We’ve previously discussed San Francisco’s Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program and now employers in both New York City and Washington D.C. will be subject to mandatory commuter benefit ordinances.

The requirements in both cities go into effect January 1, 2016, so now is the perfect time to start looking into whether the law impacts you as an employer.

If you are an employer in NYC and have 20 or more full-time employees (working an average of 30 hours or more per week) then you are required to offer a qualified transportation plan other than for qualified parking. This can be accomplished with a federal qualified (§132(f)) transportation plan permitting reimbursement for transit passes, vanpooling or bicycle commuting expenses.

Washington D.C. also requires commuter benefits for any employer with 20 or more employees, however, Washington D.C. counts employees as any employee regardless of hours worked. That is, even part-time employees are included in the employee count for employers in the District.

The Washington D.C. mandate provides three alternative methods for an employer to provide commuter benefits:

  1. An employee-funded federal qualified (§132(f)) transportation plan permitting reimbursement for transit passes, vanpooling or bicycle commuting expenses;
  2. An employer-paid transit pass (this would be only for WMATA, MARC, VRE or Amtrak); 
  3. An employer-provided shuttle service at no cost to the employee either in the form of a vanpool or bus operated by or for the employer.

In both cases, an employer in either of these cities can easily comply by adopting a standard qualified transportation plan which is offered by PrimePay.

If you have any questions, please contact Benefit Services at 877-769-3539. 

Mitch Geiger is an Employee Benefits Attorney who works for PrimePay as Director, Regulatory Compliance Benefits.