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Relocation Incentive Payment
Questions & Answers

What is the purpose of lump sum relocation incentive payments?
The Washington State Legislature authorized lump sum relocation incentive payments as a way for state government employers to provide a financial incentive to successfully recruit job applicants or retain current employees who would have to make a "domiciliary" move to accept an appointment.
What is a "domiciliary" move?
A domiciliary move is one where the applicant/employee must relocate and establish a new residence to accept an appointment.
Does occasional travel with extended stays in another location, like teaching a quarter abroad, qualify as a domiciliary move?
No.
Can a lump sum relocation incentive payment be used for an employee who is taking professional leave or on sabbatical?
No.
Is there a minimum distance for a domiciliary move that would make an employee eligible for a relocation incentive payment?
The law does not establish a minimum distance. However the University does not approve relocation incentive payments where changing residences is a a matter of employee choice or preference, but is not required by the acceptance of an appointment.
Can a lump sum relocation incentive payment be used instead of paying moving expenses?
There are a number of reasons why using a lump sum relocation incentive payment to offset moving expenses may not be desirable including:
  • There can be no advance payment of a lump sum relocation incentive payment. The payment is only made after the individual is on the payroll. Employer-paid moving expenses can mean less out-of-pocket cost to the employee.
  • Lump sum relocation incentive payments are treated as salary and are fully taxable. Some employer-paid moving are not considered taxable income.
Can a lump sum relocation incentive payment be paid out over time, for example to reduce tax consequences to the employee?
No
Can a person receive multiple lump sum relocation incentive payments for a situation like the following: The employee received a lump sum relocation incentive payment to relocate to another geographic location, but the employee must return periodically to the Seattle area for work stays of several weeks or months, after which the employee goes back to the site of the original relocation?
No. A lump sum relocation incentive payment may only be paid upon appointment to a position and can not be used as described in the preceding example.
When does an employee who has received one lump sum relocation incentive payment again become eligible to receive another relocation incentive payment?
An employee who has received a lump sum relocation incentive payment becomes eligible to again receive a lump sum relocation incentive payment when that employee must make a work related move to another geographic location and establish a new residence for a period of at least six months.