Policy/Procedure: 201.N Relocation

Statement of Policy:
The department may pay/reimburse relocation and/or temporary lodging expenses for new and presently employed personnel assigned to new locations by transfer or promotion. Reimbursement is not authorized for employees appointed as limited term employees (LTEs).  The dollar amount allowed for each move must be established and approved by the Divisional Business Office prior to the move.  The Relocation/Temporary Lodging Pre-Approval Form may be used in lieu of a letter of approval prepared by the Divisional Business Office.  Effective January 1, 2018, all relocation expenses will be reported to the IRS and a W-2 statement will be provided at the end of the year.  No more than two relocation reimbursements may be granted to any employee in a calendar year.  Unless otherwise authorized by the Divisional Business Office, to be eligible for moving reimbursement, the employee must move no later than one year from the effective date of the appointment or the end of probation, whichever is later.

Note: Sponsored projects (e.g., fund 144 or 133) are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific award, as well as applicable program guidelines, which may restrict use of funds for certain types of expenses.  Please contact the RSP accountant for your award with any questions.

Relocation Expenses

  • Direct Costs: The movement of household goods and associated moving expenses are considered direct costs and are reimbursable/payable by the University.
      • Moving of Household Goods: Personal effects of the employee and their immediate family which may be transported legally in interstate commerce.
      • Fees Associated with the Move: Additional fees associated with the moving of household goods that may be listed on the bill of lading.
  • Transporting the Employee and Family: The amount of reimbursement for transporting the employee and his or her immediate family (including domestic partners) to the new residence may not exceed the cost of mileage for one automobile at the current rate, regardless of the mode of transportation used. The maximum allowable amount shall be determined using the most direct route possible and shall not exceed the mileage indicated on the bill of lading when a commercial carrier is utilized. Actual necessary airfare may be reimbursed for overseas relocations.
  • Indirect Costs: Incidental costs associated with the move may not be paid/reimbursed by the University; however, a discretionary stipend may be used to cover these costs.

Note:  For examples of direct and indirect relocation expenses and whether or not they are reimbursable, please see the Relocation Expenses Chart.

A stipend is a sum of money paid to a relocating employee to help defray incidental costs associated with the move. A stipend may be paid, up to the state maximum of $1,000, at the discretion of the Divisional Business Office for relocations as a result of initial employment or reemployment.  Any amount up to the state maximum may be paid whether or not incidental costs are actually incurred.  For mandatory moves, the employee shall receive a stipend equal to the maximum amount.  A stipend may not be paid more than 30 days prior to the employee's relocation date.  Receipts are not required.

Contract Vendors
The employee is responsible for selecting a household moving company and arranging the terms and conditions of the move. UW System has a contract with a corporate moving company for substantially reduced rates. If the employee elects not to use the UW’s contract vendor, the employee may select any carrier, but payment/reimbursement is limited to the lowest of three estimates. The requirement for obtaining estimates may be waived in situations where the Divisional Business Office limits payment/reimbursement for moving expenses to an amount less than $3,000.

Self Moves
If the employee elects to relocate himself/herself, payment/reimbursement is limited to the actual, reasonable, and necessary costs for any hired labor in loading and unloading the household goods and for the rental of trucks, trailers, moving equipment, or other expenses directly related to the relocation. Neither the employee nor the employee's spouse or dependents may be reimbursed for their labor. The reimbursement claim must be supported by original receipts. Estimates are not required from commercial carriers to support self moves.

Piecemeal Moves
The Divisional Business Office may approve the payment/reimbursement of piecemeal moves. The total cumulative reimbursement of moving household effects on a piecemeal basis may not exceed the amount charged if the move had been accomplished in one trip from the original destination.  To make that determination, an estimate showing the cost to accomplish the move in one trip should be obtained and attached to the original payment/reimbursement.  Subsequent claims must refer to prior related expenses.

Office/Lab Equipment Moves
Purchasing Services must be contacted in advance to process a requisition for moving office and lab equipment.

Temporary Lodging
A temporary lodging allowance will be authorized by the Divisional Business Office only when circumstances require the employee to establish a temporary residence for reasons such as the temporary need to maintain domiciles in the old and new locations or where permanent housing is temporarily not available upon moving to the work location. Temporary lodging is tax reportable. Reimbursement shall not exceed the location maximum. Temporary lodging may not exceed 45 days and need not be consecutive. Meals during temporary lodging period are not reimbursable.

Payment Methods
The Divisional Business Office will work with Accounting Services to determine the best method(s) of payment.  Please see How to Process Relocation Expenses.

Documentation Requirements
Complete supporting documentation for relocation includes the following:

  • The Relocation/Temporary Lodging Pre-Approval Form or a letter of approval prepared by the Divisional Business Office
  • A detailed receipt (e.g. bill of lading) itemizing the services provided or the products purchased
  • Additional documentation is required to support piecemeal moves and the use of non-contract vendors.  Review relevant sections above for further information.

Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy and procedural questions.

Divisional Business Offices may contact uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu with questions.