Subminimum Wage Provisions

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides for the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the statutory minimum. Such individuals include student-learners (vocational education students), as well as full-time students employed in retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education. Also included are individuals whose earning or productive capacities are impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those related to age or injury, for the work to be performed. Employment at less than the minimum wage is authorized to prevent curtailment of opportunities for employment. Such employment is permitted only under certificates issued by the Wage and Hour Division.

  • Employment of Workers with Disabilities: Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay special minimum wages — wages less than the Federal minimum wage — to workers who have disabilities for the work being performed.
  • Industrial Homework: Homeworkers must be paid at a rate of not less than the minimum wage provided in the Act for all hours worked unless a lower rate is permitted under a special certificate for an individual homeworker in accordance with Regulations, 29 CFR 525.
  • Student Learners: Section 14(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) authorizes the payment of subminimum wages – at rates not less than 75 percent of the applicable minimum wage under section 6(a) of the FLSA – to a student-learner after the employer has applied for an authorizing certificate from the U. S. Department of Labor.


14(c) Certificate Holders

  • Employers who hire workers with disabilities who are paid subminimum wages must have been issued a certificate by the Wage and Hour Division. To review the lists of employers who hold certificates, click here for 14(c) Certificate Holders.

Interpretive Guidance

Applicable Laws and Regulations

  • Laws
  • Regulations
    • 29 CFR 519 — Employment of Full-time Students
    • 29 CFR 520 — Employment Under Special Certificate of Messengers, Learners (Including Student-Learners), and Apprentices
    • 29 CFR 525 — Employment of Workers With Disabilities Under Special Certificates
    • 29 CFR 530 — Employment of Homeworkers in Certain Industries