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San Francisco adds work from home to commuter benefits

Working from home is now on the list of commuter benefits for San Francisco workers

Businesses mandated to provide commuter benefits through the Bay Area Transit Program are now allowed to offer the benefit to employees who work from home. Employees can work at least one day a week at home and still receive commuter benefits to use towards local transportation, including BART, the bay ferry, buses, and trolleys.

The Bay Area Transit Program is one of several commuter benefit laws in the San Francisco area. This program requires businesses that have at least 50 employees to offer commuter benefits. There were four options for benefits before the new rule such as those who use commuter benefits through a pre-tax account, employer-paid transportation or paying part of the costs, and those to encourage carpooling.

It will be interesting to see if other San Francisco commuter benefits programs follow the lead of Bay Area Transit. Many workers are still working from home or transitioning to a hybrid schedule. The San Francisco Bay Area has six commuter benefits programs, including the Bay Area Transit Program. Those programs include the cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Richmond. There are also programs for the San Francisco International Airport and the nine-county Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Commuter benefit laws help put commuters on mass transit, driving down the air pollution. Transportation is the top source of pollution in the area, so getting people to use public transit is critical.

If you own a business, you can help fight pollution in your area and give your employees a benefit that puts money in their pocket. Commuters can save up to $270 tax-free every month to use towards mass transit, rideshares, and qualified parking.

Meanwhile, businesses pay less in payroll tax, saving about $40 per month for each new participant in the program. A business that has 50 people can save $24,000 annually.

If you’d like more information, visit www.commuterbenefits.com.