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The Costs of Employee Relocation

Employee relocation is a costly venture. According to an article by ARC Relocation, the relocation industry is worth $25 billion annually, and employers spend an average of $16.2 million relocating employees.

There is a lot to consider when offering employees relocation assistance, whether it’s via a lump sum payment, bonuses, or relocation benefits. The costs for relocating employees can range from $2,000 to upwards of $70,000, and the cost differs for new hires versus current employees and homeowners versus renters.

Relocation Assistance for Work

Relocation assistance is the support employers offer to new or current employees relocating for work from one location to another (which can be to a new city, state, or country). In terms of types of assistance, employers may offer:

  • A bonus, one-time incentive to move
  • Relocation reimbursement opportunities, compensation for moving, storage, and/or transportation fees (with receipts)
  • Relocation packages

Relocation packages can include but are not limited to:

  • Flexible start dates
  • Coverage of transportation fees to visit or home search
  • The costs of selling your home
  • Fees associated with finding a new house
  • Job search assistance for your spouse
  • Temporary housing rental fees
  • Storage fees
  • Cost for breaking your lease
  • A tax gross-up

If you will need to relocate for work, ask what your company offers in terms of assistance. Some companies may not offer relocation assistance at all. You may be able to negotiate relocation benefits or your salary. If you receive relocation benefits, consider relocation taxes as well.

Is Relocation Reimbursement Mandatory?

In California, according to California Labor Code § 2802, employers must reimburse employees for work-related expenses. Employees should be reimbursed for expenditures that are necessary for them to complete their job duties and in obedience to instructions from their employer.

Common reimbursement claims involve:

  • Travel expenses
  • Personal vehicle or cellphone usage
  • Costs of uniforms
  • Legal fees

You may be owed reimbursement for certain expenses related to your relocation; however, unreimbursed expense claims are nuanced. You should consult an attorney.

California Labor Code § 970

It is illegal for employers to make false promises to potential employees moving in or from out of the state. They are legally not allowed to mislead anyone about the:

  • Availability of work
  • Nature of the work available
  • Length of time work will last
  • Hygienic or housing conditions surrounding the work
  • Labor disputes (i.e., strikes, lockouts) between the employer and previous employees affecting the work

If you moved to California from out of state or from another city in California to another because of a dishonest job offer or promise, you have legal recourse.

Ask an Employment Law Attorney

If you believe you are owed reimbursable expenses or have been deceived about a job you relocated for, you should speak with an experienced employment law attorney. They will know how to best support you and file a lawsuit.

Need to speak with an experienced California employment law attorney? For legal advice, trust Polaris Law Group. At Polaris Law Group, Attorney Bill Marder is equipped to represent you at the state and federal level, and each client and case is handled with individualized care. Reach out today via our online form or call at (888) 796-4010.

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