The pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of the modern workforce, and global mobility programs aren’t an exception.
One element of global mobility that’s especially felt the impact of the pandemic and will continue to shift in a post-pandemic environment is payroll. The role of relocation payroll has grown to accommodate much more demand in the past year and will continue to adapt as we move towards a post-pandemic workforce.
Here are four post-pandemic relocation payroll trends you should know as a mobility or payroll practitioner.
Remote work has impacted payroll’s workload
Though remote work has been on the rise for the last several years — in fact, the trend grew by 400% in the past decade — the pandemic undoubtedly accelerated the shift. With employees now working from anywhere, payroll leads have had to take on more work as they accommodate multiple state policies.
Remote work means more state compliance rules as well as additional local taxes like SDI and SUI, which means payroll has to not only be aware of where employees are moving to, but keep track of countless state policies. To keep up with the complexity of multiple state reporting, smaller payroll teams may consider outsourcing the process to a larger company whose job it is to keep up with all of the different state compliance requirements.
Reciprocity is playing a bigger role
Remote work hasn’t just impacted the office; the trend has caught up at a state level and is influencing their local tax policies. In a post-pandemic environment, states are now making a push to tax workers who used to reside in their state and are now working remotely.
Different states have different reciprocity requirements regarding where and when tax withholdings need to be paid. While some states have very clear policies around their withholdings, others may have a grey area which can add more complexity to the relocation payroll process. The onus is on the payroll lead to stay on top of these policies to avoid state penalties and ensure both the company and transferee are remaining compliant. However, the responsibility also falls on the employee to be aware and/or consult with a tax advisor for their individual requirements.
Communication among distributed teams is key
Just like the transferees you’re managing payroll for, you may also be remote during this post-pandemic period. While payroll teams are distributed, strong communication between you and transferees is more important than ever.
Payroll should have a clear policy around relocation in place that encourages employees to inform their employers as soon as they have moved to a different state. This helps ensure that all of the necessary paperwork is up to date, especially as state requirements differ around the timeline for when to withhold.
Data security is a priority
Security is also an important element when it comes to relocation payroll. As a payroll manager, you’re handling a lot of sensitive data, from social security numbers, bank account details, and other personal information. It’s critical to have a secure and efficient system in place to manage this sensitive information, especially if you’re working remotely and don’t have the secure set-up or tools that a company office would typically have.
Consider integrating a secure global mobility software into your mobility program and payroll process. A tool like Ineo’s TechSuite allows you to manage everything in one place, and puts an emphasis on data security and compliance so neither you or the transferees have to worry about sensitive information being compromised.
In a post-pandemic environment, a distributed workforce is the new normal and there are many factors of remote work that impact payroll’s workload. By keeping these post-pandemic relocation payroll trends in mind, you’re making sure that your mobility program is operating proactively and efficiently.