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Law prohibits employers from paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities

Last modified: 5/8/2015 12:41:02 AM
New Hampshire became the first state yesterday to prohibit employers from paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the bill, sponsored by Laconia Sen. Andrew Hosmer, into law yesterday. It will take effect in 60 days.

While no New Hampshire businesses are known to pay subminimum wages to people with disabilities, advocates said, a law allowing the practice had been on the state’s books for decades.

“Whenever I talk with someone about it, they are shocked,” said Chris Rueggeberg, policy director for the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities, after a signing ceremony at the State House yesterday.

The law went into effect in the 1930s when the general public believed people with disabilities couldn’t work, Rueggeberg said. And it allowed employers to go to the state Department of Labor to request a permit to pay employees with disabilities subminimum 

Similar laws remain in effect and in use across the country, said Jennifer Bertrand of the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities.

“We’re really proud to end this exploitive practice,” she said. “Hopefully we will start momentum across the country.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)


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