Lance Armstrong may not have a work commute five days a week through heavy traffic, but if he did, you can bet that he’d be asking his employer to make cycling a more attractive option by offering bike benefits.
Under current law, employers can provide employees with a tax-free reimbursement of up to $20 a month to cover reasonable expenses incurred in conjunction with their commute to work by bike. The benefit isn’t without its limitations, and employers probably have to look beyond that whopping sum of $240 per year to get employees to start pedaling to the office, but at least it’s something.
In order to qualify for the tax-free benefit, employees must regularly bike to work during the month they receive the reimbursement. In addition, employees can’t receive the bike benefit in any month they receive parking or transit benefits. Many employees, even those that bike to work several days per week, may prefer to stick with those other commuter benefit options because of how much more generous they are. In 2015, employers can provide employees with tax-free parking benefits worth up to $250 per month or transit benefits worth up to $130 per month.
Employees that do receive the bike benefit can put it toward the purchase of a decent commuter bicycle or use it to pay for such things as bike parking facilities, shower facilities, a bike lock or helmet. But the benefit can only be used to reimburse employees for substantiated expenses, meaning employers must require employees to provide receipts or certify their expenses, and the expenses must be incurred in the same month that the $20 benefit is received. As a result, the purchase of that commuter bike would have to be done on a monthly installment plan, since employees couldn’t put several months’ worth of benefits toward a bike that they purchase outright with a one-time payment.
There’s legislation working its way through Congress that would expand the bike benefit to allow employees to use the $20 per month toward membership fees in bike-sharing programs, which allow people to rent bikes and drop them off at other locations. If the legislation passes, it may encourage additional people to opt for a two-wheeled commute in places that offer bike sharing.
Even if that added component becomes a reality, it’s easy to see how a reimbursement of $20 per month—which requires time and paperwork to receive and knocks out the option of receiving parking or transit benefits—might not do a whole lot to convince employees to start cycling to work. So here are some ideas for other steps employers can take to encourage employees to bike to work:
For more ideas on how to make their workplaces more bike friendly, employers should contact local bicycle clubs and ask them for tips on the types of programs and benefits that are important to cyclists in their area.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)