FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Integrate Workers with Disabilities
Urges Passage of Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act
Baltimore, Maryland (August 6, 2015): The National Federation of the Blind, the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans, applauds the introduction of the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act (S. 2001) by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). Senator Ayotte introduced this legislation to repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, in order to incentivize the transitioning of workers with disabilities into integrated, meaningful employment, and to phase out the discriminatory practice of paying workers with disabilities pennies per hour. Companion legislation has already been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) as H.R. 188 and has forty-one cosponsors.
“My home state of New Hampshire has been a leader in supporting and empowering workers with disabilities, and recently became the first state in the country to ban discriminatory wage practices that put workers with disabilities at a disadvantage,” Senator Ayotte said. “This legislation will project New Hampshire’s leadership on the issue throughout the country, ensuring that workers with disabilities are treated equally and do not have to work in an environment where their wages and expectations are lower than those of workers without disabilities. Twenty-five years after enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities are now able to live quality lives and achieve their full potential. Women and men with disabilities also deserve the opportunity to participate in the workforce and seek competitive, integrated, and meaningful employment on a level equal to their peers who do not have a disability. I’m grateful to the National Federation of the Blind for their advocacy on this important issue and their support of my legislation.”
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind and our partners representing the fifty-five million Americans with disabilities know that low expectations, not disability, are the true barriers that prevent people with disabilities from living the lives we want. We applaud Senator Ayotte for recognizing that current segregated employment practices are based on over seventy years of entrenched but false thinking about the capacity of people with disabilities. We strongly urge her colleagues in both houses of the United States Congress to support this legislation and embrace a future in which the next generation of workers with disabilities, including my two young daughters, enter the workforce without the discriminatory presumptions that exist today and where these workers are able to achieve their full potential in the workplace and beyond.”