Advocates Want Disabled Included in Wage Hike

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than a dozen advocacy groups are urging President Barack Obama to include mentally disabled workers in his call to raise the federal minimum wage for employees of government contractors.

The groups say they are concerned that Obama's plan for an executive order raising wages to $10.10 an hour won't cover disabled people who now earn less than the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

Thousands of disabled workers are employed by government contractors under a federal program that allows companies to pay a subminimum wage to those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. A law in place since the 1930s allows employers to hire disabled workers who earn as little as pennies an hour.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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