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Relocating for a job? Here’s what you need to know about a job relocation package

Relocating for a job? Here’s what you need to know about a job relocation package

Artwork by: Aleksandra Remaruk

  • Job relocation packages explained
  • Do you get taxed on a relocation package?
  • Is the relocation package a lump sum amount?
  • What does a relocation package for a new job include?
  • Can I negotiate my new job relocation package?
  • Assess your relocation needs
  • Carefully review the package details
  • Look at what other companies are offering
  • Communicate with your employer
  • Key takeaways

Starting a new job is an exciting feeling, but it could also be stressful if it involves moving to a new location. Fortunately, this is where a job relocation package comes in. Here’s what you need to know about this benefit.

The prospect of relocating for a job can sound exciting, yet it can definitely be stressful. After all, you have to move to a new location and, in a way, start over. However, with a proper job relocation package, you can make the move as hassle-free as possible.

If you want to learn more about a relocation package for a new job, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll discuss:

  • Details of a typical job relocation package

  • How to negotiate your relocation package

Job relocation packages explained

A job relocation package is more than just financial assistance. It includes a wide variety of benefits an employer may offer to assist the employee with the move. While there’s no legal obligation on employers to pay for relocation, some employers go out of their way to make the transition as smooth as possible for their employees.

If your employer requests you to move to a location as part of your employment agreement, consider talking to your employer and finding out if they’re offering any relocation package. If yes, you need to know about some of the things this package should include so you can negotiate some aspects of the package when needed.  

Do you get taxed on a relocation package?

It depends on your country/jurisdiction. For example, relocation benefits are taxable in the United States. However, in Canada, certain types of benefits offered to employees to help them with relocation are exempt. If you’re based somewhere outside North America, it’s best to talk to a legal expert to determine whether this benefit is taxable.

Is the relocation package a lump sum amount?

Not necessarily. Instead of providing a large sum of money to help you move, your employer might offer to reimburse some (or all) of the relocation expenses you pay. Alternatively, they can hire an external relocation service to help you pack and move your belongings. 

If you’re moving from one country to another, your employer might offer expatriation assistance as part of your relocation package. This includes assistance with obtaining work visas for you and your spouse and/or paid trips to the new location to search for a place to live.  

What does a relocation package for a new job include?

Different organizations offer different job relocation packages. Here are some of the things that might be included in your relocation package, depending on your organization and the duration and nature of the relocation.

  • Home-selling assistance: If you’re planning to sell your current home, your employer might offer some assistance in this regard. For instance, they might bear some expenses involving marketing and promoting your home listing or an incentive to share any losses on the quick sale of your home.

  • Packing services: Some organizations try to make relocation easier for their employees by partnering with a packing company. This includes paying for packing, moving, and unpacking household items.  

  • Temporary housing: If an employee cannot find a suitable accommodation within the time allotted to them before the relocation, the employer may provide them with a temporary living arrangement for up to 30 days after the relocation.

  • Reimbursement/pre-payment for house hunting trips: Since relocating involves searching for a new place to live before moving, your company may reimburse you for one or more house-hunting trips. This could cover fuel expenses, food, and other charges incurred during the trip.

  • Auto travel reimbursement: Your organization might reimburse you for the amount of fuel that was used to travel to your new location. If you have to travel by air or sea and need to transport your vehicle to the new location through a vessel, your company might also reimburse you for the freight/cargo insurance. 

  • Insurance coverage for moving: Closely associated with packing services, this benefit covers any transit insurance paid to safely move your belongings from one location to another. 

Can I negotiate my new job relocation package?

To answer this question in one word, yes! Since relocation is different for each individual, there can’t be a single one-size-fits-all job relocation package. There might be some components of your relocation package that you might need more of, as well as a few things you don’t really need. Here’s how you can negotiate on a job relocation package.

Assess your relocation needs

Think about where you’re moving to. Is it a nearby area that you can just drive to or is it a plane ride away? Is there someone you know in the area who can help you get settled in or are you going to be all alone? Do you have a lot of personal belongings that need to go with you? Is it hard to find a living arrangement in the area you’re moving to? Answering all of these questions will help you decide what you should be bargaining for.

For example, if your employer wants you to move to a place that’s only a driving distance away, you may want to ask for a higher fuel allowance. If that area has a major housing crisis and it’s difficult to find a place to live, you can ask for a temporary housing arrangement as part of your relocation package. 

Carefully review the package details

Once you receive your relocation package details, it’s important to read the document carefully. There might be some problematic clauses in the finely-printed text! Go over all the items that will be covered in the package, the type of insurance offered, and the validity of the benefits. 

Next, compare the package with your own relocation needs. Are there certain benefits in the package that are insufficient? Is there something you can let go of in exchange for something else? This type of assessment will help you prepare a strong case for your negotiations. 

Look at what other companies are offering

Now that you’ve assessed your own needs and reviewed the relocation package offered by your employer, take some time to research what the other companies are offering, especially competitors. Maybe some organizations are offering a reimbursement on childcare expenses, and that’s something you need. What if you’re looking for a relocation bonus or another financial incentive to move and a competitor is offering this benefit to its employees?

Some organizations briefly mention their benefits and perks on their websites and job postings, including relocation benefits. If you can’t find sufficient information online, talk to your friends and family members and ask them what relocation benefits their employers offer, if any.

Communicate with your employer

After doing your research, talk to your employer and present your case. Ask them if there are other relocation costs they would be willing to reimburse and how much. See if they’re willing to forego some of the benefits in exchange for providing some additional benefits you need. 

For example, if you don’t have a lot of belongings, you can swap packing services for a reimbursement of the cost of travel. If you have a child, maybe you can ask for a reimbursement on childcare services while you’re settling into your new home. 

Whatever you decide to negotiate on, make sure to be reasonable. Your employer will likely have a budget for the relocation package, and it might be difficult for them to add a whole lot of other benefits. 

Key takeaways

  1. A job relocation package includes a number of benefits offered by an organization to help employees move from one location to another as part of their employment agreement.

  2. In some jurisdictions, relocation benefits are taxable. In others, these benefits are exempt from tax.

  3. You can negotiate on your new job relocation package as long as you know what you need and you’re being reasonable with your suggestions.

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