Offering Employee Relocation Expenses

Business gurus often talk about the view from 30,000 feet – the big picture that provides a look at overall operations. Perhaps, however, the focus should be on the view from 30 feet – a close-up of specific processes and procedures that make an impact now.

by Brittany Willes, Plastics Business

As the job market becomes ever more competitive, recruiting the most qualified employees is essential. However, those employees may not be local, and moving households is both time-consuming and expensive. According to a survey conducted by Atlas Van Lines, employee relocation has been on the rise since 2010. In 2014 alone, nearly half of all businesses saw increases in relocation volumes. Over a third of small firms surveyed reported volume increases, along with more than half of large and midsize firms. According to Atlas, further increases are expected in 2015.

This increase perhaps is why many companies now provide relocation expenses for their newly hired employees. One such company is PMC SMART Solutions, LLC. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, PMC began offering relocation assistance as a means of ensuring the company is not limited in its hiring practice, filling positions with candidates who best fit its needs.

“Offering relocation assistance expands the pool of potential new employees beyond our immediate region,” explained Lou Ripley, vice president for PMC. “Relocation assistance increases the opportunity for finding high-quality candidates.”

There are several factors at play when it comes to determining the expense of moving households. Keeping in mind the often unpredictable housing market, relocation expenses often go beyond just selling one house and buying another. There also are closing costs to consider, moving/purchasing furniture and other personal belongings and, common when it comes to employee relocation, the rental costs of temporary residence while searching for a permanent residence. The cost for an average family to relocate is estimated at $25,000-$75,000.

Taking such factors into account, PMC offers its newly hired employees various packages in order to help offset the cost of relocating. While each situation is evaluated on an individual basis, average relocation expenses that could be covered include the following:

  • Movement of household goods by professional movers;
  • Temporary living expenses (usually for three months, but may be longer);
  • Closing costs on the sale of the home at the old location;
  • Closing costs on the purchase of the new home in the new location; and
  • Travel expenses from the old location to the new location.

“We are flexible as the situation requires,” Ripley added. “The company does cover other expenses, depending upon the circumstances.” One of the few relocation benefits PMC does not provide is offering to buy the relocating employee’s home in the old location.

Overall, PMC has had positive experiences as a result of assisting its new hires through the costly tribulations of relocating. As Ripley stated, “We haven’t had any significant challenges or issues with our assistance policies. The cost of aiding new employees is an investment in hiring the best people.” Thus, PMC has created a culture of investing in employees and developing a positive company atmosphere.

The company’s employees who have benefited from the program likewise have expressed appreciation of a positive experience. “New hires have responded very well to our relocation assistance program,” Ripley asserted. “It makes the transition to their new location easier, helps them settle in quickly and enables them to focus on their new assignments,” he said.

Companies, such as Chase Plastic Services, echo PMC’s sentiments that offering relocation expenses is beneficial for all involved. According to Gustina Sell, HR manager for Chase Plastics, “There are several needs that are being met by offering moving expense assistance. It allows an employer to get the best candidate for a position while alleviating the financial stress from candidates, thus allowing them to focus on the new job at hand. It also allows the company to strengthen its succession planning by making sure its next generation of leaders is getting the right experience and positioning.”

Survey: Companies Cover Various Expenses

MAPP Executive Director Troy Nix asked other association members to share their company policies regarding relocation expenses. Several companies responded, stating they cover a range of expenses, many of which depend upon the distance moved during the relocation.

A sample of responses is as follows:

  • Company offers relocation expenses for salaried and hard-to-fill technical positions, primarily reimbursing rental fees and fuel expenses associated with moving trucks (typically around $2,000). Professional moving company expenses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The company also will pay for up to 30 days in a hotel.
  • Company offers limited relocation, with a cap of $5,000. In addition, up to five additional vacation days may be provided to support relocation for the first year.
  • Company provides a set amount of cash to the employee to be used for moving expenses or other expenses.
  • Company offers relocation expenses on a case-by-case basis, up to $10,000. Temporary living support is offered up to three months, also on a case-by-case basis.