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Am I being unreasonable in my expectations for relocation assistance from my employer?
July 19, 2011 9:21 PM   Subscribe

Am I being unreasonable in my expectations for relocation assistance from my employer?

My employer has offered me a job in the US. It will offer one month of temporary housing. My current lease is until the end of the year and both me and my fiancee live here. She is waiting on a US visa and would not be able to come to the US until January.

HR essentially said that if I broke the lease, they would pay any fees for me, but they would not assist me with rent on my current lease. Obviously I'm not going to break the lease and kick my fiancee out onto the street, so essentially I would be forced to pay rent on two places until the end of the year. HR's position is there is no reason I can't break the lease and that since she is not a dependent, my fiancee's living situation is a personal issue they will not assist with.

The new job is a big 'step up' for me and with a different group. I don't want to appear greedy or ungrateful, I'm just trying to prevent paying out of pocket to take a job. The extra months of rent is a lot of money for me but peanuts for my employer.

Any suggestions on how to push this or should I avoid pushing my luck? Not taking the job is not an option.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (16 answers total)
 
I think that HR is correct; your fiancee's personal living situation is not something that concerns the company. Sorry.
posted by DMan at 9:25 PM on July 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


HR's position is there is no reason I can't break the lease and that since she is not a dependent, my fiancee's living situation is a personal issue they will not assist with.

If you've explained your whole situation to them in the same terms you've explained it to us, and you're sure your company is fulfilling whatever legal obligations they have to you (per your own contract/employee manual/company policies/local laws), I don't think there's anything you can do to force them to give you more assistance beyond the month of temporary housing and offering to break your current lease. All you can do is appeal to their humanity, so unless you haven't done that, they've already given you your answer.
posted by pupstocks at 9:28 PM on July 19, 2011


Where are you from? In Australia your fiancee would be considered your defacto spouse and therefore your dependent.

Why are you paying your fiancee's rent? Is she earning an income? Why can't she come to the US until January? You could assist her with the rent until she found a more affordable place.
posted by smithsmith at 9:29 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was in the same situation, relocating from US to Asia with an international company. At the time, I had already moved abroad and they were paying for my housing in Asia as a part of the expat package. However in my apartment back in the US the person (boyfriend at the time) I was living with was still there so we were still paying rent. When that person decided to leave before the contract expired, my company still paid for the break of the lease.

There is no obligation for the company to pay for the rent in the US, as it is something you would be paying for regardless of the change in position.
posted by peachtree at 9:32 PM on July 19, 2011


Get married now?
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:38 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


It would be extra awesome if they paid the extra month, but I don't see why you should expect an employer to pay for you to live in two different places at one time, which is what you are asking.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:05 PM on July 19, 2011


FWIW, when I relo'd from the US to Australia, my husband stayed in our house for six months while he wrapped things up, so we couldn't rent our place - we had to maintain two households without any defrayment. It never even occurred to me that I might reasonably ask for more than the single month of temporary housing.

At this point, with US unemployment in my field high, I wouldn't expect any relo assistance if I was going back to the US. From my perspective, it's a big concession to pay for your lease-break, even though you can't take advantage of it.

You say not taking the job isn't an option - that takes away most of your room to negotiate.
posted by gingerest at 10:06 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but what you're asking for is not usually considered a de facto part of "relocation" expenses.

Think about it. The problem here isn't relocation per se. The company is paying for all of that. You're asking for the company to help you relocate over a longer period of time, mostly for the benefit of a non-employee/employee spouse. There's no incentive for them to do that, as it really isn't directly connected to your employment.
posted by valkyryn at 3:51 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've relocated to completely different cities in the US, 3 times in the past 4 years. I got zero assistance with any of it, nor did I expect my employers to pay anything. Realize how lucky you are for them to be paying for your move. Emphasis on your move. Your fiance is a different person than you. She made her own choices, and she doesn't work for the company. So to directly answer your question, yes, I think you're being unreasonable in your expectations.
posted by John Cohen at 5:23 AM on July 20, 2011


Well, it seems to me that if the company was willing to pay your lease-breaking fees, they might or ought to be willing to pay you the same amount but allow you to put it towards your rent with the understanding that no more assistance will be forthcoming.

And your phrasing of their statement does imply that things might be different if she were your wife, so getting an immediate civil wedding might be another option. You might at least clarify that position with HR.

Another thing: do you want to be talking about this with your HR? I get that it's the same firm, but is there any chance that these goodies might be available but need to be offered by BigCorp US as an inducement to take the offer instead of by BigCorp Wherever-you-are or BigCorp International as a normal part of them dealing with their employees? That is, can get this (or fungible help) if it's on Somebody Else's Budget?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:25 AM on July 20, 2011


While I'm sure it is a "drop in the bucket" for your company, it's very odd to expect the company to pay your fiancee's rent while she waits on her Visa. That's not a precedent they would want to set, especially if the company does a lot of relocations.

I think you'll have to weigh the additional one-time cost to you against the long-term benefit of a a "big 'step up'". Despite significant relocation benefits with two of my own moves, I've paid "double rent" on each move because my wife had to stay behind for a few months. In the end, it worked out because the new positions were much more lucrative.
posted by foggy out there now at 7:12 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why can't your Fiancee move somewhere cheaper for 6 months? Can she not afford the rent on her own?

it seems like a stretch to call what you are asking for 'relocation expenses'.

I relocated to the Uk a few years back and got 1 months rent + moving costs and airfares for my partner and I.
posted by mary8nne at 7:23 AM on July 20, 2011


Could you work with your current landlord so that, although the fee releases you from the lease, it also covers part or all of your portion of the remaining rent, so your girlfriend is paying less to stay through the end of the year? Either that, or break the lease and move her into a place that's more affordable for her.
posted by IanMorr at 7:24 AM on July 20, 2011


It's pretty unreasonable to expect them to pay for your fiance's rent....Break the lease - employer pays fees for that. Get fiance to move into cheaper 'temporary' accommodation for six months?
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:38 PM on July 20, 2011


I don't think it's really reasonable to suggest that the fiancee move somewhere cheaper, so she ends up moving twice in six months - moving is costly and hellish, and finding a place for under six months can be tricky in some markets.
posted by gingerest at 6:24 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's really reasonable to suggest that the fiancee move somewhere cheaper, so she ends up moving twice in six months - moving is costly and hellish, and finding a place for under six months can be tricky in some markets.

This is where renting a room might be an option with minimum stuff - most relocation packages do include the your belongings being moved at employer's cost so the expense of moving 2x in six month for her would actually be minimal if the bulk of the stuff goes with the op. Or she can stay put and they foot the bill. But the op presented this as the only option and it clearly isn't. And yes, moving 2x in six months has drawbacks - as does being poor because you pay a lot of rent to continue to live in a space that is too big...either way it's not the employer's problem.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:24 PM on July 20, 2011


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