Pension & Benefits News Ways and Means Committee’s Build Back Better package advances
Monday, September 27, 2021

Ways and Means Committee’s Build Back Better package advances

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

After nearly 40 hours of debate across four days, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) applauded the advancement of the Committee’s portions of the Build Back Better Act. Among other things, the legislation would make important investments to support workers and strengthen retirement security.

Workplace supports. The Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act would expand workplace supports by:

  • providing up to 12 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave for all U.S. workers;
  • reauthorizing the Health Profession Opportunity Grant program to strengthen this health care job training program and making it available nationwide; and
  • investing in child care access and equity by ensuring parents and caregivers have the most useful and up-to-date information on available child care options and helping them easily apply for slots, funding construction and remodeling of child care facilities to make them safer and more aligned with public health guidelines, and raising child care workers’ wages—they currently earn a median wage of $12.24 per hour and often live in poverty.

Retirement security. The legislation would in addition bolster retirement security by requiring employers with no employer-sponsored retirement plans to automatically enroll employees in IRAs or 401(k)-type plans, and by making the Saver’s Credit refundable so that those without any income tax liability are eligible to receive the benefit in the form of a contribution to their retirement account.

“This package, coupled with the bipartisan infrastructure plan, represents our firm belief that it’s not just the roads that get you to work that require funding, basic supports like child care and paid leave are also essential features of society worthy of investment, Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass) said in a press release. “As the broader negotiations continue, I must emphasize that now is not the time to settle for less.”

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