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Benson, Giblin Bill to Help Workers Pay Commuting Costs Now Law
(TRENTON) - Helping to ease commuting costs for New Jersey workers, legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel R. Benson and Thomas Giblin was signed into law Friday.
The new law (formerly bill A-2425) requires every employer in New Jersey that employs at least 20 persons, not subject to a collective bargaining agreement, to offer a pre-tax transportation fringe benefit to all of the employer's employees.
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. The pre-tax transportation fringe benefit allows an employee to set aside wages on a pre-tax basis, which is then only made available to the employee for the purchase of transportation services, including transit passes and commuter highway vehicle travel.
"This new law will ensure that all employees have access to this federal tax break. It's a common sense way to lend a helping hand as we work with the new governor to make New Jersey more affordable," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Employers should be offering this benefit already, but with this bill we'll make sure all employees have this option and can take advantage of it, if they want."
"The pre-tax transportation fringe benefit would improve employees' access to transit passes reducing the cost of commuting for New Jersey workers," said Giblin (D-Essex, Passaic). "We thank the Governor for taking another step in support of New Jersey's working families."
Under the law, a civil penalty is to be imposed for any employer found to be in violation of the bill of not less than $100 and not more than $250 for the first violation. An employer has 90 days from the date of the violation to offer the pre-tax transportation fringe benefit program before the civil penalty is imposed. After 90 days, each additional 30 day period in 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.
It also requires NJ 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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