After the introduction of the Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021, which is designed to reform the H-2B program, Brian Crawford, EVP, government affairs, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), released the following statement today in support of the bill.
“As lodging industry employers around the nation grapple with labor shortages, a steady stream of prospective employees is key to bringing back the jobs wiped out due to the pandemic,” said Crawford, who is also co-chair of the H-2B Workforce Coalition. “Our members always look first to the U.S. workforce to fill critical job functions during peak seasons, but the H-2B program is a valuable tool for small businesses that rely on temporary seasonal employees. We commend Representatives Cuellar, Joyce, Keating, Pingree, Chabot and Harris for introducing this bipartisan legislation that provides clarity and much-needed reforms to the H-2B program.”
The Returning Worker Exception Act of 2021 is designed to reform the H-2B program by exempting returning workers from an antiquated cap, ensuring that small and seasonal businesses are able to fulfill their labor needs and contribute to the nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The bill would also improve efficiencies with the application process and require the Department of Labor to maintain a publicly accessible online job registry. Finally, the legislation would strengthen program integrity measures and anti-fraud provisions to protect both American workers and H-2B workers.
The H-2B Workforce Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 industry associations focused on protecting American workers by ensuring American small and seasonal employers have access to legal short-term temporary employees during peak business periods, also supports the bill.