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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 28, 2021 09:29 AM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: H2A Labor Unemployment Exemption Bill
In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation that would change state law to stop farmers and foreign workers from having to pay into the state’s unemployment compensation fund.  
Many farmers use the federal H2A labor system to find seasonal workers to pick fruits and vegetables and perform other farm tasks. These workers come to this country on a seasonal basis and are essentially under an employment contract. Under state and federal law, these workers are not eligible to tap into unemployment compensation. As such, the federal government has stopped requiring that employers put forward a portion of their paycheck into the federal unemployment fund. H2A wages have been permanently exempted from federal unemployment compensation for nearly 25 years.  
However, Pennsylvania still requires both farmers and these foreign workers to pay into the state’s unemployment fund. These workers will never be able to collect on the unemployment funds they and their employer have paid in. This is resulting in farmers paying several thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes, and workers having a portion of their paycheck docked. My legislation will align state and federal tax policy on this issue. It will not result in any loss of benefit for farm workers, nor does it change any aspect of federal immigration policy. 
I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as SB993