Regional commuting program adds’ telecommuting ‘to employers’ options

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The Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today announced a new post-pandemic compliance option for the Regional Commuter Benefits Program: the telecommuting.

As a result of state legislation in 2016, the Bay Area adopted a regional commuter benefits program requiring employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer one of four options. ” benefits to commuters to their employees, including pre-tax benefit allow employees to exclude their transportation costs from taxable income, as well as transportation and transit subsidies provided by the employer.

Employers now have the choice between a fifth option: teleworking. The new option can be used to comply with the regional commuter benefits program, provided that the commuter benefits are not taken away from employees unable to work remotely and also that it is offered one or more days by week.

“Now is the time to make a difference in our offices and on our roads for the benefit of our environment and our health,” said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Supervisor and Chairman of the Bay Board of Directors. Area Air Quality Management District. “As Santa Clara County ends mandatory work-from-home orders under a new public health ordinance and other Bay Area counties are expected to follow soon, we have a new telecommuting option. allowing employers with 50 or more employees to comply with the Bay Area Commuter. Benefits program by allowing employees to work one or more days a week from home if their workload permits. “

Along with the aforementioned announcement today, the Air District also unveiled its new “Flex your ride»A messaging program for businesses in the Bay Area that encourages collaboration between employers and employees to reinvent the way the workforce moves. According to the Air District, studies show that employees are more willing to make commuting changes when encouraged by their employer. Flex Your Commute offers messages and tools to help motivate employees to choose alternatives to driving alone to get to work.

“We are now at a tipping point – transportation is the biggest source of air pollution and greenhouse gases in the Bay Area,” said Jack Broadbent, general manager of the Bay Area Air District. “Flexibility – where, when and how we work will help us reduce transport pollution. We must eliminate driving alone to work as a first step in reducing regional air pollution and greenhouse gases. “

Climate change continues to impact air quality in California and the Bay Area, according to the Air District. Due to the pandemic, employers and employees have learned to stay productive while working from home, which has helped reduce air pollution and congestion associated with commuters.

Carpooling, public transit, vans, biking, walking and telecommuting are flexible choices Bay Area employees have when planning their daily commute, the Air District added. The New Commuter Benefits Program Option 5: Telecommuting and the Flex Your Commute program will encourage sustainable commuting options as the Bay Area continues to recover from the pandemic and return to work.

“As more people return to their workplaces, let’s make smart choices about how we do it. Each of us can do our part to reduce traffic, improve air quality and protect our climate by not driving alone, ”said Alfredo Pedroza, MTC President and Napa County Supervisor. “Whether it’s carpooling, public transport, cycling or maintaining these newly acquired skills in teleworking, let’s use our brains and adapt our trips.”

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