It feels like the proper arbitrage alternative: Depart your crowded metropolis for an even bigger place within the ‘burbs, however maintain your massive metropolis wage.

However now, a new study by world advisory agency Willis Towers Watson reveals that many employers aren’t essentially planning to allow you to maintain your full paycheck if you happen to transfer. The survey of 344 employers in North America confirmed that almost 20% of employers are “setting pay ranges by first figuring out the market worth of an worker’s expertise after which making use of a geographic differential primarily based on the place the worker is situated.” Nevertheless six in 10 employers say they are going to proceed to pay distant staff the identical as in-office staff “irrespective of the place they work.”

Whereas Twitter has been on the forefront of decentralizing it’s workforce (and paying them partly primarily based on the place they reside), different tech corporations have lately taken the same path. Facebook made headlines this spring when it introduced that beginning in January 2021, “worker compensation will likely be adjusted primarily based on the price of dwelling within the areas the place staff select to reside. Facebook will be certain staff are trustworthy about their location by checking the place they log in to inside programs from,” based on the New York Instances. Bloomberg reported in September that staff at VMWare who selected to maneuver may additionally count on pay cuts. “Workers who labored at VMware’s Palo Alto, California, headquarters and go to Denver, for instance, should settle for an 18% wage discount, folks conversant in the matter mentioned. Leaving Silicon Valley for Los Angeles or San Diego means relinquishing 8% of their annual pay, mentioned the folks, who requested to not be recognized discussing inside insurance policies.”

However the motion in direction of “pay localization” will be fraught as properly. For example, what if an organization opened up jobs to staff unfold out across the nation, and ladies or candidates of coloration started to be employed at the next price? Would the corporate nonetheless pay its San Francisco-based staff extra, even when they have been disproportionately male or white?

Some additionally query whether or not the narrative about folks “fleeing cities for good” will maintain up as soon as the pandemic is below management or there’s a vaccine. Jonathan Miller, who writes a well-liked publication about New York actual property told Fortune‘s John Jeff Roberts this summer that he thinks the flight from massive cities is actual—but it surely received’t essentially stick. “He likens what’s taking place with COVID-19 to occasions just like the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008 and the 9/11 assaults. These occasions likewise triggered a flight from New York, however solely a short lived one; lots of those that left returned in a 12 months or two. Miller expects the same phenomenon to happen with the pandemic.”

Which may be one purpose many employers are nonetheless grappling with whether or not—and the way a lot—distant work to permit. The Willis Towers Watson survey discovered that 37% of corporations “don’t but have a proper coverage or set of ideas to handle the preparations, though 60% of these at present with out formal insurance policies are planning or contemplating adopting a proper coverage by subsequent 12 months. Practically two-thirds (64%) of these with insurance policies are planning or contemplating revising them this 12 months or subsequent to adapt to the altering nature of the place work will get completed.”

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