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Determining the Commensurate Wage when Paying an Hourly Wage Rate Under FLSA Section 14(c)

Employers of workers with disabilities who receive special minimum wages on an hourly basis must periodically evaluate the on-the-job productivity—in terms of quantity of production and quality of production—of each worker with a disability.

The productivity of each worker with a disability who is paid a special minimum wage on an hourly basis must be measured within his or her first month of employment and, at a minimum, once every six months thereafter. Evaluations must also occur when there is a perceptible change in the worker’s productivity or when the duties or conditions of the job change. Commensurate wage rates must be adjusted no later than the first pay period following the review.

Some consulting organizations have advised employers to pay a “training wage” amounting to a specific percentage (often 50 percent) of the prevailing wage during the initial period before the worker with a disability is evaluated. Paying such a provisional rate is acceptable so long as the employer understands that it must make up the difference if the subsequent evaluation indicates that the training rate was below the employee’s commensurate rate. Should the provisional training rate actually exceed the appropriate commensurate wage rate, employers may not recoup any overpayments in future work weeks because these employees are still being paid below the standard FLSA minimum wage.

The periodic evaluations of the performance of hourly paid workers with disabilities are conducted using the identical guidelines and procedures used to determine the standard for the job. See Conducting Work Measurements of Hourly Paid Jobs for more information.

For detailed information about particular aspects of determining hourly commensurate wages, please select one of the following pages of the FLSA 14(c) Advisor:

For general information about determining hourly commensurate wages, please read Fact Sheet 39E, Determining Hourly Commensurate Wages to be Paid Workers with Disabilities under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act .

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FLSA Section 14(c) Advisor | Wage and Hour Division