San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has signed an ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind for a municipality, that requires employers to offer employees at least one of three commuter benefit options.
Under the ordinance, which is intended to help reduce San Francisco’s 2012 greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels, employers will have a choice of three transit options:
• Set up a program under which employees can make pretax contributions to the federal legal limit of $115 a month to pay for mass transit expenses. That option is expected to be the one most likely to be offered by employers.
• Employers can directly pay for employees’ transportation expenses, such as buying transit passes for employees.
• Employers can furnish transportation by setting up van pools for employees.
The ordinance, which will take effect in late December, will apply to employers with at least 20 employees and will have to be offered to employees who work an average of at least 10 hours per week.
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