What is Included in a Job Relocation Package

Woman unpacking cardboard boxes
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When you receive a job offer or your company transfers you and you need to relocate, you may be eligible for a relocation package. In some cases, the company will pay for the full expense of moving. In others, you may be given a flat dollar amount to cover your expenses. 

If you're coming on board as a new employee and a relocation package isn't offered, you may be able to negotiate reimbursement of expenses as part of a counter offer.

However, there is no obligation on the part of an employer to cover moving expenses for either new or current employees.

What's Included in a Job Relocation Package? 

Typically, if offered, most relocation packages include some or all of the following:

Home Finding. A trip, including transportation and hotel costs, to the new location to find a future home suitable for your family is paid for.

Home Sales / Home Buying. The costs of selling your home and purchasing a new home are commonly included in relocation packages. This would include closing costs, real estate commissions, and other expenses normally incurred when buying or selling a house.

Job Search Help. Some employee relocation packages include job search assistance for your spouse or partner.

Transportation. Companies may reimburse travel expenses to employees who have to move to their new location via train, automobile, or airplane.

Temporary Housing. The cost of temporary furnished rental housing or a hotel for a certain period of time is often provided. Rent and utility fees are typically included for rental housing.

Moving. The cost of a moving truck and other related expenses may be included.

Full Pack / Unpack. When the company fully covers the expenses and logistics of the move, movers will be sent to pack up your household goods and transport them to your new home, where they will unload, and in some cases unpack, the boxes where you wish.

Check on What's Included in the Package

Before you make arrangements to move, double-check specifics of your relocation package with your employer so you know exactly what will be covered or reimbursed. You don't want to get stuck with expenses for items that you thought would be covered, but aren't. Some companies frequently deal with relocating new employees, and may connect you with their sub-contracted companies. Others may give you a lump sum to pay for relocation, or ask you to keep all receipts for reimbursement. Ask for specifics beforehand. 

Negotiating Job Relocation as a Benefit

Because relocation expenses are a one-time cost for a company, negotiating a relocation package is sometimes easier than negotiating a higher salary. For companies, covering relocation services can be a smart, cost-effective recruitment tactic — companies may try to attract candidates by mentioning that relocation services are available in job listings. And, for internal candidates, the relocation services are often cheaper than the costs of hiring and training a new employee. 

Here are some tips for negotiating a relocation package: 

Ask questions. Begin the process by asking if the company provides relocation services and what the company typically provides.

Even if the company does not provide full moving expenses, they may be willing to reimburse some expenses. 

Know your numbers. If the company typically offers relocation packages, they may have a sense of the costs. Otherwise, it's up to you to provide the employer with a sense of how the move will affect you in terms of time and money spent. As well, review the various relocation services that employers provide above. This will help you know what you want, and make a specific, detailed request. 

Get the details in writing. As with any job-related benefit, it's important to have all the details in writing. That way, both you and your employer will be clear on expectations and coverage. 

Check on Tax Deductible Travel Expenses

If your employer doesn't cover relocation expenses, some of your travel expense may be tax deductible.

If you travel to a location and, while there, you look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct travel expenses. Here's more information on tax deductions for job seekers.

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