On Nov. 15, in conjunction with the 2012 Leadership Conference, nearly 375 SHRM members trekked from the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Maryland to Capitol Hill to meet with their senators and representatives to discuss the impending “fiscal cliff” and what it means for HR practitioners.
These meetings, such as the ones above conducted with Senators Susan Collins of Maine (left) and Ron Wyden of Oregon (right), reflect the heightened interest SHRM members have in ensuring that Congress understands the role HR plays in today’s workplaces. Specifically, participants urged their legislators to renew the tax benefit (under Section 127 of the tax code) afforded employer-provided educational assistance, which is set to expire at midnight on Dec. 31.
Originally enacted into law in 1978, Section 127 allows employers to offer up to $5,250 per year tax-free to employees for pursuit of an undergraduate or graduate degree. Section 127 has been extended numerous times throughout its 30-plus-year history, and the benefit has proven to be a valuable recruiting and retention tool for many employers, but it, too, is included in the proposed cuts.
SHRM also urged legislators during the Hill day that they “do no harm” to the current tax treatment of retirement plans as they consider proposals for tax reform. SHRM believes that every American employee should be given the opportunity to save for retirement and that the government should facilitate and encourage voluntary employer-sponsored retirement plans and individual savings programs
To get a flavor of what’s at stake in this upcoming debate, please read the related article (hyperlink) in today’s HR Issues Update and/or listen to a recent interview with former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia by clicking HERE.