The average American worker spent between $2,000 and $5,000 commuting to work in 2019, and the average one-way commuting time increased to nearly 30 minutes. As of early May 2022, gas prices nationwide averaged $4.37/gallon, compared to $2.94/gallon in May 2019.
That has added to the resistance of many employees over returning to the office to work. It has also contributed to some degree to the unprecedented readiness of workers to quit their jobs in search of ones that pay better or are more fulfilling in some way important to them.
With so many employees now working remotely, either full-time or in a hybrid situation, what’s happening with commuter/transit benefits?
Commuter/Transit Benefit Plans
Offering a tax-advantaged Section 132 benefit plan (more commonly known as a Commuter/Transit benefit plan) helps employees better afford commuting costs. Plus, adding a Section 132 plan to available benefits can show employees their employer recognizes increased financial burdens and is trying to help.
Under Section 132, employees set aside funds pre-tax to cover commuter expenses, including mass transit, vanpool, and parking expenses. There are maximum amounts that can be contributed and reimbursed per month.
Section 132 Limits for 2023
As hard as it is to attract and retain top talent, it’s essential to respect and support those already on the payroll. If rising costs discourage your employees from returning to the office, reassure them of their value to the company in part by offering a Section 132 commuter/transit benefit program. For more information, contact your third-party administrator (TPA) or qualified benefits counsel.
DataPath Summit helps TPAs administer Section 123 commuter/transit benefits including such features as terminal-restricted debit cards.