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Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program Takes Effect September 30, 2014

April 30 2014

By: Labor and Employment

The Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program (“CBP”) is a pilot program that affects any public, private, or non-profit entity for which an average of 50 or more full-time employees per week perform work for monetary compensation within the geographic boundaries of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (“BAAQMD”). (Seasonal/temporary employees are excluded.)

Employers that become subject to this rule at any time after the CBP goes into effect must select at least one of four commuter benefit options, notify employees of how to take advantage of the benefits, and register online with the BAAQMD’s Air Pollution Control Officer (“APCO”) or that Officer’s designee, no later than six months after becoming subject to the CBP

The four commuter benefit options are:

Pre-tax option: Allow employees to exclude commuting costs (i.e. transit passes) from their taxable wages.

Employer-paid benefit: Offer employees a subsidy equal to the monthly cost of commuting via public transit or vanpool, or $75, whichever is lower. Employers may also choose to provide a subsidy for bicycle commuting costs.

Employer-provided transit: Furnish to employees at no cost, or low costs as determined by the APCO, a vanpool, bus or similar multi-passenger vehicle operated by or for the employer.

Alternative commuter benefit: Provide a pre-approved alternative employer-provided benefit that is as effective in reducing single occupant vehicles as Options 1-3.

An employee who performed an average of at least 2 hours of work per week within the previously calendar month within the geographic boundaries of the District, excluding a season/temporary employee is covered by the pilot program. While covered employees are required to offer at least one commuter benefit (or an approved alternative benefit), an employee is not required to participate in the program.