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May 23, 2008
Employers Add Benefits to Help Employees with Rising Gas Costs

More employers are offering telecommuting, flexible schedules, and other benefits to help employees offset the costs of rising gas prices, but few employers are increasing pay to help employees, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

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The survey found that only 2 percent of respondents said they offered a cost of living raise prompted by gas prices, or stipends to employees with long commutes.

Instead, employers are offering new benefits, and more employees are taking advantage of benefits they already had. The survey found that the most common tactic (42 percent, up from 13 percent in 2007) by employers was to raise the mileage reimbursement to the IRS maximum.

Other benefits include offering a flexible work schedule (26 percent), telecommuting (18 percent), public transportation discounts (14 percents), and rewarding employee performance with a gas card (14 percent).

"Rising gas prices are cutting into everyone's personal budgets, so employees are taking a closer look at benefits such as compressed work weeks and public transportation discounts to reduce their costs," said Susan R. Meisinger, president and CEO of SHRM. "In addition, employers are offering extra help as a tool to retain employees and improve employee morale."

The survey found that 12 percent of employers help employees organize carpools, and 7 percent offer priority parking to employees who carpool. One percent of respondents said they offer a monetary incentive for employees to buy hybrid cars.

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