Governor Kelly Signs Legislation Incentivizing Better Pay for Kansans with Disabilities
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today signed Senate Bill 15, bipartisan legislation that facilitates employment opportunities for Kansans with disabilities.
“Kansans with disabilities deserve a fair wage for the work they perform,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I’m signing this bipartisan legislation to create more opportunities for people with disabilities, grow our workforce, and ensure every Kansan can work with dignity and respect.”
SB 15 creates the Disability Employment Act, which expands an income tax credit for goods and services purchased from qualified businesses that employ disabled workers and that pay those workers at least the minimum wage.
The bill also creates the Sheltered Workshop Transition Grant Program, a matching grant program that transitions employers away from a federal policy that allows them to pay Kansans with disabilities less than minimum wage. Businesses that pay Kansans with disabilities less than minimum wage are not eligible for the Disability Employment Act tax credit.
“By incentivizing businesses that purchase products from companies with integrated workforces, we are creating more jobs for Kansans with disabilities. This bill also helps those that make below minimum wage to get a pay increase,” said Representative Sean Tarwater, Kansas House District 27. “This spurs local economies across the state as the workforce grows and has additional money in their pockets.”
The Act also eliminates the minimum work-hour requirement for Kansans with disabilities to qualify for health insurance coverage.
“The Disability Employment Act and the Sheltered Workshop Transition Grant Program is a win-win for Kansans with disabilities and businesses,” Martha Gabehart, Executive Director of the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns, said. “The transition grants hold the opportunity to help providers switch from sheltered work to providing competitive integrated employment, enabling Kansas to join the growing list of states that have equalized the pay for people with disabilities by eliminating subminimum wage.”