What Is A Job Relocation Package? (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar
Oct. 12, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Relocating for a new job is an endeavor that requires a lot of time, commitment, and money. However, your employer can help curb some of the cost and stress of relocating to a new city by offering a job relocation package.

For job relocation packages, employers must make sure that the new employee’s needs are being met and have a smooth transition into their new job. Carefully looking over the details of your relocation package ensures that both employee and employer are satisfied.

Relocating for work is one of the most common reasons for moving, and some employees may even seek out far-away jobs as an excuse for moving. Millennial employees, in particular, often seek out jobs in big cities with generous relocation packages.

Key Takeaways:

  • A job relocation package is offered by an employer to help cover the costs of moving an employee due to job requirements.

  • Job relocation packages can include hiring professional movers, covering airfare, and paying for temporary housing.

  • Job relocation programs have to consider the financial costs and strategic benefits when developing a job relocation program.

  • If you want to negotiate your relocation package, you must know exactly what your package covers, and know exactly how much your move will cost.

What Is A Job Relocation Package? (With Examples)

What Is A Job Relocation Package?

A job relocation package is a benefit offered by an employer to help cover the costs of moving an employee due to the job requirements.

This is usually done when either hiring a new employee, or moving a current employee to a new location for the company. The extent of a job relocation packages varies. A job relocation package can cover all the costs of moving, or it may only subsidize specific events.

It depends of what the package covers, what is negotiated, where the employee is moving, and how the relocation is organized.

How Do Employers Develop Relocation Policies?

Traditionally, relocation programs were managed exclusively by a company’s human resources department.

However, acquiring and retaining talented employees has quickly become many companies’ most important business strategy. Along with this shifting, prioritization has realized that relocation programs must be a fine-tuned team effort to advance its strategy.

Relocation programs are built around a few key strategic elements:

  1. Internal business partnerships. A company must first create and manage relocation policies by working with internal business partners and utilizing these policies to find employees suited for career advancement and talented external employees.

  2. External business partnerships. Relocation programs also involve managing relationships and contracts with vendors and external service providers and putting policies to mitigate legal issues.

  3. Program considerations. The total relocation program is considered financially, strategically, and operationally before it is put into effect, and its effectiveness is measured over time.

  4. Fairness. Many companies need to have clear, written policies to ensure that relocation is handled equally and fairly across the board. It also helps employees understand fully the services that will be provided to them.

  5. Employee’s level of experience. Relocation policies typically differ depending on an employee’s level of experience and job position. Newer, younger employees with less experience will receive a more bare-bones relocation package than seasoned employees who may also have homes and families or be more settled into their current location.

    Executives will receive the highest level of compensation in regards to their relocation package. High-level employees are often deeply connected within their current locations and have a home, family, and community ties. Employers offer the most attractive and all-inclusive relocation packages to this group of employees.

  6. Financial costs. While talent retention is of the utmost importance for corporations, they must also consider financial cost. HR departments face pressure to minimize cost at every step. Thus, companies use research data to ensure the financial gain of hiring a new employee outweighs the cost of relocation.

Along with strategic and practical considerations, employers also have to consider various legal concerns when developing relocation packages. This might include contracts with an employee and a vendor, protecting employee privacy during the move, and assisting with a change in taxes.

Developing a great relocation package is one thing, but it’s imperative that both parties fully understand the details in an employee relocation situation for everything to go smoothly. This is why most employers have a written contract stating what is included in the relocation package and responsible for which tasks, costs, and potential damages.

If third-party vendors are involved in the relocation process, it’s also extremely important that employers have a way of keeping an employee’s data safe and secure. In transferring information between the company and vendor, employers must ensure that the proper precautions are taken.

A relocation to a new state (much less a new country) also involves a change in taxes. Because of this, employers hire experts to review their relocation package and the bonuses and pay adjustments offered to ensure that they are following tax laws.

What’s Included in Job Relocation Packages

While relocation packages differ greatly from company to company, and the details of the packages often differ depending on your level of experience, a relocation package might include the following:

  • Hiring professional moving companies. Hiring professional movers to assist in a long-distance moving process can be quite costly, but these fees are covered in most relocation packages.

    The fees associated with moving vary based on several factors. The weight and type of belongings you are moving to affect the cost and how far you are moving your belongings, and how many individual workers it takes to move them.

  • Hiring professional packers. Since packing can be a long and arduous process, employers may cover the costs of hiring professional packers to assist you in this process.

  • Reimbursement for moving supplies. The cost of packing supplies and other moving materials can be pretty costly, depending on how many belongings you are moving.

    Since this fee has to be considered while moving, some companies may offer to cover the cost of boxes, bubble wrap, and whatever else you need to transport your belongings.

  • Auto transportation. If you are moving a car long distance, your employer may help cover the moving costs of hiring a reputable auto transport company. Auto transport companies give moving quotes based on the make, model, and condition of your car and when and how far you are planning on moving it.

  • Moving container or storage services. Before, during, and after your moving process, you may need a safe, reliable space to hold your belongings temporarily. Your employer may help by renting out or covering the costs of a moving container or storage unit.

    Moving containers are a convenient way of both transporting and storing your belongings. Storage units are stationary facilities that are typically rented out monthly to store belongings. Your employer may cover the costs of either of these options.

  • Realtor and lease fees. In relocating from one home to another, some sneaky, often forgotten fees can factor into the total cost. However, your employer may still be willing to help curb the cost of these hidden fees.

    One example is realtor fees that come along with purchasing a home in your new city. Realtor fees may also include search fees, appraisals, inspections, attorney fees, and others.

    Another example of hidden costs is lease break fines. Employers may cover the cost of terminating a lease early and potentially paying the remainder of the lease contract’s rent.

  • Air travel costs. Employers often cover airfare costs accrued before, during, and after the hiring process. A potential employer may pay for a job candidate’s air travel costs to become acquainted with the city and complete the interview process.

    Once an employee has been hired, they are usually reimbursed for the cost of flying out to live in their new city.

  • Hotel and meal costs. Whether it’s during the interview process or after you’ve been hired, you will probably have to stay at a hotel at some point. Many job relocation packages cover hotels’ costs for circumstances like these, but there’s usually a limit to how many nights they will cover.

    During your travels, you will also need to feed yourself, likely with restaurant meals, takeout, and other “on-the-go” options. This may be factored into your employer’s relocation package.

  • Truck or car rental services. You may need to rent a car at some point before, during, or after your hiring and relocation process, and your employer might offer to cover these costs for a certain period.

    If you’re going to be packing up your stuff and moving during your relocation process, your employer will also probably cover the cost of renting a moving truck.

  • Childcare costs. Some employees, especially more experienced employees, may also be offered reimbursement for temporary childcare services any time before, during, or after the move. They may also offer assistance in finding reputable local childcare services.

  • Foreign language classes. If you are moving to a new country, your employer might include language classes as part of the relocation package.

Negotiating Relocation Packages

You may find yourself in a situation where the fees of moving keep piling up, and your relocation package doesn’t cover a lot of important (and expensive) costs. If you find that there are some important expenses left uncovered in your relocation package, you may be able to negotiate it with the following steps:

  1. Be sure you know exactly what’s included in your relocation package. Go over the terms of your relocation package with a fine tooth comb to make sure that you thoroughly understand all of the details.

    Make sure you’re clear on what exactly is and is not covered, who is responsible for enlisting certain services, how your costs will be covered, and what type of insurance coverage is offered. Once you have all the details down, note some areas where you may need extra coverage.

  2. List necessary costs that are not covered in your package. Once you notice which areas have been forgotten or not adequately addressed, consider what you may need to assist you in these areas.

    For instance, you may have hotel costs covered by your employer during (or before) a moving process, but perhaps need help subsidizing your on-the-road meals as well. Or you may wish to be reimbursed for childcare costs during this process.

  3. Compare industry competitors’ relocation packages. It may help prepare yourself with some facts and figures before negotiating, but researching industry competitors’ relocation packages may also serve to reality check some expectations. Take some time to review outside relocation packages.

    If industry competitors offer coverage areas that are not covered by your current employer (for employees of the same level), you may want to bring this up during your discussion.

  4. Meet with your employer and discuss your needs. Armed with your research, address specific concerns in a meeting with your employer. Mention the specific areas you may need coverage in, and ask if these needs can either be covered or swapped out for a different (less useful) item in the package.

    You may also find it helpful to bring up the specific details of other companies’ relocation packages, but do this at your discretion. Understand that some relocation packages may be set in stone, especially those that involve signing of a written contract.

Job Relocation FAQ

  1. What can you use relocation expenses for?

    You can use relocation expenses for qualified expenses associated with moving for a new job. You might find some variation between what different employers consider reimbursable expenses. Interestingly, you might also find that different positions in the company qualify for different types of relocation packages with those highest up in the company hierarchy getting more compensation.

    Generally, relocation expenses include professional movers to pack up, move, and unload your belongings. Some moving supplies will be covered, which means your boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and other items necessary to pack up your supplied. Moving vans, rental cars, air travel, and other transportation costs might be covered. Realtor fees and lease fees may be covered.

    While housing costs are usually not covered, you might be able to get compensation or short-term rentals, or hotel stays before your home is ready. Some companies will pay for means during travels but that doesn’t mean that they all will because you would need to eat anyway.

    Another cost you might find covered is any childcare during the move. Finally, if you’re being moved to another country, foreign language classes may be covered.

  2. What kind of jobs pay for relocation?

    What jobs pay for relocation definitely varies by the company. Some companies are willing to pay for all relocation fees, other companies won’t pay for any.

    It is true that the higher up your position is in the company, the more likely you are to get your costs covered. Another thing that can up your odds of having a move covered by your employer is if you have a highly sought-after skill or you’re uniquely qualified for a job.

    If the employer can hire anybody to do a job, then it’s not likely that they’ll pay for any relocation expenses. But if you are very educated, skilled, or an executive, then you can work to have relocation expenses included in your hiring contract.

  3. Can a job require you to relocate?

    A job can require you to relocate to keep your job, but you, obviously, don’t have to move. This is a tricky situation, and it can often be uncomfortable for everyone involved. There are times when jobs have no choice but to require someone to move. If the individual does not want to move, then they will lose their job.

    Situations where this happens regularly include a company moving their headquarters or shutting down a particular location. In these instances, it’s clear that you can’t stay at the job if the location will no longer exist. Likewise, if you’re in a higher position within a company and your job will no longer be performed at that location, you’ll have to move to keep the job.

    There are other situations that cause jobs to request relocation, they could want more staff in one region for a short time, they could be setting up a new location and need experienced hands to get it rolling, there could be opportunities overseas, etc. While a job can require a position be relocated, they can’t force you to move, but refusal to do so can make you lose your job.

  4. How long should a job give you to relocate?

    How long a job should give you to relocate depends on the region you’re moving to and how immediate their need is. This is completely subjective and determined by the company.

    If you’re immediately needed in the position, you may find that you’ll be put up in temporary housing until you can arrange to select a permanent home. That means that you will be relocating very quickly but the entire process could take months before you’ve selected a home and moved your family and belongings.

    One tip, make sure you speak with the company to find out what their timeframe is regarding your move. You want to try to fall within that timeframe, but the housing market might not cooperate and you will need to know what options are available to you if that’s the case. Discuss things like long-term storage, rentals, and possibly a second move when a new home is found or built.

  5. What is a generous relocation package?

    A generous relocation package covers all of your moving needs and expenses and gives you ample time in which to find or build a new home. Of course, the dollar amount of that varies by location because some areas are more expensive to live in and others can be relatively inexpensive to move to.

    Relocation packages can range from $2000 to $100,000 which means that anything on the higher end of that range is definitely generous. But if all of your expenses are paid, even if they’re only a couple thousand, that should be considered generous, too.

  6. Is it okay to ask for relocation assistance?

    Yes, it is okay to ask for relocation assistance if you’ve been offered a job or you’ve been asked to move for a job. Definitely take this step and see if they’ll cover your costs, or at least a portion of them. The worst they can do is say no, and that costs you the same amount as if you didn’t ask, so you might as well ask.

    If you have a lot of experience, have special skills, and/or you’re a part of management, you should request that a relocation package be included in your contract. Each person in these situations usually has a separate contract that is different from that of other employees.

    That means you get the opportunity to ask for items such as relocation fee reimbursement, added vacation days, flex time, etc. Go ahead, ask for the things you think you’ll need to be the best employee you can be.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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