Rights of Recipients of Mental Health Services; Part A - X. Fair Compensation For Work

A. Recipients have the right to be paid a fair wage for work done.

  1. Each individual or agency subject to the provisions of these regulations shall pay at least the minimum wage to each recipient who performs work regardless of level of performance, regardless of whether the work is considered therapeutic, and regardless of whether the recipient replaces or would replace a non-recipient worker.
  2. Agencies shall compensate any recipient performing any work that is similar or identical to that performed by a non-recipient employee at the rate at which the non-recipient employee is compensated.

B. For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

  1. Work shall mean any work having consequential economic benefit to the mental health agency, including but not limited to sheltered workshop employment programs, or any activity involved in the care, maintenance, and operation of the mental health agency.
  2. Work shall not mean those tasks performed by each recipient for his or her own basic care or hygiene or upkeep of personal living space.
  3. Federal law shall mean the Fair Labor Standards Act that sets national labor standards.
  4. Minimum wage shall mean that hourly rate of pay established by the United States Congress or by the State of Maine, whichever is higher, as the legal minimum.

C. Agencies shall not directly or indirectly compel a recipient to perform any work, or punish any recipient for declining to perform work. Agencies shall not make any privilege or agency service conditional upon a recipient's agreement to perform work or withdraw a recipient's privileges or services because of that recipient's failure to perform work.

D. Agencies shall not discriminate in the hiring of agency staff. Any recipient is eligible to apply for and occupy, if qualified, any job classification.

E. Exceptions:

  1. Agencies and service providers subjected to these regulations may pay a sub-minimum wage to a recipient who performs work after proper certification has been made by the United States Department of Labor under Handicapped Worker provisions contained in federal law.
  2. Payment for work shall not be required when a recipient is a participant in an independent living program that requires a fair division of labor among all participants, including community-based psychosocial clubs and transitional living facilities, or in community-based transitional employment programs.