Relocation Policy Changes Show Employers Controlling Costs

June 30, 2008 ( - Recent relocation policy changes cited by employers participating in a recent survey indicate a greater focus on controlling costs.

According to Prudential’s Move Forward newsletter, adopting or increasing pre-decision counseling for homeowners (46%) is the single biggest reported change among those surveyed companies that have made, or plan to make, relocation policy revisions. Companies want to help homeowners effectively conduct risk-assessment that includes understanding the limits of the relocation policy, but are also increasingly focused on reining in downstream cost exposure by guiding homeowners in their purchase decisions.

In another effort to control costs, while surveyed companies have adopted or increased cost-of-living or housing allowances (25%) to address cost differentials at a high rate, they are also tightening the eligibility parameters for this benefit (25%) to ensure that their investment is going to those employees who need the most assistance. Employers are also reducing coverage of component expenses (meals, rental car, incidentals, etc.) for the employee’s temporary living period (23%) in an effort to control relocation costs, the newsletter said.

The second highest-ranked change cited by employers polled is a move away from direct reimbursement of taxable policy components such as temporary living, house hunting, miscellaneous expense allowances, and certain final move trip expenses (39%). Workers are increasingly demanding flexible policy provisions, and lump sum payments empower them to use allocated funds in a manner that best suits individualized priorities.

Twenty percent of companies that have made, or plan to make, policy revisions are targeting new or increased assistance for dual career families.

The June 2008 issue of Prudential’s Moving Forward newsletter is here .