Many workers living with a disability receive low pay from their jobs. There is a law called the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. The FLSA helps protect workers from their jobs. Most people do not know that the FLSA has a section called 14 (c). Section 14 (c) lets jobs pay low wages to people living with disabilities
Many people living with a disability in the United States are paid under $4 an hour. Workers who are paid low cannot afford to pay rent. They cannot afford to pay their bills. They cannot afford to buy the things that they need.
Activists and lawmakers are working together to change the FLSA law by:
- Fighting for higher pay
- Fairness in the workplace
- Better benefits
- More jobs
The costs in America are going up every year to live here. People living with disabilities have a right to fair wages
If you would like to know more about the Fair Labor Standards Act, please click below
Many people with disabilities are being paid low wages and its perfectly legal
Jobs. We each expect to find a job when we are adults. Some people know exactly what they
want to do for a job. Many people try different jobs to find one that fits. For my son with
Autism Spectrum Disorder, (or Autism), a job is more like a hope or idea. He is now an adult.
He has skills that would be useful in different work places. The challenge is to find a work
place that will even let him try to work.
Is he the only person with Autism who is not able to find a job? I wanted to find out. So, here
is what I learned about employment or jobs, for people with Autism. There are not a lot of
data on this topic. Data are collected for people with disabilities. But data are not often sorted by diagnosis.
This chart shows what I did learn about jobs for young adults with Autism. The chart shows
the employment rates for young adults who
have ever worked after high school. It specifies
rates by category. The rates are learning
disability, 95%, Speech/language impairment,
91%, Emotional disturbance, 91%, Intellectual
Disability, 74% and Autism, 58%. It confirms
that my son is not alone in being unemployed.
There are companies looking to hire. Dell EMC in Central Massachusetts is
one of them. According to an article in the Worcester Business Journal on May
15, 2017, Dell EMC will have a hiring program. This hiring program will work to bring more
people with Autism into the company. They want to hire people with Autism for their skills.
It is good to read about a company that wants to hire people with Autism. This company needs
very specific skills. We will keep working on developing my son’s skills that might be useful in
future jobs. We will talk with our friends and families about hiring people with Autism. We
hope that there is a work place that will welcome our son in the future.
There is an article that summarizes the existing research about hiring an adult with Autism. (1.)
This article surveyed all the published articles that considered the costs and benefits to society,
to the person with Autism and to the employer. The first finding is that there is not enough
research being done on the costs and benefits to employers. It did find some results showing
that it costs society less to have people with Autism employed rather than not employed.
There are indications that people with Autism are happier and busier if they have jobs. The
hope is that more research will be done in the future. This research may show that it is not too
costly to employ people with Autism. Then, maybe more companies would be willing to
interview, train and hire people with Autism. It would make the hope or dream of a job,
become a real job for my son and his peers.
- The Costs and Benefits of Employing an Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
Andrew Jacob, Melissa Scott, Marita Falkmer, Torbjörn Falkmer
PLoS One. 2015; 10(10): e0139896. Published online 2015 Oct 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139896
PMCID: PMC4596848 Article PubReader PDF–1.3MCitation
My name is Scott Janz. I am a Job Coach. I help adults find jobs.
Disabilities at Work
People with disabilities can work. Disability does not mean not able. I help many adults get hired. People with disabilities take pride in making a change. Jobs are important for all. I believe biases can be broken. Breaking barriers is vital. I help people reach fairness. Everyone deserves the same chance to get a job.
Strengths at work
- Hard work ethic
- Low turnover
- Increased diversity
Bias at work
Bias exists at work for many adults. Bias can take many forms. Bullying and stigma are examples. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against bias at work. I work with adults at their jobs. I support their skills. We need to make work fun.
The teenage school years are a great chance for students with disabilities to find jobs they enjoy. However, the focus is often on what the student can’t do and still needs to work on.
Imagine if we:
- focused on the student’s abilities
- looked for what student’s CAN do
- helped students try more new things
- looked for jobs that match the student’s strengths and interests
I heard a story once about a young man named Ken. He could not move any part of his body. Ken wanted to work. His team thought about what he was good at doing. One friend said, “Ken is really good at sitting still!” Ken’s career was started from that idea. He became a hand model! Now he is able to support himself on the money from his modeling job. This story is a great example of what can happen when we focus on strengths.
The teenage years provide a chance for students to begin jobs and follow their interests. I believe focusing on what people can do instead of what they can’t do during these years is the key to success and happy futures for our students.
For more information please visit: abilityawareness.com
My name is Amelia Robbins-Cureau. I have the privilege of being a vocational rehabilitation counselor with The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC). Most people do not know what I mean when I say I am a “vocational rehabilitation counselor.” But when I say, “I help people with disabilities get jobs,” that catches their attention.
In today’s economy, we are even more focused on the topic of jobs than ever before because unemployment rates are extremely high. For people with disabilities, unemployment is around 80% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Yet in my job I meet so many people with disabilities who want to work, but are facing challenges that make it more difficult to compete with others for jobs.
Advocating for employment
I joined the Commission because employment is something I am passionate about. I wanted to be an advocate for individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals. Having a job is beneficial in so many ways.
In my job, I often work with individuals who come in to my office feeling discouraged, confused and nervous about what is to come. They may not know what my role is or how I’m going to help them find a job. I like to start by asking what they hope to accomplish, what their strengths are and who is in their network.
Building on strengths
For so many people with disabilities, work seems out of reach.
Sometimes people are not sure what kind of work they want to do. People with disabilities are often told what they can’t do but they need to think about what they actually can.
Other times, they know what they want to do, but they need the skills and experience to apply for a job. At MRC we help individuals get those skills through things like participating in job training programs, 1:1 employment counseling, and job seeking skills groups.
Other challenges faced
Sometimes, because of mental illness, physical injury or trauma, my clients have had to leave many jobs to get healthy again. Their work history may be scattered, and they are not sure how they will ever get hired.
At MRC, we work with individuals to create a resume that reflects their talents, experience and accomplishments, not their limitations. I work together with clients to make sure they are allowing time to care for themselves and talk with mental health counselors or doctors in order to stay healthy and ready for the job search.
As you can see, my job at The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is to help people with disabilities gain the skills and connections they need for employment. We work together to figure out what kind of work they want to do, and what kind of skills and experiences they need to become qualified for the job.
Then we help people go out and actually get a job.
For me, there is no better feeling than helping a person with a disability become more confident, get a job, and feel proud of the work that they do.