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Housing included in employment package deal?

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ricmacphoto
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Housing included in employment package deal?

Postby ricmacphoto » Sun, 20 Dec 2009 9:36 am

Do employers usually include housing in their employment packages for expats on new job contracts? I'm a television producer/photojournalist going for an interview and would like to know what to expect in negotiating an package deal.

thanks!

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 20 Dec 2009 1:40 pm

a) Expat packages are becoming fewer and farther between. This posting is not exactly hardship Asia. I could see a big bonus for agreeing to work in Nairobi... but exactly why should a person be granted a larger house and better car than in their home country just because they work in Singapore? Beats the crap out of me. Of course, there are still quite a number of European and US based execs who don't know shit from shinola when it comes to living conditions so maybe you can extract a 'package'.

b) From an economic perspective, a package could be used to equalize items like more expensive housing, more expensive schooling, etc. All other things being equal, what is required to make your living style equal.

c) Who cares if it is 'housing allowance' or 'school allowance' or 'beer allowance'. In Singapore, most all of it is taxable anyway, so just taking the appropriate salary, unless their are tax consequences, makes more sense to me. Example: Your company gives you a $4,000 per month 'housing allowance'. Fully taxable to you as income. Your company gives you a house that they have rented at $4,000 per month - less taxable income to you.

d) Deal? Housing allowance. One time car purchase support. Private school tuition assistance for the kiddies (have lots of kids?... great way to price yourself out of the market at SGD 29K a pop). Flights home 4 times a year. Expat med policies with worldwide evac coverage. Support for moving household items (and guarantee to return upon end of job). Appliance replacement.

Be creative... how much can you squeeze?

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Postby ricmacphoto » Sun, 20 Dec 2009 1:46 pm

all these are taxable? Including the trips back home and the car and medical support? Speaking of which... what is the usual medical pkg for expats?
thanks for info

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 20 Dec 2009 2:07 pm

ricmacphoto wrote:all these are taxable? Including the trips back home and the car and medical support? Speaking of which... what is the usual medical pkg for expats?
thanks for info


Under Singapore tax law, it doesn't matter what it is called. If it ends up in your paycheck, it is taxable income. The company gives you S$5,000 for a ride home, it is taxable. The major exception, as I noted, is if the company gives you housing, which will not be taxable to you at the actual rent amount (generally - unless you are earning a very large shitpot of money).

But car allowance of S$2,000 per year? Report S$2,000 as income. Private school tuition of S$20,000 (paid by you or company... doesn't matter)... Report S$20,000 as income. But tax rates are great compared to just about anywhere else.

Med insurance? If you are American, you'll want a policy that covers expenses in US as well - for example, my policy permits me to be returned to US for cancer treatment and such... and is fully at least twice as expensive as policies without US coverage.

Clinics and preventative medicine are good and ridiculously cheap in Singapore... hospital tests and treatment much more... but still a relative joy compared to the US. I would get a good expat policy with worldwide coverage.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 20 Dec 2009 2:22 pm

ricmacphoto wrote:what is the usual medical pkg for expats?
thanks for info


There is no "usual". [Letting raw emotion run amok for a moment] - If you are some high falutin' investment banker that has already royally f&cked the economy but has made lots of money for a bank, you'll get an obscene salary, and a med package that gives you a private room in Houston, Texas, stocked with hookers, for even an hangnail [/End rant].

At the bottom end, your employer will give you a supplemental package for Singapore which will give you a private room, clinic visits, major medical, etc, but only in Singapore. Quite a few SG based companies offer these policies. Coverage in Singapore ONLY.

If an employee travels, then this is augmented with a good travel insurance policy (AIG for example) that covers medical outside of Singapore and provides for medical evacuation to Singapore. Can cover the family as well.

When I employed EP's this is generally what I provided - good local insurance and travel insurance for medical emergencies - and hey, for one more dollar, golf liability insurance.

The next step up is to look for worldwide coverage, the cost and benefits of which depend on where you live and where you want to be covered. As the senior exec in my firm, I give myself this coverage. I might negotiate this with a highly desirable candidate because I am talking just a few thousand per year.


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