The consistent use of lump sums by roughly half or more firms continues to prompt deeper investigation. For the third year, the survey asked which costs are covered and to whom lump sums are applied. The biggest shifts: fewer firms use lump sums to cover the entire relocation cost (42% vs. 51%) and miscellaneous expenses (53% vs. 63%), although these are two of the most popular expense categories. As they did last year, 47% of firms used lump sums to reimburse travel expenses, compared to 41% in 2012. The percentages of firms offering other lump-sum types have remained fairly consistent over the last three years.
Use of lump sums differs by company size. Large firms (60%) are nearly twice as likely as small or mid-size firms (33%) to use lump sums for temporary housing. On the other hand, small firms are nearly twice as likely as mid-size or large firms to use them for household goods shipping/storage (46% vs. 25% and 21%). Regardless of size, nearly two-fifths of firms use lump sums to reimburse the entire relocation cost, and around half or more of firms apply them for miscellaneous allowances. Around half or more of small and large firms use lump sums for travel expenses, compared to about a third (36%) of mid-size firms.
In 2011, about half or more of firms said most employee types, except for homeowners, commonly received lump sum payments. In 2012, gaps widened between the types of employees receiving them. As in 2013, new hires this year are more likely to receive a lump sum than are transferees (59% vs. 42%), and renters are more likely than homeowners (39% vs. 28%). Similar to last year as well, employee level is less a factor than new hire status.
A new question last year probed the ranges offered for various lump sum categories. This year the median offer differed by company size for real estate assistance/transactions, rental assistance/transactions, temporary housing, and miscellaneous allowances, with larger firms appearing to be more generous. However, median amounts offered fell within similar ranges across company size for household goods shipping/storage ($1,000-$4,999), the entire relocation cost ($5,000-$9,999), and travel expenses ($1,000-$2,499). Compared to last year, median-amount ranges remained about the same overall for household goods shipping/storage and the entire relocation cost. However, amounts grew slightly more generous on average for rental assistance/transactions, travel expenses, temporary housing, and miscellaneous allowances.