BAT reviews allowances for expat staff

British American Tobacco (BAT) is reviewing the cash allowances it provides to employees deployed to work in high-risk countries.


These include countries suffering political unrest and economic hardship.

In a session titled What to expect in global mobility compliance at Employee Benefits Connect on 27 February, Catherine Birchall, global mobility and reward executive at BAT, said that the aim of the review was to create a system of fairer reward.

The review is being driven by the fact that the allowance, which the organisation terms a ‘hardship allowance’, is worth 30% of the salary of employees based in Western countries who are assigned to work in countries such as Iran and Syria, but could be as low as 5% for employees who move between countries that are deemed to pose similar levels of risk.

Birchall added: “We have a real discussion with our assignees within the regions. How can we say that a UK-based employee coming into these [riskier] countries gets 30%, but because we think two countries are quite similar, others only get 5%?”

The organisation is also reviewing whether to offer expatriate staff the same allowance irrespective of where they are deployed around the world.

Creating a fairer hardship allowance is one of many mobility challenges that BAT faces as a large global employer.