10 Jun Employee Transportation Benefits are Good for the Company
Employers who grant transportation benefits for members of their workforce gain several advantages for their company. Granting these benefits can help your company by:
• Attracting and retaining workers
• Minimizing payroll taxes
• Enhancing customer access to services and goods
• Expanding service hours
• Minimizing gas emissions and conserving energy
• Demonstrating company support of work-life balance
• Helping public transit
• Developing your corporate reputation as an environmentally and worker-friendly company
Sustaining Employee Transportation Benefits
Companies interested in offering employee transportation benefits for their workers have a many selections when it comes to designing a program. They can:
• Participate in a Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit program by allowing workers to set aside pre-tax dollars to cover transit or vanpool costs or by subsidizing the expense for their workers and deducting the costs as an employee benefit
• Partner with local transportation providers to educate employees about alternative transportation options they can use to commute to work
• Become a member of a transportation management association, a nonprofit membership organization representing employers and business leaders seeking to ease traffic congestion and lower reliance on single-occupant commuting
• Support ridesharing among employees by sponsoring carpools, shuttles, or vanpools
• Designate a staff person to represent an Employee Transportation Coordinator
• Partner with other local employers to form a transportation consortium and jointly support shared ride selections or access discounted transit passes for employees
• Offer telecommuting and flex-time schedules to help lessen traffic congestion and related air pollutants
The Economic Downturn Brings Increased Opportunities for Shared Ride Commuting
Over the last year, working families have seen their savings shrink and, in many cases, their job security threatened. Finding ways to save money and still meet daily living expenses is a hallmark of these times. Many workers have significantly cut down on driving or given up their cars completely and chosen public transit and other methods of ridesharing to commute to work.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), use of public transit in 2008 reached its highest level since 1956. In addition to the cost savings they gain through reduced fuel and parking expenses, these commuters are promoting public transit access, and reducing the environmental impacts from carbon gas emissions and traffic congestion.
Financial Incentives for Employers
Forward thinking employers who are worried about the negative impact of the economic downturn on their employees recognize that a cost-effective way to help workers is through the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit. The benefit gives employers with a tool they can use to subsidize transportation for their workers during these lean times to ease commuting costs.
Businesses and employees that support and use shared ride travel can now claim larger tax benefits. ARRA includes an increase in the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit, from $120 to $230 through December 2010.
Five Actions You Can Take to Support Your Employees in These Challenging Times
• Support ridesharing to lessen the economic impact of commuting on your employees
• Designate a staff member to assist with the design, implementation, and administration of programs that encourage ridesharing.
• Subsidize employees’ commute through the Qualified. Transportation Fringe Benefit program as well as through vouchers and bus passes.
• Maximize the benefits of partnering with other businesses or with Transportation Management Associations to design company specific transportation solutions.
• Learn how businesses like yours have implemented innovative programs.
Employee Commuter Benefits: An Improvement to Your Bottom Line.
Currently, 7.6 million workers in the United States receive employer-provided commuter benefits. Are your employees among them? If the answer is no, your company should take into consideration joining the growing number of employers who are offering such benefits– and reaping the fiscal rewards.
Commuter benefit programs vary in scope, so employers can design programs according to their desired level of involvement and the special needs of their workforce. Programs can range from informal initiatives that encourage workers to set up shared ride options to highly structured programs managed by designated staff. At any level, offering commuter benefits enables your company to positively influence your employees’ travel choices, promote a more productive work environment, improve employee retention, and demonstrate a commitment to cleaner air in the community.
Save Your Company Money!
• Save thousands of dollars in hiring and training costs by providing a commuter benefit program for employees, many of whom may struggle with rising transportation costs. One study found that, on average, it costs a firm 25 percent of a position’s annual salary plus 25 percent of the cost of benefits to replace an employee. Furthermore, when considering the indirect expenses of advertising, recruitment, and new employee training, not to mention lost productivity, it can cost a company up to 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace him or her.
• Increase employee productivity by promoting commuter habits that reduce employee commute times and late arrivals.
• Save on overhead costs related to maintaining on-site parking lots and garages and adding more parking spaces to keep up with a growing workforce by encouraging shared rides to work.
• Lessen payroll taxes by allowing employees to use pre-tax dollars for transportation (See Fact Sheet # 6.).
Increase Your Business’s Ability to Recruit and Retain Employees.
• Compete and win at retaining and hiring the most qualified workers by offering comprehensive benefits, including a commuter benefit program.
• Establish a more diversified workforce and create a more positive work environment by enticing workers who might otherwise not be able to commute to your company’s facility.
• Present your company as a proactive and innovative workplace.
• Demonstrate your company’s support of work-life balance, which is extremely important to today’s workforce.
Use the commuter tax benefit as an affordable way to give employees a net pay increase (See Fact Sheet # 6.).
• Reduce employee stress and increase employee morale and employee job satisfaction by promoting commute options that are less burdensome.
• Support vanpooling and other forms of ridesharing by offering a Guaranteed Ride Home program. Offered by many employers across the country, these programs typically provide a ride home for registered carpoolers and vanpoolers for specified emergencies (e.g., sick child, family emergency) and are usually available at no cost to the user. Knowing this option is available encourages many workers to reconsider shared ride options as a viable alternative to driving alone to work.
• Offer employees benefits to compress their weekly schedules or telecommute. Volatile gasoline prices, which reached an all-time high in 2008, have caused many companies to consider new ways to keep employees happy.
Increase Customer Access to Your Business.
• Improve customers’ access to your business, as well as ensure a faster delivery of goods and services, by reducing traffic congestion and increasing available on-site parking.
• Broaden your business’ service hours without significantly increasing costs by allowing employees to work flexible or staggered work hours, therefore giving additional staff coverage and better customer service.
Support Local Community Development.
• Support your local transit systems and community’s economic development goals by motivating employees to use public transportation.
• Give workers with more disposable income to invest in their communities by offering access to inexpensive transportation to work.
Promote Your Business as Environmentally Responsible.
• Have a positive influence on the environment by inviting employees to utilize shared or public transportation or walk or bike to work– and for this reason ease traffic jam and decrease vehicle-based emissions.