Thank you for taking the time to read my post. The company I work for has moved to a new location, and has increased my commute times and expenses. Is it unreasonable to ask for a raise due to the increase in expenses?


Thank you for the feed back guys. Some info I forgot to add earlier. I was working at the old office location for over a year before I heard about the move.

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    Was your pay originally negotiated based on office location? Can you tie your request to anything besides your personal costs (i.e. ask for a raise because you've gained skills recently)? Should employees who now have a shorter commute take a pay cut? – dwizum Jul 29 '19 at 19:40
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    How significant are the increases in commute time and expense? – Blrfl Jul 29 '19 at 19:55
  • @JoeStrazzere At least in Japan, there is usually a commute expense separate to salary, so if the office became closer, the pay would indeed decrease. – さりげない告白 Jul 30 '19 at 0:31
  • In the UK you can sometimes get a commute allowance if the distance of commute has been increased by moving offices. I don't think it's guaranteed, but it's not unheard of. What country are you in? – Smock Jul 30 '19 at 13:46
  • Could you include country tag? In some countries you could be given a compensation if you need to commute to city different than you live in. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jul 31 '19 at 12:22

Changed commuting commitments when moving offices is an issue that management should consider. I have known co-workers who changed projects due to their original project moving to a different work location in the same city. They went from a 10 minute commute to an hour commute and decided it wasn't worth the pain. In other cases the issue was the additional money spent each day, they went from a short commute with free parking, to one that cost a lot more, and were looking to leave.

In the United Sates there is program where the employer can pay part of your commuting and/or parking costs tax free to the employee. They also have programs where an employee can set aside pre-tax commuting and parking costs, thus reducing their total costs.

If a program like this is available in you country you could ask for the company to participate in one of these programs. Some employers do this as a benefit they can advertise.

In cases where a program isn't available, or they won't participate, your only option is to next time you sit down for a salary review bring up the increased commuting costs.

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    Unless the company REALLY MOVED, this entire discussion is pointless. As others suggested, what if the costs go down. Do those employees get a pay cut? I drive an electric car which is cheaper to drive. Please tell me I don't get a pay cut. – Julie in Austin Jul 29 '19 at 20:03
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    They were not suggesting it's automatic. It's on a case-by-case basis. An employee has to look after themselves. Not sure how it's pointless. Also, sometimes moving just slightly, maybe away from public transport for instance, can have a large impact on travel time. – Gregory Currie Jul 29 '19 at 22:16
  • @JulieinAustin if company moved to make for somebody a shorter commute then yes, however in real world unless you the one who makes a decision on the move companies do not do this. Electric car has nothing to do with the real cost change of the commute. If previous commute was taking 10 minutes which included dropping off/picking up kids from the school and it went to 2 hours in a rush hour traffic then it is acceptable to ask for a raise or quit the company. I've seen people do it. Also some places have nasty weather in winter where you could get few inches of ice in no time. – AlexanderM Jul 30 '19 at 0:40

I'd say, give it a shot, but keep it casual and be prepared to be rejected. There's no harm in asking, but I wouldn't go out and push all that hard. I'd probably say "hey, this is what really changed for me... is there anything you can to do help me out here?" -- that has the benefit of leaving it open ended as well.

Some mitigating factors:

  • If you where informed before you joined the company - leave it be. They told you because they assumed you'd factor it in when accepting the offer.
  • If you have reason to believe you are on the upper end of the pay spectrum - leave it be, or be very easy going in asking -- generally, the company isn't going to/shouldn't have to figure out how to compensate you for your commute - they can hire someone who can do what you can do, and make the commute work, too. They'd probably rather keep you - you know the job, they presumably are happy with your work, etc... but if you are already really well paid, and you're the only one asking - it seems like you are grasping after something a bit more than is fair for most of the team.
  • You may be able to improve your argument if you can figure out that the going rate of pay in the new location is actually a higher rate (on average) than in your old location - sites like Glassdoor help with this. If that's true, then you can't be replaced so easily. This is true, for example, in downtown Boston (hideous commute for almost everyone except those paying a TON for housing), vs. Southern New Hampshire (1 hr. away, but 2.5 hours in traffic, and with remarkably better/cheaper real estate) - folks do commute to the city, because the salaries are that much better... but they have to be that much better because otherwise folks wouldn't be so interested in commuting...

Leaving it open ended also has the value that you may get some just-as-good perks, such as:

  • An offer to commute at off hours for a shorter commute
  • An offer to work from home some number of days/week to save on gas
  • Info about company programs - like cheaper parking, employer paid options, etc.

Money is always the hard part of a negotiation because it is so absolute. Other options, like the above, can help because its less cost to the company and more value for you.

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  • "If you where informed before you joined the company" - in that case you may have made a mistake joining the company. If your job suddenly is less attractive than you thought it would be (even if you should have known better) you can look for a better position elsewhere. – gnasher729 Jul 29 '19 at 22:17

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