Headline out of northwest Illinois :
Agency responds to Dept. of Labor actions, says its focused on compliance and keeping its doors open
Self Help Enterprises
“Rock River Valley Self Help Enterprises mission is to provide quality rehabilitative programs and services that promote advocacy, empowerment, and the development of independent functioning skills of individuals with disabilities, which allows for maximum participation in the community.”
From the article:
“The federal agency announced April 23 that its investigation of Self Help determined that nearly 250 disabled workers had been unfairly compensated. The findings resulted in the immediate loss of its wage certificate [which allows the sheltered workshop to pay sub-minimum wages].
The investigation found that Self Help failed to conduct wage surveys in a timely fashion or to conduct time studies on all of the jobs done by disabled workers.
The Department of Labor also said Self Help tried to block its investigation by covering up relevant information and hiding work that the employer had not time-studied but had the workers perform. On some weekends, Self Help unlawfully replaced wages with gift cards.”
“The loss of the certificate, effective immediately, forces Self Help to reimburse workers who have been underpaid in the past 2 years.”
What does it mean?
Our community (of parents of adults) is divided between those who support maximum work choices and those who believe all “sheltered workshops” should be closed. In this case, the workshop seems to have failed to comply with federal rules regarding sub-minimum wages.
- What do you think about sheltered workshops in general?
- Should these agencies be held to a higher standard when it comes to federal compliance? Should they have to publish compliance reports so that families can read them?
- Have you investigated local agencies in your area? What did you find?