Bill to help workers pay commuting costs clears legislature

Helping to ease commuting costs for New Jersey workers, legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-14th District, was approved by the assembly on Jan. 31, 62-12-2.

Assembly Bill 2425 will now head to Gov. Phil Murphy for further review.

The bill requires every employer in New Jersey with at least 20 employees, not subject to a collective bargaining agreement, to offer their workers a pre-tax transportation fringe benefit.

A pre-tax transportation fringe benefit provides commuter highway vehicle and transit benefits, at the maximum benefit levels allowable under federal law, to be deducted for those programs from an employee’s gross income. It also allows an employee to set aside wages on a pre-tax basis, which is then only made available for the purchase of transportation services, including transit passes and commuter highway vehicle travel.

Under the bill, a civil penalty of not less than $100 and not more than $250 is to be imposed for any employer found to be in violation.

Employers have 90 days from the date of the violation to offer the pre-tax transportation fringe benefit program before the penalty is imposed.  After 90 days, each additional 30-day period during which an employer fails to offer a pre-tax transportation fringe benefit is a subsequent violation subject to a $250 civil penalty. The civil penalty is to be imposed only once in any 30-day period. The Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development is required to ensure that eligible employers provide the pre-tax transportation fringe benefit and is authorized to issue citations for noncompliance.

The bill requires New Jersey Transit, in conjunction with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority, to establish a public awareness campaign to encourage the public to contact employers about pre-tax transportation fringe benefits.

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