Due to changes in the economic climate, many companies looked to cut costs by offering full relocation benefits packages primarily to higher-level employees, with newer hires and those on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder often left to manage the details (including many unreimbursed expenses) for themselves. In some organizations, employees were reimbursed only after the move for any but the most basic moving expenses. However, smart companies looking to recruit and retain top talent, are realizing the advantages of offering relocation expense coverage for even newer hires.
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.
What can today’s transferee expect in a relocation package? Much will vary based on position within the company, the industry and the location. However, in most standard relocation packages, a transferee can usually expect his or her company to offer some, or all, of the following provisions:
- House hunting expense reimbursement for a new residence, which may also include childcare costs enabling parents to focus on the business of finding a residence without the distraction of little ones. Most companies pay for at least one or two house hunting trips in the new location.
- Real estate and rental expenses for selling an existing residence are also covered by most employers as a basic benefit. These expenses usually include agent sales commissions and related fees, closing costs, transfer taxes and fees and other moving-related expenses. For renters who may need to break a lease, the company will reimburse for any penalties incurred.
- Moving household goods between the old and new location, including packing, transporting, insuring and setting up furnishings and other goods in the destination location.
- Storage expenses for household furnishings until a new residence is ready for move-in, usually for 30 to 90 days, depending on the policy and individual circumstances.
- Transportation to the new location, whether airfare or reimbursement of mileage if the trip can be made by auto. For longer hauls when a transferee must travel by air or train, companies will often reimburse the costs of moving a personal auto to the new destination.
- Temporary living expenses, such as interim rental housing for 30 to 90 days (depending on policy and individual circumstances), upon arrival to enable the transferee to meet critical starting deadlines.
- Miscellaneous expenses associated with the relocation. These could include unexpected out-of-pocket expenses, costs of meals en route to the final destination as well as well as during house hunting, spouse employment assistance, new driver’s license and other fees charged by the new state or country, as well as for childcare, eldercare and other dependent care costs.
While it’s still true that the higher the level of an employee’s status within an organization, the more comprehensive and inclusive will be the relocation package, 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 relocation packages.