#TChat Wednesday: Public Policy, The Future of the Workplace, and the Role of HR

Wednesday’s #TChat will be hosted live from the Welcome Reception of the SHRM Leadership Conference. Join moderators Donna Rogers Skowronski and Dave Ryan to discuss pressing issues affecting employers and employees!

Retirement Security – Employer-provided retirement plans are a key component of our nation’s retirement system. Together with Social Security and individual savings, employer-provided retirement plans produce significant retirement benefits for America’s working families. There are approximately 670,000 private-sector defined contribution plans covering 67 million participants and over 48,000 private-sector defined benefit plans covering 19 million participants. http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/GetInvolved/Documents/Retirement%20Security%20Fact%20Sheet%2011-5-12.pdf

Employer-Provided Education Assistance (Section 127) of the Internal Revenue Code allows an employee to exclude from income up to $5,250 per year in assistance provided by their employer for any type of educational course at the associate, undergraduate and graduate level. Employers are not required to provide assistance under Section 127 to their employees. However, if an employer chooses to do so, the benefit must be offered to all employees on a nondiscriminatory basis that does not favor highly compensated employees. Congress has extended Section 127 ten times since it was created in 1978, most recently in 2010. Section 127, which is part of the Bush-era tax cuts, will expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts to renew it or make it permanent. Providing tax-free educational assistance is an important tool for employers. Section 127 helps to build and maintain an increasingly skilled workforce, and positions the United States to remain competitive in the global economy. Almost 20 percent of Section 127 recipients are pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. More than 35 percent of all degrees pursued by Section 127 beneficiaries are master’s degrees, and, according to the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, use of Section 127 benefits has doubled since 1994. Today, more than 1 million employees use Section 127 benefits. http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/GetInvolved/Documents/Sec127%20Fact%20Sheet%2011-5-12.pdf

What else can #TChatters Can Do?  Write your members of Congress and RAISE YOUR HRVOICE on the importance of these benefits to employees and employers! As legislation begins to move through Congress, your action will be vital in protecting Section 127 and preserving retirement benefits. http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/Pages/SHRMA-TeamVideo.aspx Grassroots brochure available http://www.shrm.org/Advocacy/Documents/SHRM%20Advocacy%20Team%20Brochure%20-%20Final.pdf

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