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Old 07.11.2011, 21:32
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Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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 ...
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Old 07.11.2011, 21:37
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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 ...
How much do you need in advance and do you have enough to bridge the gap?
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Old 07.11.2011, 21:41
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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How much do you need in advance and do you have enough to bridge the gap?
Urgh, you want numbers? To give you an idea, I could pay December rent OR my temporary housing. My current landlady is being understanding, but she can't wait till the end of the month.
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Old 07.11.2011, 21:46
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

I am not an expert but exactly the same thing had happened to me when I moved in CH. I paid everything from my pocket, then was reimbursed 2-3 months later.
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:11
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

It's hard to be sympathetic...we moved over with three children with zero towards our relocation, and have only just started paying the money back, three years later...to family who loaned us the money...

We didn't get the first paycheck until 6 weeks after arrival...it was pretty grim!
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:13
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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 :-)
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:21
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

Wow, I had no idea, guys! I guess it's standard practice. Scary. My heart goes out to all of you who had to wait so long. What a reality check.

Rachelw, I don't have a credit history here - I haven't been here THAT long and I was being paid in US dollars by my US employer. A bank loan occurred to me too. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:31
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

Hi

Same happened to me, maybe the same employer-

Maybe you can explain that are not filthy rich and cannot afford to pay for everything upfront and your employer might be willing to pay you in advance.
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:35
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I know of others in same circumstances who asked for an "advance" and got it. They (your company) have the cash. They just can't accelerate the HR process, ie it will be paid together with first pay. However asking for an advance triggers a separate process. It will work, just ask ....be assertive as you would be in the U.S.
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:36
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

Have you actually asked for an advance on your first salary payment? Or an advance on at least part of that relocation payment?

Regarding the rent payment: it seems that your Landlady wants the payment now, as opposed to needing it. Or are you going to have to keep paying her almost a month in advance of when the months rent is actually due. If she seems to like you enough to be offering you the accomodation, then it seems reasonable that she may, if asked nicely, wait till the rent would really be due before insisting on it. (or do I have the only landlord here, who is happy to have all the paperwork done, then waiting with a smile until the tenant has the resources to actually pay, immediately before moving into an apartment? )
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:36
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

When I moved from the US to the UK as a new hire about 8 years ago the company expected me to pay everything upfront and then receive my relocation lump sum at the end of my first month. I got them to pay my shipping directly but in order to cover my other expenses I took some cash out of my 401K. I know there is a process by which you loan yourself up to a certain amount from your 401K and only get a tax penalty if you don't pay it back within a time limit. Sorry to be so vague but it was a while ago for me. Could that work for you?
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:50
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

When my girlfriend moved from here to Hong Kong, she had to pay her relocation expenses herself and then a month later, her firm reimbursed her the expenses. Actually they were pretty shocked at how expensive it was to move from Switzerland to Hong Kong But they did pay the whole amount, in Hong Kong $$ ofcourse.

A few years ago a cousin of mine moved from the States to India, and he had to pay the relcoation agents from his pocket, show the bills to the Indian firm and then he got reimbursed. In Indian Rupees ofcourse.

So, I guess it is quite common on the part of employers to expect the prospective employees to have sufficient enough funds to tide them over the first month of the move and the move itself. Looks like a worldwide phenomenon.
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Old 07.11.2011, 22:54
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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.
...
Just out of curiosity how would you have managed if you had not got the job?
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Old 07.11.2011, 23:07
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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.
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Old 07.11.2011, 23:17
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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Have you actually asked for an advance on your first salary payment? Or an advance on at least part of that relocation payment?
I haven't actually asked. I didn't know it would be an option. It's a big company and they have a certain process. And I've asked them a number of (perfectly reasonable) things already.

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Regarding the rent payment: it seems that your Landlady wants the payment now, as opposed to needing it. Or are you going to have to keep paying her almost a month in advance of when the months rent is actually due.
No, she really does need it, and it's for November's temporary housing. The rent I owe for December is for the apartment I'm moving into in December, so that's fair, IMO.
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Old 07.11.2011, 23:18
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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So, I guess it is quite common on the part of employers to expect the prospective employees to have sufficient enough funds to tide them over the first month of the move and the move itself. Looks like a worldwide phenomenon.
BUt not done by all companies. for example, I have worked for several that have offered to buy my 'plane tickets in advance for me to fly to my new country. I have also had advances offered to me and once was reimbursed for expenses, plus given the cash for the amount not spent but allocated for my expenses, before I had actually begun work. ( accomodation provided....) Switzerland seems to be an exception for many.
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Old 07.11.2011, 23:29
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

Companies have the cash, its more a question of a bit of extra admin depending on if they manage payroll or if it is out sourced. If you already have an account in CH it is not even going to cost them.

Call your hiring manager, explain your situation and request for the payment to be made in advance.

Usually should not be an issue.
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Old 07.11.2011, 23:52
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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Call your hiring manager, explain your situation and request for the payment to be made in advance.

Usually should not be an issue.
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
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Old 08.11.2011, 00:31
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

When my brother moved here, I had to lend him money, too.
It's not that he didn't have any - it was just tied-up in savings-accounts in foreign currency and it would have been a bit of hassle to liquidize it just to bridge one month.


I can understand that a guy with a family to feed isn't exactly swimming in cash, but for a typical single-guy IT-type expat, having a month or two of savings in cash should be *no* issue at all.
HR should be aware of this, too, and not make an issue of it, IMO.
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Old 08.11.2011, 00:50
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Re: Relocation allowance - can they do this???

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When my brother moved here, I had to lend him money, too.
It's not that he didn't have any - it was just tied-up in savings-accounts in foreign currency and it would have been a bit of hassle to liquidize it just to bridge one month.


I can understand that a guy with a family to feed isn't exactly swimming in cash, but for a typical single-guy IT-type expat, having a month or two of savings in cash should be *no* issue at all.
HR should be aware of this, too, and not make an issue of it, IMO.
credit cards and arranged over-drafts can also help tide you over.

it's sensible to have a buffer or cash or credit to cover such contingencies.
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