The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a federal law enacted on July 22, 2016 intended to improve workforce development and training services for all workers with disabilities. WIOA requires that workers with disabilities complete various requirements that are designed to improve access to competitive, integrated employment, including vocational rehabilitation and career counseling services before they will be permitted to begin/continue employment at a special (or less than) minimum wage.

WIOA requires individuals who are paid less than minimum wage under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor and Standards Act (FLSA), U.S. Department of Wage and Hour (DOL), be offered a meaningful opportunity at least once a year to learn about the services and supports available to assist them in securing integrated employment at or above minimum wage. Section 14(c) authorizes employers like WACOSA to pay less than the minimum wage to individuals disabled for the work being performed.  This permission is granted by DOL after WACOSA obtains a legal certificate to do so. WACOSA has held such a certificate following all the rules and regulations associated with doing so for many years.

As an employer who is authorized to pay special minimum wage, WACOSA is immediately required to identify individuals age 24 and under and initiate a referral to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), in order to begin this process. We are required to obtain certification demonstrating that the individual completed career counseling, in order to continue to allow them to be employed at special minimum (subminimum) wage.

Individuals over the age of 24 are also required to receive career counseling. We are required to obtain certification that the individual completed this process and does not object to continuing to be employed at special minimum (subminimum) wage.

Each session should take approximately 10 minutes. We will be conducting meetings this year via a conference call.  Release of Information (ROI) must be returned prior to the meeting. Guardians, please coordinate meeting times with clients and care providers.

If you have any questions, please contact your Client Manager.

Release of information can be downloaded directly through this page.