New Hampshire House Passes First-In-The-Nation Legislation To End Payment of Subminimum Wages To People with Disabilities

Press  Release,  April 15, 2015
CONCORD, NH – Today the New

Hampshire House of Representatives passed SB 47. New Hampshire becomes the first state in the country to repeal statutes that permit employers to pay persons with disabilities less than the state minimum wage simply because they have a disability. SB 47 received unanimous bipartisan support in both the house and the senate.

“SB 47 is a historic policy statement that reflects the current approach to hiring persons with disabilities that has evolved since the 1940’s in New Hampshire – every person with a disability can be competitively employed with the right supports and right job match,” said Chris Rueggeberg, Policy Director for the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Paying people with disabilities subminimum wages is not necessary or helpful for them to get a job. They can be hired on their merits and abilities,” added Rueggeberg.

SB 47 prime sponsor Senator Hosmer has hired people with disabilities at his AutoServ business for the past 20 years. “The people I hire improve the whole culture and working atmosphere for all my employees,” said Senator Hosmer. SB 47 repeals outdated statutes and outdated approaches to hiring persons with disabilities that date to 1949.  Employers in New Hampshire no longer pay persons with disabilities a subminimum wage. Sheltered workshops are closed. Disability rights organizations, rehabilitation professionals, persons with disabilities working at competitive wage jobs and their employers, the NH Labor Department, the NH Department of Health and Human Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for Blind and Visually Impaired in the NH Department of Education all worked to pass SB 47. “I’m very pleased that the House has approved SB 47.  Last year, when I discovered that it is was legal in New Hampshire to pay persons with a disability less than the minimum wage simply because of their disability I introduced legislation to study this issue. The
study committee that I chaired unanimously recommended legislation to ban this practice in New Hampshire, ”  said former State
Representative  Chris Muns.

The New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities is a federally funded state agency that supports public policies and initiatives that remove barriers and promote opportunities in all areas of life. The Council carries out its mission through education, advocacy and the funding of innovative projects that make a difference in people’s lives. Find out more at http://www.nhddc.org.