Preparing to relocate for your work requires a great deal of communication with your employer about your needs and concerns. By taking the time to review the contents of your relocation package and identify areas where you need more support, you can properly approach your employer and negotiate the terms of your package to best fit your needs.
In this article, we review what items are typically included in a relocation package, the types of relocation packages and how you can negotiate the terms of your package with your employer.
Why is it important to know what's in your relocation package?
Knowing what is in your relocation package is important because the moving process can be strenuous and expensive for transferees. Reviewing the included components of your relocation package can help you identify any areas you consider important that are not currently included. This allows you the opportunity to advocate for your company to accommodate you with your specific needs to relocate with minimal stress.
What can be included in a relocation package?
Companies are supposed to provide their transferring employees with everything they need to relocate. The following section will name and define the different aspects that should be included in a relocation package.
Your company should be partnered with a packing service whose job is to perform all the necessary packing for you so you don't have to worry. Your company should not only enlist their services but also pay for them on your behalf. They should also pay for an unpacking service once you arrive and are settled in your new location.
Moving company and insurance coverage
Another important component that can be included in a relocation package is a paid moving company to help transport your belongings and adequate insurance coverage to cover the cost of any of your personal items that may become damaged during the moving process.
A company might also assist in the selling of your current home, either through paid advertising or reimbursement fees for any lost profit as a result of quick home sales.
Paid-for house hunting trip
At least one house-hunting trip is often paid for by a company for an employee who will be transferring in the near future. They can cover the cost of transportation, childcare, accommodations and food expenses.
Another area that a company might cover in a relocation package is temporary housing for a transferee. If an employee is unable to find their own accommodation in the time allotted to them prior to relocating, their company may pay for and provide them with temporary housing for a period of 30 days. This allows transferees a month to find more adequate housing once relocated.
Auto travel reimbursement
Companies might be expected to include auto travel reimbursements as part of a relocation package. This means they might be responsible for paying back an employee with the amount of mileage or gas that was used to travel to their destination by car. For those traveling by air or train, a company might be expected to reimburse costs to transport an employee's vehicle to their new location.
Other relocation expenses
Other expenses that might be included in a relocation package is school relocation assistance for children of employees, temporary storage for household items that cannot be immediately transported or payment of state driver's license fees. There is usually a set amount of money that will be given to cover these additional expenses.
Types of relocation packages
There are multiple kinds of relocation packages that companies can utilize to structure relocation costs for their employees:
This type of relocation package is when a company gives a transferee a set amount of money to help them with moving expenses. The transferee is responsible for using that money to hire a moving service, transportation and any other expenses that are necessary. However, the transferee has to decide the best use for the amount of money they receive.
Reimbursement relocation packages allow transferees to pay for all moving expenses with the notion in mind that their employer will reimburse them with a specific amount of money after they have relocated. In doing this, a company covers most if not all moving expenses. Employees should keep all receipts to show to their employer to be properly reimbursed.
This type of relocation refers to when a company hires an outside relocation service to help transferees find moving services, transportation and storage options. In this case, the employer does not have direct involvement in the relocation process.
Direct billing is a type of relocation package closely related to—and sometimes used with—reimbursement and lump-sum packages. This package allows employers to direct bill moving services and other relocation aspects for their employees.
This type of relocation package refers specifically to employees who are transferring to company locations in different countries. In this type of relocation package, employers cover expenses beyond moving and transportation. They might help employees and their spouses obtain work visas and provide paid trips to their new work location to find housing prior to their move. They also might help employees with cultural assimilation once relocated.
How to negotiate your relocation package
There might be certain aspects you consider important to your relocation experience that is not included in your relocation package. In this situation, you should be able to effectively negotiate your needs with your company. The following section reviews how to effectively negotiate your relocation package with your employer:
- Review what's included in your relocation package
- Identify necessary items that are not included
- Look at your local competitor's offerings
- Address your specific needs to your employer
1. Review what's included in your relocation package
Before negotiating your specific relocation needs, identify what is currently offered to you as a part of your relocation package. Go over what is covered, how you will be reimbursed or what type of insurance coverage is offered during the moving process. By taking the time to review the terms of your relocation package, you can identify potential areas that you feel are not adequately covered by your company.
2. Identify necessary items that are not included
Consider additional items that might be beneficial to your relocation experience. If you are allotted one paid trip to search for housing but there are no childcare reimbursement options, this is something you might want to discuss with your employer so you can be reimbursed for the expense of someone watching your children while you are house hunting.
3. Look at your local competitor's offerings
After reviewing what your company offers you in your relocation package and identifying additional items that would be helpful to your situation, you can now review relocation packages offered by industry competitors to their employees. Do they include childcare as a reimbursable expense? Consider what they offer that your company does not, and make note of these items to bring up in a discussion with your employer.
4. Address your specific needs to your employer
Talk to your employer about your specific requirements that are not accommodated in the current relocation package. Ask them if there are areas that could be given reimbursements or if there are certain aspects of the current package that could be switched out for something that would be more helpful to you.
Maybe you can cover the packing service yourself if your company can cover the cost of airfare. Or maybe your company can help reimburse you for childcare expenses. Be sure to negotiate within reason and understand that not all relocation packages will be negotiable.