CapRelo Blog

Tips for Designing a Core-Flex Policy

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Feb 15, 2018

Team MeetingDesigning a core-flex policy takes time and work. Nevertheless, by committing to creating a comprehensive program from the start, making periodic updates and adjustments becomes easier. It’s advisable to establish several factors up front:

Competitive Core-Flex Policies in Specific Industries

HR departments and mobility managers should begin by researching what their competition provides in terms of mobility benefits. Because mobility benefits are critical to attracting top talent, knowing what competitors offer will provide some guidance about the services to include, as well as the average budget for each. Of course, it may be challenging to find this information, so consulting with an experienced global mobility company to gain insights about the components of the average core-flex policy can be helpful.

Core Components

As we’ve seen, household goods moving, travel costs and other benefits the company considers critical are standard core components. Depending on the company’s needs and budget, relocation counseling, visa and immigration services, tax equalization, lease services, temporary housing and home-finding assistance may also be included, especially for long-distance and international moves.

Flexible Services Offering

Flexible benefits can include home finding trips, home sale and home purchase support, property management, mortgage assistance, temporary living, spousal support and career services, child and elder care assistance, language training, cross-cultural training, school search assistance, pet transport, vehicle transport, lump sum assistance and tax services.

Note that whether a service is categorized as a core component or an additional service depends entirely on the employer. Companies in competitive markets that want to surpass the competition may decide to include more services in the core component to attract more talent.

Policy Tiers

This is determined by factors such as employee seniority, family size, relocation distance, international travel and homeownership. It should be clear that most companies will allocate a larger budget to senior managers than junior employees, that homeowners need more support than renters and that international moves have different core and flex needs than domestic ones.

Flexible Services Selection

Given the sensitive nature of these selections, a global mobility management company can be a key resource in these discussions and in providing recommendations and guidance to both the employer and employee. HR professionals and even supervisors may not have a full understanding of their employees’ personal lives and their corresponding responsibilities. For example, a manager might not know that a transferee cares for a disabled parent or that an employee wants his or her children to attend a specific kind of private school. In short, it’s essential to give employees a say in determining which services he or she receives and come to an arrangement that suits both employee and employer. The expertise and experience of a global mobility management company can be helpful in providing advice on which flexible services companies may want to consider including in their policy.

Guide to Core-Flex Policies

Topics: global mobility, employee relocation, core-flex policies, talent mobility

January 2018 Mobility Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Wed, Jan 31, 2018

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings of the previous month's survey. 

Below are the results for October's survey and this month's survey questions.

December Survey Results

1. Does your company process mobility-related tax matters in-house or do you out-source?

In-House: 67%
Out-Source: 34%
Don't Know: 0%

2. What is your top challenge associated with mobility-related tax matters? (Choose all that apply)

Calculating/handling tax gross-up: 67% 
Keeping current on changes to tax laws: 100%
Payroll taxes and withholding: 34%
Tax reporting/forms: 67%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. If your company provides tax gross-up as a benefit to your transferees, which method do you use for calculating gross-up?

Flat Method: 0%
Supplemental/Inverse Method: 34%
Marginal/Inverse Method: 0%
Unknown: 67%
Do Not Offer Tax Gross-Up: 0%

 

This month's survey addresses executive talent mobility programs.  

 

Create your own user feedback survey

Topics: relocation packages, employee relocation

December Mobility Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Dec 26, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings of the previous month's survey. 

Below are the results for October's survey and this month's survey questions.

October Survey Results

1. Does your company measure employee engagement for your relocated employees?

Yes: 0%
No: 34%
Don't Know: 67%

2. How does your company measure engagement? (Choose all that apply)

Employee Engagement Surveys: 0% 
Observation of Day-to-Day Employee-Management Interactions: 0%
One-on-One Employee Meetings: 67%
Stay/Exit Interviews: 34%
Employee Net Promoter Score: 0%
Unsure: 34%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. Which of the following have you implemented in your talent mobility program to address employee engagement? (Choose all that apply)

Developed mobility policies that are employee friendly while staying within corporate budgets: 34%
Developing mobility solutions that align with your company's culture and workforce as part of your regular benefits program: 34%
Engaged actively with employees' family members to offer support and assistance: 34%
Worked out tax issues before relocations take place: 67%
Unsure: 0%
Other (please specify): 0%

 

This month's survey addresses mobility and taxes.  

 

Create your own user feedback survey

Topics: relocation packages, calculating tax gross up, relocation taxes, employee relocation

October Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Wed, Nov 01, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings of the previous month's survey. 

Below are the results for last month's survey and this month's survey questions.

September Survey Results

1. Does your company have a core-flex talent mobility policy?

Yes: 42.9%
No: 57.1%
Don't Know: 0%

2. What motivated your company to use a core-flex policy? (Choose all that apply)

Cost Savings: 66.7% 
Customizable: 66.7%
Recruitment Tool: 33.3%
Exception Reduction: 0%
Unsure: 33.3%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. What challenges did your company face when developing your core-flex program? (Choose all that apply)

Determining precisely which benefits to offer: 66.7%
Balancing core and flexible benefits: 66.7%
Establishing reporting and metrics procedures: 0%
Ensuring consistency of policy application: 0%
Establishing streamlined processes to facilitate the implementation of the policy: 0%
Unsure: 66.7%
Other (please specify): 0%

 

This month's survey addresses employee engagement.  

 

Create your survey with SurveyMonkey

Topics: relocation packages, employee engagement, employee relocation

September Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Sep 26, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings of the previous month's survey. 

Below are the results for last month's survey and this month's survey questions.

August Survey Results

1. Does your company address employee retention after relocation in your mobility program?

Yes: 40%
No: 40%
Don't Know: 20%

2. Which relocation concerns affect employee retention in your company? (Choose all that apply)

How relocation impacts employees' families: 80% 
Tax/financial impact of relocation: 0%
Real estate concerns: 40%
Anxiety and acclimatization concerns associated with moving: 40%
Unsure: 20%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. Which of the following does your company's mobility program address to improve employee retention? (Choose all that apply)

Tracking retention rates following employee transfers: 20%
Fully interviewing, evaluating and screening employees prior to a potential transfer: 20%
Providing relocation assistance with real estate considerations: 60%
Providing tax assistance: 40%
Offering adequate spousal/partner support: 20%
Following up with employees regarding their relocation experience: 40%
Unsure: 20%
Other (please specify): 0%

 

This month's survey addresses Core-Flex Policies.  

Create your survey with SurveyMonkey

Topics: relocation packages, employee relocation, core-flex policies

12 Key Points in an Employee Transfer Letter

Posted by CapRelo on Fri, Sep 15, 2017

Employee Transfer Paperwork

Employee transfer letters are given to employees who are being transferred to a different branch, department or location of their employer. The reasons for the letters is more than just common professional courtesy. Transfer letters provide employee and employer the "ground rules" of the transfer.

Learn more about how to write an employee transfer letter with our free article.

Foundation for Transfer Letters

The purpose and reasons for issuing transfer letters is central to successful employee relocations. Among the motivation and goals of these documents are the following: 

  • Create a written record of the employee's transfer for the personnel file.
  • Provide evidence that the employee's compensation account follows the employee accurately.
  • Track the personnel in each department to ensure a correct head count for staffing purposes.

Whether the transfer is employer-generated or a mutual agreement between employer and employee, the transfer letter offers visible, physical evidence of the move from one department or location to another

Transfer Letter Checklist

Consider the following items as a template from which to create appropriate transfer letters.

  1. The employee's full name and current address, with accurate contact information.
  2. Identify the reason for the transfer
  3. Name of the department or location from which the employee is transferring.
  4. Name of the department or location to which the individual is moving.
  5. The exact effective date the transfer will take place
  6. State the official start date in the new location, if the date is different from the effective date of the transfer
  7. The name of the supervisor in the new department to whom the transferee will report.
  8. The creation or issue date of the transfer letter.
  9. Note the details of the position in the new location, including any bonuses the employee is to receive as a result of the transfer.
  10. Use a standard letter or memo format, whichever is consistent with previous transfer letters issued by the employer.
  11. Closely proofread the letter to ensure accuracy.
  12. Ensure the letter or memo has the original signature of the appropriate person authorizing the transfer.

If there is a change in title or responsibilities, details about those changes may be described. Additionally, changes in titles and duties should be documented for inclusion in the employee's personnel file. The letter should refer to the the company's relocation policy and summary the portions of the policy applicable to the employee. 

The most vital feature of transfer letters is their clarity. They should be straightforward and direct. This will avoid misunderstandings or confusion regarding the transfer.

New Call-to-action

  

Topics: employee transfer, writing relocation offer letter, employee relocation

August Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Aug 22, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings along with the next survey the following month. Below are the results for last month's survey and this month's survey questions.

July Survey Results

1. Does your company relocate employees globally?

Yes: 100%
No: 0%
Don't Know: 0%

2. Does your Global Mobility program include any of the following services? (Choose all that apply)

Area Orientation: 80% 
Home-Finding Assistance: 80%
Foreign Language Training: 100%
Cross-Cultural Instruction: 80%
Spousal/Partner Support: 40%
Financial Consultation/Support: 40%
Unsure: 0%
N/A: 0%
Other (please specify): 0%

3. Has your company undertaken any of the following measures to help control global mobility costs? (Choose all that apply)

Regulate cost of living allowances: 40%
Reevaluate host country housing allowance: 80%
Avoid zero-cost housing: 20%
Lower house-hunting trip reimbursements: 20%
Reassess costs of language training, coss-cultural training, home finding and familiarization trips: 40%
Regular review of your Global Mobility program: 60%
Unsure: 0%
Other (please specify): 20% (formal exception management process)

 

This month's survey addresses Employee Retention after Relocation.  

Topics: relocation packages, employee retention, employee relocation

July Relocation Survey

Posted by Amy Mergler on Tue, Jul 25, 2017

Thinking about changing your relocation program or just curious about what other organizations are doing? Each month, we'll feature a short survey and share our findings along with the next survey the following month. Below are the results for last month's survey and this month's survey questions.

June Survey Results

1. Do you offer destination services to address issues associated with relocating your employees' families?

Yes: 50%
No: 37.5%
Don't Know: 12.5%

2. Which destination services do you offer? (Choose all that apply)

Research on Schools: 57.14% 
Spousal/Partner Support: 14.29%
Social Assistance: 28.57%
Research on Places of Worship: 28.57%
Unsure: 0%
N/A: 42.86%
Other (please specify): 28.57% (Orientation, Home Search, Locating Banking)

3. Which of the following are included in your mobility program? (Choose all that apply)

Home-Selling Assistance: 62.5%
Home Purchase or Rental Assistance: 50%
Household Goods Packing and Moving: 75%
House-Hunting Trips: 62.5%
Temporary Living Allowances: 62.5%
Unsure: 12.5%
Other (please specify): 12.5% (Currently provide a lump sum)

 

This month's survey addresses Global Mobility.  

Topics: relocation packages, international relocation expenses, global mobility, employee relocation

5 Steps to Ease the Transition to a New School

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Jun 02, 2017

Portrait of smiling little school kids in school corridor.jpegRelocating for a job is not only challenging for the employee and their spouse, it can be especially hard on children, who are going to be nervous about their new home and starting over and making new friends at a new school.

Ideally, a relocation will take place during the summer so the children can start school on time with the rest of their class. But even if that's not the case, there are some steps that can be taken to make the transition to a new school easier on kids of any age.

5 Steps to Help Kids Start Off on the Right Foot at Their New School

  1. Take a tour of the school. Arrange an orientation visit prior to school starting to introduce the children to the school and teachers, if possible.
  2. Be open and honest with teachers and administrators. Your employee should be prepared to provide additional information about their children to educators in the new school that might not be contained in test scores or transcripts.
  3. Find out as much as possible about the school. What clubs are available? Is there a winning football team? The more information the employee has about the school, the more they can share with their children.
  4. Help them prepare. Above all else, school-age children want to fit in. Use the orientation visit to identify the basics in advance like clothing styles or favorite after-school hangouts. Get a list of supplies so children have everything they need on the first day.
  5. Be honest, but upbeat. The employee should answer any questions children have honestly, putting a positive spin on things when they can. If the answer is unknown, encourage the children to help in researching the answer.

Relocating Employees with Families

Topics: Family Relocation, employee relocation

Which Relocation Expenses Can Be Excluded from Income Tax?

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

TaxesRegardless of the distance or time of year, relocating for a job is an expensive undertaking. Fortunately, many employers have relocation packages in place that reimburse employees for some, or all, of their moving expenses. Some relocation expenses are excludable from income tax, while others are considered additional taxable income by the IRS.

Learn more about relocation and U.S. taxes in our free guide.

Excluded Moving Expenses

Qualified relocation expenses are not included in an employee’s income. They are paid directly to the employee or to third parties. Excludable expenses paid directly to the employee are noted on the employee’s W-2 form in box 12, while payments made directly to third parties on the employee’s behalf need not be reported on their W-2.

Excludable moving expenses typically fall into two primary categories, household goods and final move expenses. Below are some common costs related to these two categories.

Moving Household Goods

  • Packing and unpacking household goods at the original and new residences
  • Disconnecting, then reconnecting utilities for each home
  • Transporting pets from the original residence to the new location
  • Packing, crating and boxing supplies
  • Transporting personal vehicles to the new location
  • Storage expenses, usually for 30 to 90 days (depending on the policy and individual circumstances)
  • Insurance on the household goods

Final Move Expenses

  • Transportation expenses to physically move the employee and his/her family to the new residence
  • In-transit lodging for the family
  • Mileage expenses for employees traveling by car, but only the first $0.19 per mile in 2017 (varies each year) is excludable from income

To be excludable from income, the employee should take the most direct route to the news home.

Where to Find Information on Excludable Relocation Expenses

Visit the IRS website to find the most up-to-date information on excludable relocation expenses. Specific information on relocation expenses is outlined in IRS Publication 521, Moving Expenses.

Reloc

 

Although this written communication may address tax issues, it is not a covered opinion as described in Circular 230.  Therefore, to ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments), unless expressly stated otherwise, was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matter(s) addressed herein.

Topics: tax impact of relocation, relocation expense reimbursement, employee relocation expenses, relocation taxes, employee relocation

New Call-to-action

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all