Expat's Finance

Most of the employees going on an international assignment most likely double their annual salary. You will not see such an increase in you pay slip, as that includes several allowances, housing, education and other additional benefits. We explain all the details behind and advise how to get prepared to avoid risk with currency fluctuation.

Need assistance or advise?  Contact our Expat's Guide Relocation Agency!

Salary Payment

Over 90% of companies compensate their expatriates based on their home country salary level. Only some have special international compensation schemes. All in all your pay slip depends on the level you have reached within your local country… but only nominally.

As your home unit is based outside of Poland, your salary will in most cases be dependent on your local currency. Some corporate policies define the payment method:

  • Whole salary paid in host country currency

This approach might be a bit risky especially if you are staying in Poland for a longer period of time, as your savings will be gathered in Polish zloty. Unless you are expecting to purchase a property in Poland or invest on the stock exchange, this method might not be of an advantage to you.

  • Whole salary paid in home country currency

Although you risk currency exchange rates, you might be lucky to gain as well. This approach makes financial sense in cases when you are on a single status assignment (your family is still located in your home country) and your assignment is rather short-term.

  • Mixed approach – defined amount paid in home country currency as home deposit and the rest in the host country currency

This is the most common system in Europe, which allows to split the currency risk and ensure stable savings in your home country.

  • Payment in reference currency (i.e. EUR or USD) in cases where your home unit is outside of a Euro zone or USA.

All of the above manners have both advantages and disadvantages, however in cases when you are paid in a different currency than Polish zloty, you are exposed to currency fluctuations, hence in some months you can take an advantage of a weaker zloty or the opposite - risk lower salary.

If your company policy allows that, you might choose to cumulate more cash in PLN when the advantage is on your side and use it up in the future months. On the other hand, you might set up a bank account in Poland in foreign currency (EUR or USD). In that case, you spread the risk across many months and on average your losses and/or profits should break even.

Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

This portion of your new salary is aimed to equalize differences in prices of common goods and services between Poland and your home country. Some companies use this allowance to balance the currency exchange risk, as a result the payment might differ every month.

In some cases, as cost of living in Warsaw is lower compared to London, Paris or Stockholm, your employer might use a negative cost of living allowance meaning you shouldn’t count on any additional funds coming from this allowance.

Mobility Premium/Foreign Assignment Premium

This share of your payment has a motivational aspect. It should be a true increase in a salary, an incentive to move abroad. Depending on your company policies it can be merged with COLA or hardship allowance. While COLA and hardship allowance are given and calculated on a hard basis, most likely you will be able to negotiate the level of mobility premium. 

Hardship Allowance

It is designed to make up for different circumstances and hence difficulty combined with your new location. That is based on health risk, climate, cultural differences, language, availability of services, etc.

Depending on the home country this allowance may differ and so for a French man coming to Poland the difficulty is much higher than for a Czech or Hungarian. However that all depends on your company policy.

This allowance is either paid out in cash or can include sponsoring of i.e. hobby courses or language classes.


Most of the European companies do support their international personnel in this aspect, by providing an allowance for a new house. However, that may again differ according to your level in a company ladder, family size or a fact if you own a real estate in your home country. Some corporations give provide an expat with a given allowance to finance the rent, others will only pay the difference between the cost of rent in Warsaw and your home country.

Some other companies offer their expatriates free housing, especially in cases when you are sent abroad for a short-term project assignment. This can be either a hotel room, suite or a company owned property.


Unless you are sent for a single status assignment, your family will be relocated with you to Warsaw. Most of the companies pay for the children’s education, however not necessarily for pre-school or university. Education of your children in an international schools can account for up to 50% of your annual salary so it’s quite important to understand which costs are covered by your corporation.

Similarly you and your family in most cases are eligible for a language classes, nevertheless some companies in order to cut costs provide only on-line courses or limit the face-to-face lessons to certain amount of hours.

Other benefits

Regardless if you were entitled to a company car in your home country or not, most companies provide additional benefits for expatriates, which in most cases is a car. Find out if your spouse can expect a vehicle as well or at least a discount on a lease rates.