Nurse Practitioner Relocation (How MUCH Is Enough?)
Should a nurse practitioner receive reimbursement for relocation expenses? And the answer to this is yes. If you are moving across the state, out of state, and across the country, you’re moving a significant distance, you should absolutely receive relocation, either expenses or reimbursement. Now, normally this is in an amount anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000, it kind of just depends on your contract, but that’s normally kind of the range. You rarely see it go below 10,000, just because it’s so expensive to move especially today, with all the gas prices and everything, it is going to be difficult to move under $10,000 if you’re moving really anything. That’s something to keep in mind. But normally on contracts, I always see 10,000 or above, anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000. And then next, it’s normally structured in a couple of different ways along with the other offered professional benefits.
Relocation Moving Expenses Tax for a Nurse in Health Care
The first way that I see is probably the most common. It’s structured almost like a bonus. They may call it a relocation bonus, or they may just say relocation expenses, but they just give it all to you in a lump sum. They’ll structure it like a $10,000 bonus, they’ll give that to you. But the thing to remember, if it’s structured in this way, it’s considered income and it’s taxed as income. So, you won’t receive the full 10,000, taxes will be taken off of the top. That’s one thing that you really want to remember, especially if there’s some type of payback provision. Normally, you have to pay back the full amount or it’s prorated depending on how long you’ve been with the practice. You want to look out for that. If you must pay back the full amount you want to consider, you didn’t receive the full amount because taxes were taken off of it.
That’s something you might want to negotiate in the terms of your agreement. The second way I see is direct reimbursement to the companies. If you find a moving company that you feel comfortable with, you’ll let your future employer know, and they will directly pay that company. Now, even if they are directly reimbursing with the company, there’s still typically some type of payback provision. And it will say, you’ll have to pay back the full amount if you terminate your agreement for any reason within one to two years. So again, look out for that. And then the last way that’s probably the rarest, but you would pay the moving companies yourself and then they would reimburse you, meaning, your employer if you get them the receipts. Other blogs of interest include:
- Does a Nurse Practitioner Repay a Bonus if the Contract is Terminated?
- How Much Paid Time Off Should a Nurse Practitioner Get?
And anytime you’re doing this sort of reimbursement directly to the company or directly to you, there is normally a cap on this. So again, it’s normally still 10,000 to 20,000. And then there’s always some type of payback provision if you terminate your agreement within a short period. So, you also want to look to see if that is prorated or if you must pay the full amount. The other thing you want to take into consideration is sometimes it defines what’s considered a moving expense. I’ve seen anywhere from, well, of course, a moving company, airline tickets, shipping your car or your personal property or storage during your move. All those things can be considered relocation or moving expenses. You just want to check out your employment agreement, read it very carefully. If you cannot get clarity from the words on your actual contract, reach out to your future employer. I always recommend via email, so that it’s in writing, and ask them to define some of those terms for you.
What business expenses should a nurse practitioner be reimbursed for? These can kind of vary depending on where you are, what your specialty is, and what kind of care you’re providing. But they all should be outlined in your employment agreement. I’m going to start with the most common ones and kind of work my way down from there. Starting with number one, your continuing education. You must continue your education to renew your license and practice. That’s the number one thing that employers normally reimburse for. It can look a couple of different ways, but I would say 90% of the time of the agreements that I see, you are given some type of continuing education allowance where there’s a max that they’ll reimburse and that’s normally anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 annually. This would include going to any types of conferences or meetings.
And if travel is involved, normally, that continuing education allowance does account for travel expenses. So, I would say that’s the first one. You also want to look, I don’t know if it technically is called reimbursement, but if they’re reimbursing you for your continuing education, your employer should also be offering you PTO time specifically for your continuing education. Otherwise, you’re using your own PTO from your vacation days. And that’s not something that you want to be giving. You need this continuing education to practice. Therefore, you should be receiving anywhere from two to five days of PTO time to take those continuing education. The next thing I would probably say is your DEA license. Sometimes you have to have them in multiple states. If you’re on the east coast, I see that come up a lot.
Or even in one state, you have to register your DEA license and it’s really expensive. It’s normally over $800. So, that’s a big expense that you do not need to be paying for. Your employer should be reimbursing you for that. And then also, your initial DEA license and any renewals. You want to make sure that you have that language in your employment contract. Going down the list, probably the next most common reimbursement is your license. Obviously, you have to have a license in order to practice and provide services for your employer. Therefore, they should be providing that. Also, professional dues for professional organizations, common nationally known organizations, or a local chapter. Normally, this also can be capped at a certain amount. But your employer should be reimbursing you for that.
Again, it’s probably going to help you with continuing your education, networking, best practices, all that stuff. It’s helpful to everyone. And so, they should be reimbursing you for those expenses. Depending on if you are moving to a new location to become an employee, you may get relocation expenses reimbursed, and this is kind of structured a couple of different ways. Sometimes they will directly reimburse you. You’ll provide them with receipts of your moving expenses. Sometimes your employer will pay the companies directly, so you’ll have to get approval, and then they will communicate with your moving company and pay them directly. And then other times it’s structured like a bonus. They’ll just give you around $10,000 upfront. Although if it’s structured as a bonus and you receive those funds, it’s taxed as income.
RN Bonus and Tax Implications
So, you just want to be aware of that, that you’re not going to receive that full amount because taxes will be taken out of it. And then also for sure, with the relocation expenses. But sometimes you have to be careful in an employment contract. There are provisions in there that if your employer is providing these reimbursements for these expenses, and you terminate your agreement with them within a specific period, you may have to pay back a portion, if not all of these expenses. Now, I’d say it’s rare for your continuing education, licensing, and dues. It’s very common with relocation expenses though, but I have seen in a contract before that you are required to pay back all of the reimbursements if you left within a specific period, so you want to make sure you’re definitely reading that carefully.
And then lastly, I would say probably the rarest that I’ve seen, but I have seen them in employment agreements before, is cell phone reimbursement. If you’re using a cell phone or they’re providing a cell phone to you to use when you’re providing your services or travel. If you must travel, sometimes it will give you a sort of mileage reimbursement or maintenance for your vehicle, things like that. So, those are kind of rare and kind of specific to someone who is going to be traveling a lot. But other than that, just to kind of recap, for sure, continuing education, license, dues, fees, DEA license, and relocation expenses, are going to be the basic categories of what you should get reimbursement for.
What Kind of Benefits Do Nurse Practitioners Receive?
When surveyed, nurse practitioners listed the benefits that they receive from their employers. Their answers came in like this:
- Paid vacation time (77.2%)
- Professional liability insurance (72.4%)
- Health insurance (70.7%)
- Retirement plans (69.4%)
- Reimbursement for licensing/certification (53.2%)
Each of these benefits must clearly be very important to have been granted to more than half of all nurses surveyed. That leads one to the reasonable assumption that they should at least fight for each of these benefits in their employment or independent contractor agreement as well.
Paid Vacation Time
No person can work all the time without a break. Pushing people to do more and more work is not only potentially unethical, it is unproductive in the long run. Humans only have so much capacity for work, and when they are pushed beyond their natural limits, it is understandable that they become worn out and not nearly as productive as they would normally be. Thus, paid vacation time is a great way to allow nurses to take a break from their job for some time without missing out on a paycheck. With more than three-quarters of all surveyed nurses saying they receive this benefit, it is clearly one to insist upon.
Professional Liability Insurance
Most professions do not necessarily require liability insurance. Then again, most professionals don’t ask a worker to put the life of another person in their hands and take care of them. Nurses understand the pressure of a single mistake that they make potentially leading to tragic results. Thus, it is necessary to think about asking for professional liability insurance to help protect your assets, reputation, and career in the event of a lawsuit.
The United States healthcare system is set up in such a way that the vast majority of people receive their health insurance through their employers. Love it or hate it, that is how the system works. With that in mind, nurses are wise to seek health insurance coverage from their employers. The danger of not having coverage if an emergency should occur is too big of a risk to take.
Retirement is not as far away as we might think. It is necessary to start investing and preparing for the future right now so you don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy the kind of retirement that you have worked so hard to reach for. Employers can and should offer retirement products to their employees that are quality plans with well-defined investment strategies.
Reimbursement for Licensing/Certification
Nurses have to renew their certifications after a set period of time. This is a requirement because everyone wants nurses to be up to date on the latest knowledge of procedures. It is necessary to ensure that all nurses are still advancing and learning about various techniques in their field. It costs some money to get recertified as a nurse, and that is why nurses are wise to ask their employer to cover at least some of the cost of this certification. After all, the employer is ultimately who will benefit from the nurse getting those certifications renewed.
Consultation with Chelle Law
Nurses, if you are considering signing a professional contract with a new employer, we want to help. Please contact us and allow our office to set you up with someone who can review the documents that have been presented to you. We want to ensure that everything that your potential future employer is offering you is in your best interest. Get in touch today to get the process started.
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Contract Review, Termination Issues and more!