Goodwill Industries, the nonprofit charity, pays workers as little as 22 cents per hour, or 3 percent of federal minimum wage, thanks to a labor law loophole.
Goodwill stores in Pennsylvania are employing some disabled workers at rates of 22, 38, and 41 cents per hour, according to NBC News. These workers are being exploited via the federal law called theSpecial Wage Certificate Program, which permits nonprofits and companies to obtain a certificate that allows them to hire disabled workers “based on their abilities” at whatever wage they find appropriate, with no minimum.
Workers say they find that the minute pay diminishes the experience and that the paychecks are useless for even covering the cost to get to work, as one worker told NBC after her wages were decreased to $2.75. For those making cents on the hour, they might as well be volunteering.
Brad Turner-Little, Goodwill’s director of mission strategy, told The Huffington Post that workers’ pay is determined through a review process that assesses their productivity and other factors. This process, as described by NBC News, times how long it takes a worker to perform a given task. The completion time is then compared to the time it would take a work without a disability to complete the task. They then calculate the worker’s wage. The company argues that these disabled workers would otherwise not be employed and should therefore be grateful for any amount they earn, even if it is 22 cents.
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