The bill also renews and expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for workers, firms, and communities that are affected by import competition. These changes include the following:
- Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to repeal the eligibility for TAA of adversely affected workers in public agencies. Revises requirements for waivers from training for workers under the trade readjustment allowance (TRA) program. Eliminates the waivers from training requirements for workers who:
(1) are recalled to work,
(2) possess marketable skills for employment, or
(3) are within two years of retirement eligibility. Repeals the application of state unemployment insurance law to allowance of a good cause waiver of time limitations with respect to an application for TRA or enrollment in training.
- Prescribes a special rule to require the Secretary of Labor to establish procedures to allow a waiver for good cause for workers who file late for TRA or enrollment in a training program. Decreases:
(1) from 130 to 104 weeks the length of TRA payments for an adversely affected worker who requires a program of prerequisite education or remedial education in order to complete approved training, and
(2) from 78 additional weeks of TRA payments in a 91-week period to 65 additional weeks of such payments in a 78-week period the length of additional time permissible to complete training.
- Reduces from up to 26 additional weeks of TRA payments to complete training which includes a program of prerequisite or remedial education to up to 13 additional weeks of such payments for approved training leading to completion of a degree or industry-recognized credential the maximum additional TRA a worker may receive to account for a break in training or for justifiable cause.
- Prescribes cap limits for training, employment and case management services, and job search expenses and relocation expenses for FY2012 and FY2013, and for the period October 1-December 31, 2013 (first quarter of FY2014). Limits to 10% of funds available a state's use of them for TAA for workers program administration and the provision of employment and case management services.
- Authorizes the Secretary to reallot to other states any funds that remain unobligated in the second or third fiscal year after the fiscal year in which they were provided. Limits the job search allowance as well as the relocation allowance to 90% of related expenses, reducing the maximum allowance from $1,500 to $1,250.
- Transfers from the Secretary to a state responsibility for reimbursement of job search expenses, and changes reimbursement from mandatory to discretionary. Revises and extends through December 31, 2013, the reemployment trade adjustment assistance (RTAA) program. Decreases from $12,000 to $10,000 the maximum payment of RTAA (or wage subsidy) to an eligible older worker.
- Revises core indicators of performance in mandatory data reporting, adding among other factors the percentage of workers receiving TAA benefits who obtain a recognized postsecondary schooling credential. Revises and adds to elements of data in such reporting, including the number of workers who complete approved training, as well as data on spending.
- Extends through December 31, 2013, the TAA program for workers. Extends for FY2012 and FY2013, and for the first quarter of FY2014, the TAA program for firms and farmers.
- Eliminates the TAA for communities grant program and the Industry or Sector Partnership Grant program for communities impacted by trade. Specifies additional program performance and outcome data to be included in the Secretary's annual reports on TAA Community College and Career Training Grant program and for the TAA for farmers program.
- Requires the Secretary, if no determination has been made upon enactment of this Act of whether to certify a group of workers or firms as eligible to apply for TAA pursuant to a petition filed between February 13, 2011, and enactment of this Act, to certify such workers or firms as so eligible based on TAA program requirements in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
- Requires the Secretary to:
(1) reconsider, according to the eligibility requirements of this Act, any determination not to certify workers or firms as so eligible between February 13, 2011, and the enactment of this Act; and
(2) certify them as eligible to apply for TAA.
- Declares that such workers or firms shall continue to be eligible for TAA under TAA program requirements in effect under the Trade Act of 1974:
(1) as of February 12, 2011, with respect to petitions filed between May 18, 2009, and February 13, 2011; or
(2) as of May 17, 2009, with respect to petitions filed before May 18, 2009.
(1) the TAA program for workers through December 31, 2013; and
(2) the TAA program for firms and farmers through December 31, 2014.
- Declares that TAA program requirements in effect as of February 13, 2011, under the Trade Act of 1974 shall apply to petitions for certification to apply for TAA for workers, firms, and farmers that are filed before January 1, 2014.
- Amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend from February 13, 2011, through calendar year 2013 the tax credit for the health insurance costs paid by TAA (as well as Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC] pension and Alternate TAA [ATAA] wage subsidy) recipients for coverage under qualified health insurance (including qualifying family members). Increases the rate of such credit from 65% to 72.5% of health insurance costs for that period. Eliminates the 80% rate for eligible coverage months beginning before February 13, 2011.
- Amends the Internal Revenue Code, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and the Public Health Service Act (PHSA) to extend through December 31, 2013, the TAA pre-certification period rule disregarding any 63-day lapse in creditable health care coverage for TAA workers. Extends the continued eligibility for the credit for certain qualified TAA-eligible individuals and PBGC pension recipients for COBRA premium assistance through December 31, 2013.
- Amends the Social Security Act (SSA) to prohibit the Secretary from certifying a state for grants for unemployment compensation unless such state has a law that provides for assessment of a penalty for fraudulent claims made by an individual for unemployment compensation. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to treat a state law as meeting requirements with respect to the allowance of an additional federal unemployment tax credit to a taxpayer (employer) for its contributions to the state unemployment compensation fund only if the law provides that an employer's unemployment compensation account shall not be relieved of charges relating to a payment from the state unemployment fund if:
(1) that payment was made because the employer (or agent) was at fault for failing to respond timely to a state agency request for information regarding an unemployment compensation claim, and
(2) the employer or agent has established a pattern of failing to respond timely or adequately to such requests.
- Amends the SSA to require each employer to report to a State Directory of New Hires certain information on employees the employer has rehired after at least a 60-day separation.