Relocation Incentive

UW faculty or staff who must relocate to another geographic location (either in the U.S. or internationally) as part of their university employment are eligible to receive a lump sum relocation incentive payment.

This payment:

  • Can be up to 25% of the employee's annual salary.
  • Must be made from the department's existing resources.
  • If in excess of 25% of the employee's annual salary requires advance approval of the provost or the vice president for human resources for staff.

See the Lump Sum Relocation Incentive Payment web site for more information.

International Relocation Benefits

The purpose of international relocation benefits is to help offset the costs to an employee to relocate to a foreign posting when that assignment will last 12 months or longer. Expenses related to assignments of less than 12 months should be treated as travel status.

Faculty and staff, whose job location will be at a foreign site for 12 months or longer, are eligible for international relocation benefits, consistent with funding availability.

The chart, UW International Relocation Benefits, provides guidelines for the maximum amount of a relocation benefit. If a department wants to offer an amount higher than the recommended guidelines or a benefit that is not listed on the chart, contact the UW International HR Specialist on the Global Single Points of Contact list for more information.

The following international relocation benefits are recommended as a minimum to provide an employee via grant funds or by prior approval from the department:

  • Work permit, if required at the foreign site

  • Visa, if required for entry

  • Pre-travel health consultation

  • Employee’s immunizations required for entry to the host country

  • Economy-class airfare for the employee from the employee’s home of record to the foreign site of employment to start the assignment

  • Economy-class airfare for the employee from UW foreign site of employment to employee’s home of record at the end of the assignment

  • Supplemental health insurance for use at the foreign site, if it can be purchased

Some international relocation benefits are taxable, and some, such as moving assistance, can be taxable depending on how the benefit is administered. Refer to the chart, UW International Relocation Benefits, for the taxable status of specific benefits.

The international relocation benefits which are offered to faculty or staff relocating abroad should be documented in an employee agreement. This agreement should be signed by both the employee and a representative of the department. Consult with UW International HR Specialist on the Global Single Points of Contact list for assistance in preparing the standard UW International Relocation Benefits Agreement.

Administering International Relocation Benefits

There are three methods for how a department can administer international relocation benefits:

  1. As part of the employee’s regular paycheck.
  2. As a UW check, either in advance of the expenditure, or after, with receipts.
  3. By the department using standard UW financial procedures such as a CTA card, wire transfer or PO.

As part of the employee’s regular paycheck

The international relocation benefit is paid through the “APF” (Allowance Payment Foreign) earn type. The department sets up the APF in OPUS. There are no restrictions on the number of APFs that can be created for an employee. Once the APF is set up, the benefit amount will be automatically added to the employee’s paycheck until the department deletes it. The benefit will be taxed at the same rate as the employee’s compensation. Recurring expenses, such as rent and utilities, are good candidates for payment using the APF earn type.An advantage to administering international relocation benefits through the APF earn type is that the appropriate taxes are taken from each pay cycle. This method, however, relies on the employee following through to make payments negotiated in the International Relocation Benefit Agreement.

As a UW check either in advance of the expenditure, or after, with receipts

This method works best for one-time expenses, like international moves. If the employee does not want to be out-of-pocket or use the Washington state contract for the move, a UW check up to the benefit guideline can be made available. Alternatively, the employee can be reimbursed, with receipts, after the expenditure. Departments should follow UW check request procedure. There are tax implications to receiving a check in advance of the expenditure but if the employee needs the funds, this method may be the best option. Note, a UW check can’t be issued in advance of the actual hire date.

By the department using standard UW financial procedures such as a CTA card, wire transfer or PO

For one-time expenses (e.g., plane ticket) or large dollar benefits (e.g., school tuition for a dependent), the department is advised to use UW financial procedures to make the payment. By making the payments directly, the department maintains control over the administration of the benefit. The disadvantage is that the department must be aware of the taxable status of benefits which it pays and report the dollar value of such benefits to the UW Payroll Office.

Refer to the chart, UW International Relocation Benefits, for recommendations on the method to administer specific benefits. For questions about administering international relocation benefits, contact Payroll on the Global Single Points of Contact list.