Who pays the travel costs for long-distance telecommuters?
We'll define a "long-distance telecommuter" here as someone who had
been working for an employer and living nearby, but who relocated to a more
distant location and was able to continue working via telecommuting. One
of the keys to success in this arrangement is for the telecommuter to
return to the office at some regular interval - partly to attend meetings,
training and other business functions, and also to stay in touch with
co-workers and have some conversation and socializing that just can't be
done as well electronically.
Assuming that the distance is no more than a 2-3 hour plane flight, it's
typical for the telecommuter to come back to the office for a couple of
days a month - or more frequently if needed and/or if the distance is
shorter. It is essential that these arrangements be established BEFORE the
telecommuter relocates - including the issue of who pays for the travel and
Typically, the employer pays these expenses. These are normal business
travel expenses and it is in the employer's interest for the telecommuter
to return periodically. If this is a valued employee for whom this
long-distance telecommuting is allowed, it makes little sense to expect the
employee to pay for those expenses.