Employers Using Benefits to Help Employees Fill the Tank

May 21, 2008
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Survey shows ways employers are helping employees cope with high gas prices

Alexandria, Va. –As gasoline prices continue to rise, more employers are offering additional benefits, such as telecommuting and flexible schedules, to help offset those costs, according to a new survey from the world’s largest human resources association.

Most organizations are using benefits, not increased pay, to help employees cope. Only 2 percent of surveyed employers 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 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, What Employers Are Doing to Help Their Employees with High Gas Prices in 2008,showed thatthe most common tactic (42 percent) 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.”

Other key survey findings include:

  • Driving-related assistance has risen dramatically. For example, 13 percent of employers raised mileage reimbursement to the IRS cap in 2007, compared to 42 percent this year.
  • Some employers (12 percent) assist employees organize carpools, and 7 percent offer priority parking to employees who carpool.
  • Other benefits: offering new non-executive hires help in finding housing closer to the office (4 percent) and offering a monetary incentive for employees to buy hybrid cars (1 percent).
A complete copy of the survey is available at www.shrm.org/surveys.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 245,000 members in over 130 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the U.S. and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM at www.shrm.org.
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