Employer rights and obligations in employee relocation

There are many reasons why a company may need to switch location, and typically the need to acquire more space, to restructure or to cut costs come to the top of the list. For staff, the prospect of an employer move throws up many questions, and the law requires the employer to do certain things to protect workers’ rights and not to unfairly disadvantage them by choosing to relocate.

Employer rights and obligations in employee relocation

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Why would you not want to move?

Some moves benefit employees if they end up closer to home or working in a more favourable location for their circumstances. For other staff however, a relocation may mean more time and costs to commute, the prospect of moving house, and family disruption.

Can they make you go?

If your employer is planning to move premises, your own situation will depend very much on your employment contract. Check first whether any mobility clause is included, as this will commit you to moving within a certain geographical limit, within reason. If you don’t have any mobility clause, you can choose not to move, and your employer may instead make you redundant.

Redundancy through location

If you decide not to relocate, redundancy can occur because your job will no longer exist at your current location, and there is no suitable alternative. The question over whether or not you’ll get a payment or package for redundancy will depend on your contract and factors such as your length of service. You must also be offered a trial for any alternative role, which would count as continuous service.

Ways in which employers can help

Many employers will also help their staff by providing employee relocation services, such as those that can be found on the DT moving website. Many will offer relocation packages as a discretionary extra which can help with accommodation, moving costs and legal fees.

The benefits of relocation

Remember that a relocation can be a good thing, as it may mean better prospects and advancement, for example, if you are going to be co-locating with a new business as part of a merger. If possible, see if your employer will agree to a trial period for your role in the new location, so you can check that it will work for you.

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