SHRM Responds to the 2018 State of the Union Address



From taxes to jobs to immigration, President Donald Trump addressed the state of workplace issues in his report tonight to Congress and the American people.

Key issues facing the United States play out in workplaces across the country, directly impacting the well-being of employers and employees.

No one understands these issues better than human resources professionals. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) calls on the Trump administration and Congress to work with employers and HR professionals to identify policy solutions to address these issues.

As the largest association representing HR professionals, SHRM advocates on the important policies that Trump highlighted tonight.

Employment: With low national unemployment and job opportunities in infrastructure on the horizon, SHRM encourages a revitalized national discussion about hiring from untapped talent groups such as veterans, individuals with disabilities and individuals with criminal records. SHRM supports removing barriers to hiring to ensure that all individuals have opportunities for employment. That is why SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is among advisers to Safe Streets & Second Chances, a new initiative to reduce the high rate of recidivism by effectively rehabilitating and equipping incarcerated individuals with tools they need to become productive community members.

Work-Based Learning: SHRM supports creating more opportunities for work-based learning, including modernizing and rejuvenating apprenticeships. We also support enhancing employer-provided tuition assistance (Section 127 of the tax code), which was preserved in the tax bill, by increasing the yearly allowable benefit and including student loan repayment.

Immigration: SHRM and its affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration, support reforms to create a reliable, entirely electronic employment verification system that accurately authenticates a new hire’s identity. In addition, there must be enough visas for employers to fill skills gaps and access the best talent for the workforce, along with protections, education and training for U.S. workers. We also support a bipartisan solution that enables beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to continue to work and attend school in this country. 

Workplace Flexibility: SHRM is committed to expanding workplace flexibility initiatives. While we welcome the president’s attention to paid family leave, SHRM supports the Workflex in the 21st Century Act introduced by Rep. Mimi Walters, which would provide both generous paid leave that could be used for any purpose — including parental and sick leave — and workflex options for employees. This bill would guarantee a workflex option for all employees for the first time. It also would meet the needs of employers by providing predictability.

Health Care: Because more than 178 million Americans get coverage at work, SHRM advocates for public policies that support the employer-based health care system. We urge the administration and Congress to remove barriers that prevent employers from providing wellness programs to employees, delay the employer mandate penalty, simplify and clarify the Affordable Care Act compliance reporting requirements for employers, and repeal restrictions on the use and limitations on contributions to health savings accounts.


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