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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is authorized to issue a permit to a worker with a disability (performance-limited employee), unable to earn the state minimum-wage, to work at a wage commensurate with his or her ability (see Minnesota Statutes 177.28).


Application for a permit is made by the worker with a disability to the Department of Labor and Industry. The application forms are linked below. Completed forms should be sent to DLI's Labor Standards unit.

Information on the application includes:

  • the applicant's disability;

  • the job the applicant will do;

  • how the disability affects performance on the job;

  • the proposed wage, wages for nondisabled workers with similar jobs and hours of work each day and week; and

  • previous experience of a worker in similar jobs.


If the application and other available information indicate the applicant cannot earn a living wage, the department will issue a permit for subminimum-wage rate for employment at a wage less than the applicable state minimum.

  • The permit will specify the name of the worker, the occupation at which the applicant is to be employed, the subminimum-wage rate and the length of time such rate may be paid.

  • Workers may be paid subminimum wages only during the effective period of the permit.

  • Wage rates in the permit will be established on the basis of a comparison between the job performance of the worker with a disability and that of a nondisabled worker, but will not be set at a rate lower than the applicable federal minimum wage.

  • A permit will not excuse noncompliance with any other federal or state law or municipal ordinance establishing higher standards.


  1. If you employ a worker with a disability, you need to keep and have available a copy of the permit for inspection by the Department of Labor and Industry or its authorized representative.

  2. Records of hours of work for each day and week, time of starting and stopping work each day, and wages paid must also be maintained as required by Minnesota Statutes 177.30 and Minnesota Rules 5200.0100, and be available for inspection.