Senate Bill 5472, introduced in the Washington State Legislature, marks a significant stride in addressing unemployment among hard-to-place job seekers, such as individuals with felony convictions or those experiencing homelessness. This incentive will add another layer of financial incentives above what the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit offers.
This bi-partisan bill will offer a credit against business and occupation tax or public utility taxes. The credit is offered to employees hired after October 1, 2023, at up to 10 percent of wages and benefits or a maximum $500 after the employee has been employed for three consecutive full calendar quarters.
WR supports this bill because it furthers our Retail Workforce Initiative to help employers with the challenges of hiring people of all talents and backgrounds. It offers mutual benefits for both employers and job seekers. Employers gain financially, making it more appealing to consider a broader and more diverse range of candidates. This expands their talent pool and aligns with corporate social responsibility goals. This bill offers job seekers a crucial opportunity for employment and social reintegration. Stable employment can be a transformative step, providing not just income but also a sense of purpose and community.
Moreover, the bill includes a mechanism for review and adjustment. The effectiveness of the tax credits will be evaluated by December 31, 2032, ensuring that the bill’s objectives are being met and allowing for future modifications if necessary.
SB 5472 represents a thoughtful legislative effort to foster a more inclusive workforce in Washington State. By aligning economic incentives with social goals, the bill holds the promise of creating new opportunities for those often left behind in the job market, potentially serving as a model for similar initiatives elsewhere.