Employers Get Creative to Ease Impact of Gas Prices

August 26, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Organizations are taking a variety of creative steps to help their employees offset the high cost of gasoline, according to Mercer's 2008 Gas Price Impact SnapShot Survey.

Within the next six months, almost one in four employers (22%) are for the first time planning to offer at least some of their employees the option of a four-day work week, and 24% are planning to allow more employees to telecommute, Mercer said in a press release. Thirty percent of responding companies already implement carpooling programs, while another 23% plan to do so in the next six months.

To encourage ride-sharing, some companies offer special parking privileges for carpooling, company-funded vanpools, and van services from bus and train stations. The survey shows 20% of companies currently provide employees a subsidy for public transportation costs, while another 8% plan to offer this option in the next six months.

In addition, some organizations provide prepaid gas cards for perfect attendance, gas card giveaways for top performance, and subsidies for public transportation costs.

“Making the most of creative alternatives to help employees save on commuting costs is good management practice, supports attraction and retention concerns, and doesn’t add significantly to corporate expenses,” said Mitch Barnes, principal at Mercer, in the press release.

Other survey findings reveal that two-thirds (66%) of responding companies plan to increase mileage reimbursement amounts up to 20% for business-related travel due to higher gas prices, while 41% anticipate raising car allowance provisions up to 20%.

The survey includes responses from more than 300 organizations across the United States, and was conducted in July 2008. A complete report will be available online in mid-September free of charge at www.imercer.com/snapshot .