Hoosier Nonprofit Ordered to Pay Back Wages
A Jeffersonville-based nonprofit has been ordered to pay more than $150,000 in back wages to its employees with disabilities after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. The DOL says New Hope Services should have paid the workers the full minimum wage because it failed to meet the requirements to pay a sub-minimum wage.
Through the 14(c) certification, eligible employers are allowed to pay a sub-minimum wage to workers with disabilities as part of a federal program, but they must also provide training to help the workers succeed and be more independent both in and out of the workplace.
The investigation from the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found New Hope Services failed to ensure its workers received such training. As a result, the nonprofit should have paid the workers the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Nearly 75 employers will receive a share of the $154,443 in back minimum wages that should have been paid, according to the DOL.
“Employers who qualify for the sub-minimum wage program have a moral and legal obligation to provide the career and skills training to qualified workers as required,” Wage and Hour District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis said in a news release. “Encouraging employment of adults of all abilities has a positive impact on the lives of these workers and our nation’s economy, but it must be done legally.”
A growing number of nonprofits are moving away from paying sub-minimum wage. Last year, Huntington-based Pathfinder services announced it was withdrawing from future 14(c) certifications and paying its workers the full minimum wage.