In action this past week, Representative Josh Harder (D-CA) introduced a bill to improve access to affordable child and elder care for Central Valley workers alongside Reps. Elise Stefanik and Ben Cline. Specifically, the bill makes it easier for employers to provide child and elder care assistance to their workers by eliminating a regulatory barrier that discourages employers from offering these benefits.
“We have the best workers here in the Central Valley and it’s time they got the support they deserved,” said Rep. Harder. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to make sure workers across the Valley have access to affordable, accessible care for their kids and any other dependents they have at home. Taking care of our loved ones should never have to play second fiddle to making a living.”
The Empowering Employer Child and Elder Care Solutions Act would:
• Reduce the cost and regulatory burden for employers seeking to offer child or elder care assistance;
• Align the treatment of these benefits with other employer-provided benefits and;
• Expand access to care for working families without mandates or new federal spending.
Under current regulations, employers who want to offer child or dependent care assistance to their workers are exposed to costly and unbalanced overtime expenses linked to the value of the care assistance provided, making it more challenging to offer these pro-family benefits to their workers. The Empowering Employer Child and Elder Care Solutions Act will update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to treat on-site child care services and other dependent care assistance provided by an employer like other employer-provided benefits and separate them from an employee’s “regular rate” of pay calculations.
Also, the House of Representatives voted to pass the ‘Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act 2022’ which will provide new and expanded medical benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country. The bill includes legislation authored by Representative Harder expanding the pool of Vietnam veterans eligible for benefits due to exposure to Agent Orange.
Last year, Harder successfully passed legislation extending benefits to more than 34,000 veterans experiencing bladder cancer, Parkinsonism, or hypothyroidism due to a toxic exposure during their service. This legislation adds hypertension and Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) to this list, opening up additional health care benefits to an estimated 50,000 Vietnam veterans.
“When our veterans enlist, they make a promise to keep us safe and we promise in return we’ll support them the rest of their lives. I’m tired of seeing our side of the promise go unfulfilled,” said Rep. Harder. “Today is a huge step in the right direction to fulfilling that promise by opening health care benefits to more than 50,000 of our Vietnam veterans exposed to toxins like Agent Orange during their service. We’ve passed this bill through the House, now it’s on to the Senate and then to the President to sign it into law.”