Georgia bill to eliminate minimum wage exceptions for people with disabilities moves to state Senate

A help wanted flier sits on the desk of an employment specialist as he assists a client at a Georgia Department of Labor career center, Thursday, July 18, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A bill in the Georgia General Assembly would eliminate a minimum wage exemption for workers with disabilities.

Rep. Kasey Carpenter is a Dalton Republican and restaurant owner who co-sponsored the bill.

He says the loophole has allowed businesses to hire employees with disabilities through job training programs that sometimes pay 80 to 90 cents an hour.

“You know, the biggest thing is dispelling the fear that these jobs are going to disappear and the companies that are doing it are going to disappear, and I think the language handles kind of easing people into it,” said Carpenter when he joined “All Things Considered.”

Carpenter said the bill would use federal money to subsidize the transition to minimum wage.

The bill passed the House unanimously before the legislature’s Crossover Day deadline and now moves to the Senate.

If passed, employers currently receiving the exemption would have two years to raise wages.

Christopher Alston contributed to this report.