Lawmakers weigh doing away with subminimum wages for Minnesotans with disabilities

Thousands of Minnesotans work jobs that pay significantly below minimum wage, in many cases less than four dollars an hour. These subminimum wages are legal if the employee has a disability and if the employer is certified.

A recent legislative report estimates that as many as 4800 Minnesotans made subminimum wages last year, many working in what are called sheltered workshops.

A new bill introduced in the legislature earlier this month would do away with subminimum wages and create a pool of funding to help people with disabilities find jobs within the community.

For perspective on this issue, MPR News host Tom Crann talked with Natasha Merz. She’s an assistant commissioner with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and was part of the state’s Taskforce on Eliminating Subminimum Wages.

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