The idea of paying for workers' homes lost ground to the recession seven years ago, but is making a come-back. Facebook announced it is going to pay employees cash to move closer to work. Bloomberg's Patrick Clark takes a look at a range of companies offering help to employee's home buying activities and explains why. Clark writes,
"The simple answer has to do with taxes. Unlike with retirement funds, say, where the government provides an explicit tax benefit for companies to pay for employee benefits, housing stipends can be taxable for both the employer and employee, according to report this summer from Bloomberg BNA (subscription required). So employers operating in expensive housing markets have become accustomed to paying higher salaries, and letting workers decide how to spend the money.
Employers that do help with housing have typically fallen into a couple of categories. Local governments have sometimes created incentives to help municipal workers live in the neighborhoods they serve, like the city of San Francisco, which announced plans earlier this year to spend up to $44 million over the next five years to help teachers buy homes. Academic institutions, like Washington University in St. Louis, and hospital centers have also dabbled in housing."