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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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FOH Field Operations Handbook
Chapter 64 Employment of Workers with Disabilities at Special Minimum Wages under Section 14(c)
Section 64g Issues Requiring Special Attention

Section 64g01: Proper Certification

  • The INV must always check that the employer does in fact have a certificate to employ workers with disabilities at subminimum wages and that the certificate is valid. The Certification Team will assist INVs in determining if certificates are valid and whether renewal applications were timely filed.
    1. Although Section 14(c) certificates are issued with a specific expiration date, there are situations when an employer's authority to pay special minimum wages extends beyond the date on the certificate. For example, an employer's authority to pay special minimum wages would continue if a timely renewal application was filed prior to the certificate expiration date but a new certificate had not yet been issued. The same is true when revocation action has been commenced by Wage and Hour but the firm has been provided an opportunity to demonstrate compliance, and the period to demonstrate that compliance goes beyond the expiration date of the certificate. Revocation of the authority to pay special minimum wages is accomplished by written notification (see Regulations 29 CFR Parts 525.13, 525.17, and 525.18, and FOH 64d03(c)).
    2. As mentioned above, if the expiration date on the certificate has passed, but the employer's renewal application was properly and timely filed (postmarked before the expiration date) the employer's authority to pay the special minimum wages remains in effect until the Certification Team in Chicago either grants or denies the new certificate (see Regulations 29 CFR Part 525.13).
    3. INVs shall check with the Regional Section 14 Team Leader, through appropriate channels, before computing and requesting payment of backwages due workers with disabilities solely because the employer's certificate has expired.
  • If a hospital or institution has a certificate authorizing the employment of patient workers, the INV must verify that the workers with disabilities do, in fact, receive treatment from the facility. Such treatment may be provided on an outpatient basis.
  • The INV may encounter a worker with a disability employed at a subminimum wage rate in competitive industry by an employer who does not have a certificate. In this case, the INV should advise the employer of the steps required to obtain such a certificate, and must also explain that the certificate cannot be granted retroactively. Prior to the centralization of the certification process, INVs had the authority to issue temporary certificates when encountering such situations but this is no longer the case.
  • INVs may encounter hospitals or institutions that do not hold a section 14(c) certificate but are employing patients at subminimum wages and/or work centers that do not hold a section 14(c) certificate but employ workers with disabilities at subminimum wages. Although certificates will not be issued retroactively and back wages are most likely due the workers, the INV shall advise such employers of the 14(c) certification process and program.
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