Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wage: Career Counseling and Information and Referral Services
On July 27, 2016, the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, reached out to Section 14(c) Certificate Holders regarding a new requirement under Section 511 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA) is the Designated State unit that is “is primarily concerned with vocational rehabilitation or vocational and other rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities and that is responsible for the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program of the State.”
GVRA gained the responsibility to provide career counseling and information and referral (CC&IR) services to all individuals employed at subminimum wage who are known to GVRA. Individuals may become known to GVRA through the vocational rehabilitation process, self-referral, or referral from other entities.
Employers are restricted from continuing to employ any individual in a subminimum wage setting, regardless of age, unless the individual is:
Provided CC&IR by DOR to facilitate independent decision making and informed choice.
Informed by the employer of self-advocacy, self-determination, and peer mentoring training opportunities available in the individual's geographic area. The training opportunities cannot be provided by an entity that holds a special wage certificate described in section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Employers are required to provide resource information only to their employees regarding where the employee can participate in self-advocacy, self-determination and peer-mentoring training. Employers should not provide the training.
Employers with less than 15 employees may refer their employees working in subminimum wage settings to GVRA for self-advocacy, self-determination, and peer mentoring training opportunities available in the individual's geographic area.
Any individual hired into subminimum wage employment after July 22, 2016, must receive CC&IR services once every six months the first year of employment and annually thereafter. All individuals employed at subminimum wage prior to July 22, 2016, require CC&IR services once by July 22, 2017, and annually thereafter. Employers should review any documents provided by the employee indicating that such counseling has been provided. The employer is required to verify the employee's completion of these services, and review and obtain any relevant documentation from the employee.
Under the WIOA amendments, employers are prohibited from compensating any individual with a disability who is 24 years of age or younger at subminimum wage, unless the individual has received documentation from GVRA upon completion of the following activities:
Pre-employment transition services or transition services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Applied for vocational rehabilitation services, and the individual was determined:
Ineligible for vocational rehabilitation services.
Eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, has an approved Individualized Plan for Employment, and the individual was unable to achieve an employment outcome in competitive integrated employment.
Career counseling and information and referral services to federal and state programs to help the individual discover, experience, and attain competitive integrated employment, and the counseling and information was not for employment at subminimum wage.
The employer must receive all documentation before the individual, 24 years of age or younger, may begin employment at subminimum wage. Individuals 24 years of age or younger employed at subminimum wage after July 22, 2016, are required to provide such documentation.
Employers should review The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Limitations on Payment of Subminimum Wages under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (PDF).
Employers can request CC&IR Services for their employers by clicking on the link below. This Request is not to be used to request services for individuals 24 years of age or younger who desire subminimum wage employment. In order for DOR to provide the required information, individuals 24 years of age or younger will need to apply for DOR services at their local GVRA office.