16 Treasury and Trade Solutions Relocation Guidance on Relocation Costs Relocation can include house hunting, temporary living, home sale, rental assistance/lease cancellation, new home purchase/mortgage assistance, moving costs, spousal assistance, and tax assistance benefits. The only benefits that should be included in the travel policy are those expenses directly related to travel, with all other benefits being otherwise addressed in a specific relocation policy. Travel associated with relocation should follow standard travel policy guidelines, with exceptions granted for family members. Reimbursable Relocation Expenses A number of trips are necessary during the relocation process. The policy should clearly state how many trips, and of which types, are permissible. Additionally, the policy should indicate which family members are able to attend which trip types. Typically relocation policies allow for the following trip types: • One exploratory trip per family member • One additional trip per employee and partner for housing hunting purposes • One final trip per employee and partner for closing on a home purchase • One moving trip per family member, including provisions for extended stay, if necessary Stakeholders and Ownership Travel Policy Ownership and Maintenance Travel policy ownership can rest with the travel manager, HR, procurement, legal, or finance teams, however the policy is typically owned and maintained by travel managers. Travel managers seek input and approval from various stakeholders including finance, human resources, legal, compliance, procurement, and security departments. Because of the changing nature of the travel industry, it is incumbent upon the policy owner to review the policy annually and recommend changes to the policy stakeholders. Travel Policy Structure Over the last few years, many organizations have started to reduce the length of their travel policies, opting to switch from very detailed policies with prescriptive limits for almost everything, to a more employee-centric approach of “reasonable expenditure” in coordination with approval from the budget owner. Travel policies are often broken down into one global policy that includes information impacting all employees, and country-specific addendums with region or country-specific variations. Most organizations follow the guideline that country variations must be more stringent than the global policy. Ultimately organizations must decide for themselves which approach is most appropriate given their corporate culture and their business and employee acquisition and retention goals. Telecommunications Coverage of Communication Costs As mobile devices become increasingly essential as business tools, while also providing the ability to locate and communicate with travelers during emergencies, companies are becoming more inclined to either provide stipends to cover part or all costs associated with devices, or to provide the devices themselves to employees. In an Oxford Economics survey conducted in early 2018, 89% of organizations were providing full or partial stipends to cover employees’ mobile phone expenses, a 75% increase from the two years prior 10 . Reimbursable Telephone and Internet Costs There are several costs associated with mobile devices that should be addressed in the travel policy. Organizations need to determine which basket of costs they are willing to cover. For example, will the costs of mobile devices themselves be covered, and if yes, will use of the device be limited to work activities? This question clearly goes beyond expense reimbursement and has implications for corporate security as well. Reimbursement considerations include whether the cost of monthly and international phone and data plans will be covered. Will the organization require that a Virtual Private Network (VPN) plan be installed on phones and laptops to secure these devices from intrusions while in public spaces? Will the cost of hot spot plans be reimbursed to facilitate secure data transfer from employee laptops while on the road, or will the organization provide MiFi devices to every traveler? All of these decisions must be made in conjunction with an organization’s data security team, documented in the travel policy, and reimbursed through the expense management system. 10 “Maximizing Mobile Value: Is BYOD Holding You Back?” Oxford Economics and Samsung , June, 2018, https://smbz.us/2WBMFAg.