People With Down Syndrome and Other Disabilities Deserve a Fair Wage

Editor's Note

This piece was written by Adrian Forsythe. Adrian is an individual who has Down syndrome. Adrian is the Advocacy Programs Specialist at the National Down Syndrome Society. He uses his voice to help all individuals with disabilities.

June 25 was the 80th Anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. From the perspective of someone with Down syndrome, we want to highlight why the Transitioning to Integrative and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act is so important for people with disabilities to phasing out sub-minimum wages.

The TIME Act would phase out section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act over a six-year period. Section 14(c) allows the Department of Labor to issue employers special wage certificates to pay people with disabilities below minimum wage.

The six-year phase out period would allow employers to gather resources that are already available to transition away from the certificate. Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is one of many laws that is outdated and must be reformed.

We, as people with disabilities, have the right to be valued as adults contributing in our communities as those without disabilities. People with disabilities have the right to fight for an equal wage. This is a right we should pursue because people with disabilities are more alike than different. It is unfair that any brother/sister, friend or co-worker is doing the exact same job but receiving a higher pay.

Adrian posing with little girl with Down syndrome hugging side by side. Adrian wears a suit and stands before a government building

Every job has a purpose and is important, and everyone should be paid a fair wage for his or her performance at work. The Transitioning to Integrative and Meaningful Employment (TIME) Act (HR1377) proposes equal opportunities for people with disabilities. We are adults living adult lives and contributing to our communities.The TIME act is a civil rights matter because we deserve to be valued the same amount as everybody else.

I am thrilled to say working with my colleagues to advocate for people with Down syndrome really made an impact on me. NDSS is a great work environment and an ideal job for me because it is equal pay for equal work; a job where an equal share is a right that I never thought could happen. I want other people with disabilities to have the same opportunities as I have working with NDSS.

The TIME Act is important to me and the wider disability community.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Down Syndrome

Image of dad holding newborn baby girl at the hospital with older daughter smiling by his side

How Down Syndrome Changes Everything: A Dad's Perspective

Having a new baby is an all-around emotional process. Throw in a two-week stay in the NICU no one expected with a life-changing diagnosis, and you include a whole array of emotions that aren’t usually included in the package. Anger and Frustration Charlotte came in kicking and screaming at 4-pounds 13-ounces on a Saturday afternoon. [...]

My Adult Daughter With Down Syndrome Wants the World to Know, 'I Love My Life'

Within a week of our daughter, Sarah, being born, a little over 26 years ago, my wife, Alison, and I received a letter from Ken Hixon, a Hollywood screenwriter and a friend of a friend. This missive was to have a profound effect in coming to terms with the reality that our baby had Down [...]
Baby with Down syndrome surrounded by mom, dad and older sister. Black and white image.

6 Lies I Told Myself About My Newborn's Down Syndrome Diagnosis

As mothers, we can often carry guilt and lies about ourselves. There is absolutely nothing new there. It is as real as the air we breathe and yet just as easily to dismiss. We tried for so long to conceive our precious baby girl. I knew the truth about disabilities because of all my background [...]

Why It's OK to Ask About My Daughter With Down Syndrome

I see the questions running through your head. The ones you want to ask, but are afraid will come across as rude or nosy. Maybe you can’t tell she has Down syndrome, so you’re wondering why my almost 18-month-old isn’t walking or even really standing. Maybe you do notice she has Down syndrome so you’re [...]