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Business Commute Programs
Important Update on Pre-Tax Commuter Benefits:
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 expired on December 31st, changing the monthly pre-tax spending limit for transit and vanpools from $245 to $130 per month. Please talk to your payroll staff or benefits vendor for instructions on how to adjust employee pre-tax deductions accordingly.
Congress may act to reinstate parity between pre-tax transit and parking benefits in 2014. To stay updated:
If you would like to inform your Congress member of your support for permanent parity, please go to http://www.commuterbenefitsworkforus.com/.
Commuting can be a stressful and costly part of an employee’s day. One of the most cost-effective ways to recruit and retain employees is to provide benefits that make their commute cheaper and easier. SF Environment’s CommuteSmart staff can help businesses develop or adopt transportation benefits programs that fit their employees’ preferences and their budget.
1. Offer these free, no hassle programs
Emergency Ride Home: Support your employees' commute choices with this no cost program that provides employees a free ride home in case of unexpected personal emergencies. All San Francisco businesses are eligible to enroll. Complete the free registration annually and your employees will have access to the program if the need arises.
Ridesharing: The free 511 RideMatching program can help your employees find potential carpool and vanpool partners to share the ride to work. The site is secure and safe; personal information is not shared with other sources and employees choose how much of their contact information is shared. It’s even possible to narrow rideshare searches to only those who work at your company. Send an e-mail with this link to your employees to encourage them to register.
2. Join the many San Francisco businesses offering Commuter Benefits
Maintaining a commuter benefits program is an easy, inexpensive and effective recruitment and retention tool supported by Section 132(f) of the IRS tax code. This program is cost-effective, no matter the number of employees you have. Your employees benefit from saving money on their transit, vanpool or bicycle commute. There are generally three types of commuter benefits options to offer:
- Pre-tax deductions save employees up to $1,000 per year on commuting costs depending on where they commute from. Your company saves money through reduced payroll tax expenses. Only transit and vanpool expenses are eligible.
- Employer-paid subsidies provide more options for your employee’s commute. Biking, transit and vanpool expenses can be covered. You can save money though reduced payroll tax expenses when contributing toward your employees’ monthly transportation costs.
- Company-provided transportation options vary from paying for a seat on a shared shuttle or van to offering a dedicated employer shuttle. Costs range based on the type of service offered.
The San Francisco Commuter Benefits Ordinance requires businesses with 20 or more employees nationwide to offer a commuter benefits program to their San Francisco employees.
3. Ask us for help
CommuteSmart can help you set up an easy and cost-effective commuter benefits program. We can also assist you in enhancing your transportation benefits to tap into our full range of programs to best fit the needs of your employees.
Consultations. Meet with CommuteSmart staff to discuss how to implement or add to your transportation programs for employees. Request a consultation for one-on-one assistance.
Employer Guide. Step-by-step guidance on setting up a commuter benefits program.
Employee residential density map. Get a map based on ZIP codes to help you identify the best ways to help your employees commute smart.
Custom skinned ridematching site. Create a custom ridematching site that fits seamlessly with your company’s website to assist employees find carpool and vanpool partners.
Direct employee outreach. Invite us to table at your next health, wellness, or transportation benefits fair.
4. Stay updated
CommuteTalk is a quarterly e-newsletter compiled by CommuteSmart and targeted to Bay Area employers. This is a great way to stay current on commuter and transportation news. Sign-up here to be added to our contact list.
For more information, contact:
San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment)
City & County of San Francisco
Phone: (415) 355-3727
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.