Relocation packages are being offered more and more often by companies trying to recruit, and also retain, quality employees. But what is a relocation package? It is a package offered when a company is offering an existing employee a transfer to a new location or trying to entice a new employee to a move to a location that is generally 50 miles from their current location. While relocation packages were at one time typically offered to only upper-management or higher-level employees, they are offered more and more frequently now that the climate of the workforce has changed. People want, and demand, a better work/life balance, they want to travel and experience new things. Companies now offer this incentive to help keep, and recruit, the best of the best in this competitive job market.
What is included in a relocation package?
While it differs depending on the company and industry, there are several things that are pretty consistent in the relocation packages offered.
- Packing and Unpacking services. This includes have a company come in to pack the employees and family’s belongings to help alleviate stress and save time. Once at the new location, the belongings are then unpacked at the new house.
- Insured Moving Company. The employee’s belongings are moved to the new location, whether it be in state or out of the state.
- Storage. There are times that the employee might need to move quickly, and the house they are moving into might not be ready. If this is the case, the cost of storing furniture, etc. is covered in the package.
- House Selling Assistance/Lease Assistance. Companies might offer home sale assistance by means of marketing, and they might offer reimbursement of up to a certain percentage if the employee must sell quickly and loses money on the sale.
- Paid House Hunting Trips. If the situation warrants it, and the employee is moving a significant distance, companies will often offer at least one paid trip to look for a new home. They will also often pay for childcare so the employee (and significant other) can focus on finding suitable housing without distractions.
- Temporary Housing. The employee might find the perfect home for his/her family, but if the need to move is quickly approaching, the home might not be available in time. If that’s the case, companies will often pay for temporary housing while waiting to make the permanent move.
- School location/childcare assistance. This is sometimes offered when the employee has you or school aged children. This assistance helps the employee research the available schools and daycare facilities and assists in enrollment documentation.
How is the relocation package administered?
There are a few ways a company might choose to handle administering a relocation package.
- Lump Sum. This consists of a pre-negotiated payment amount that is provided to the employee to cover their expenses. This money is considered income by the federal government; therefore, employers will add the tax amount onto the payment so the employee gets the actual agreed upon amount. The downfall with the lump sum option is once the money is gone, all additional expenses come out of the employees’ pocket. Therefore, it is important to get accurate estimates on your move and be prepared for additional expenses.
- Direct Billing. The company pays for all expenses directly and often will handle the details of the move personally. This is often combined with lump sum or reimbursement for miscellaneous expenses.
- Reimbursement. The employee pays for all expenses up front, and the company reimburses the employee. In this scenario, the employee must keep track of all receipts and keep meticulous records for the employer.
- Third party, or outsourced, relocation. All aspects of the move, including packing, moving, storage and finding a new home, are outsourced to a third party that specializes in handling these services.
When being offered a new job in a new location or if your present employer is offering you a promotion in a new location, find out what is offered by means of a relocation package. If you should find that the company does not offer a package as standard practice, don’t be afraid to use this as a negotiation tool. Moving is not only financially costly, but can also be emotionally taxing. Asking for assistance with your move is not only beneficial for you, but can prove to be beneficial for your employer as they are the ones assisting in getting you settled and ready for your new position. Always be sure to get the details in writing so both you and your employer know what to expect, and when.