The average job relocation package will include the following features. Please note that this is a more subjective, than objective, list. Depending on the industry and their competition’s relocation packages, employers can tailor their programs to offer the most competitive and attractive packages to attract and retain top talent. Many organizations either designate an in-house relocation manager to help oversee the move from beginning to end or, increasingly, turn this complex job over to a professional relocation management company.
Successful assignments and transfers depend on competitive, comprehensive job relocation packages. These should be compliant with IRS regulations, and should also align with the organization's goals and objectives. Regardless of the type and number of relocation package components, those that meet the needs of both the employer and employee will be most effective. Oftentimes, these components can be negotiated. But what are some of the features common to the average job relocation package?
COMMON FEATURES OF AN AVERAGE Job RELOCATION PACKAGE
- Full pack and/or unpack services. The employee's household goods are packed by a moving company, saving the employee time and stress. After arriving at the new destination and home, moving company personnel unpack the household goods.
Quality moving company service with reasonable insurance coverage. Some moving companies are known for quality moves, some are not. Since moving charges are usually based on total weight, insurance for damaged or lost goods should be equal to your goods’ value.
Home sale or lease-breaking penalty assistance. Home sale help can come in a variety of ways, from company-sponsored reimbursement for money lost on quick home sales, professional marketing help to accelerate the timing of sales to the employer buying the home. Renters can expect employers to pay contractual penalties for early lease termination.
House-hunting trip, minimum one. Standard relocation programs commonly include at least one, preferably two, company-paid house hunting trips of short duration to give the transferee and family opportunities to find new homes. House-hunting expenses incurred in looking for a new home: transportation, lodging, meals and in some cases, childcare so the kids can stay home (and out of the way) while the parents can house-hunt in peace. (According to the Illinois-based search firm Witt Kiefer, companies are increasingly encouraging families with younger children to leave them home, and reimbursing them for the expense, while looking for a new house.)
Temporary housing. Standard relocations include at least 30 days of temporary housing for transferees.
Transportation, including auto moving, to the final destination. Most relocation packages include reimbursement for transporting your transferee and his/her family to the new location. If the transferee can travel by auto, reimbursing for mileage expenses is common. Should the move require plane or train transportation, standard packages often include reimbursing the cost of moving the transferee’s vehicle(s).
Miscellaneous expenses. As usual the “miscellaneous” category can encompass a lot of small costs. These can include driver’s license fees, pet registration and licenses, cleaning services at the new home, utility hook-ups and other move-related expenses. To keep this category cost controlled, identify or cap most eligible costs.
These are commonly included features of standard relocation packages, which we outline in our guide. Depending on your industry and facility locations, you may want to include more features in your typical relocation package.
Popular features in a standard relocation program may include:
- temporary living expenses when transferees must meet hard deadlines to move
- storage costs for household goods before employees can move into new homes
- spousal employment assistance in the new location
- childcare costs and elder help for transferees caring for elderly parents.
- school location assistance for school-age children
- a loss-on-sale allowance in the event your present home sells for less than its purchase price (not uncommon since the Great Recession)
- trips home for those in longer-term temporary housing, usually limited to one every 30 days
Your typical relocation package may or may not include some or all of the noted features. However, in all cases, you should regularly compare your package with those of your competition. If your program is significantly deficient in some area, make senior management aware of the discrepancy, advising them to consider upgrades to keep your standard package equal to your competition’s packages.
While it can be true that the higher the level of an employee’s status within an organization, the more comprehensive and inclusive the job relocation package will be, more savvy companies are offering to underwrite relocation costs even for newer employees as a means of attracting and keeping their top talent. Each company has its own benefit structure and policies vary, so potential transferees need to understand from the outset what is and isn't included (but could be negotiable) to secure the best deal on job relocation packages.
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