If your business believes commuter assignments are a good option to achieve its international goals there are considerations to take into account:
1. Are commuter assignments cost effective?
Many businesses believe commuter assignments offer a cost effective alternative to moving an employee and their dependents overseas on a traditional assignment. However, it is important to analyse this carefully as cost savings can be eroded by accommodation and travel costs. Often commuter assignees require fully furnished accommodation in prime locations close to the CBD and airport to facilitate work and travel home.
2. Commuter assignment management costs
The internal costs for managing commuter assignments can also be higher as they require more input from tax, payroll and immigration specialists to navigate the unique situation an assignee is in, living in one jurisdiction but working in another.
3. Create a commuter assignment policy
When commuter assignments first became popular they were often completed informally. Research conducted in 2019 indicated this was changing with 67% of businesses developing formal written policies. Having a written policy is important for managing compliant and cost-effective commuter assignments. Formal policies should include details on:
- Procedures to be followed
- Benefits provided
This should aid your team with cost effective commuter assignment management.
4. Utilise technology to track international commuters
One of the biggest challenges managing commuter assignments is the complexity of administration. As mentioned earlier, the tax and social security compliance can be particularly difficult for international commuters. Mitigate this by tracking the number of days assignees spend in each country. As government scrutiny of commuters increases, accurate tracking of this information becomes more important. It may be worth investing in purpose built tracking software.
5. Manage costs
Further to our first point, if commuter assignments do make sense for your business it is important to manage costs carefully. ECA’s Commuter Assignment Survey shows a significant decrease in the number of companies that cover day to day costs for assignee from 97% in 2012 to 61% in 2019. As commuter assignments are often at the bequest of the employee, there may not be the same requirement to provide as many allowances as an incentive for them to accept the role.
There is no doubt that commuter assignments raise many administrative and management challenges, however, for project work or if cover needs to be provided in the short term, they may make sense for your business.
If you are sending employees overseas on commuter assignment, get in touch about our short term international health insurance so they have access to the best private health insurance while they are away.