We just rented a new office in downtown Portland Maine. It will be a fun location for the employees and everyone is excited about the move. Unfortunately, there is little public parking near the new office and so most people would need to rent a spot for about $80 to $120/month.
I'm thinking about having the company cover all or some of this cost and was wondering if people had thought about this before and had suggestions about what was fair.
Not sure whether I would use the term 'fair' - it's more about how you want to treat your employees and what you can afford as a company. It sounds like it could be an irritation to your staff to have to worry about the cost of parking, so removing that worry is probably a good thing. Some thoughts though:
Hope this helps.
Great insights from Steve.
Paying for parking should be seen as a fringe benefit (just like an health insurance plan).
But you really need to consider the whole employee base, not just the ones that drive to work.
So, one thing you could do is create a "transportation shopping list" where employees can choose how they want to get that money (parking cards, bus tickets, bike maintenance... whatever makes sense for your employees).
Hope this idea helps. Good luck.
In this situation, I don't see helping out with parking as a perk. You've changed the terms of their employment (Unless they all knew ahead of time you were planning the move and they would have to pay for parking.) The bottom line is, some of your employee's take home pay, just got cut. I don't think you should have to eat the entire cost either. There may be some benefits for everyone in your new location.
You may want to see if you can take some of the hassle out of the situation. You could take the money out of their paycheck and make the parking payment (Optionally of course.). You may even be able to do this before taxes. This is done with public transportation expenses for commuting; I think parking qualifies as well.
The fact that you're making an effort to take your employee's needs into consideration says a lot.
I think if the company rents the spots and assigns them to the employees then it's a business expense and would not be considered a taxable benefit to the employee. This way the company gets the deduction and the employee gets to part. This is not that different from having the parking being part of the rent.
If on the other hand you make employees pay for it themselves they need to pay for it with after-tax dollars and in the end you'll need to compensate for it in their salary which is more expensive to the company.
I don't really agree that you need to compensate the people who don't drive equally. If you were in a different building that included parking it would be built into your rent and be transparent to the employees and no one would think you need to compensate the people that don't drive.
One very big question to ask is: "Is this perk I am going to pay for something I may need to take away some day? "
If the answer is YES, think long and hard about how crucial it is to have it.
I have covered this subject in my article "5 Rules for Avoiding the Need to Cut Costs "
Giving something to your employees you can't be sure you can sustainably pay for long term is damaging to the operations of the business. Perks are one of the places one needs to be very conservative.
That all said, I would see, if you could negotiate something with the garage. I've done it before and sometimes you can negotiate a very good deal, if you give them a longer term commitment.
How will you cope with employees that don’t drive thinking it is unfair? Are you going to pay towards the cost of
First of all I think the idea of covering parking expenses is good - paying increased salary to existing employees who moved with you may be the fairest and simplest way to do it (depending on local tax laws - ask your accountant). For future employees it's part of the salary equation: if something is described salary rather than parking allowance it affects negotiations. If your salary includes a $1200 parking allowance you might expect it to increase every time local parking rates increase.
These are two things your employees cannot do on their own. In addition, a payment made to another company to reduce parking fees would probably classify as a business expense rather than an employee benefit. (But for the first of these try avoiding any payment if you can.)
RE: whole employee base - perhaps a shuttle would be an alternative. Strike a deal in a slightly further away parking garage & offer free transport from there and public transportation dropoffs.
From my experience most downtown companies pay for their employees parking. Think of it as an employee perk and use it for recruiting purposes. There are some however that make their employees pay for their own parking. That can be expensive for some. The challenge of only covering parking for some and not for others is that some will feel like they are not getting the same perks as others