Commuter benefits a growing business trend

Recently the mayor of San Francisco signed an ordinance requiring employers to offer commuter benefits. The mandate was put in place in hopes of reducing San Francisco’s greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 20% by 2012

The new rule, believed to be the first of its kind, requires employers with more than 20 employees to offer at least one of three commuter benefit options:
  1. Establish a program where employees could make pretax contributions to pay for public transportation expenses.
  2. Employers could pay for employees’ transportation expenses, such as buying transit passes for employees.
  3. Employers could provide transportation by setting up van pools for workers.

With more organizations working to reduce global warming, it’s predicted that more cities will follow San Francisco’s lead, especially those who have signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (USCPA). Mayors in the USCPA have pledged to reduce global warming pollution in their cities by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Commuting to and from work, lunch and running errands use 10 to 20 times more energy than any other factor contributing to your company’s carbon footprint. Supporting mass transit and allowing more employees to telecommute are just two ways employers can go green and reduce pollution.

Not only do commuter benefits help the environment, they also keep businesses productive. University studies have found that as gas prices drain employees’ wallets they also drain worker productivity. The money employees save by telecommuting full or part-time can improve productivity, job commitment and employee loyalty.

Keep workers less preoccupied with the high cost of gas and help the environment by offering commuter benefits. Whether through subsidized mass transit, telecommuting or pre-paid gas cards, every business can find a way to do their part for employees and the earth.

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