Melwood Applauds Elimination of Section 14(c) Subminimum Wages for People with Disabilities in Virginia

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Melwood Applauds Elimination of Section 14(c) Subminimum Wages for People with Disabilities in Virginia

April 14, 2023

Governor Youngkin signs H.B. 1924 into law in Virginia, mandating a phase-out of discriminatory wage law throughout the Commonwealth


Upper Marlboro, Md., April 14, 2023 – Melwood, a leading employer, advocate and preferred provider for people with disabilities, celebrates the passage of H.B. 1924 in Virginia, which will eliminate the outdated and discriminatory subminimum wage practice for people with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

Introduced by Delegate Patrick Hope (District 47) in the House of Delegates, the bill phases out the 85-year-old subminimum wage law that allows employers holding a 14(c) certificate to pay people with disabilities as little as $3.34 per hour nationally, while subjecting them to discriminatory and stressful time trials.

The existing subminimum wage practice originated in Section 14(c) of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and was based on the view that people with disabilities were incapable of working like any other employee. Today, as we strive for a more inclusive economy that recognizes the skills, contributions and value of each person – with or without a disability – it’s time that our laws reflect this and uphold the right of every person with a disability to work, earn a paycheck, and fully participate in society as any of their neighbors.

Through the passage of H.B. 1924, Virginia joins 13 states that have eliminated Section 14(c) subminimum wages, and the U.S. AbilityOne Commission, which prohibited the use of 14(c) certificates in October 2022.

The continuation of payments below the minimum wage based on disability reinforces the false premise that a person with a disability is not capable of meeting their job requirements or adding the same value to a company as a person without disabilities.

“This new legislation will transform lives across Virginia. At Melwood, our employees have experienced firsthand the impacts that increased economic opportunity can have, not only on people with disabilities, but on their entire communities,” said Larysa Kautz, president & CEO, Melwood. “We applaud this step that Virginia has taken toward fairness and inclusivity and will continue to advocate for the elimination of subminimum wages at the federal level.”

People with disabilities have a right to meaningful employment where they are paid wages that are comparable to those of their co-workers. We thank the Virginia General Assembly and Governor Youngkin for their leadership in combating discrimination in the workplace and expanding economic opportunities for Virginians with disabilities.

Local organizations in support of the bill include:

The Arc of Virginia
National Down Syndrome Society
National Federation of the Blind of Virginia
PCSI, Inc.
Virginia APSE
Virginia Board for People with Disabilities

For more information about the history of 14(c), please visit:

About Melwood

Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries

Jewelyn Cosgrove
Vice President of Government and Public Relations
O: 240-846-3952
[email protected]


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