What are Commuter Benefits?
Commuter benefits allow employees to use pre-tax income to cover certain qualifying transportation costs. Once an employee signs-up for commuter benefits, funds are withdrawn from your paycheck for deposit into your account before taxes are deducted.
Note: Commuter benefits programs are legally required in certain jurisdictions (e.g., San Francisco Bay Area, D.C., New York City).
For example, in New York City:
Employers with 20 or more full-time employees working in the five boroughs of New York City are legally required to offer their full-time employees pre-tax commuter benefits. Please note that this law does not apply to: (1) United States, New York State, and New York City governments; (2) employers whose employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) (exception: if the employer has 20 or more full-time employees who are not covered by the CBA, the employer must offer these employees commuter benefits); or (3) employers not required to pay federal, state, and city payroll taxes.
If the total full-time employee count falls below twenty, the employer must allow the full-time employees who had been eligible to purchase commuter benefits before the workforce was reduced with the continued opportunity to use pre-tax income to purchase qualified transportation fringe benefits for the duration of their employment.
What benefits are available?
WageWorks allows employees to pick from a range of offerings, including parking, Via or uberPOOL rides, subway cards, and much more. The WageWorks software filters available options based on each employee’s location.
Setting up Uber in your WageWorks account
First, add your WageWorks Commuter Card as a payment profile:
- Open the Uber app: Tap the menu icon on the top left side of the screen
- Select payment: Tap Add Payment
- Add your commuter benefits prepaid card number: Tap Save
Now pay for rides using your WageWorks Commuter Card:
- Open the Uber app: Move your slider to uberPOOL, then tap set pickup location
- Change your payment profile: Tap the area where you see the last four digits of your current payment profile
- Select your commuter benefits prepaid card: Choose your commuter card from the list of available payment profiles, then finish making your request
What benefits are not available?
The following expenses can’t be paid for with Commuter Benefits funds: fuel, mileage, or other costs you incur in operating a vehicle, payments to a fellow participant in a carpool or to a friend who drives you to work, tolls, traffic tickets, parking at your personal residence, parking at your spouse's place of work, parking at a mall or similar location where you stop on your drive to or from your place of work, parking at an airport for taking an airplane to work, costs that have been or will be paid by your employer, such as for a business trip.
Please note that this is regulated by the IRS and not WageWorks.
Enrollment is super quick and easy! Any admin can simply log into Justworks, go to 'Benefits center,' then 'Offer more benefits.' Under ‘Commuter,’ you can click ‘set up now.’ Then, click ‘enroll now’ on the next screen.
Once your company enrollment is verified, we’ll email you and your employees, so that your employees will know to enroll themselves and start saving.
The Cost: WageWorks costs $5.00 per enrolled employee per month, charged to the company only for the second pay cycle of the month. Employees will only pay the cost of their selection.
The Deductions: Whenever an employee enrolls, we apply their pre-tax deductions automatically.
If your employer is offering the commuter benefit, you can enroll yourself for the benefit through the dashboard. Both full-time and part-time employees are eligible. Unfortunately, unpaid owners are not eligible for this benefit.
An employee must either enroll or make any changes to their WageWorks account before the 6th of each month. For example, to enroll in WageWorks and have commuter benefits in place for November, an employee must enroll prior to October 6th. However, if an employee wants to enroll in commuter benefits through Metro North or the LIRR, those orders must be placed by the 4th of the month.
To set it up, go to 'Benefits' from your dashboard, then click 'Available benefits.' Once you click ‘enroll now’ under Commuter, you will be redirected to WageWorks to complete the flow to make your benefit selections. For your ID code, you may use the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. We do not use a special employer code.
When your enrollment is complete, you’ll receive a confirmation email from WageWorks. The email will include:
- When to expect to receive your card - these are mailed to your home address in Justworks
- Your first benefit month - your benefit will be active from the first of that month
Pre-tax commuter benefits will be deducted from your first paycheck of the month on a pre-tax basis, so you’ll save some extra cash!
Making changes to your benefit
To make changes, log into your WageWorks account directly. If you have questions related to changing your benefit selection or the type of selections available for your location, you can contact WageWorks Customer Support to learn more. You can reach them at 877-924-3967 from 8am-8pm EST.
If you've lost your card, it's best to contact WageWorks Customer Support (877-924-3967 from 8am-8pm EST) or visit the WageWorks Support Center to have a replacement card mailed to you or to get help filing a claim. Please keep in mind that it's best to reach out to them as soon as you are able.
If you've yet to receive your card, be sure to double check that your order was placed on time and that your home address is listed correctly. If you placed the order on time and your home address is correct, WageWorks may be able to reimburse you for your order, so it's best to reach out to them directly.
When an employee is terminated in Justworks, their WageWorks account is cancelled immediately. If your employer has the Commuter Account Model or Commuter Express benefit program, any scheduled recurring order will be cancelled on the date of your termination or the date that WageWorks receives your termination date from your employer—whichever date is later. If your employer has the Commuter Account Model and you have unused funds in your account, you may submit new ordering instructions, and you have ninety (90) days from the date of termination of your employment to use the funds in your account for eligible expenses. Any unused pre-tax funds will be forfeited to your employer, and any post-tax funds will be refunded to you at the end of the ninety (90)-day period. If your employer has the Commuter Express benefit program and you have unused funds in your account, unused pre-tax funds will be forfeited to your employer before the next ordering deadline.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.