Legislative Agenda for the First Session of the 111th Congress

Employment

The 111th Congress should help our constituents reach their full potential and become as independent as possible through integrated employment by:  

Vocational Rehabilitation

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    • Reauthorizing the Rehabilitation Act and the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), including strengthening the linkage between WIA and the Rehabilitation Act, preserving the integrity of the Rehabilitation Act, increasing the emphasis on employment by strengthening and expanding the supported employment and customized programs, improving transition policy, expanding work experience opportunities, removing barriers to participation by people with disabilities, creating demonstration programs and incentives to replicate best practices and ensuring full due process protections;
    • Increasing funding for the state vocational rehabilitation program significantly above the required Consumer Price Index (CPI) level, transitions to postsecondary opportunities, supported employment, projects with industry programs, and workforce development programs that help our constituents find and keep jobs and have more career options
Economic Stimulus
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    • Assuring that people with disabilities benefit through increased integrated employment opportunities from any employment related provisions of the economic stimulus efforts.
Procurement and Contracting
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    • Modernizing the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Program to expand integrated employment opportunities and ensure that people with significant disabilities remain a priority for participation in the program;
    • Expanding employment opportunities by establishing federal procurement preferences for employers who employ significant numbers of people with disabilities;
    • Assuring that federal employees with disabilities do not lose their federal employment status due to outsourcing;

Subminimum Wage and Sheltered Work

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    • Creating incentives for employers or other solutions that will allow a phase out of the issuance of subminimum wage certificates without harming the employment opportunities of people with significant disabilities; 
    • Assuring that people currently earning sub-minimum wages in supported or sheltered employment have their federal and other benefits and supports protected if any wage and hour policy shift would result in the loss of employment, benefits, or supports;
    • Conducting oversight on the Department of Labor’s monitoring of compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal non-discrimination requirements;
Employment Standards and Benefits
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    • Supporting policies that expand work place flexibility;
    • Assuring that part-time, supported, or periodic employees are included in any proposal that expands or extends fringe benefit coverage;
    • Expanding access to family and medical leave and supporting paid leave policies, including mandating employers to provide a reasonable amount of paid sick leave, and requiring payors to recognize these costs in their reimbursement;

Other

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    • Assuring people with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities can access all relevant work programs, including business development opportunities;
    • Restoring the funding and requiring the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to fulfill its role regarding policy, programs, and research to advance the employment of people with significant disabilities;
    • Permanently extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and have it apply to non profit organizations