The major pitfall of relocating is not determining the issues prior to the relocation
What about my contract of employment?
It is important to establish the conditions of the relocation.
Some questions to consider including:
- How long do you intend to stay?
- What happens if you don't like the new job?
- Can you transfer back to your old job, and if so, will there be a financial penalty?
One of the major pitfalls of relocating is not determining these issues prior to the relocation.For example a few years ago a number of fairly recent graduates took up positions in the US only to find that their contracts stipulated the repayment of airfares and other costs if they resigned and returned home to Australia prior to the termination date of their contract.Therefore, finding out the minimum period that you are expected to stay is very important.
Should my employer cover the cost of a visit to the new location?
Prior to accepting the new position, particularly if it is interstate, the employer should be requested to fly you and if possible your family to the new location so that you can do thenecessary reconnaissance. For example, where are you going to live, what is the cost of rent, child care, etc.
In some circumstances, there may be a need for the employer to pay for the services of a relocation specialist and there are now companies in Australia that offer this assistance.
What should I consider when negotiating a new salary?
It is wise wherever possible to separate any salary increase that comes with relocation from the payment of relocation expenses.
In determining what salary is sufficient, you must ascertain the cost of living in the new location. If, for example, the cost of living is 10% higher then your salary should be adjusted accordingly.
What about relocation expenses?
Relocation expenses vary, but the easy ones to identify include the cost of removal of your possessions and travel for yourself and your family.
What are more difficult to determine are the expenses that will be incurred during the settling in period at your new location.
These can be many and varied, but can include:
- Rent assistance
- Car rental
- Hotel/motel accommodation
- Cost of medical examinations and vaccinations
- Subsidy of school fees
- Child care
- Telephone charges.
It is important to identify as many of these transitional” costs before you leave for the new
location. Any advice you can obtain from other company employees along with your own
research through resources like the internet or a public library can be invaluable.
If I relocate my partner would have to resign from his/her job. How do I stand with asking for assistance?
A major sticking point for some people in deciding to relocate is the potential impact on the
careers of spouses/partners.
Increasingly employers realise that they need to assist the spouse/partner of their employee
in finding new employment if the relocation is to be successful. This development is a
welcome recognition of the way in which the modern family functions. No longer is it just a
question of the “major breadwinner” taking the decisions but an acceptance of the importance
of the careers of both partners.
Should I be reimbursed for expenses I incur or should the employer pay up front?
While some employers will reimburse upon the production of appropriate receipts most will
pay an allowance and allow the employee to claim the excess where necessary.
The payment of an allowance is particularly desirable when the relocation expenses are likely
to be significant and there is reluctance on the part of the employee to spend their own money
Do I need to put the arrangements in writing?
After the agreement on relocation has been reached it is important to commit the details towriting as a protection for both parties.
What should I do if I would like further information or advice?
We haveextensive expertise in the area of relocation and can provide you withpersonalised advice. If you are experiencing a problem in relation to a relocation issue you should seek advice from our Member Support Centre. The industrial officers who staff the Centre have the experience to advise you on your best course of action.
You can contact our Workplace Advice and Support Centre on 1300 273 762.
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