SEATTLE, Washington – When Seattle decided to require paying the $15 minimum wage to all workshop employees, workers and families dealt with devastating consequences, Cheryl Felak said.

Felak is a Seattle parent and registerd nurse whose son, Thomas, has a genetic condition, Baker-Gordon syndrome, which limits severely what he can do in a workplace, she said.

In Seattle, as in Missouri, workshop employees received a “commensurate wage” based on how quickly they could accomplish work compared to an able person, Felak said. For example, if a disabled worker takes 10 hours to do the same task an able worker can do in one hour, then the disabled worker is paid for one hour of work after working 10.

“It’s a fair wage for what they’re doing,” Felak said.


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I would just like to clarify that in Seattle, the workshops had already been closed prior to this minimum wage law which then eliminated the certificates which allowed specific employers and specific employees to agree in an individualized and fair wage for community integrated jobs. It’s not just people who chose workshops who are hurt but people working in community integrates jobs.

The fair wage is an agreed wage based on production standards. If one can accomplish 75% that person is paid accordingly - if the person is able to perform to the production standard there would be no need for an individualized wage.

This allows people to choose to work if they desire to and are able to - rather than not having this choice.

Many more are in- and underemployed now with this new legislation. Those affected in Seattle in community integrated jobs had their hours cut 20-40% as a direct result of legislation which eliminated special certificates

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