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If you’re being transferred by your job, you might be wondering if you could claim relocation assistance. This guide should answer your questions and show you how to get help with your moving expenses. You may be wondering:

  • What are the benefits of relocation assistance? 
  • What is covered in a relocation allowance?
  • How much is the average relocation package?

What is Relocation Assistance?

Relocation assistance is an employee benefit whereby the company helps pay for your expenses when you move to another city to work for them. The assistance could include reimbursement for travel expenses, moving costs and temporary lodging for relocation jobs. Some companies even assist employees in selling their homes and finding a home closer to work, or even with international moves, obtaining visas, and even language and culture classes to help an employee become immersed in their new home.

Companies have a lot of flexibility in how they choose to provide relocation assistance. There are four basic types of relocation assistance, namely:

  1. Lump sum relocation assistance whereby the company pays you a set amount of money which you can use as you wish towards your relocation.
  2. Reimbursement of moving expenses, whereby the company will reimburse a portion or all of your relocation costs. 
  3. Direct billing of relocation costs, whereby all expenses are submitted directly to the company, and whereby the company coordinates everything on your behalf.
  4. Third party relocation management, whereby the company enlists the services of a relocation services broker to handle your move.

Relocation Assistance Explained

In some cases, relocation jobs will provide a stipend, pay each bill as it is submitted, arrange everything on the employee’s behalf, or they may pay a lump sum relocation package. 

Help with moving expenses takes a load off for employees who have relocation jobs and have to move away from their comfort zone to a new city or country. A reasonable employer may pair you with a realtor to find a permanent home in the new city.

They could:

  • Assume responsibility for the costs of terminating your lease early; 
  • Reimburse moving-related expenses. This includes temporary lodging; meals, transportation, motel costs if you’re driving long distance;
  • Disconnection and re-connection fees on utilities;
  • Cancellation fees at your children’s schools;
  • Pay moving costs for the entire household;
  • Reimburse you for house hunting trips;
  • Pay property closing costs;
  • Cover your short term rentals.

What Can you Expect?

Apply for relocation assistance to find out where your future lies with the company. A good package means that the company values you and is prepared to do what it takes to make your life easier. Hang on to that job!

Companies that are unwilling to provide relocation assistance should rethink their policy. 

Are you eligible for relocation assistance?

It’s important to note that not all relocation assistance packages are alike. Each employer will use their own discretion to determine what they’re prepared to pay based on your level in the company and what they can afford. Certain restrictions may apply or there could be more benefits to more senior employees. 

What is involved in a relocation package?

The facts and figures typically vary greatly from company to person and relocation destination. This means that there’s no “average” value to a relocation package. Your value to the company determines how much they are willing to assist you. 

Example; A recent college grad receives $2,500-$3,000 for moving expenses. Yet, a highly qualified executive, with proven track record, can expect more.

Federal agencies can pay a lump sum relocation bonuses of up to 25% of the person’s salary to eligible individuals appointed to certain covered positions within the senior-level, general schedule, senior executive service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Executive Schedule, prevailing rate position, or law enforcement officers. They could pay additional relocation incentives for employees who move to different areas. 

To pick up your family and move to a new city is not as simple as packing a few bags and loading a van. There are several other costs to consider.

What’s in the Package?

Expatriation – Multinational companies that transfer employees to other areas outside of the country usually include expatriation as part of relocation packages. Check if Pre-relocation visits to the intended country can be included. Along with work visas for the employee and his or her spouse, and finding accommodation and schools. Many offer concierge-type assistance, which makes expatriation and adjusting to the foreign city and country much easier. 

Housing – If you own your house, you will probably have to sell it or rent it out. If the house does not sell, you could have unexpected costs. If you’re renting your home, you may have to terminate your lease early, and they will often reimburse you for that.

Transportation and storage. Packing is a chore, right? You may not have time to do it, what with all the other arrangements you have to make. Yet, there are employers who will pay for your goods to be professionally packed. Ask if the company will pay for storage. Some companies will pay dependable auto shippers to ship your vehicle for you as well.

How to negotiate a relocation allowance

Companies still offer relocation assistance packages, yet they are less generous than before. Is your move affordable? Save everyone time and money if the costs are too high. Here’s how:

Step #1 – Company proposes the relocation. Usually, offers are mentioned at this time. Do remember that a relocation packing is a benefit of your employment, just like your other perks. It’s in the company’s interests to make the move as smooth and pleasant as possible for you.

Step #2 – Research. Look at websites that talk about housing costs and costs of living in the proposed city. Get a quote to ship your car to the new city. Next, it is important to consider the important issues, including:

  • A pre-move visit to your new city
  • Increased cost-of-living subsidy
  • Housing subsidy
  • Assistance in finding a good school for your kids
  • Storage costs
  • Vehicle shipping by dependable auto shippers

Relocation Assistance Step by Step

Are you moving ahead of your family? If yes, request a travel allowance. Understanding the help you need will ensure that you are prepared for relocation package negotiation. 

Step #3 – Negotiate! Most companies are open to negotiate relocation packages for their most valued employees. Once you have determined what you need, figure out what you can suggest that will benefit the company as well. Hopefully your company will understand you can get to work as soon as you are settled.

Step #4 – Get your offer in writing. Once you have reached an agreement with the company, ensure that you sign the relocation compensation agreement which stipulates the dates and amounts.  

Before you move, be sure to print out this Relocation Checklist, brought to you compliments of Nationwide Auto Transportation.