Commuting for work is a normal part of life for most employees. But shockingly, only nine percent of workers carpool with one other person.
Qualified transportation benefits (QTB) or commuter tax benefits is a comprehensive way for employers to extend benefits to employees, and save on federal income taxes. As an employer-sponsored benefit program employees are able to set aside pre-tax income to help pay for commute-related costs, including mass transit, vanpooling, and parking expenses.
QTB, however, is subject to a monthly maximum contribution cap. In 2019, for example, the cap is $265 per month for parking and $265 for transit passes and vanpooling (combined). This is a five-dollar increase from the 2018 contribution cap. There are no reimbursement options for bicycle commuting.
Environmental benefits include:
- Reduced congestion on surface streets and highway systems.
- Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Improved quality of life for employees and surrounding communities.
To start a QTB program for your employees, consider the following steps:
- Compile a team of stakeholders and employee members who are interested in assisting with the design and structure of the QTB program. Use this pre-announcement time to decide if the program will cover all transit passes or if employees will be limited to a specific transit system or payment method.
- Communicate the QTB program’s why’s and how’s clearly and effectively. Post the same information in a public spot where employees can easily locate and reference the material, such as your company intranet.
- Offer payroll deductions as a simple way of contributing to the QTB program.
Organizations that have adopted a QTB program have found improved job satisfaction among employee participants, along with healthier and more productive employees who are experiencing reduced stress. The QTB program gives employees a financial incentive to spend less time driving, and more time focusing on their lives and personal health.
In addition to standard employee benefits like medical and dental insurance, life insurance, and 401(k), Harbor America can assist you in offering your clients additional supplementary or voluntary benefits. Contact us to find out what else you can start offering to your employees. They deserve it.
 US News: How Commuting is Changing