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Worst Benefit Idea of 2008 - The Gas Price Guarantee....

Gas prices are high.  Jeff Spicoli high.

With that in mind, companies are doing what they should - thinking about the burden carried by employeesTraffic_jam  who have long commutes.  For many, that means thinking about what, if anything, can be done to help employees out with the cost of fuel for the commute.

But there's a right way, and a wrong way.

First the right ways -

1.  Encourage car pooling.

2.  Find opportunities for telecommuting where possible.

3.  If you're up for spending some money, perhaps encourage car pooling or public transit with some mild incentives. 

Now for the wrong way:

1.  Provide a guarantee on the price of gas, creating a program that states the company will reimburse employees for gas prices that exceed $2.85 per gallon for travel on their normal commute.

You're kidding me, right?  While it's great for the employees, the program effectively discourages any type of car pooling or alternative travel plans and creates a burden for the company, when gas prices keep going up, and the company looks back and says the following - "Whoops - we thought this thing was going to top off at $3/gallon, now that it's at $5, the program's going away.  Sorry.."

Not to mention, the lovely employee relations issues that go with providing a greater benefit to employees with longer commutes, or those that choose to drive an Accord instead of an Excursion...

Comments

Scott

Some of us in the IT world were talking about the tele-working.

Say I have two accounting employees. Both can work from home. One has nothing but trouble, constantly calling for IT support. The other has no problems at all.

When do you tell the one with constant troubles that they must come in to the office and work?

You are essentially taking money back out of her/his pocket since now they have to pay the gas cost. The other employee got a "gas raise" since she/he can still work from home.

I think this is the kind of situation that causes some companies to not want to deal with working remotely.

I have no solution, just wondering what the HR Pros would do and how they would handle it.

Shane

I think this is the biggest emerging HR and societal issue, and we're going to see a lot more focus on how workplaces handle the end of cheap oil.

Organizations that make the decision to relocate away from city centres to far away business parks are going to find it more and more difficult to attract and retain employees.

That move to the remote business park isn't going to seem like a fiscally responsible move after all when companies are forced to pay for their own connections to the public transit system.

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