When did gas prices become the employer's problem?

While surfing the internet today I came across a blog post: High Gas Prices Continue to Cause Employee Pain; Employers are not Offering Help. I thought surely the writer is not going to suggest that it's the employer's responsibility to do something about gas prices. But yes, that's what she was suggesting.

The blogger referenced a survey by the Workforce Institute that basically states the obvious: Higher gas prices mean it's costing workers more to get to work. Consumers have cut spending in other areas of their life to make up the difference.

But where this gets silly, in my opinion, is in reporting that 80% of employees say their employer doesn't provide them any help with higher gas prices. When did the gas prices become the responsibility of the employer? When did it become the company's responsibility to help manage an employee's budget?

Sure, it's nice if a company offers benefits to employees, but we've gone so over the top with this entitlement mentality. Don't you think that high gas prices are already costing most companies more in terms of making and delivering products and services? Yet the companies are supposed to take even more of a hit and offer employees money or compensation to help them?

Changing schedules might be one way to help employees manage their fuel costs, but that's only reasonable if it doesn't negatively impact the company. Beyond that, I don't think companies have a responsibility to subsidize gas costs for employees.

I'm all for rewarding employees who earn it. And added incentives from time-to-time are nice things for the employees. But let's quit demanding more from companies that are just trying to stay in business and turn a profit. There are plenty of costs businesses already pay on behalf of their employees, and adding subsidizing gas prices is one more expense that companies don't need.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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