Most respondents monitor expatriate benefits programmes

The majority (85%) of respondents have procedures in place to monitor their expatriate benefits programmes, according to research by Mercer.

Its 2011/12 Benefits survey for expatriates and internationally mobile employees, which provides an overview of expatriate policies within large multinational companies, surveyed 288 multinational organisations with 119,000 expatriate employees.

The research found that 63% of expatriates are members of their home country retirement plans. Just over one in 10 (12%) respondents have established international retirement plans to ensure continuity of benefits.

The most common reasons respondents gave for choosing not to implement an international retirement plan were insufficient numbers of employees to justify the costs (38%) and a combination of home and host-country plan meets needs (30%). A significant number (17%) of respondents are unaware of the potential benefits of establishing an international retirement plan or have never considered this as an option.

Mark Price, principal in Mercer’s international consulting group, said: “The benefits of keeping expatriates in their home country retirement plan is the alignment with employee expectation, as they remain in a plan that is known prior to the assignment, and avoidance of benefit fragmentation as benefits continue to accrue under a single plan.

“However, while this is suitable for short-term and traditional assignees, problems can occur applying these plans to global nomads.”

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