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Relocation Assistance

    Title:

    Relocation Assistance

    Publication date:

    6/20/2013

    Effective date:

    6/24/2013

    BRIEF

    Policy Summary

    Berkeley Lab may provide relocation assistance by reimbursing the relocation expenses of eligible employees for their permanent relocation to a new work location. A permanent relocation is when an employee is assigned to a new work location for a minimum of 12 months. This policy defines the types of domestic and international relocation expenses that are reimbursable.

    Employees assigned to a temporary work location (for a period between six months and three years) should read the Change-of-Station Policy.

    Who Should Read This Policy

    • This policy applies to employees in the following classifications: Career, Term, Faculty, Visiting Researcher, Postdoctoral Fellow, or Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA) who are offered relocation assistance for their permanent move to a new work location.
    • The following employee appointments are not eligible for relocation assistance: Limited, Rehired Retiree, Student Assistant.
    • Employees who are represented by an exclusive bargaining agent should refer to their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

    To Read the Full Policy, Go To:

    The POLICY tab on this wiki page

    Contact Information

    For more information, contact your division's Human Resources Center.

    Feedback on HR policies or procedures is welcomed. Send comments to hrpolicies@lbl.gov.

    Title:

    Relocation Assistance

    Publication date:

    6/20/2013

    Effective date:

    6/24/2013

    POLICY

    A. Purpose

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) may provide relocation assistance by reimbursing the relocation expenses of eligible employees for their permanent relocation to a new work location. A permanent relocation is when an employee is assigned to a new work location for a minimum of 12 months. The policy defines the types of domestic and international relocation expenses that are reimbursable.

    Employees assigned to a temporary work location (for a period between six months and three years) should read the Change-of-Station Policy.

    B. Exceptions

    Requests for relocation reimbursements that exceed what is allowed under current policy or that are not expressly addressed by current policy are considered exceptions to policy. Any request for an exception policy requires, at minimum, approval by the Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer (CHRO).

    C. Persons Affected

    • At the discretion of Berkeley Lab management, Berkeley Lab may provide relocation assistance by reimbursing eligible employees for reasonable relocation expenses. Permanent relocation is a period of 12 months or longer. Permanent relocation reimbursement may be made available to the following employee classifications: Career, Term, Faculty, Visiting Researcher, Postdoctoral Fellow, or Graduate Student Research Assistant (GSRA).
    • This policy applies to nonrepresented employees. Employees who are represented by an exclusive bargaining agent should refer to their collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
    • The following employee classifications are not eligible for relocation reimbursement: Limited, Rehired Retiree, and Student Assistant.

    D. Policy Statement

    1. Change-of-Station Policy

      Current employees who are transferred at the request of Berkeley Lab and are offered relocation assistance should read the Change-of-Station Policy.

      General. At the discretion of Berkeley Lab management, Berkeley Lab may provide relocation assistance to eligible employees. Relocations must be for a period of 12 months or longer. The employee must reside outside reasonable commuting distance of the Berkeley Lab work location to which he or she has been assigned. A reasonable commuting distance is 50 miles or less from the new employee’s current home to his/her new work location.

    2. Relocation Program. The Laboratory offers a tiered relocation program with both program counseling and reimbursement auditing services provided by a third-party vendor. The current program allows flexibility for managers  to determine costs within each tier; however, the program is not a cafeteria-style program, so selections are limited to the benefits outlined in each tier:

      Tier

      Relocation Benefits

      0

      • Miscellaneous allowance

      1

      • Miscellaneous allowance
      • Airfare to the destination location/final trip

      2

      • Miscellaneous allowance
      • Airfare to the destination location/final trip
      • Household-goods move

      3

      • Final trip
      • Household-goods move
      • Home-finding assistance and house-hunting trip
      • Temporary housing

       Additional add-ons available at the Tier 3 levels include:

      Tier

      Relocation Benefits

      3

      • Extended temporary housing
      • Home sale assistance
      • Miscellaneous allowance
      • New home purchase assistance
      • Rental assistance
      • Shipment of automobiles
      • Spouse/domestic partner employment support
      • Storage of household goods

      More information on the tiers, limitations within the tiers, payment mechanisms, and tax implications can be found in this policy’s Implementing Documents.

    3. Eligibility
      1. To be eligible for relocation assistance, the employee must establish residence in the destination location, and the move must be completed within 12 months of the effective date of the relocation. The effective date is defined as the official start date for new hire employees or assignment to the new work location.
      2. When family members are relocating with the employee, the following definition of family will apply: "The employee's spouse/domestic partner and dependent(s) who reside with the employee at the time of acceptance of a job offer or reassignment to a new work location, and who will reside with the employee at the destination location." 
      3. If Berkeley Lab employs both the employee and spouse/domestic partner, only one set of coordinated relocation assistance will apply. 
    4. Relocation Reimbursement Limits. The maximum dollar amount Berkeley Lab will reimburse for relocation expenses is enumerated in the program tiers. Divisions have the ability to set certain maximum thresholds below the tier-element limits.
    5. Reimbursement Authorization Requirements. Relocation benefits are approved by the division and authorized by an appropriate HR contact. Authorization is given to a third-party relocation vendor to provide program counseling and reimbursement auditing services. Once the third-party relocation vendor has received authorization, employees work directly with the third-party relocation vendor on the specific benefits of the relocation.
    6. Reimbursement Preapproval Requirement. Employees must consult with the third-party relocation vendor regarding reimbursable costs prior to committing any relocation expenditures.
    7. Repayment Agreement. Relocating employees must sign a repayment agreement, which states that employees who voluntarily terminate employment prior to completing one year of credited service from the start of employment for new hires, or date of transfer for transferred staff, must refund Berkeley Lab the full amount of all relocation benefits previously reimbursed or paid on the employee's behalf by Berkeley Lab.
      1. Time spent in an unpaid leave of absence does not count toward the one year of credited service.
    8. Claims for Reimbursement. Claims for reimbursement should be submitted to Berkeley Lab via the third-party relocation vendor as soon as possible after the transactions have occurred. Relocation assistance is valid for 12 months from the employee's effective date of the relocation. The effective date is defined as the official start date for new hire employees.

      Receipts

      Original receipts must be in the name of the employee or the employee’s spouse/domestic partner. Receipts in the name of anyone else are not reimbursable.

       

      1. Berkeley Lab will process payments related to appropriate relocation expenses using the following methods:
        1. Pay service providers directly for the relocation assistance that an employee receives.
        2. Reimburse employees for acceptable expenses that they have previously paid.
        3. Provide a lump sum allowance for certain categories of relocation expenses.
      2. Eligible expense reimbursements must be submitted through the third-party vendor's Web site. Original receipts should be provided to the third-party vendor within a reasonable time of incurring the expense. It is important to remember:
        1. Relocation expenses must be separate and distinct from business expenses. During the period in which relocation expenses are incurred, regular business (travel and entertainment) must not be reported with relocation expenses.
        2. The employee cannot use the Berkeley Lab credit card or other Berkeley Lab funds for relocation expenses.
        3. Credit card statements cannot be used in lieu of receipts.
        4. The employee should keep records and receipts of all their expenses, whether or not they are reimbursable under this policy, as this will assist in the completion of federal and state tax returns at year-end.
    9. Separation of Employment. If an employee voluntarily terminates employment, eligibility for relocation benefits will cease immediately and all relocation benefits that are under way will be concluded. Any eligible relocation benefits, which have not been utilized or received by the employee as of the termination date, will be forfeited, including tax gross-up.
    10. Tax Implications. Most relocation payments made to an employee or on the employee's behalf that are directly related to relocation are considered taxable income. More information on tax implications can be found in the implementing documents.

    E. Roles and Responsibilities

    Role

    Responsibility

    Chief Human Resources and Diversity Officer (CHRO)

    Has the functional responsibility for this policy and overall administration of the relocation program

    Employees

    Have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy and its implementing procedures

    HR Department

    • Has the responsibility to advise management and employees on the elements of the relocation program
    • Provides authorization to the third-party relocation vendor to commence relocation benefits for an employee

    Managers and supervisors

    • Have the responsibility to authorize relocation assistance based on the determination of the employee's assignment. If the employee's assignment is a minimum of 12 months and is either (a) expected to reside at the new location indefinitely or (b) is expected to reside at the new location for more than three years, the employee is eligible for relocation assistance.
      • If the employee's assignment is less than six months, managers should review the Travel Policy.
      • If the employee's assignment is greater than six months and ends within three years, managers should review the Change-of-Station Policy.
    • Have the responsibility to adhere to the provisions of this policy and its implementing procedures

    Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)

    • Serves as a resource for cost-allowability considerations related to the relocation program
    • Processes payments to the employee or vendors, based on information provided from the third-party relocation vendor

    Third-party relocation vendor

    • Provides general advice to prospective employees of eligible relocation expenses during the offer process
    • Assists and counsels relocating employees on the elements of the relocation program
    • Processes requests for relocation payments and reimbursement
    • Advises Berkeley Lab on allowable reimbursable relocation costs

    F. Definitions/Acronyms

    Term

    Definition

    CBA

    Collective bargaining agreement

    Change-of-station (COS)

    An employee who is temporarily assigned to work a minimum of six months but no greater than three years at a new work location

    COS

    Change-of-station

    Effective employment date

    As applicable under the Relocation Assistance policy, the effective employment date is defined as the official start date for new hire employees.

    Family

    As applicable under the Relocation Assistance and Change-of-Station (COS) policies, family refers to the employee's spouse/domestic partner and dependent(s) who reside with the employee at the time of acceptance of a job offer or reassignment to a new work location, and who will reside with the employee at the destination location.

    Permanent relocation

    Permanent relocation is a period of 12 months or longer when an employee is assigned to a new work location and is expected to reside there for a minimum of 12 months.

    G. Recordkeeping Requirements

    Role

    Responsibility

    Controller's Office

    Maintains documentation to support payments made through the Accounts Payable and Payroll payment processes

    HR Department

    Maintains offers for relocation, repayment agreements, and authorizations to the third-party relocation vendor

    H. Implementing Documents

    Audience

    Document Number

    Document Title

    Type

    All Laboratory staff

    02.04.004.012

    Relocation Assistance – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Information

    All Laboratory staff

    02.04.004.013

    Relocation Assistance Presentation

    Information

    All Laboratory staff

    02.04.004.022

    Relocation Assistance Tiers

    Information

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.008

    Access to SIRVA Relocation Database

    Information

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.011

    Relocation Program Rollout – Training

    Training

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.015

    Domestic Relocation Guidelines

      • Tier 0
      • Tier 1
      • Tier 2
      • Tier 3
      • Tier 3 Add-ons

    Guideline

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.016

    International Relocation Guidelines

      • Tier 0
      • Tier 1
      • Tier 2
      • Tier 3
      • Tier 3 Add-ons

    Guideline

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.021

    International to United States Relocation Guidelines

      • Tier 0
      • Tier 1
      • Tier 2
      • Tier 3
      • Tier 3 Add-ons

    Guideline

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    SIRVA

    SIRVA Client Connection

    Database

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    SIRVA

    SIRVA Client Connection Quick Start

    Process

    HR staff

    02.04.004.005

    Relocation Repayment Agreement

    Form

    HR staff

    02.04.004.014

    How to Send the Relocation Authorization in PDF to SIRVA

    Procedure

    HR staff

     

    Offer Letter Template

    Template

    HR staff

    02.04.004.006

    Relocation Authorization Form (Bristol)

    Form

    HR staff

    02.04.004.010

    LBNL Relocation Contact List for SIRVA

    Information

    HR staff

    02.04.004.017

    Relocation Procedure Flowchart

    Flowcharts

    HR staff

    02.04.004.018

    Modifying an Offer to Include Relocation

    Procedure

    HR staff

    02.04.004.019

    Completing the Bristol Authorization form (HRSC)

    Procedure

    HR staff

    02.04.004.020

    Using Comments to Provide Information to the HR Service Center (HRSC)

    Procedure

    I. Contact Information

    For more information, contact your division's Human Resources Center.

    Feedback on HR policies or procedures is welcomed. Send comments to hrpolicies@lbl.gov.

    J. Revision History

    Date

    Revision

    By whom

    Revision Description

    Section(s) affected

    Change Type

    1/2/2012

    1

    M. Bello

    Rewrite for wiki

    all

    Minor

    6/24/2013

    2

    M. Bello

    Rewrite policy adding or revising the following sections: Relocation Program, Eligibility, Reimbursement Authorization Requirements, Claims for Reimbursement, Tax Implications

    All

    Major +30 days

    DOCUMENT INFORMATION

    Title:

    Relocation Assistance

    Document number

    02.04.004.000

    Revision number

    2

    Publication date:

    6/20/2013

    Effective date:

    6/24/2013

    Next review date:

    6/24/2016

    Policy Area:

    Recruitment

    RPM Section (home)

    Human Resources

    RPM Section (cross-reference)

    Section 4.01

    Functional Division

    Human Resources

    Prior reference information (optional)

    RPM Section 4.01

    Source Requirements Documents

    Other Driving Requirements

    Document number

    Document Title

    Type

    11.06.001.000

    Travel Policy

    Policy

    Implementing Documents

    Audience

    Document Number

    Document Title

    Type

    All Laboratory staff

    02.04.004.012

    Relocation Assistance – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Information

    All Laboratory staff

    02.04.004.013

    Relocation Assistance Presentation

    Information

    All Laboratory staff

    02.04.004.022

    Relocation Assistance Tiers

    Information

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.008

    Access to SIRVA Relocation Database

    Information

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.011

    Relocation Program Rollout – Training

    Training

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.015

    Domestic Relocation Guidelines

      • Tier 0
      • Tier 1
      • Tier 2
      • Tier 3
      • Tier 3 Add-ons

    Guideline

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.016

    International Relocation Guidelines

      • Tier 0
      • Tier 1
      • Tier 2
      • Tier 3
      • Tier 3 Add-ons

    Guideline

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    02.04.004.021

    International to United States Relocation Guidelines

      • Tier 0
      • Tier 1
      • Tier 2
      • Tier 3
      • Tier 3 Add-ons

    Guideline

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    SIRVA

    SIRVA Client Connection

    Database

    HR and Controller's Office staff

    SIRVA

    SIRVA Client Connection Quick Start

    Process

    HR staff

    02.04.004.005

    Relocation Repayment Agreement

    Form

    HR staff

    02.04.004.014

    How to Send the Relocation Authorization in PDF to SIRVA

    Procedure

    HR staff

     

    Offer Letter Template

    Template

    HR staff

    02.04.004.006

    Relocation Authorization Form (Bristol)

    Form

    HR staff

    02.04.004.010

    LBNL Relocation Contact List for SIRVA

    Information

    HR staff

    02.04.004.017

    Relocation Procedure Flowchart

    Flowcharts

    HR staff

    02.04.004.018

    Modifying an Offer to Include Relocation

    Procedure

    HR staff

    02.04.004.019

    Completing the Bristol Authorization form (HRSC)

    Procedure

    HR staff

    02.04.004.020

    Using Comments to Provide Information to the HR Service Center (HRSC)

    Procedure

    Other References

    Source

    Document number

    Document title

    Federal Regulations

    Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) 302

    Relocation Allowances

    Federal Regulations

    Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) 302

    Temporary Duty (TDY) Travel

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