Congratulations to The Sun for its balanced reporting of the many complexities of the subminimum wage issue and its acknowledgment that a phase-out needs to be gradual so that no individual loses opportunity or earnings ("'Subminimum wage' for disabled workers called exploitative," June 14).
The Arc Baltimore, whose mission is, in part, is to expand and diversify employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is encouraged at the progress we've seen for those in jobs earning at or above minimum wage and at companies that are in the community, not in segregated workshops. In fact, the majority of people to whom we provide employment support earn above minimum wage.
We also have some contracts that, while they enable people with significant disabilities to work, pay below minimum wage, in part, because their productivity is well below the norm. Rather than simply consign these individuals to a less interesting (and non-paying) activity program, we want to meet the challenge of designing a system in which they can continue working and earn a full wage. Perhaps, some type of wage subsidy or a tax credit for private employers could enable a minimum wage for all.