In recent conversations, there have been talks about increasing the federal minimum wage to between 12 and 15 dollars per hour and as a result, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D- Pennsylvania) has been focusing more on increasing wages for workers with disabilities.
Currently, Sen. Bob Casey, an independent from Pennsylvania, is sponsoring legislation aimed at raising the wages of disabled people.
“It’s really a matter of basic fairness and it’s also one of the ways we tear out discrimination,” said Casey.
Currently, the minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour.
However, disabled workers receive subminimum wages, or much less than the minimum wage. In the United States, the subminimum wage is approximately $3.34.
Senator Casey estimates that about 100 thousand people earn below minimum wage or earn a subminimum wage.
This bill would phase out the subminimum wage within five years.
In an effort to balance the cost increases, the bill will provide grant money to states and companies that adopt a business model paying workers with disabilities the minimum wage. The cost of this is unknown, however.
“Some of these businesses have been reliant on this subminimum wage for a long time and we’ve got to help them make the transition,” Casey explained.
There is bipartisan support for this bill. The bill has also been endorsed by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana.
American workers with disabilities should be treated fairly and supported in the workplace, Daines asserted.
“Giving basic fairness to people with disabilities in the workplace to pay them a fair wage I don’t think that should be the subject of much controversy,” Casey said.
Senate Majority Leader Casey hopes the bill will be passed this year or by 2022.