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Terry Goddard Says Disabled Workers Not Exempt From New Minimum Wage

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Feb. 7, 2007) Attorney General Terry Goddard today issued an opinion stating that developmentally disabled workers are not exempt from the state’s new minimum wage that voters approved last November in Proposition 202. The new minimum wage of $6.75 an hour took effect Jan. 1.

Goddard concluded that the “special” minimum wage authorized by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act for disabled workers was not incorporated into the language of Proposition 202. Employers in the state previously were allowed to pay a lower minimum wage to disabled individuals commensurate with their productivity.

The opinion noted that six states enacted measures last year to raise the minimum wage. Two of the six – Ohio and Missouri – included exemptions for disabled workers from the minimum wage provisions. The other four – Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Montana – did not include in their laws any language that would exempt disabled employees from their new state minimum wage.

A copy of the opinion can be found here.