Pension & Benefits News America’s large employers support bills to strengthen, expand employer-provided education assistance
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Thursday, July 29, 2021

America’s large employers support bills to strengthen, expand employer-provided education assistance

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

HR Policy Association, representing chief human resource officers of more than 390 of the largest employers in the United States, joined other business, labor, and education organizations in support of two bipartisan bills introduced that would strengthen and expand employer-provided education assistance, the Upward Mobility Act and the Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act.

President and CEO of HR Policy Association Timothy J. Bartl said, “HR Policy Association is proud to partner with other business, labor and education groups in support of employer-provided education assistance. Most HR Policy Association member companies already provide significant benefits to their employees related to training and educational advancement and the Association fully supports these proposals.”

Collectively, HR Policy Association represents employers of more than 11 million Americans, or nearly nine percent of the U.S. workforce. Chief human resource officers are responsible for finding, hiring, training, and developing the talent needed for their organizations to thrive in the global marketplace.

Chatrane Birbal, Vice President of Government Relations at HR Policy Association said, “In the case of employer-sponsored educational assistance, the nation’s federal tax code has not kept pace with the advances in employer benefits offerings nor the cost of education. The $5,250 per employee benefit limit has effectively not changed since the Section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code was enacted in 1978. The passage of the Upward Mobility Act and the Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act will be a leap in the right direction.”

The Upward Mobility Enhancement Act was introduced by Rep. Jason Smith and will permanently increase the employer provided education assistance from $5,250 to $12,000, index the amount to inflation, and expand the eligible education-related tools and technology such as hand tools and construction equipment, computers, software, internet access and related services and licensure fees. covered by the tax exclusion.

The second bill, the Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act, was introduced by Rep. Danny K. Davis and provides a short-term expansion of employer-provided education assistance by also increasing the exclusion amount from $5,250 to $12,000 for 2021-2022 and updating covered education-related tools and technology. Together, these bills meet the needs of both workers and employers as they cope with the immediate effects of COVID-19 and the long-term needs of the American workforce, according to the HR Policy Association.

“As lawmakers consider legislation directed at restoring the American workforce and economy in the wake of the pandemic, these bills would be productive and welcomed,” said Birbal.

SOURCE: www.hrpolicy.org

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