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  #21  
Old 08.11.2011, 06:21
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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That is precisely what I did do, but she made a policy issue of it, said they don't do it. It's not ABOUT anyone's individual situation, for them. I've asked this particular hiring manager other things and all she does is send me links and phone numbers.

It's also not really in advance. I've already shelled out for some things. It's the principle of the thing that bugs me. But now a friend has agreed to lend me what I need until payday
She's probably a bit surprised, culturally speaking. While its fairly common to live paycheck-to-paycheck in the US, it's not normal here. People keep a fair bit of liquidity available as a general rule.

Add to that the exchange rate - if your new salary is 1.5 or twice your old, a couple month's salary can be a lot of money to a foreigner.

Try calling your HR and asking for an advance, either of the allowance or your pay. There's some sort of legal right in Switzerland to ask for an advance on your pay, though I don't know the details.
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  #22  
Old 08.11.2011, 11:56
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

Thanks a lot for everyone's advice (and offers of help ). I decided to just bite the bullet, borrow some, and wait it out. It's only three weeks. Considering how slowly things move, by the time the employer processed an advance, it would be payday anyway.
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  #23  
Old 08.11.2011, 12:05
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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OK, mildly freaking out here. I just got a job I'm a local hire in the sense that I was already here, transitioning from a different employer, and I'm also a Swiss citizen. But I'm an international hire in the sense that most of my life is still in the States - my belongings, my kids, my dog.

My employer promised me a big relocation allowance as a gross payout, appropriate for an international hire As an international hire, I have relocation expenses NOW, like the application fee for my son's school and temporary housing. I also started the apartment search and found an apartment, but to pin it down I need to pay December rent already (I know about deposit insurance and am going to pay the deposit that way)

Today I heard that I won't be getting the relo allowance until I get my first "paycheck," at the end of the month. In other words, they're expecting me to have those resources on my own until they can disburse the allowance. In the words of a fellow employee, "They assume a certain amount of liquidity."

I am trying not to come across as a strident, tacky, money-grubbing American. But this is really quite a strain on my resources, as nothing I need to pay for costs this much in the US, and I'm stuck here (because I agreed to start working ahead of my official relocation). What to do? Ask again? Ask someone else? This is only the fifth or sixth thing I've had to ask them for explicitly ...
I know. It sucks. That's how they did me, too. All of my relo expenses were reimbursed at the end of my first month and only upon submission of receipts through the companies reimbursement system which nobody ever told me about, even though I asked about how to get reimbursed on the day I arrived. So instead of getting reimbursed at the end of my first month, I got reimbursed at the end of my second month.

I think it's a way the company saves money. Instead of paying a flat lump sum before you arrive to help you cover expenses you are actually occuring in relation to the move, they only pay you via reimbursement. This way you are more careful with what you spend. It makes it very hard for you though because you may not have the funds. you may even have to take out a loan!

For whatever reason, when I took out my loan, I got taxed on the relo lump sum, so what I borrowed I couldn't even pay it all back. It really worked out to be a disadvantage.

Personally, I think you might want to consider if you actually want this move. If this is how they are helping you to get here, just remember this is how they are going to work with you on every other expense you incur on their behalf. You pay first -- they reimbuse you. That means your savings will always be getting eaten into while you wait for reimbursements to be approved and deposited back into your account. And if you're living in Switzerland where the Frank gets artificially deflated to make exports cheap while the cost of living remains high -- well, I think it hurts even more.

Do you really want to come back here if these are the terms?
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  #24  
Old 08.11.2011, 12:27
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

I don't think there is ay conspiracy theory here, it's just how the finance and HR functions of large (and many small) companies work - if you incur expenses in the course of your job you expect to get them paid back later when you have submitted receipts. If you have a REALLY organised company you might get them paid back before your credit card (corporate or personal) bill is due but not always. New employees often aren't even 'in the system' until they actually join, so to advance money to someone not yet on the payroll is an unusual and relatively labour intensive process.

So unfortunately people such as new graduates with no cash, or international movers who might be perfectly well off but just not have the sums of cash you need for an apartment deposit immediately available in the right currency, get squeezed and have to borrow from banks, friends, family, credit cards, basically anywhere for a short term fix!

It's also normal to taxed on a relocation lump sum, less likely if you have specific services reimbursed although not all such services are necessarily tax free.

Glad you got things sorted Xlator.
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  #25  
Old 08.11.2011, 13:07
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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That is precisely what I did do, but she made a policy issue of it, said they don't do it. It's not ABOUT anyone's individual situation, for them. I've asked this particular hiring manager other things and all she does is send me links and phone numbers.
Perhaps word it a bit differently, I know a number of firms that have given 'short term loans' until bonus time to help pay taxes. Thus, maybe ask for a short term loan of X percent of your relocation to get you by for one month.
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  #26  
Old 08.11.2011, 13:50
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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Perhaps word it a bit differently, I know a number of firms that have given 'short term loans' until bonus time to help pay taxes. Thus, maybe ask for a short term loan of X percent of your relocation to get you by for one month.
and if you're already working for them and your contract has begun, then see if they can advance you some salary. Just be careful about the hole this will leave the following month.
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  #27  
Old 08.11.2011, 14:04
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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credit cards and arranged over-drafts can also help tide you over.
I faced the same situation. The first month was really rough and I ate a whole lot of sandwiches I also used a credit card to cover things like the plane ticket... which means in the end I paid about 40 dollars in interest. Annoying, but totally worth it to avoid the capital outlay.

One thought: could you negotiate with the landlady to pay perhpas the first two weeks ahead, and then the rest of December later?

Best of luck.
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  #28  
Old 08.11.2011, 18:04
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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I faced the same situation. The first month was really rough and I ate a whole lot of sandwiches I also used a credit card to cover things like the plane ticket... which means in the end I paid about 40 dollars in interest. Annoying, but totally worth it to avoid the capital outlay.

One thought: could you negotiate with the landlady to pay perhpas the first two weeks ahead, and then the rest of December later?

Best of luck.
Thanks, circe. I'm eating a lot of sandwiches now.

The landlady belongs to the November apartment (see above). The December rent is for a (new) property manager. The landlady is cutting me a bit of slack already, so I can't ask her to do more.
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  #29  
Old 08.11.2011, 19:14
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

We were an international transfer within the same company. And so had help from a relocation agent and accommodation until our furniture arrived etc. But we also had to wait until the first paycheck here to get the relocation payment and pay housing deposits etc out of our own pocket in advance. This did cause some stress as we were also paying for our wedding, finishing renovations on our house in Australia (so we could rent it) and the mortgage. Thankfully we had funds saved. But we cut it fairly close and it got very expensive initially...
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Old 09.11.2011, 23:56
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

Some companies do not pay any relocation expenses until the probation period is over.

If they are reimbursed earlier, there may also be a condition that states they must be repaid if the person leaves the company.
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  #31  
Old 10.11.2011, 00:06
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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Some companies do not pay any relocation expenses until the probation period is over.

If they are reimbursed earlier, there may also be a condition that states they must be repaid if the person leaves the company.
Some even say you have to pay back if you leave within a year.
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  #32  
Old 17.11.2011, 12:11
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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Sorry to say that the same thing happened to my husband, he had to move to Switzerland to work for a large institution here and pay for everything up front before he even set up his bank account or been paid a franc. We had funds available in the UK but it was awkward to move around, and when he asked his banking advisor if they could provide a bridging loan in CHF for a month or two the reaction was one of complete astonishment that one might need money or even think a bank would consider loaning any!

Since you are already here and presumably have a credit record etc can you ask your bank for a short term loan? Interest rate might not be attractive but it's better than being thrown out on the street :-)
oooo, I wonder does this happen to UN recruit as well ? in Geneva that is...
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Old 17.11.2011, 12:45
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

The UN system usually offers two types of relocation package (sometimes dependent on grade).

1. The UN arranges the relocation for you and your dependants and deals with moving fees, flights costs etc. So for example; you're flying from the states and are brining a container full of belongings and your cat, which in total costs $4000. The UN will pay for this prior to your move.

2. If you pay for your own relocation, you will receive compensation for this in your first salary payment. This is usually a fixed amount; outside Europe - 10000CHF, Europe - 5000CHF.

This amounts can vary as if you live within a certain distance of the office or in Switzerland you may be entitled to little or nothing.

In both cases you may be eligible for an installation grant (a further month's reference salary, which is to be used to settle into your new life and your dependants can also receive this too - usually half of one month's refernce salary).

Relocation information can be found on every UN/NGO website, as it's part of their transparency policy!

Source; info freely available of UN websites (I don't work for them, but I can point you in the right direction)
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  #34  
Old 19.11.2011, 16:37
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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OK, mildly freaking out here. I just got a job I'm a local hire in the sense that I was already here, transitioning from a different employer, and I'm also a Swiss citizen. But I'm an international hire in the sense that most of my life is still in the States - my belongings, my kids, my dog.

My employer promised me a big relocation allowance as a gross payout, appropriate for an international hire As an international hire, I have relocation expenses NOW, like the application fee for my son's school and temporary housing. I also started the apartment search and found an apartment, but to pin it down I need to pay December rent already (I know about deposit insurance and am going to pay the deposit that way)

Today I heard that I won't be getting the relo allowance until I get my first "paycheck," at the end of the month. In other words, they're expecting me to have those resources on my own until they can disburse the allowance. In the words of a fellow employee, "They assume a certain amount of liquidity."

I am trying not to come across as a strident, tacky, money-grubbing American. But this is really quite a strain on my resources, as nothing I need to pay for costs this much in the US, and I'm stuck here (because I agreed to start working ahead of my official relocation). What to do? Ask again? Ask someone else? This is only the fifth or sixth thing I've had to ask them for explicitly ...
1) Upfront always ask for the expat/relocation policy
2) If they don't have one: it means everything is negotiable... but negotiations obviously need to be done upfront
3) If all else fails, consider asking the moving company to send the invoice to your company (this is not abnormal, and makes sense as this may be one of the largest bills) and having any travel booked on a company card (typically there's a general lodge card held by somebody in the office for these purposes)
4) Bombard them with high frequency of expense reports
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  #35  
Old 19.11.2011, 16:56
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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I had a flight scheduled out of here on Nov. 2. I didn't reschedule that until I had a signed employment agreement in hand. And, incidentally, a signed agreement for the relocation allowance. I'm flexible - no one here but me. But now, of course, less flexible, 'cause I committed to a job.
If your new hiring manager is starting to be a stickler for the rules ask how they view the contract that you signed that you say includes the re-location package. I sympathise with you as its always a balance to not sound as though you're whining but when a company offers you a package puts it writing and then wirthdraws it then I feel you have just cause to take a stand.
And thank heavens for good friends with some spare wedge!!

Good luck
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