Durbin, Schakowsky, Brown Introduce Bill To Reward U.S. Companies That Invest In American Workers

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-11) introduced the Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act, which would provide a tax credit to companies that provide fair wages and good benefits to workers.  This is the first bill introduced by Durbin in the 116th Congress.  

“In America, if you work full-time you should be able to support your family—you should be paid a living wage, have access to quality health insurance and paid leave, and be able to save for retirement.  However, far too often, employers are more focused on returning profits to their wealthy shareholders and executives than doing the right thing for the American workers and the American communities they rely upon,” said Durbin.  “We should reward companies that exemplify American values by treating their workers fairly and keep jobs here in our country.  I thank Congresswoman Schakowsky and Senator Brown for championing this issue with me.”

“As corporate America has squeezed more and more productivity from hard working Americans and more profit for themselves, fewer Americans are able to realize the American dream.” Schakowsky said.  “Take home pay is lagging and far too few companies provide their employees with health insurance, contribute to their retirement security, or provide them with paid family leave.  The Republicans’ tax scam exacerbated this problem, as we have seen record levels of stock buybacks and dividend payments.  I am proud to stand with Sens. Durbin and Brown as we introduce this important legislation.  This bill would turn back the tide against the greed of the worst actors in our economy, and reward those who treat their employees with the dignity and respect each worker deserves.”

“The President’s tax law rewards Wall Street and corporations that ship jobs overseas at the expense of American workers.  This bill will put workers first and encourage companies to invest in good-paying American jobs,” said Brown.

Under the Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act, Patriot Employers would receive a tax credit up to $1,500 per employee if they meet the following criteria:

  • Invest in American Jobs:  Maintain headquarters in the U.S. if the company has ever been headquartered in America, maintain or increase the number of workers in the U.S. compared to the number of workers overseas and independent contractors, and has not inverted to avoid U.S. taxes.
  • Pay Fair Wages:  Pay at least 90 percent of U.S. workers an hourly wage equal to 218 percent of federal poverty for an individual (about $15/hour).
  • Provide Quality Health Insurance:  Offer Affordable Care Act compliant health care to employees.
  • Prepare Workers for Retirement:  Provide 90 percent of non-highly compensated U.S. employees a defined benefit plan OR a defined contribution plan and contribute at least 5 percent of worker compensation.
  • Support Our Troops and Veterans:  Pay the difference between regular salary and military compensation for all National Guard and Reserve employees called for active duty and have a plan in place to recruit veterans.
  • Create a Diverse Workforce:  Have a plan in place to recruit employees with disabilities.
  • Support Working Families: Provide paid sick or family and medical leave to fulltime employees.

In recognition of the different business circumstances that small employers face, companies with fewer than 50 employees could qualify for the tax credit by fulfilling a subset of these criteria.

This bill is endorsed by Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Economic Policy Institute.

This week, Durbin and Brown also introduced the Corporate Freeloader Fee, which would levy a fee on large mega-corporations that are often extremely profitable yet pay their workers poorly.