Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA)
H.R. 1263 introduced February 28, 2023 by Representative Bobby Scott (VA – Democrat)
And S.B. 533 introduced February 27, 2023 by Senator Casey (PA – Democrat)
Many Americans still work in places where there are only people with disabilities, and they earn less than minimum wage. This is known as “subminimum wages”. Community Integrated Employment gives people with disabilities more freedom with their money. It helps people with disabilities to be a part of their communities.
Why is this legislation important?
The Work and Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) was passed in 2014 to help people with disabilities to start working in the community. The Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA) will put the goals of WIOA into action. TCIEA will give states and employers grants to those that have workers with disabilities that get paid less than minimum wage. This money will help employers to be more inclusive of workers with disabilities. It will continue to give workers employment support services and pay them minimum wage or higher.
TCIEA will not allow the U.S. Secretary of Labor to give any more employers certificates, or permission, to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage. TCIEA will get rid of all certificates that let employers pay less than minimum wage to their workers over the next 5 years. TCIEA will help employers to provide workers with disabilities employment supports and services. TCIEA will do this by creating technical assistance centers.
Senator Casey and Representative Scott shared information from a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). This report explains the Department of Labor’s (DOL) management of the 14(c) certificate program. This program allows employers to pay subminimum wages to workers with disabilities. The report found that between 2012 and 2021, DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found over $15 million in unpaid wages owed to more than 73,500 14(c) employees. This is the result of employers’ failure to pay employees with fair wages. The GAO report found that the number of employers paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities has gone down. It went down from 3,100 in 2010 to almost 1,600 in 2019. More people with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities, are working than ever before.
The program provides five-year grants to states to help employers to pay fair wages to people with disabilities. The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) will give $13 million to begin getting rid of subminimum wage jobs for Pennsylvanians with disabilities.
Call to Action
What can you do? Find out who your local legislators are and contact them! You can make phone calls, send emails or write letters. Tell them what you think about the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA). You can click on the website link below, enter your information, and it will show you who your elected officials are. The website will also give you their contact information.
Take action, your voice matters!!