TDM Ordinance COVID-19 Update - Frequently Asked Questions

Santa Monica is a diverse business community, but no matter what sector you are in, the way you move has changed. The Emission Reduction Plan is an opportunity to communicate your organization’s circumstances to the City of Santa Monica so that we can prepare to meet your transportation needs. The commuting information you gather through this process will be valuable source of information as you begin planning for when it’s time for your employees to return to the worksite.

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 Where can I get help?

  • GoSaMo TMO helps local employers meet transportation needs for their workforce, visit www.gosamotmo.org.
  • For the latest economic recovery information, visit www.santamonica.gov/economicrecovery.
  • For the latest local COVID-19 information, visit www.santamonica.gov/coronavirus.
  • Contact TDM Staff, visit www.santamonica.gov/tdmcontact.
  • Begin your Emission Reduction Plan, visit www.santamonica.gov/TDM

Plan Submission Questions

Q1: Does my company still need to submit a plan?

  • If your company employs 50 or more people and plans to continue operating in Santa Monica, then you will need to submit an Emission Reduction Plan by your originally assigned due date, or the approved extension date. 
  • If your company has fewer than 50 people but are under a Developer Agreement, you may still need to survey your staff. Contact us for more information: tdmplans@smgov.net.

Q2: Is my company required to survey everyone, even if we’re all teleworking?

  • Employers with 250+ people: As of November 4, you are temporarily allowed to use payroll or HR records to account for telecommuting employees. When conducting a survey, telecommuting employees may count towards the minimum response rate of 60%. Employees physically reporting to the worksite will still need to be surveyed. If no employees are reporting to the worksite, then you will need to submit a letter signed by your Human Resources director (or equivalent position) confirming that your workforce is teleworking. A template letter can be provided.
  • Employers with under 250 people: For employers with 50-249 people: If at least 60% of your employees are teleworking, you can skip the traditional AVR survey by submitting a signed letter from your CEO, Human Resources Director, or similar stating that the work arrangements are a result of the impacts from COVID-19. Under this scenario, you will not need to survey employees physically reporting to the worksite.

We are also offering an optional Return to Work plan, tailored for employers who are mostly telecommuting, that you can submit in lieu of a traditional AVR survey. The survey will help you and the City to prepare for the eventual shift back to the worksite, and is hosted on the Citygrows platform. The results will be made available for your facility planning purposes.

Please let us know so we can update our records. You do not need to submit a plan. If in the future you decide to return to Santa Monica, please contact our office so that we can avoid compliance issues during the business license renewal process.

Q3: What if my company is leaving Santa Monica?

Please let us know so we can update our records. You do not need to submit a plan. If in the future you decide to return to Santa Monica, please contact our office so that we can avoid compliance issues during the business license renewal process.

 

If your company employs more than 250+ people and is leaving Santa Monica but leasing office space elsewhere in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, or San Bernardino Counties, your company will still be regulated by South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Rule 2202. Contact AQMD for further questions by calling (909) 396 – 3271 or emailing transport@aqmd.gov.

Q4: Our company does not plan to reopen until there is a vaccine. Why should I submit a plan?

The travel survey and the travel plan are integral components of your Return to Work plan, even if the timeline start date seems far in the future. Understanding how your employees are going to get to work will help the transition for everyone. You need to prepare to communicate health and safety information to all your employees, who will have different transportation needs. Many Santa Monica employees also do not have access to personal vehicles, so it is important to keep in mind how you will accommodate their circumstances. The survey is also useful for uncovering additional employee parking and transportation needs.

At the same time, if everyone drives their own car to Santa Monica, the gridlock will shut down the transportation network, and people will not be able to move. Getting your workers, clients, and customers into Santa Monica as safely and efficiently as possible is a top priority for the City of Santa Monica.

Q5: Everyone at my company is teleworking. Why do I still need to submit a plan?

Santa Monica is a diverse business community, but no matter what sector you are in, the way you move has changed. To meet the transportation needs of the business community, the City relies on these plans from larger employers to identify areas of need. The plan is still a requirement because not all businesses have their employees working from home, and we don’t know what your unique situation is. Your plan submission is an opportunity to communicate your organization’s circumstances to the City of Santa Monica and begin planning for your transportation needs for when it’s time for your employees to return to the worksite.

The plan you submit to us should be an integral component of your Return to Work preparations. As you develop your Return to Work plans, we can serve as a resource in helping you determine the transportation needs of your employees in our new normal.

If your company has 250+ employees, then you are subject to South Coast AQMD Rule 2202 regardless of whether or not all employees are currently teleworking. AQMD has issued guidance temporarily allowing employers to use payroll or HR records to account for teleworking employees. See Q2 for more information. We can also help develop your Return to Work plan; the commute data from our Return to Work survey (available inside Citygrows) provides valuable information on what commute options are available to your employees.

Q6: Can I request an extension?

We understand that COVID has created a lot of uncertainty in our lives. To allow more flexibility for our employers, we can provide 30-day extensions, with a maximum of 90 days from your original due date.

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Employee Counts

For employers with under 250 employees (subject to Santa Monica’s local ordinance)

Q7: How do I count employees?

  • You will report your employee count at the time you administer your survey.
  • You would omit employees who may be on temporary leave, such as furlough (through reduction in pay and working hours, or a temporary mandatory leave of absence for a set period of time; commonly, employees remain on your payroll and may remain eligible for benefits). You would also omit staff positions eliminated through a Reduction in Force (RIF).

Q8: How do I count employees who were furloughed during the survey period? Do they count as an employee?

Workers on a temporary leave, such as furlough, do not count toward your total employee count.

For employers with 250+ employees

Q9: How do I count employees?

You will report your employee count at the time you administer your survey. This would omit employees who may be on temporary leave, such as furlough (through reduction in pay and working hours, or a temporary mandatory leave of absence for a set period of time; commonly, employees remain on your payroll and may remain eligible for benefits). You would also omit staff positions eliminated through a Reduction in Force (RIF).

Q9: What if my employees shift to telework permanently, and never come to Santa Monica? Would I still count them for my AVR calculation?

For AQMD survey purposes, yes.

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Paying Fees

Q10: Do we pay the fee for everybody? Do I include everyone who is working from home?

You will include everyone who was assigned to your Santa Monica office. You do not need to include employees who were 100% remote before the COVID disruption or not assigned to your office.

Q11: Why do I need to pay the fee if everyone is telecommuting?

The calculated fee is to cover the cost of plan review and provides some funding for our outreach group GoSaMo TMO. The submission of these plans is required to renew your business license. 


Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC)

Q12: What if we do not have an Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC)?

Your company will need to appoint a new ETC, who goes through a certification process prior to submitting your annual plan. Online ETC trainings are available monthly via Zoom. The employee only needs to attend the training one time and the ETC certification does not expire. Please note: If your company employs more than 250+ employees, your new ETC will need to be trained by South Coast AQMD.

Sign up for ETC Training 


Parking

Q13: Due to COVID-19, more of my employees wish to drive to work; where can they park?

If you are looking for paid parking options, GoSaMo TMO for help matching your employee needs with your best options.

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