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July 19, 2005
Employees on Their Own When It Comes to High Gas Prices

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American employers provide lots of benefits to their workers, but helping them to cope with the rising cost of driving to work hasn't been one of them, based on the results of an online poll at, a website for HR professionals, posed this question to site visitors between June 29 and July 6: "What, if anything, are you doing to help employees deal with high gas prices?"

Here's how the 499 participants answered:

- Encouraging more carpooling: 4%
- Encouraging greater use of mass transit: 2%
- Allowing more telecommuting: 1%
- Some combination of the above: 6%
- Nothing: 86%

"It may be that gas prices haven't risen high enough yet to cause a crisis in commuting," speculated Kevin Flood, managing Web editor of "There might also be a sense that employees wouldn't embrace something like carpooling even if management encouraged it."

Yet editors at, "State HR Answers and Tools Online," remind employers and employees alike that they can earn tax benefits under a variety of state and federal laws aimed at reducing traffic congestion, including the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA). Plain-English explanations of these laws are available to subscribers in the Regulatory Analysis section of the site.

For everyone else, there's "Telecommuting: A Guide to Managing Employees," a free download from Business & Legal Reports. This special report contains guidance on how to design a telecommuting program that works, with special attention paid to potential legal issues involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). It also includes a case study, sample telecommuting agreement, and sample policy.

Download the document, at no charge, here.

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