Young introduces bipartisan bill to improve worker educational assistance

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) recently proposed the bipartisan Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act, which would increase the amount of tax-free educational assistance that employees in workforce development programs can receive from their employers.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, Hoosier businesses and workers are left picking up the pieces,” Sen. Young said. “The bipartisan Upskilling and Retraining Assistance Act would temporarily boost this important education assistance tax provision to invest in our post-pandemic workforce development needs and equip workers with the right skills for high-demand jobs as our public health and economic recovery continues.”

Sen. Young cosponsored S. 1802 with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to make two changes to Section 127 of the tax code to modernize and expand the use of educational program assistance that employers may provide to their workers, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers. 

The bill would enact an emergency expansion of the tax exclusion from $5,250 to $12,000 for the next two years. This would adjust the exclusion to account for the last three decades of inflation, assisting employers in meeting the needs of their workers as they grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 on their business, the summary says. 

Additionally, the bill would expand the tax exclusion to cover the cost of education-related tools and technology, including hand tools, construction equipment, computers and software, and other items related to the costs of a worker completing his or her education program. 

The legislation is supported by numerous organizations and businesses, including the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the American Council on Education, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Coalition to Preserve Employer-Provided Education Assistance, the National Electrical Contractors Association, Starbucks Coffee Co., and Walmart, among others.