On January 18, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services posted the following announcement regarding Career Counseling & Information and Referral Services for individuals employed at sub-minimum wage:
On July 22, 2014, Congress passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which amended several provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehab Act). Among those changes, WIOA added Section 511 to the Rehab Act that prohibits entities that hold special wage certificates under 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from employing individuals with disabilities at sub-minimum wage unless certain conditions are met.
The purpose of implementing regulations for Section 511 “is to set forth requirements the designated State units and State and local educational agencies must satisfy to ensure that individuals with disabilities, especially youth with disabilities1 , have a meaningful opportunity to prepare for, obtain, maintain, advance in, or regain competitive integrated employment, including supported or customized employment.” (34 CFR 397.1(a)). In Indiana, the designated State unit is the Indiana Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), which houses the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program.
Effective July 22, 2016, a 14(c) entity cannot continue to employ individuals with disabilities at a subminimum wage rate regardless of their age, unless the 14(c) entity has received documentation that individuals with disabilities have completed certain requirements.
Starting as early as this week, representatives from local VR offices and staff from the Arc of Indiana will contact you to begin scheduling Career Counseling & Information and Referral Services (CCIR) sessions at your facility for individuals employed at subminimum wage, starting with those employed on or after July 22, 2016. Legal guardians are welcome and encouraged to attend. At the end of the presentation, attendees will receive a certificate of participation that will document the completion of these required activities. Attendees will be advised to share that documentation with their employer (the 14(c) entity).
When contacted by VR or the Arc of Indiana, you will be asked to communicate information about the CCIR sessions to your employees and facilitate their attendance. For convenience, we have included the below language to provide to your employees regarding the upcoming CCIR sessions:
“Over the next several months, representatives from local Vocational Rehabilitation Services offices and self-advocates from the Arc of Indiana will be coming to our facility to conduct information sessions regarding local community organizations and resources that provide employment-related services and supports. Individuals working in an environment where they make less than minimum wage are required to participate in this information session in order to
meet a new federal requirement. At the end of this session, you will be provided a certificate of participation for your records.”
Entities may also be asked to assist with ensuring adequate information is obtained to complete necessary documentation, such as the individual’s name and start date of employment. I appreciate your collaboration with BRS and the Arc of Indiana in this effort.
Additional information about these new requirements can be found in the September 8, 2016, FAQ posted on the BRS Web page, which is available by clicking here.
If you would like more information regarding these information sessions, please contact Jill Smith by phone at 317-224-0242 (office) / 502-299-8911 (cell) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full announcement text is also available here.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions, please contact the INARF office.