Is it Time to Review Your Home Leave Benefit?

May 9, 2019

Man reading phone outside

Tips, Emerging Best Practices and Opportunities you Should Consider

Is your home leave policy out of date?

You’re not alone. Many organizations are facing challenges related to the cost and relevance of their Home Leave benefit. In most cases, that’s because their policies haven’t changed with the times and probably don’t reflect the expectations and requirements of a new generation of employees. In addition, with the rise of Core-Flex programs, Home Leave benefits are under increasing scrutiny.

 

Home Leave Status Quo

Providing assignees the resources to periodically travel to their home country or city has always been a fundamental element of an assignment benefit package.

Organizations typically pay for one Home Leave trip per year for a long-term assignee and their accompanying family members. Travel is to their departure location. Class of airfare reflects their business travel policies.

This model isn’t sustainable for many companies. Costs are increasing. Requests for exceptions are more often the norm. Clearly, times are changing. How can you be sure your Home Leave policy and benefits meet your program’s needs?

Let’s look at several primary challenges and review a few emerging best practices and opportunities you should consider.

Controlling Travel Costs

Home Leave financial costs involve airfare and ground transportation expenses. What can you do to control these travel costs?

Review your policies regarding class of fare for home leaves. Do they necessarily have to track your policies for business travel? After all, if you were to change the authorized class of travel from business to coach, you might be able to provide two trips per year and still reduce costs overall.

If you currently provide Home Leave as a grossed-up lump sum benefit, consider whether it would be less expensive to handle it on a reimbursement basis, even given the additional administrative costs.  

Flexible Destinations – “Do I Have to Go Home?” (Scenario 1)

Family situations today are not as simple and uniform as in the past. Families are more transient. Many don’t have strong ties to a specific “home” city or even country.

Unless you require home leave to be taken in conjunction with a home office visit, consider adding a flexible element to your policy. Continue to calculate the benefit in terms of the cost of travel to the city in which the employee most recently resided, but allow the travel to be anywhere the employee chooses.

Home Leave within a Core-Flex Program – “Do I Have to Go Home?” (Scenario 2)

Don’t pay for a benefit that’s not valued! A trip home, or a trip of any type, might not be a priority for every employee. More and more organizations are establishing Core-Flex relocation programs to help ensure an assignee’s package of relocation benefits are somewhat tailored to the priorities of that employee.

Consider making Home Leave a Flex benefit.

As with so many aspects of relocation-related policies, when it comes to Home Leave, employers must balance cost, Duty of Care and employee choice/flexibility.

It’s not an easy calculation, and the right answer will vary based on an organization’s culture, employee mix and financial resources.

If you’d like to explore your Home Leave policy options and the related cost scenarios, our Graebel experts can help – contact us today!

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