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THE QUESTION

My employer is relocating offices in a few months and the new location will require that I commute an extra 45 kilometres every day. Is it reasonable to ask for more compensation for this? How do I determine how much more? And how do I go about asking for it?

The job is worth the commute, but I want to be compensated for it.

THE ANSWER

Billy Anderson

Commuting can be exhausting in addition to the extra expense. While I’ve never heard of anyone getting compensation for this when the increase in their commute is only 45 kilometres, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try.

Most organizations want to avoid monetary payments or salary increases for a number of reasons. Therefore it’s wise to have other options to discuss, too.

But first, are you more concerned about the added expense or do you simply hate the idea of a longer commute? Will less free time each day have a negative impact on your personal relationships and responsibilities? Monetary compensation won’t solve that problem.

If it’s the additional commuting time that you dislike, you could ask for more flexible work hours to avoid rush-hour traffic, one work-from-home day each week, or a few extra vacation days. Those options don’t cost the company anything on paper. Obviously, the feasibility of this depends on the nature of your job.

If it’s strictly a monetary concern, there is no harm in asking for a raise but your organization might be more receptive to a parking pass or public transit pass.

Either way, make it clear that you want to stay with the company and explain how you feel the added commute will affect you. Providing options shows that you are willing to be flexible.

Keep in mind that your success will partly depend on your boss’s willingness to ask for more on your behalf, if your boss doesn’t have the power to make the decision on his or her own.