By Caroline Davis : peninsulapress.com – excerpt
Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent signing of a bill that authorizes a four-year pilot commuter benefits program is expected to take cars off San Francisco Bay Area roads and put money back in the pockets of roughly 60 percent of the area’s workers.
Depending on how eligible employees choose to take advantage of the program, it could offer significant savings — or added expenses — for businesses, transportation officials say.
The legislation affects Bay Area companies with 50 or more full-time employees who work more than 20 hours a week. Those firms are required to offer employees a choice of three primary options, all designed to give a financial incentive to carpool or use mass transit…
Under the pilot program, one of the three employee choices is known as “the pre-tax option.” It enables workers to elect to pay for transit passes, van-pooling and bicycling expenses with pre-tax dollars – reducing the amount they owe in payroll taxes, primarily on Social Security and Medicare. Employees would also save an estimated $500 to $1,000 annually in commuting costs… (more)