Are you a for-profit business in Seattle with 20 or more employees? The Seattle Commuter Benefits Law requires businesses (nonprofits are exempt) with 20 or more employees worldwide to begin offering commuter benefits by January 1, 2020. This includes all employees that work an average of 10 or more hours a week. 

What is the Seattle Commuter Benefits Law?

As of January 1, 2020, Seattle employers with 20 or more employees are required to provide at least one of the following commuter benefit options:

  • Employee-Paid, Pre-Tax Benefits: Allows employees to set aside income on a pre-tax basis to cover the cost of commuting by mass transit or vanpools, up to $265 per month.
  • Employer-Paid, Direct Benefit: Employers offer their staff monthly commuting allowance of 30% or more of their commuting costs. 

How can I become compliant?

Commute Seattle is a collaboration between the Downtown Seattle Association and transit agencies to provide employers with complimentary assistance, including guidance on implementing commuter benefits. There are multiple ways to comply, including setting up pre-tax payroll deduction for commuter benefits or distributing transit passes through the ORCA for Business programs.  

Ways to Comply
Offer Pre-Tax Payroll Deductions Provide ORCA Transit Passes Use a Third-Party Commuter Tool
Employers provide the option of taking pre-tax deductions from employee paychecks each month to put toward qualified commuting expenses. ORCA for Business offers two flexible programs that allow employers to provide ORCA transit passes to employees fully or partially subsidized. Third-Party administrators provide services to set up and administer commuter benefits for your organization. These tools are helpful for complicated programs or limited capacities.

Ready to offer pre-tax benefits to your employees? Get started with this sample enrollment form or contact a transportation specialist at Commute Seattle by calling 206-613-3243 or email us

Learn More about the law or call the Office of Labor Standards at 206-256-5297 for questions.