According to a recent NBC report, one of the nation’s best-known charities is paying disabled workers as little as 22 cents an hour, thanks to a 75-year-old legal loophole that critics say needs to be closed.

  Goodwill Industries, a multibillion-dollar company whose executives make six-figure salaries, is among the nonprofit groups permitted to pay thousands of disabled workers far less than minimum wage because of a federal law known as Section 14 (c). Labor Department records show that some Goodwill workers in Pennsylvania earned wages as low as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2011.   Section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which was passed in 1938, allows employers to obtain special minimum wage certificates from the Department of Labor. The certificates give employers the right to pay disabled workers according to their abilities, with no bottom limit to the wage. Most, but not all, special wage certificates are held by nonprofit organizations like Goodwill that then set up their own so-called "sheltered workshops" for disabled employees, where employees typically perform manual tasks like hanging clothes.   The non-profit certificate holders can also place employees in outside, for-profit workplaces including restaurants, retail stores, hospitals and even Internal Revenue Service centers. When a non-profit provides Section 14 (c) workers to an outside business, it sets the salary and pays the wages. For example, the Helen Keller National Center, a New York school for the blind and deaf, has a special wage certificate and has placed students in a Westbury, N.Y., Applebee’s franchise. The employees’ pay ranged from $3.97 per hour to $5.96 per hour in 2010. The franchise told NBC News it has also hired workers at minimum wage from Helen Keller. A spokesperson for Applebee’s declined to comment on Section 14 (c).   Helen Keller also placed several students at a Barnes & Noble bookstore in Manhasset, N.Y., in 2010, where they earned $3.80 and $4.85 an hour. A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman defended the Section 14 (c) program as providing jobs to "people who would otherwise not have [the opportunity to work]."   Critics of Section 14 (c) have focused much of their ire on the nonprofits, where wages can be just pennies an hour even as some of the groups receive funding from the government. At one workplace in Florida run by a nonprofit, some employees earned one cent per hour in 2011. "People are profiting from exploiting disabled workers," said Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. "It is clearly and unquestionably exploitation."   Read the Whole Story and View the Video Here