Earlier this month, Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order that prevents any company that contracts with the state of Illinois from paying disabled workers less than the minimum wage. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $11 per hour and $6.60 per hour for tipped workers. When signing the order, the governor said that his action was also geared to pushing Congress to change the federal law that currently allows companies to pay disabled people less than the minimum wage.
Does Your Company Contract with the State?
According to the order, any vendor that currently pays a wage that is below the minimum will be required to renegotiate their contracts with the state. However, the governor did state that his order will not cost any worker who is being paid a subminimum wage their job. Instead, the state will work with their employers to make sure these companies will be able to keep providing disabled people with meaningful work opportunities while earning standard pay.
Currently, federal law allows employers to file for certification in order to hire people who are disabled and pay them at a subminimum wage. This law was passed in 1938 with the purpose of providing a temporary initiation for disabled people to enter the workforce. However, the law has never been updated....