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LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Old May 18th 2011, 6:55 pm
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Default LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Hi All

Short time lurker here (Hello all!), and having rapidly progressed towards a move to USA (LA in sunny California) during the last two weeks, and I thought it best I get some advice!

I have trawled the USA forum for 20 pages and used the search function and used google to death ...but I need real life experience and advice please!

Here’s the skinny:
I have had interviews and things are looking like they are moving towards and offer in the next few weeks to move with my company. I have been assured I will be well compensated but no specific figures have been mentioned as yet.

I have a fiancé who would be coming with me too. This is not a problem as they can arrange mine and her working visas no problem (E2). Health and Dental are included but I will pay for my partner. 401k but it is 0% employer contribution because I am an HCE. I’ll get one flight home a year. I will have to pay for my partner’s flights home. Annual leave is circa 20 days + public holidays.

I don’t know about the following: eye care, life/disability insurance, cell phone (presumed included), or anything else I should be looking to get details about before I sign on the dotted line. Any pointers gratefully recieved .

Here’s the questions:

I will be expected to get to and from Clients sites all over California. Should I expect a company car as opposed to a ‘car allowance’? I don’t want to be tied to a finance deal or unexpected costs of car ownership and if for whatever reason everything goes wrong, be tied to the finance etc.

I currently run an equivalent to $40-45k car from a car allowance (UK policy = no company cars) so would want it to reflect this standard, is this reasonable to expect?

Should I expect a company paid hire car in the interim period until I am in a more permanent arrangement?

I understand that because I am a ‘highly compensated employee’ (or words to that effect) that I should expect at least $110,000 basic pay or is this £110k figure based on the overall compensation which includes other benefits such as company car and health care contribution etc?

As an expat transfer, should I be more demanding in terms of number of flights home per year paid by the company? Should it not really include for my partner too?

There will be a lot of flying involved around the West Coast and possible bi-coastal duties– is this additional activity outside of the common working arrangement (i.e. in the office, during office hours) and therefore compensated on top of base salary? (not including bonus for busting your gut too)

I have done some research on the salary checker website (salary.com and payscale.com and glassdoor.com) which suggests a figure suitable for my experience, seniority, and qualifications etc although I am not confident that it is correct as an old colleague who left for the states suggested a figure something in the order of 20-30k higher than the websites. So I would like to know if there are there any respected and recent (2009/10) salary surveys which I can use if I need to double check the figures or need evidence of my expectations being realistic. Usually massive recruiters do their own surveys so if anyone can point me in that direction that would be great.

If for sake of argument my take home pay after taxes is about $125k-135k and possibly $10k bonus is this a good take home pay for LA? Literally all I need to know if it is:

Basic “you will get you by with a few extravagancies like one holiday a year and maybe some nice xmas pressies but that’s it you will be skrimping everywhere else and are shopping in Lidl”

Low “it’s about average for young professionals, they enjoy themselves but there is no saving for a rainy day and you have to keep an eye on a credit card, or two and are shopping in Asda”

Medium, “you will be quite comfortable with two holidays a year, a nice car and a second hand car for the little lady, and you can enjoy most special occasions without worry and are shopping in Tesco”

High “my god you are well off, have a rapidly accruing savings portfolio, two nice cars that you own outright and really enjoy the California lifestyle for all it has to offer and really don’t have to compromise and are shopping in Waitrose/M&S”.


As I understand it, California employment law is an ‘at will’ state so you can be fired on the spot for pretty much any reason (other than the usual political stuff). So if things went wrong for whatever reason, I don’t want to be out of pocket getting back home so what are the typical requirements of an abandonment / severance package that I should negotiate? Eg:

*are terms such as being subject to “termination for any reason other than gross miss conduct would activate the severance terms” unrealistic
*duration that the severance agreement is valid for (until I get my green card, one year, two years?),
*amount of cover (all relocation costs, payment of any reasonable finance/ breaking contract charges like for a car or an apartment rental etc)
Guidance on this would be very much appreciated if nothing else can be commented upon.

I am sorry for the long post but I am trying to do my research and not finding anything practical in terms of advice from the internet and can’t find the answers from the search facility on the forum and have read about 20 pages of forum posts so hope you can help.

Thank you!
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

One thing stood out for me. You said:

I have a fiancé who would be coming with me too. This is not a problem as they can arrange mine and her working visas no problem (E2).

Are you doing an L-1 company transfer? The rest of your post sounds like that. Does your fiance work for the same company and is getting his own transfer? Since you're not married, he can't be getting an L-2. Also, if he's not working for the same company, how is the company sponsoring his visa?

Unless E-2 is something else and I'm wrong about the L-1....

Rene
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
One thing stood out for me. You said:

I have a fiancé who would be coming with me too. This is not a problem as they can arrange mine and her working visas no problem (E2).

Are you doing an L-1 company transfer? The rest of your post sounds like that. Does your fiance work for the same company and is getting his own transfer? Since you're not married, he can't be getting an L-2. Also, if he's not working for the same company, how is the company sponsoring his visa?

Unless E-2 is something else and I'm wrong about the L-1....

Rene

E2 can be a little like an L1 intra company transfer in some cases.
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

I'm also really confused by the visa stuff you have put.

Will you get health cover for your fiance through your work and just have to pay for it, or will you have to go out and buy her an individual policy? You could be looking up to $1k a month. Do a search on here, lots of discussions recently.

Company Cars are virtually unheard of out here. Just car allowances.

If you are a salaried employee (which it sounds like you will be) most US companies expect you to work whatever hours are needed for that salary. My hubby and most of his colleagues were working 60+ hour weeks for Feb-Apr, no extra compensation is expected by anyone.

Likewise, company travel won't get any extra compensation.

Most people start on 10 days holiday, so 20 days is pretty good.

As for negotiating flights to and from and relocation packages, it depends how strong your position is. If you are the only person they want then you might get more, you need to decide if you are willing to possibly jeapordize the job offer by making extra demands. Personally when we came out here it was a job offer that we desperately needed, leaving us little room to negotiate lots of add ons.

We lived in LA for the last 3 years, and how far your money goes really depends on where you live. We lived in The Valley which was fairly expensive, but if you get further out it can be cheaper. Ball park numbers budget around $3k a month for accommodation, $800 for your car, $300 for 2nd car (you aren't going to get good finance unless your company help you out) $650 insurance, gas, electric, water, tv... Gas and Groceries, Entertainment all depends can easily be $1k a month. So yes, definately do-able but you aren't going to be minted.

Last edited by N1cky; May 18th 2011 at 7:45 pm. Reason: got rid of quote, too long
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:46 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

There's a good wiki article on things you should negotiate for in a relocation package...

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Compan...on_Packages_US

Answers pretty much most of your questions apart from the salary number.
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:48 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post

Unless E-2 is something else and I'm wrong about the L-1....
A foreign national E2 based company in the US can bring people over on E2 visas from their home turf, in a gist.
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
A foreign national E2 based company in the US can bring people over on E2 visas from their home turf, in a gist.
But still, doesn't the fiance have to be a spouse?
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Old May 18th 2011, 7:53 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
But still, doesn't the fiance have to be a spouse?
If they don't marry beforehand, the B2-for-significant-others may be available. But if she wants to work, it's marry before you come unless she can secure that right through her own sponsor.
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Old May 18th 2011, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
But still, doesn't the fiance have to be a spouse?
Doesn't matter if she's getting a visa on her own right.
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Old May 18th 2011, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Doesn't matter if she's getting a visa on her own right.
That was my basic question. The company seems to be sponsoring both of their visas, so I was thinking they both work for the same company, and are getting their visas independently of each other. But through the same company (as he said, the one company is arranging both visas).

Rene
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Old May 18th 2011, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
Doesn't matter if she's getting a visa on her own right.
Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
That was my basic question. The company seems to be sponsoring both of their visas, so I was thinking they both work for the same company, and are getting their visas independently of each other. But through the same company (as he said, the one company is arranging both visas).

Rene
That's why I was confused too. Why wouldn't she get a similar package, health care and flight home if they were both being sponsored by the same company for individual visas.
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Old May 18th 2011, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
That was my basic question. The company seems to be sponsoring both of their visas, so I was thinking they both work for the same company, and are getting their visas independently of each other. But through the same company (as he said, the one company is arranging both visas).

Rene
Aye, but she might not qualify for a L1, length of employment etc.

Seems like more hassle than worth though when they could just get married at a registry and she gets L2 and can then freely work and then just do the fancy ceremony whenever they had planned on doing it.
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Old May 18th 2011, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
That's why I was confused too. Why wouldn't she get a similar package, health care and flight home if they were both being sponsored by the same company for individual visas.
She might not be in a senior role and also as a none company transfer, wouldn't have any UK contract to hold on to.

Or the OP might have just meant a B2 co-habituating partner visa and it was a typo.
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Old May 18th 2011, 9:06 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
One thing stood out for me. You said:

I have a fiancé who would be coming with me too. This is not a problem as they can arrange mine and her working visas no problem (E2).

Are you doing an L-1 company transfer? The rest of your post sounds like that. Does your fiance work for the same company and is getting his own transfer? Since you're not married, he can't be getting an L-2. Also, if he's not working for the same company, how is the company sponsoring his visa?

Unless E-2 is something else and I'm wrong about the L-1....

Rene
WOW so many responses, thank you all! I'll take each in turn if thats ok!

I may have confused everyone along the line - I'm a guy`and my fiance is to be my wife, (so no BGLT issues before I confuse everyone again!).

E2 was discussed due to my situation of having a fiance (on E2 dependant visa) who needs to work (not from the same company) and it can be arranged because of the investment status of the company. I really don't know the ins and outs as yet, but that is part of the reason I have come on here - to educate myself with practical advice!
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Old May 18th 2011, 9:09 pm
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Default Re: LA - advice pls re package expectations, cost of living & severance negotiations

Originally Posted by docholywood View Post
WOW so many responses, thank you all! I'll take each in turn if thats ok!

I may have confused everyone along the line - I'm a guy`and my fiance is to be my wife, (so no BGLT issues before I confuse everyone again!).

E2 was discussed due to my situation of having a fiance (on E2 dependant visa) who needs to work (not from the same company) and it can be arranged because of the investment status of the company. I really don't know the ins and outs as yet, but that is part of the reason I have come on here - to educate myself with practical advice!
I realized when I read your post again that you are the guy, sorry. Your SO would be your "fiancee", then, with two e's (that's what I was going by, lol).

To my knowledge, your fiancee can't get any kind of dependent visa (on the heels of your visa) unless you marry and she is your wife, not your fiancee.

Rene
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