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Pathfinder Services Eliminates Sub-Minimum Wage

Posted 09/08/2021

HUNTINGTON, IN - Pathfinder Services officially requested of the Department of Labor to be withdrawn from future 14(c) certifications effective July 30th, 2021.

"Since 1938, 14(c) certificates from the U.S. Department of Labor have allowed employers to pay individuals with disabilities less than the federal or state minimum wage that is mandated for all other workers." Learn more. This 80-year practice was designed to incentivize employers to accommodate workers with disabilities that impair their productivity by paying them a piece rate instead of an hourly wage for the work they perform. This practice became a staple in “Sheltered Workshops” operated by disability service organizations across the nation. Such workshops were intended to create opportunities when there otherwise was little for the people with disabilities in the employment market. While this arrangement was well-intentioned many such organizations eventually found it philosophically at odds with their missions.

Pathfinder Services believes there is a better way to create dignified work for people with disabilities and has spent decades advocating for them in the competitive employment market while also treating everyone working in our manufacturing department as regular employees. The organization decided 5 years ago to figure out how to eliminate sub-minimum wages and pay people in a fair manner without suffering financial losses. During that period, Pathfinder retooled its processes and rethought its supports, testing productivity against time studies that gave it the confidence to eliminate the use of piece-rate work and the sub-minimum wage it typically resulted in.

“Pathfinder Services prioritizes competitive, integrated employment as the preferred outcome for individuals with disabilities. Eliminating sub-minimum wage is the first step in making this happen for the people we support,” says Danielle Tips, President and CEO of Pathfinder Services.

This move is part of Pathfinder Services' commitment to redefining quality and program impact using Person-Centered Thinking principles. The organization believes that life-changing outcomes result from focusing on people over processes and systems. This philosophy will drive everything that Pathfinder does for the people it supports.

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