While the New York City Transit law took effect January 1, 2016, the Department of Consumer Affairs, who is responsible for the law, will not be seeking penalties for the law until July 1, 2016. This provides employers with just one month to implement a commuter benefit plan and comply with the transit law. Whether you offer a commuter benefit plan or are still reviewing your options, here is a quick guide to ensuring you comply with the New York City Transit Law.
STEP 1: UNDERSTAND IF YOU ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLY. Employers with 20 or more full time employees working in New York City must comply with the law. If you have multiple locations or related companies with common ownership, the total number of full-time employees at all locations is used to determine if you meet the threshold. NOTE: If you have less than 20 employees, you are still encouraged to offer the benefit but are not required.
STEP 2: IMPLEMENT A PLAN. There are a few ways you can implement a commuter benefit plan. If you are considering administering the plan in-house, make sure you consider all factors and weigh the true costs of in-house administration vs. third party management. We encourage you to request a quote for a commuter benefit plan. Benefit Resource will continue to accept new plans into June for a July effective date.
STEP 3: ANNOUNCE THE PLAN. The New York City Transit Law requires that you provide all eligible employees with a written offer for the plan. If you had a plan in place prior to the law, you are encouraged to send a reminder communication to all eligible employees to ensure you have previously provided an offer to employees and they are aware of the benefit.
STEP 4: MAINTAIN RECORDS. The New York City Transit Law requires that you maintain records for at least two years showing that an offer was made to employees and which employees accepted the benefit. Electronic records showing communications provided, eligibility and participation in the plan are all acceptable options. The Department of Consumer Affairs has also provided a Commuter Benefits Participation Form that can be used to establish acceptance and decline of the benefit. While this form is not required, employers that have limited participation in the plan may want to maintain explicit documentation showing the benefit was declined.
If you have any other questions on the New York City Transit Law, we encourage you to request a quote to get started.