5 New Congressional Bills for Employers to Watch

May 24, 2019|

Several bills and congressional plans affecting human resources and payroll departments successfully made their way through the House of Representatives in April 2019. Here’s what employers need to know to get ahead of the game on popular topics like minimum wage, paid family leave, and more.

1 ) The House of Representatives introduced bill H.R. 2213 on April 10. The bill intends to permanently extend the work opportunity tax credit. This tax credit for employers ranges from $1,200 to $9,600 per employee and seeks to help veterans, the disabled, felons, the long-term unemployed, and other disadvantaged groups find full-time employment.

2 ) Arizona Representative Andy Biggs introduced a congressional plan on April 9 to allow the use of health savings accounts to fund federal paid family leave. Paid family leave has been a popular topic since 2017, and several bills have been introduced to make it a reality – most notably two that leverage Social Security benefits, allowing families to take paid family leave if they agree to delay using their retirement benefits.

3 ) Federal and state minimum wage laws are becoming increasingly popular topics around the country. Multiple states, including the most recent, New Jersey, have passed laws to slowly increase their state minimum wages to $15 an hour. H.R. 582, or Raise the Wage Act of 2019, was also introduced in the House. The bill would phase in a federal minimum wage increase to $15 per hour by 2024.

4 ) H.R. 7 or the Paycheck Fairness Act passed the House on March 27 and heads to the Senate next for voting. This bill aims to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages based on gender.

5 ) H.R. 1759, sponsored by Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy, passed the House on April 9 and heads to the Senate for voting. H.R. 1759 or the BRIDGE for Workers Act would allow the Department of Labor to award grants to states to conduct reemployment services and eligibility assessments to all claimants for unemployment compensation, regardless of how long they’ve been out of work. Currently, states use those grants to serve unemployed individuals who are unlikely to return to work quickly, but research shows the quicker a person receives reemployment services, the sooner they find new employment — greatly reducing the number of weeks they receive unemployment benefits.

BONUS: Expect an updated draft of the 2020 Form W-4 by May 31. The Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department plan to release this version that better incorporates changes created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

After its initial release, the IRS will welcome public comments that they will review and make adjustments to the W-4 accordingly. A second draft should arrive in late summer, with a finalized Form W-4 expected in time for the 2020 tax year.

Resources:

For additional information regarding state minimum wage and industry-specific wage laws, visit our resource More Minimum Wage Changes in 2019.

To stay up-to-date on changes to Form W-4, visit the IRS’s statement.