State of the Union 2020 - the Super Bowl of Politics & its Impact on the Workplace

This year, the State of the Union will take place on February 4 at 9 p.m. EST. This date is significant for several reasons. It takes place one day after the Iowa caucuses, amid a presidential campaign, and likely in the aftermath of the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. While the address takes place during a whirlwind political climate, SHRM remains focused on policy, not politics, advocating for positive workplace solutions.

Plan on watching the SOTU? Join SHRM’s government affairs team and participate in our interactive SOTU Bingo and enter to win an gift card!

As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM anticipates that the president will address these vital workplace policies:

The Affordable Care Act

With recent court rulings against the individual mandate, along with the permanent repeal of the Cadillac Tax, it is likely that the president will address the administration’s ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It is also likely the president will speak to the administration’s ongoing efforts to lower health care costs and expand coverage.


Currently, the administration is drafting a merit-based immigration proposal. The president may elaborate on aspects of that work and when Congress can expect a formal proposal in the Senate. The State of the Union could also provide an opportunity for the president to announce an expansion of international travel restrictions on a new group of countries.

Untapped Talent

The president could highlight the administration’s past efforts in the passage of the First Step Act, and possibly set the foundation for expanding on the successes of its passage. This could potentially include proposals in the Senate that expand Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated individuals, and legislation in the House that reauthorizes the Higher Education Act. 

Learn more about SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work initiative here.

Paid Leave

Since President Trump has mentioned paid leave in previous State of the Union addresses, it is likely to surface again this year. In the time since the 2019 State of the Union, the Trump administration signed into law parental leave for federal workers, and in 2020, the House will likely consider legislative proposals that provide paid family leave through a new payroll tax.

Although the president gives his address in Washington, it’s important to remember that as an HR professional, you can have a meaningful impact on what proposals are considered by lawmakers, regardless of where you live.  Strategizing how you can be a policy change agent, becoming a voice for your workplace on pending policy and communicating your concerns effectively will be key topics addressed during SHRM’s Advocacy@Work experience on March 15-17 in Washington, D.C.

In 2020 SHRM will continue to be a resource for policymakers as we advocate for a modern workplace and public policies to create better workplaces and a better world. Learn more about SHRM’s policy priorities at



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