Employee Relocation Costs: What to Consider

Job relocation can be overwhelming and stressful for employees and their families, which is why many companies will provide some kind of relocation benefit. However, relocation can be costly for employers, and in many cases, relocation expenses can be hard to predict. There are a number of different moving expenses, and depending on how much a company is willing to help, the actual cost of the relocation can vary.

Major relocation expenses can include:

  • Real estate expenses – buying and selling a home
  • Moving household goods, automobiles and pets
  • Short-term housing and storage
  • Airfare, car rentals and miscellaneous travel

Not to mention the less obvious costs due to lost productivity from stress and distractions of getting settled into a new home.


How to Calculate Relocation Costs

While it can be difficult to predict the cost of relocation (especially since it is based on where the employee is moving to and from), having a comprehensive relocation budget can help you more accurately estimate employee relocation expenses. Your relocation budget should consider the following costs:

  • Final travel to the new location
  • Packing and moving costs
  • Moving insurance costs
  • Short-term housing
  • Temporary storage
  • Home sale and/or purchase
  • Tax gross up of benefits

Careful real-time tracking of employee moving expenses can help you stay within budget for each relocation. Surprise relocation expenses are less likely to emerge when everything is calculated in advance. When they do occur, you can look at other areas of the budget to compensate.

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Reducing Relocation Costs

Cost cutting has become a way of life in the business world. Reducing relocation costs covered by an employer is good for the company’s bottom line. The goal should be to cut back and control employee relocation expenses without compromising the experience of the relocating employee. Simple changes can result in substantial savings through reduced relocation expenses without sacrificing employee morale.

1. Lay Down Clear Parameters in Your Employee Relocation Policy to Lower Relocation Expenses

Ambiguities in the policy can mean additional costs for the company. Ensure your relocation policy is stated in simple, easy-to-understand language. The policy should allow for what is needed to facilitate a smooth, efficient move, without room for extras.

2. Establish Expense Caps on Certain Benefits

Put expense caps on some relocation benefits, such as loss on sale of a home. This can be a major expense for the company that should be capped, as many homeowners have experienced depreciation of their real estate assets. A relocation policy should clearly state a maximum amount for how much loss will be reimbursed, taking into consideration capital improvements when calculating value.

3. Utilize Relocation Management Software

Relocation management technology can help companies track relocation spend and pay for relocation benefits in a number of different ways. Relocation software allows companies to reimburse their employees for relocation expenses, disburse a lump sum of cash, or pay for moving services on behalf of the employee via direct bill. Relocation technology, like UrbanBound, allows employers to use a combination of these different payment methods, which provides them more control without sacrificing employee flexibility.

Human Resources Today