilities are allowed to be paid less than minimum wage. Under section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), companies can pay employees with disabilities as little as $1 an hour.  The continued use of sub-minimum wages perpetuates discriminatory views of people with disabilities as less valued, and   perpetuates the cycle of limited opportunity, poverty, and dependency that many people with disabilities face. CPR is working with the disability community to end this discriminatory law and to ensure that all people are paid a fair wage.

CPR staff played a lead role on a federal advisory committee that made recommendations to Congress and the U.S. Labor Secretary on the employment of people with disabilities.  The Advisory Committee was created under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 that sets competitive integrated employment of people with disabilities as a national priority.  Competitive integrated employment means jobs in the community for people with disabilities – jobs where they interact with non-disabled co-workers, and are paid the same, treated the same, and entitled to the same benefits as non-disabled co-workers.  Read more about WIOA and the Advisory Committee on their website.

CPR continues to monitor two rules establishing goals for the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities for federal jobs.  One rule, being implemented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, requires federal agencies to adopt a goal to have 12% of its workforce be people with disabilities and 2% be people with targeted disabilities (including people with intellectual, developmental, or serious psychiatric disabilities).  Agencies also must provide personal assistance services (help with activities of daily living like eating or using the restroom) as a reasonable accommodation.  The second rule, which is being implemented by the US Department of Labor, sets a nationwide goal that 7% of the workers on federal contracts be people with disabilities.

In addition, CPR is scrutinizing the states’ implementation of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act that allows people with disabilities to work, maintain savings accounts and retain eligibility for critical healthcare and community services provided through Medicaid.  In the past, many individuals were forced to pass on work opportunities in order to qualify for Medicaid services.  Presently, many states are establishing ABLE accounts so people with disabilities can have savings accounts exceeding $2,000 and still be eligible for Medicaid, as long as they use the savings for services not covered by Medicaid, such as education, housing and transportation.  Visit ABLE’s website.

CPR continues to work with attorneys and advocates across the nation on promoting opportunities for employment for individuals with disabilities.  It has launched initiatives in several states to transform employment service systems, to end segregated employment programs, and to expand opportunities for Competitive Integrated Employment.

Additional resources regarding employment of people with disabilities are available at: