Governor J.B. Pritzker signs executive order to ensure fair compensation for disabled employees

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during his daily coronavirus news conference at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

On October 4th, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new executive order to ensure that state vendor employees with disabilities are paid equally. 

State agencies will now be unable to enter contracts with vendors in the State Use program who pay people with disabilities a subminimum wage. If a state agency already has a contract with a vendor who pays people with disabilities a subminimum wage, then that agency will have to renegotiate contracts so that all employees are paid at least minimum wage. The signing of this executive order comes just in time for Disabbility Employment Awareness month.

Champaign State Representative Carol Ammons said in a press release that “I am grateful for the Administration’s steps toward pay equity for those with disabilities. We must be a leader in this and honor the labor of these workers. People with disabilities are valuable and deserve pay to reflect that.”

The State Use program seeks to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities by encouraging state agencies to purchase products and services from people with disabilities through contracts with non-for-profit agencies. The program has existed since 1983 with the enactment of the State Use Law. 

In the same press release, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton said that, “We know that justice is about more than prisons and courts. It’s about equitable access to opportunities in the workforce and equal pay. Workers with disabilities earn 87 cents for every dollar earned by those without disabilities. This EO prevents this harmful by ensuring people with disabilities are valued and compensated for their work like anyone else.”

The Executive Order went into effect October 4th with the goal to ensure that employees with disabilities are paid fairly for their work provided to state agencies. You can read the full text of the order at https://www.illinois.gov/government/executive-orders/executive-order.executive-order-number-26.2021.html.