The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has created a national online dialogue on the use of subminimum wages under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. DOL is specifically seeking comments from people with disabilities, their families, providers, disability organizations, employers, researchers, and other stakeholders. The Arc supports building infrastructure and supports to increase opportunities for competitive integrated employment. Comments can be submitted here by June 14.
On May 8, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing titled “Paid Family and Medical Leave: Helping Workers and Employers Succeed.” Witnesses were Marisa Howard-Karp, Member, MomsRising; Anthony Sandkamp, Owner, Sandkamp Woodworking; Pronita Gupta, Director of Job Quality, Center for Law and Social Policy; Suzan LeVine, Commissioner, Washington State Employment Security Department; and Rachel Greszler, Research Fellow in Economics, Budget, and Entitlements, Institute for Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation. Visit the committee website to review testimony and archived video of the hearing.
On January 29, Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) introduced two bills related to employment for people with disabilities. The first bill, the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act (S.260), will phase out 14(c) subminimum wage certificates over six years and provides grants for technical assistance and provider transformation.
The second, the Disability Employment Incentives Act (S.255), increases three tax credits for employers. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides incentives for businesses that hire people referred by vocational rehabilitation, or who are on Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance, would be increased from $2,400 to $5,000. The Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit will be increased from $5,000 to $10,000. The Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit will be increased from $15,000 to $30,000.
The Arc and the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota have released two new data briefs from the Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey. The briefs look at the work experiences and outcomes of families of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and the need for paid leave policies. One brief focuses on parents raising children with I/DD, while a second brief focuses on family caregivers of adults with I/DD. In addition, The Arc has released a new video which shares a personal story highlighting the importance of access to paid leave for people with disabilities and their families. Learn more at https://www.thearc.org/paidleave.
On August 1, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Economic Security for New Parents Act (S.3345). This bill allows workers to receive 12 weeks paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child by reducing their Social Security retirement benefits. Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) has indicated that she plans to introduce similar legislation in September. The bill does not provide medical leave or leave to care for a family member with a serious medical condition. The Arc opposes S.3345; read The Arc’s statement here.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) has introduced the Disability Employment Incentive Act. This bill increases three tax credits for employers. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides incentives for businesses to that hire people referred by vocational rehabilitation, or who are on Supplemental Security Income of Social Security Disability Insurance, would be increased from $2,400 to $5,000. The Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit will be increased from $5,000 to $10,000. The Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit will be increased from $15,000 to $30,000. The Arc supports this bill.
On July 11, the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy held a hearing on “Examining the Importance of Paid Family Leave for American Working Families.” Witnesses were Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA); Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Andrew Biggs, Ph.D., Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute; Vicki Shabo, Vice President for Workplace Policies and Strategies, National Partnership for Women & Families; and Carolyn O’Boyle, Managing Director, Deloitte Services, LLP. Visit the Committee web site for more information including opening statements, testimony, and archived video of the hearing.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report regarding the collaboration of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education required by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The report found that implementation aligned with five of seven leading collaboration practices. It recommended that agencies’ efforts be improved by utilizing online collaboration tools and having written agreements of the roles of each agency during collaboration. The report listed six recommendations, two for each agency, on how the collaboration could be improved.
The Rehabilitation Services Administration announced today that, in accordance with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the state plan portal has opened. The unified and combined state plan submission portal is the method by which states submit their plans. Modifications must be submitted by March 15, 2018, through the online portal.
The webinar hosted by The Arc in October on Paid Family and Medical Leave from the Disability Angle is now available. Presenters were Kali Grant, the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality (GCPI); T.J. Sutcliffe, The Arc; Erika Hagensen, North Carolina; and Lauren Agoratus, New Jersey. The archived recording can be found here. See the research by The Arc and GCPI highlighting how access to paid leave can promote economic security and stability for people with disabilities and their families here.