Scores of human resources professionals watched SHRM government relations officials walk them through Wednesday’s Capitol Hill visits. Role players Michael Layman, Kathleen Coulombe and Lisa Horn created a spot-on demonstration of a briefing with congressional aide. Add to that, the materials the SHRM participants will leave with their senators and representatives and Wednesday’s sessions should be a success. These human resources professionals are in Washington for the annual SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference.
Part of the preparation was a briefing on the two issues that the participants will discuss in their briefings. While one does not automatically think of human resources when discussing tax reform and immigration, these will be the two topics of interest in these briefings. The tax reform issue revolves around retirement savings. Ms. Coulombe reported that tax benefits of IRAs and similar retirement plans offer immediate tax savings with taxation coming when retirement savings are taken from retirement accounts often 20 or 30 years later. She reported that the Congressional Budget Office reports on tax savings and payments over ten-year periods. That means that the Congress sees retirement programs costing the government revenue without the payback. SHRM believes that comprehensive and flexible benefits packages are essential to getting and keeping employees. It wants to see tax incentives used to expand retirement savings.
Mr. Layman reported that the SHRM was working along with the American Council on International Personnel in supporting an immigration program that assists employers who to select and manage the world’s top talent. He pointed out that e-verify is in place in some states and not others which can make it difficult for organizations with employees in different states. He also noted that there have been errors reported in the information the e-verify system provided employers. SHRM supports green cards for highly educated individuals, creating a “trusted employer” program for those employers with records of immigration compliance, and reducing the green card backlogs.
On Monday and Tuesday, the conference participants will hear from speakers on a variety of human resources topics. After class, they’ll have opportunities to talk with their colleagues including time to get together by state so they can get to know each other before reporting to their senators’ and their representatives’ offices. With all of the SHRM participants carrying the same messages, this should be interesting to see the impact they will have on legislation.