A Cost of Dwelling Allowance (COLA) is a income dietary supplement paid to employees to deal with distinctions in the expense of residing, notably as a result of an international assignment. The amount of COLA really should enable an expatriate in order to buy the same basket of goods and providers within the host locale as they might of their home place. The idea for calculating a COLA is the Cost of Residing Index (COLI) which indexes The prices of exactly the same basket of goods and providers in various geographic destinations. COLA is a straightforward exact technique of measuring fluctuating salary obtaining power and guaranteeing parity.

Price of Living Index

Our cost of Living Indexes evaluate the price of 230 services throughout thirteen distinctive basket groups in 276 metropolitan areas around the world. The information is collected by a group of investigation analysts who study comparable objects that exist internationally. No less than three prices for a similar brand/measurement/quantity of product is employed to determine the common selling price for every item in Each and every site. The items are priced on a quarterly basis and tend to rise and drop with inflation. The thirteen diverse basket types are as follows:

Alcohol & Tobacco: Alcoholic beverages and tobacco merchandise

•Alcoholic beverages at Bar



•Domestically Created Spirit



Outfits: Clothing and footwear products and solutions

•Business Satisfies

•Everyday Garments

•Kid’s Clothing and footwear

•Coats and hats

•Night Have on

•Shoe Repairs



•Household Phone Rental and Connect with Rates

•Internet Connection and repair supplier service fees

•Cell / Mobile Phone Contract and Phone calls

Education and learning

•Crèche / Pre-Faculty Service fees

•Highschool / University Costs

•Principal University Expenses

•Tertiary Research Service fees

Home furnishings & Appliances: Home furniture, house gear and domestic appliances

•DVD Participant

•Fridge Freezer


•Kettle, Toaster, Microwave

•Light-weight Bulbs


•Vacuum Cleaner

•Washing Device

Groceries: Foods, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning substance

•Newborn Consumables

•Baked Products


•Canned Foods


•Cleaning Solutions


•Clean Fruits

•Clean Veggies

•Fruit Juices



•Oil & Vinegars

•Pet Foods

•Pre-Ready Meals




•Soft Drinks

•Spices & Herbs

Healthcare: Normal Health care, Medical and Medical Insurance

•Typical Practitioner Session costs

•Clinic Private Ward Daily Amount

•Non-Prescription Medication

•Private Medical Coverage / Health-related Aid Contributions

Domestic: Housing, h2o, electric power, family fuel, house fuels, area costs and residential taxes

•House / Flat Property finance loan

•Household / Flat Rental

•Family Energy Usage

•Home Gasoline / Gasoline Use

•House H2o Usage

•Local Property Charges / Taxes / Levies

Miscellaneous: Stationary, Linen and general products and products and services

•Domestic Support

•Dry Cleaning


•Place of work Materials

•Newspapers and Publications

•Postage Stamps

Personal Care: Individual Treatment services



•Moisturiser / Solar Block


•Ache Aid Tablets

•Bathroom Paper


•Cleaning soap / Shampoo / Conditioner

Recreation and Lifestyle


•Digital camera Movie

•Cinema Ticket

•DVD and CD’s

•Sports activities products

•Theatre Ticket

Dining places, Meals Out and Lodges

•Business Dinner

•Evening meal at Cafe (non quick food items)

•Hotel Rates

•Acquire Away Drinks & Snacks (rapid Meals)

Transportation: General public Transport, Motor vehicle Charges, Vehicle Fuel, Automobile Insurance policies and Auto Routine maintenance

•Retain the services of Invest in / Lease of Vehicle

•Petrol / Diesel

•Public Transport

•Provider Upkeep


•Car or truck Insurance plan

•Vehicle Purchase

Each basket class isn’t going to depend Similarly and therefore are weighted in the ultimate calculation determined by expatriate expending patterns.

So that you can work out an precise price of living index for a particular specific the basket objects that aren’t suitable to the individual must be excluded with the calculation. One example is if education and housing is provided by the employer these basket classes will be excluded from the price of residing index calculation. This raises the accuracy of the expense of dwelling index and causes it to be doable for every particular person to obtain their own tailored expense of dwelling index primarily based on their specific preparations in lieu of working with an Over-all “generic” index which is likely to consists of prices that aren’t applicable to the person.

The system for calculating the particular price of living index for a world assignment is as follows:

Expense of Residing Index = Personalized Cost of Dwelling Index for Host Metropolis / Personalized Cost of Living Index for Dwelling Metropolis

When relocating to a greater cost of dwelling host metropolis, the index will likely be higher than 1 (good). When moving to the decreased cost of living host town the index is going to be below 1 (negative). The place the index is damaging it ensures that in authentic phrases the cost of residing in the host town is decrease than the house metropolis. This means that Should the detrimental index in which to generally be applied to the worker’s wage, they would basically be paid out proportionately less spendable wage inside the host town. It is crucial to note that the majority of businesses don’t implement a unfavorable expense of residing index mainly because it causes it to be difficult to persuade an worker to choose up an assignment as they have a tendency to determine it as a discount in income.

Examples of Price of Dwelling Index Calculations making use of our data:

Illustration 1) An Australian personnel shifting from Perth to London the place Health care and communication is going to be provided by the employer

Costlier in London:

•Liquor & Tobacco +four.seventy seven%

•Apparel +21.eighty five%

•Training +31.fifty three%

•Home furnishings & Appliances +16.03%

•Groceries +sixteen.35%

•Household +50.seventy two%

•Miscellaneous +137.forty seven%

•Own Care +11.eighteen%

•Recreation & Society -6.eighty two%

•Eating places Foods Out and Hotels +34.99%

•Transport +19.eighty%

The overall change in cost of residing transferring from Perth and London is +28.06%.

In this case the price of dwelling index is positive and could be applied as it can be.

Example 2) A British personnel going from London to Mumbai exactly where the employer will present housing and education

Costlier in Mumbai:

•Alcohol & Tobacco -37.53%

•Garments -nine.fifty eight%

•Conversation -forty four.ninety two%

•Furniture & Appliances -19.31%

•Groceries -24.03%

•Healthcare -31.24%

•Miscellaneous -72.43%

•Private Treatment -24.94%

•Recreation & Tradition -35.seventy three%

•Places to eat Meals Out and Accommodations -33.eleven%

•Transportation is -27.ninety nine%

The general distinction in price of residing shifting from London Mumbai is -30.53%.

In cases like this the price of dwelling index is detrimental and wouldn’t be used.

Web Spendable Salary

Variations in price of residing only effect the part of the wage that is definitely spendable during the host country. Objects in the house place which include retirement funding, medical insurance coverage along with other house based mostly charges will not be impacted by the expense of residing in the host place.

To ascertain The web Spendable Salary set up what volume / portion of the current wage (in property currency) is used in protecting the worker’s recent typical of residing / Life-style. What’s going to the expatriate want to spend their income on during the host state? Such as will accommodation be delivered or will the worker shell out lease, will healthcare be provided etcetera. Deduct all objects that are possibly offered in type or are spendable in the home country. Deduct the hypothetical degree of tax, social contributions and another statutory deductions relevant in the home country within the Spendable Income. Precisely what is still left is the Net Spendable Income.

Price of Living Allowance (COLA)

The formula for calculating the expense of residing allowance utilizing the above mentioned inputs is as follows:

(Web Spendable Wage X Cost of Dwelling Index X Hardship Index X Exchange Amount) considerably less (Net Spendable Income X Trade Price) = COLA

Samples of COLA Calculations making use of our information

Case in point one) An Australian worker with a Web spendable salary of AUD£one hundred,000 shifting from Perth to London where by healthcare and interaction will likely be provided by the employer

($a hundred,000.00 X 1.2806 X one X 0.4768) considerably less ($100,000.00 X 0.4768) = COLA of £thirteen,379.44 (GBP)

Based upon all the above factors somebody would require a Price of Dwelling Allowance of £13,379.forty four (GBP), Together with their present-day wage of 100,000.00 Australian Greenback (AUD) to compensate for relocating from Perth to London. This Cost of Residing Allowance compensates for the general cost of dwelling distinction of +28.06% as well as relative big difference in hardship of 0%.

Case in point 2) A British staff by using a net spendable wage of £eighteen,000 shifting from London to Mumbai wherever the employer will provide housing and education and learning

Be aware: Since the Expense of Living Index is detrimental It’s not utilized.

(£eighteen,000.00 X 1 X one.3 X sixty seven.2852) less (£18,000.00 X67.2852) = COLA of 363,340.32 Indian Rupee

Dependant on all the above components an individual would demand a Expense of Living Allowance of 363,340.32 (INR ), Together with their present-day salary of £eighteen,000.00 British Pound (GBP ) to compensate for relocating from London to Mumbai. This Expense of Living Allowance compensates for the overall expense of living variation of [-thirty.53%] as well as the relative variance in hardship of thirty%.

COLA Payment

The COLA is paid out for a income complement (i.e. as a further allowance) Web of tax in the host nation. If your COLA is usually a taxable allowance within the host region it ought to be grossed up in order that the full quantity of calculated COLA is paid out Internet of tax provided that The idea on the calculation is Web Spendable Income. The COLA is commonly accompanied by other allowances and Advantages including flights property, relocation / settling in allowance, and furnishing allowance.

Trade Amount Fluctuations

Sizeable variations within the exchange rate could make a considerable big difference while in the COLA calculation. In 2008 a lot of the major global exchange charges transformed by up to thirty-forty%.

The price of residing index displays the adjustments attributable to inflation and exchange prices. Inside the quick-phrase there may be disequilibrium among inflation as well as the exchange rate (the one pushes the other), however as time passes the cost of dwelling index presents by far the most precise look at of the price of residing.

It’s important to remind expatriates that when the cost of dwelling variance is adverse, along with the damaging value hasn’t been used, they’ve got larger buying energy in the host state than they’d in your own home.

Exactly where a negative expense of residing index has not been applied (our proposed tactic), plus a modify in the exchange rate suggests an upward adjustment in COLA could possibly be needed, it is suggested which the COLA shouldn’t be adjusted upward until eventually the price of living index will become constructive i.e. the cost of dwelling displays that there’s a “serious” rise in price of living concerning property and host countries. This could suggest that their would be no rise in the COLA as a result of Trade fee fluctuations for some appreciable time. Throughout this time the worker’s buying ability decreases. But it is necessary to keep in mind that until eventually the cost of dwelling distinction will become good, the person will nonetheless have an increased buying electric power than they do inside their home region.

It is a good idea to stipulate a forex protection rule, as an alternative to reacting to every fluctuation inside the Trade price. By way of example the rule may condition that COLA will be reviewed if exchange premiums or local inflation transfer by in excess of +10% in the course of a 12 months. It is important to Understand that the costs of products and solutions are not likely to fall in local currency. This might only manifest in a period of deflation (adverse inflation). Hence the currency safety rule would Generally make provision for upward changes in COLA and not downward adjustments in the course of an personnel’s assignment. Downward changes to an present COLA because of exchange charge fluctuations and not using a corresponding fall in the costs of nearby products and expert services places huge pressure on an worker’s host currency price range commitments and may result in the worker dealing with financial problems.

Making use of an impartial provider company delivers an unbiased, aim foundation for pinpointing an staff’s COLA.

We recommend therefore that a COLA is calculated by applying the specific (personalized) cost of living index to the net spendable salary at the start from the assignment and monitoring exchange price fluctuations thereafter Along with the annual salary review.