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Relocation

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Policy Statement

Relocation expenses may be approved to facilitate employee relocation as per the provisions contained within this policy, subject to the approval of the Deputy Minister and the availability of funds.


Application

This policy applies to all employees. Bargaining unit employees should also consult their respective collective agreements.


Definitions

Dependent:
Any person, living with the employee, for whom the employee has a legal or conferred responsibility of care or custodianship due to age and/or physical or mental infirmity / disability.

Principal residence:
The place that the employee regards as his/her permanent residence.

Required to relocate:
A decision by the employer, that is not associated with a job competition, to require the transfer of an existing employee to another geographic location that is a minimum of 80 kilometers away.

Spouse:
Employee’s husband or wife, including a common-law or same sex partner.


Responsibilities

Department

It is the responsibility of individual departments to:

  • provide relocating employees with a copy of the Relocation Policy;
  • ensure the Government Purchasing Agency is provided with a Requisition for Supplies and Services for a moving company in accordance with its policies and procedures;
  • consult with the employee on the development of a relocation plan;
  • approve the employee’s relocation plan and appropriate relocation expenses prior to the actual relocation;
  • place a copy of the employee’s approved relocation plan in the employee file;
  • ensure completion of the Relocation Expense Agreement;
  • ensure that original receipts are submitted for all approved relocation expenses;
  • ensure submitted expense claims are in accordance with this policy;
  • enforce any policy limits or maximums; and
  • recover any unfilled portion for credit either through payroll deduction or other action where an employee fails to fulfill the terms of the Relocation Expense Agreement.

Employees

It is the responsibility of employees to:

  • arrange relocation in the most cost effective manner;
  • develop a relocation plan in consultation with the Employer;
  • obtain written approval of the relocation plan prior to the relocation;
  • complete an approved request for relocation expenses form and forward to the personnel designated to handle departmental or divisional relocations; and
  • unless extenuating circumstances exist, ensure that all authorized expenses and associated original receipts are submitted for payment within 30 days of moving.

Eligibility

Departments have the authority to determine which positions are eligible for relocation expenses based on location of the position; relevance to the Department’s operational requirements, recruitment and retention challenges; financial capacity; and other considerations as warranted. This determination would normally occur in advance of a staffing action.

All relocations are to be a minimum of 80 kilometers to qualify for approval of relocation expenses.

When both relocating spouses are members of the public service, they will have approved expenses reimbursed as an employee and spouse, not as two separate employees.

Subject to the approval of the Deputy Minister, all requests for exception to this policy will require Treasury Board approval.

Permanent Employees

Permanent employees are eligible to have approved relocation expenses reimbursed a maximum of two times within an eight year period.

Permanent employees who are ‘required to relocate’ by the Employer are eligible to have approved relocation expenses reimbursed. This ‘required to relocate’ entitlement does not impact employees’ eligibility to have approved relocation expenses reimbursed a maximum of two times within an eight year period, as indicated above.

Individuals initially appointed to a permanent position within the public service are eligible to have approved relocation expenses reimbursed as outlined in this policy.

Temporary/ Seasonal/ Contractual Employees

Deputy Ministers may negotiate relocation benefits, up to the level of benefits contained within the Relocation Policy, for individuals / employees assuming temporary, seasonal or contractual positions, subject to the availability of funds.


Lump Sum Payment Option

Where employees can demonstrate that savings will be realized by the Department, a lump sum taxable payment of up to:

  • $5,000 may be provided for relocations within Labrador or within the island portion of the Province;
  • $10,000 for relocations between Labrador and the island portion of the Province; or
  • $10,000 for relocations between the Province and other Canadian provinces or territories

The onus is on employees wishing to avail of this payment to demonstrate to the Department how cost savings can be achieved. Expense estimates for the section Sale and Purchase / Construction of Principal Place of Residence should not be used in the determination of cost-savings for the lump sum payment option.

Should the lump sum payment be made, employees waive all claims to expenses except for those outlined in Sale and Purchase / Construction of Principal Place of Residence.


Travel Advance

Employees who require a travel advance should complete an Official Journey Authorization/Payment Voucher as outlined in the Travel Advances Policy.

New employees (i.e., those not yet on Government’s payroll) are not eligible for travel advances.


Relocation Expenses

House Hunting Trip

Existing employees, eligible for approved relocation expenses under this policy, will be granted leave with pay and travel expenses as per Government’s Human Resource Policy Manual (i.e., meals, accommodations, transportation) for the employee and one other individual for up to five calendar days for the purposes of one house hunting trip and travel.

New employees, eligible for approved relocation expenses under this policy, will be granted travel expenses as per Government’s Human Resource Policy Manual (i.e., meals, accommodations, transportation) for the employee and one other individual for up to five calendar days for the purposes of one house hunting trip and travel.

The number of days, to a maximum of five days, used for the house hunting trip directly reduces the number of days available under the ‘Temporary Living Expenses’ section.

Dependent Care Expenses

Employees who incur child care expenses for children less than 16 years of age may be reimbursed $25.00 per family for each night that the parents are absent on the house hunting trip.

Movement of Employees / Dependents

Temporary Living Expenses

Where a new home residence cannot immediately be established upon relocation, claims for temporary accommodations and meals for employees, their spouses and dependents may be allowed for up to 14 calendar days. The 14 calendar days include the five calendar days referenced in the ‘House Hunting Trip’ subsection.

Additional meals and accommodations may be approved in extenuating circumstances, subject to the approval of the Deputy Minister. The onus is on the employee to justify the need for additional temporary living expenses.

Method of Transportation

Employees will be reimbursed for expenses as included in the relocation plan and as approved by the Deputy Minister. The relocation plan is normally based on the most economical method of relocation given the following factors:

  • methods of transportation available and the amount of traveling time required for each method;
  • number, age and any special needs of the dependents to be relocated;
  • any special needs of the employee or the spouse; and
  • expenses that employees may claim in transit (e.g., accommodations).

Accommodations

Where commercial accommodations are required, employees will be reimbursed for the cost of such accommodations as outlined in the Accommodations Policy. Charges for additional rooms may be approved by the Deputy Minister based on the number of employee dependents.

Where employees avail of private accommodations they may be reimbursed $25 per night for the employee or $50 per night for the employee and family together, where applicable.

Meals

When employees claim for meals, they should note the number of persons for whom meals are claimed as well as the ages of all children. Employees, their spouses and their dependents 10 years or older may claim the meal allowance rate outlined in the Meal Rates Policy. Employees may claim one half of this rate for dependents under the age of 10 years.

Transportation of Furniture and Household Effects

Selection of Moving Company

The selection of movers will be processed in accordance with the established purchasing procedures as outlined by the Government Purchasing Agency.

Expenses

Employees may claim the following expenses, up to a maximum of $20,000, for the transportation of furniture and household effects of their principal residence:

  • crating, packing and unpacking;
  • cartage and transportation;
  • complete replacement insurance (by hundredweight) in transit;
  • storage charges up to a maximum of one month;
  • electrical, cable and telephone hookups and disconnects and change of address referral costs; and
  • reasonable expenses incurred in shipping domestic family pets, including rental of transportation cages.

The following items are not covered under this policy:

  • items which by law or tariff may not be moved with household effects;
  • goods requiring climatically controlled conditions;
  • boats in excess of 3.7 metres (12 feet) and portable outboard motors which are not properly serviced for the move and which have not been accepted by the carrier on a straight weight basis;
  • livestock (sheep, cattle, etc.); and
  • travel trailers.

Deputy Ministers may approve items in addition to the above list of expenses where the request is reasonable, in keeping with the intent of the relocation policy and within the maximum allowable amount of $20,000.

Deputy Ministers may approve costs, related to the transport of furniture and household effects, in excess of $20,000, in extenuating circumstances.

Transportation and Storage of Motor Vehicles

Employees should make every effort to relocate their primary motor vehicle by driving the vehicle to their new location. In situations where an employee is unable to drive the vehicle to the new location, and/or where the employee has other vehicles, the Deputy Minister may approve up to $3,000 to cover shipment of the vehicle(s) to the new location.

Where employees can demonstrate cost savings by an alternate method of relocating the vehicles for less than $3,000, the Deputy Minister may approve such a plan.

Where employees are required to relocate to or from Labrador during the closed shipping season, the Employer will reimburse up to a maximum of $100.00 per month for the cost of storing one personally owned motor vehicle until the shipping season re-opens.

Sale and Purchase / Construction of Principal Place of Residence

Employees will be reimbursed, up to a maximum of $25,000, for costs incurred in the sale and/or purchase / construction of the principal residence.

Costs relevant to the sale of a principal place of residence include:

  • real estate fees up to a maximum of 6% provided such fees are incurred within two years of relocation;
  • in circumstances where families are unable to relocate immediately, or in instances where the sale of the principal residence cannot immediately be accomplished, duplicate housing costs for a period not to exceed three months to a maximum of $800.00 per month and prorated for part months;
  • one appraisal or survey fee;
  • reasonable and necessary legal fees resulting from the sale of the principal place of residence, less any tax (e.g., property) or fuel (e.g., propane) reimbursements associated with this sale; and
  • payment of a mortgage penalty upon the sale of the employee’s principal residence, provided the employee submits a certified invoice from the financial institution issuing the mortgage or the lawyer representing the employee.

Costs relevant to the purchase / construction of a principal place of residence include:

  • reasonable and necessary legal and mortgage fees (including mortgage insurance fees) for the purchase or construction of a new residence at the place of relocation will be covered provided:
    • such fees are incurred within two years of relocation, and
    • the claim is accompanied by a detailed statement and provided the employee has sold or is in the process of selling (e.g., listed with real estate company or broker) the principal place of residence at the former location;
  • employees will be reimbursed for part or all of the interest charges for a bridging loan to enable the employee to meet the down payment on a new residence pending the sale of their former residence; such interest charges may be claimed for a period not to exceed three months to a maximum of $800.00 per month and to be prorated for part months; and
  • one appraisal or survey fee.

Deputy Ministers may approve costs, related to the sale and/or purchase of the principal place of residence, in excess of $25,000, in extenuating circumstances.


Relocation Expense Agreement

All employees for whom relocation expenses are paid by Government will sign a Relocation Expense Agreement, with the exception of those employees ‘required to relocate’ by the Employer.

In instances where an employee is ‘required to relocate’ by the Employer, any existing Relocation Expense Agreement will be waived by the Department.

Permanent employees will sign a Relocation Expense Agreement of two years duration. Temporary, seasonal or contractual employees will sign a Relocation Expense Agreement equivalent to the expected length of employment, up to two years duration.

On satisfactory completion of the terms of the Relocation Expense Agreement, an employee's indebtedness (in respect of relocation expenses) will be discharged in full.

All employees who fail to fulfill the terms of the Relocation Expense Agreement will repay expenses for the period not served on a proportional basis (i.e., as per the outlined employment period).

For example, a permanent employee who receives $12,000 under a Relocation Expense Agreement is obligated to a two year (i.e., 24 months) return of service period. If the employee leaves after only six months service, the repayment amount will be proportional to the number of months remaining in the Relocation Expense Agreement.

Proportional repayment calculations:

  • Monthly amount: $12,000 / 24 mths = $500/mth
  • Service owed: 24 mths – 6 mths = 18 mths
  • Repayment amount: $500/mth x 18 mths = $9,000

Last Updated: May 15, 2012
Reference: TBM 2000-069; TBM 2009-132, TBA2012-B0029

 
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