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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 lodging costs.

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.

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