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Norcross Votes to Make It Easier for Workers

3 months ago
Chris Ferrari
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Norcross Votes to Make It Easier for Workers to Save For Retirement & Make Apprenticeships More Affordable

The Bipartisan SECURE Act Includes A Provision Based on Norcross’ Bill to Allow 529 Tax-Free Savings for Apprenticeships

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressmen Donald Norcross (D-NJ) voted in favor of H.R. 1994, the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act, which passed the House of Representatives with a 417–3 vote. The SECURE Act expands opportunities for Americans to increase their retirement savings and improves the portability of lifetime income options from one plan to another.

“America’s workers deserve a secure retirement after a lifetime of earning and sacrifice. Unfortunately, working families that simply want predictability in their future have few choices in the present. You shouldn’t have to choose between food for the kids or saving for retirement, but far too many make this choice every day. Today, we took action to help workers achieve retirement security,” said Norcross.

Making it Easier for Workers to Save for Retirement

Norcross, a member of the Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee, has been an outspoken leader on addressing retirement insecurity and protecting workers’ pensions.

In a Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed this January Norcross said, “As new and returning members of Congress adjust to their roles, we must not let retirement insecurity become the new normal. In this Congress, I will urge all my colleagues to reflect on this impending [retirement security] crisis and work with me on solutions. The future security of countless hardworking men and women depends on it.”

This bill includes numerous provisions to expand the opportunities for Americans to save for retirement, including help for small businesses, home care workers, small employers and long-time, part-time workers.

  • Small Businesses: The bill makes it easier for small businesses to offer retirement plans to employees by eliminating outdated barriers to the use of Multiple Employer Plans (MEPs) and improving the quality of MEP service providers. 
  • Home Care Workers:   A quirk in current law prevents many home care workers from participating in a 401(k) plan or in savings with an IRA. The SECURE Act fixes this glitch and would allow home care workers to contribute to a defined contribution plan or IRA.  
  • Small Employers: The bill creates a new tax credit of up to $500 per year to small employers to defray start-up costs for new 401(k) plans that include automatic enrollment. 
  • Long-Term, Part-Time Workers: This bill requires employers to allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in their 401(k) plans.

Click here to view, download or print a fact sheet about the SECURE Act.

Making Apprenticeships More Affordable

The SECURE Act includes a provision based on Norcross’ bill that makes apprenticeships more affordable by allowing individuals enrolled in a registered apprenticeship program to fund tools and equipment for the program out of a “529” college savings plan.

When he introduced the 529 OPTIONS Act, Norcross said, “When a child is born, you don’t know if they’ll want to go to college or build the college. In Congress, we should be supporting each kid equally. Right now, students and families can use 529 tax-free savings accounts for college, but they can’t use those same savings accounts for apprenticeships. This exclusion is unfair and counterproductive. We need electricians and computer programmers, just like we need doctors and judges – and [we should] level the playing field for the students and future workers who start out in apprenticeships.”

The 529 OPTIONS Act is endorsed by North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU), the Construction Employers of America (CEA), the Association of Union Constructors (TAUC), and multiple other organizations that support workforce training through registered apprenticeships.

Helping Gold Star Families

The SECURE Act also corrects one of the negative consequences of the GOP tax law that caused Gold Star families to see drastic tax increases. Norcross, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, consistently supports Gold Star families. For example, last year, Norcross joined Gold Star families and lawmakers to unveil the Camden County Gold Star Parent Identification Card.

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