ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Jeff was a rising star in foreign exchange trading. He co-managed his firm’s trading desk in New York, had experience in the Tokyo office, and was now given the assignment to rebuild and refortify the firm’s London office. To entice him to accept the assignment, he was given a generous relocation package, including airfare for his entire family, transport of their household belongings, a company-provided residence and tuition for the kids.
Unfortunately, the changes Jeff instituted resulted in “pushback” by the London staffers, and Jeff was asked to leave the company. He was fine with that, and simply asked that he and his family be re-relocated. The answer was a polite, “No.” Jeff was in a bind: he was out of a job, he and his family were soon to be without a home, in the middle of the school year for his kids, and without any of the benefits and entitlements the company had always provided. If only he had asked for mirror-image, “re-relocation” rights.
LESSONS TO LEARN: In SkloverWorkingWisdom™ we suggest people use in their workplace negotiating, one special focus of the method is “Risk Limitation.” It’s one of “The Three R’s” to be sought: while we seek [R]ewards for our efforts, as we take on new [R]esponsibilities, we must always seek out [R]isk Limiters, as well. In each transition, in each step, at each moment, we must try to locate the risks of the moment, and seek to limit them, or their possible effect, on us.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Whenever asked to relocate for a job, whether domestically or internationally, consider requesting written assurances that, if and when the assignment ends:
- If immigration concerns are present [some countries require immediate departure upon termination of employment], termination of employment will be on no less than 90 days notice in all circumstances.
- Present living accommodations will extend at least 30 days beyond any school semester.
- If you need to break a lease, your employer will cover lease breakage costs.
- You and your family will be entitled to two house-hunting trips, return airfare and transfer (and storage) of household goods.
- Upon return, you and your family will be given at least 90 days of temporary housing or housing expense reimbursement.
- You may return to any city of your choice within the continental U.S.
- If the assignment is international, you will be provided with complete tax equalization, and two years of tax return preparation.
- Should your employment be terminated within six months of the end of your relocation assignment, you will be entitled a specified severance, to consist of one year compensation and benefits, at the least.
Perhaps MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, ask that the ASSURANCES BE IN WRITING, or email, so that a PERMANENT RECORD exists. A primary attribute of a valued employee is prudence. Be prudent for yourself, and your family, as you would for your employer.
Look Before You Leap! We offer a Model Memo Requesting All Necessary Clarifications and Protections When Considering an Expatriate Assignment that you can adapt for your own use. “What to Say and How to Say It.”™ To get your copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!