workers with disabilities celebrate the end of minimum wage discrimination
Following Budget 2023, the PSA’s Deaf and Disabled Network is celebrating the end of one type of disability-related workplace discrimination.
A wage supplement will take the place of the Minimum Wage Exemption. Disabled people can currently earn as little as $2 per hour. Making sure disabled people have equal access to minimum wage protection as other workers do away with a form of legalized discrimination and put more money in their pockets.
Glenn Walker, co-convener of the PSA Deaf, stated that the current system “legalizes discrimination against disabled workers, tells disabled people they are worth less than other workers and contributes to high rates of poverty for disabled people.”
“Removing the exemption guarantees that people with disabilities have access to employment and the same rights as every other worker.”
The high poverty rates among disabled people are significantly influenced by workplace discrimination and limited access to employment. The average weekly income for working-age disabled people is $662, compared to $1,125 for non-disabled people.
The announcement, which affects 800 workers whose pay will be raised to the minimum wage, comes after decades of advocacy by disabled workers, the labor movement, and organizations for disabled people.
Paul Brown, a founding member of the Deaf and Disabled Network, celebrated the accomplishment.
“We established the Deaf and Disabled Network intending to end the Minimum Wage Exemption Scheme. Sometimes, advocating takes time. We occasionally lose, but we never succeed when we don’t fight.
It has been a cause for celebration that the minimum wage discrimination against workers with disabilities is now over because it will allow them to receive the same pay and benefits as every other employee. It is a crucial step towards creating a level playing field for people with and without disabilities, enabling everyone to enjoy equal opportunities at work. This development shows not only that people with disabilities can contribute successfully to society, but also that employers should work to make the workplace welcoming and inclusive of all staff members.