4 March 2014: Exchange Rate Fluctuations in Russia and Elsewhere

27 February 2014: Employee Contracts in Hungary – Q & A
27th February 2014
6 March 2014: Expatriate Housing/ Allowance Taxation Query
6th March 2014

Compandben’s International Employment Services –

Payroll Partner & PEO Services in Russia –

 

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Here is an e mail exchange conducted with a lady from a Yahoo international HR Group.

Has anyone reading this any ideas or alternatives? Please contact us – see below.

 

ORIGINAL QUERY

We are currently facing an issue, where we would like to seek your opinion/advice:

Background: At the start of an assignment to Russia, the base salary of our German expats will be converted into the host country currency using a six months average exchange rate (reference value) according to mercer. By the end of each year we compare the yearly average exchange rate against the reference value. If there is a disadvantage for the expat, a gradual compensation payment is made only for the first three years. After that no exchange rate compensation will be given.

Problem: During the last 6 months the Euro grew stronger and stronger against the Russian Ruble. The prognoses even tend to develop to 1 EUR = 60 RUR.

Since a lot of our expats do not receive an exchange rate compensation anymore (>3 years in Russia), they face severe problems and would like to receive a compensation.

Question 1: Now the question arose how that compensation could possibly look like. Since we do not have a worst-case-scenario outlined in our Global Mobility Policy, I was wondering, if you face the same situation and what your suggestion would be.

Question 2: A suggestion from the expat’s side was to take the EUR based salary from the home country and convert it into Russian Ruble every month with the average exchange rate. The only restriction I see here is that you do not have a mechanism which protects the expats once the exchange rate drops to 1EUR = 39 RUR. Do you have an idea, if this suggestion can be taken further WITH mechanisms to protect against currency depreciation?

I highly appreciate your feedback and thank you in advance. Kind regards…

 

RESPONSE by JOHN TINSLEY

There is not a lot wrong with your present system. Expats will always complain about exchange rates if they lose money but will be “too busy to notice” if they gain money by an exchange rate change.

When I was an HR Manager we used to follow broadly the same policy as you.

We would fix an exchange rate – we just used the mid market rate from Reuters on the last Friday of the year- no need to pay someone to calculate averages.

On the last Friday of the following year we would look at the monthly exchange rates

If the employee had “lost” money we could compensate him or her- no 3 year time limits

If the employee gained money we would review it, remember it, but probably not try to take the money back

BUT this review could also be triggered during any calendar year if the exchange rate disadvantaged the employee by 5% since the previous fix.

 

Please Contact Compandben or leave a comment below if you have any queries, ideas or alternative suggestions.

You can also visit Compandben Main Website – Russia Payroll & PEO Services

John Tinsley

2 Comments

  1. Clemmie says:

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    • John Tinsley says:

      Clemmie,
      Thanks for your kind message.
      I note you are based in OSLO. We are doing a tiny bit of business in Oslo – an American lady works 4 days per month for US$1100 and her USA university want us (well one of our partner companies) to act as the Employer of Record . We have agreed as long as she doesn’t get paid more than once per quarter, otherwise it is too expensive for the client and the bank charges are too high.

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