Under a Maine statute, employers may pay certain disabled employees less than minimum wage if they receive authorization from the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL). Maine recently amended this statute. Among other things, the amended statute now only requires employers to seek reauthorization to pay a disabled employee subminimum wage every two years instead of every year.
This statute is similar to a federal statute that has come under fire from disability rights advocates, members of Congress, and legal scholars because it is blatantly discriminatory against individuals with disabilities. Under the Maine Human Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers may not discriminate against employees with disabilities. It certainly constitutes discrimination to pay disabled employees less because they are disabled. However, that is exactly the conduct that these subminimum wage laws sanction.
If you think these subminimum wage laws should be abolished, you should contact your state and federal representatives.