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Your Rights when your Company Relocates

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 2 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Employment Contract Relocation

Workers are increasingly expected to be more mobile these days and in today's whirlwind of takeovers and mergers there sometimes seems to be precious little organisational stability. Companies can relocate for a number of reasons, such as consolidating properties after a merger to move two workforces into one place, taking advantage of cheaper overheads, or setting up a presence in a new territory to expand their market.

Is the Move a Blessing or a Curse?

If your company is moving to a location that you like, perhaps to an area where houses are cheaper or the schools are better, and you are being offered the expense of relocation, then you may feel that the upheaval presents an opportunity that you're willing to take.

But for many people, the uprooting of children from schools where they are settled and moving away from family is too much. It could be that house prices are more expensive in the new location, and employees would only be able to afford smaller houses, or perhaps not be able to buy at all. For these reasons, and many more, there can be many workers who will not want to make the move.

Can the Move be Forced?

But do employees have to move to where ever the company asks them to? The answer is that it depends on their Employment Contract, with many employees in the UK being subject to 'mobility clauses' in their contracts. These allow the employer to move employees not exactly on a whim, but with reasonable notice and optionally helping with the expense of the move.

If there is no 'mobility clause' in employees' contracts, then relocation will constitute a change of contract and the company will have to negotiate with employees to allow the change. This might end up with some form of package to aid with the cost of the move, but it depends on the job market, the level at which each person is employed, and the culture of the organisation. Union Members will be better protected in this situation as they can rely on the union for advice and support.

Do Redundancy Rules Apply?

If employees have no mobility clause and do not want to move, they can, in certain circumstances, be made redundant, if their job in the old region ceases to exist and the alternatives in the new region are not suitable. Deciding whether or not redundancy rules apply is a complex area, and people considering refusing to move should take independent legal advice before making their decision. People for whom redundancy does apply will be able to take the new job in the new location on a four-week trial before refusing it completely.

Special protection applies when the relocation comes about as a result of a takeover and the new proprietors want to move everybody. In this case, a set of regulations known as Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), more usually known as 'TUPE', come into play. These regulations protect employees' terms of employment and ensure that the new owners honour the terms and conditions of the previous employer, so it should make no difference that the relocation is driven by new owners.

Final Thoughts

There are two points worth finishing on. The first is that even if you have a mobility clause, an employer still cannot make unreasonable demands on you in terms of relocation. If you were asked, for example, to move to another country tomorrow, it's unlikely that an Employment Tribunal, if the dispute got that far, would consider that reasonable. The second is that as long as you are confident of getting another job and there is work available in your area, no one can make you move as you can simply resign. However, many people are not fortunate enough to be in that position.

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My employer announced on Friday that’s they would be moving premises 6 miles away however I was not invited to the meeting as was nightshift and have only found out from other staff members. They have advised that there will be no redundancy on offer, can they do this? Most people that work there don’t have a signed contract
Jack - 2-Dec-18 @ 9:25 PM
I work for the NHS and we recently merged with another hospital. After 21 years loyal service as a telephonist we have now be told that our job is closing as the sister hospital is taking over the calls. We have been told that unless we take the job 16 miles away we are out of a job. What are my rights? Can they actually force me to leave if there arnt any suitable jobs in my current hospital?
Jack - 24-Jun-18 @ 1:55 PM
My company is relocating to a location which will be 444 miles round trip. They have said i can work from home with 2-4 times a month travel. I really dont want to work from home due to the isolated nature. I would prefer redundancy but my company have set the offer is classed as a suitable alternative - but i don’t feel it is. Any advice?
Unsureoftherules - 27-Mar-18 @ 6:44 PM
Gaz - Your Question:
Hi there.I am working in one location but due to a staff member leaving and me being the only one qualified to do the job, they have asked me to do it which 2 days a week in the other location which is an extra travel distance of 216 miles roundtrip for the 2 days. I refused as it isn't in my contract to do so, no mobility clause and nothing in the employee handbook. They then offered me 2 hours TOIL per day and a hire car delivered to my door, I still refused as I don't like the drive, don't like the location and feel the time away from my usual location will impact my caseload. They have said if I don't do it they will give me a direction to do it and given me until tomorrow to decide?? I want to hand in my notice but feel a bit bullied and blackmailed?? Any advice??

Our Response:
You may have a case for unfair dismissal if your employer is breaching the contract. In other words, if your employer dismisses you for disagreeing with proposed changes to a contractual term, then you will likely have a claim against them.In this case, I would speak to ACAS in order to explore your rights and options.
WorkingRights - 26-Jan-18 @ 12:21 PM
Hi there. I am working in one location but due to a staff member leaving and me being the only one qualified to do the job, they have asked me to do it which 2 days a week in the other location which is an extra travel distance of 216 miles roundtrip for the 2 days. I refused as it isn't in my contract to do so, no mobility clause and nothing in the employee handbook. They then offered me 2 hours TOIL per day and a hire car delivered to my door, I still refused as I don't like the drive, don't like the location and feel the time away from my usual location will impact my caseload. They have said if I don't do it they will give me a direction to do it and given me until tomorrow to decide?? I want to hand in my notice but feel a bit bullied and blackmailed?? Any advice??
Gaz - 25-Jan-18 @ 7:02 PM
scoobydoo - Your Question:
My employer is a and applying for a tender with the local authority. If they get this tender my job role will change slightly and I will have to move to a different location. It will also mean an increase in hours as I only work 4 days now and they want me to work 5. We moved to this office 10 years ago and at that time ,employees were given support for transport costs as it was further away than our previous office. This previous move was nearer my home but if we move this time it is going to be further away, which will incur more mileage and fuel costs. At the moment I have flexi working and am a carer for my son. What rights do I have?

Our Response:
I can only really direct you to the gov.uk link here which will tell you further what your need to know. Much is to do with the terms of your contract (which you should re-read) and mutual negotiation directly with your employer regarding your options. As specified in the article; 'if there is no 'mobility clause' in employees' contracts, then relocation will constitute a change of contract and the company will have to negotiate with employees to allow the change'. If negotiations fail, or you feel you are being treated unfairly, you can raise a grievance, please see link here.
WorkingRights - 19-Jan-18 @ 9:48 AM
My employer is a and applying for a tender with the local authority.If they get this tender my job role will change slightly and I will have to move to a different location.It will also mean an increase in hours as I only work 4 days now and they want me to work 5.We moved to this office 10 years ago and at that time ,employees were given support for transport costs as it was further away than our previous office.This previous move was nearer my home but if we move this time it is going to be further away, which will incur more mileage and fuel costs.At the moment I have flexi working and am a carer for my son..What rights do I have?
scoobydoo - 18-Jan-18 @ 1:48 PM
Hales - Your Question:
Hi,My current workplace is relocating May 2018, which will mean an additional 10 miles each way to my already 10 miles travel distance per day. I do not have a 'mobility clause' in my contract.Work has offered to pay 25p per mile to everyone who has to travel an additional 5 miles per day, but only from the point of relocation until Dec 2019. Is putting a limited timescale on this offer legal?Thanks

Our Response:
Employers don’t have to offer employees any compensation for relocating, unless it’s specified in their contract. Employees without a mobility clause in their contract can choose whether or not to move. You can see more via the gov.uk link here , which will explain all you need to know.
WorkingRights - 12-Dec-17 @ 11:08 AM
Hi, My current workplace is relocating May 2018, which will mean an additional 10 miles each way to my already 10 miles travel distance per day. I do not have a 'mobility clause' in my contract. Work has offered to pay 25p per mile to everyone who has to travel an additional 5 miles per day, but only from the point of relocation until Dec 2019. Is putting a limited timescale on this offer legal? Thanks
Hales - 11-Dec-17 @ 3:34 PM
james - Your Question:
Hi,I've been informed that my office is moving to another location that I deem to be unreasonable, my contract states my place of work can partially or wholly move to another reasonable location.I have no intention of moving to the new office which will be in the center of a city with no parking and public transport would take a long time and be very expensive but the main drawback is it will add a large amount of travel time to my day everyday.I put in a flexi working request to allow me to work from home but this was denies.The last day at my current office is the 17th November what do I need to do to get redundancy? If I hand in my notice am I then not entitled to redundancy?I do have the chance of another job lined up so have no intention of moving to the new site but don't want to delay things either.What should my next step be? Do I inform them I'm not moving and thus feel I'm entitled to redundancy or do I resign?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the individual employer, you can see more via the gov.uk link here which should explain further.
WorkingRights - 13-Oct-17 @ 12:10 PM
Hi, I've been informed that my office is moving to another location that i deem to be unreasonable, my contract states my place of work can partially or wholly move to another reasonable location. I have no intention of moving to the new office which will be in the center of a city with no parking and public transport would take a long time and be very expensive but the main drawback is it will add a large amount of travel time to my day everyday. I put in a flexi working request to allow me to work from home but this was denies. The last day at my current office is the 17th November what do i need to do to get redundancy? If i hand in my notice am i then not entitled to redundancy? I do have the chance of another job lined up so have no intention of moving to the new site but don't want to delay things either. What should my next step be? Do i inform them i'm not moving and thus feel i'm entitled to redundancy or do i resign?
james - 12-Oct-17 @ 12:21 PM
Hi, My office is moving from a building with their own free parking, to another building with paid parking. Parking costs will be £2000 per year. So this is essentially a paycut because of an office move. Public transport would cost me £1900 per year also. I believe I have a mobility clause in my contract, but I was wondering if I had any say in this move, or whether I could ask for redundancy?
comicbookguy75 - 8-Aug-17 @ 8:50 AM
Unknown - Your Question:
My office is closing I can either work at home or travel an extra 50 miles a day to another office. Can I be made to make this choice?

Our Response:
Employees without a mobility clause in their contract can choose whether or not to move. You can see more via the gov.uk link here.
WorkingRights - 30-Jun-17 @ 3:16 PM
My office is closing I can either work at home or travel an extra 50 miles a day to another office. Can i be made to make this choice?
Unknown - 27-Jun-17 @ 8:47 PM
Joby1 - Your Question:
Hi.i have been employed for 32 yrs at my job 10 miles easy roads.they are moveing so my journey will be 22 miles.through very difficult areas more than doubling my travel time.there is no mobility clause in my contract.and I could not manage this change.i am 59 yrs old will I be elligable for redundance.thank you

Our Response:
As specified in the article, deciding whether or not redundancy rules apply is a complex area, and people considering refusing to move should take independent legal advice before making their decision. If there is no mobility clause in your contract and the change in location involves a difficult journey or affects personal issues, it will be ‘reasonable’ for you the employee to refuse. However, you would still have to negotiate the terms with your employer. Some employers will offer compensation, others redundancy. You might wish to speak with ACAS before you approach this in order to be aware of your full rights.
WorkingRights - 11-May-17 @ 1:51 PM
Hi.i have been employed for 32 yrs at my job 10 miles easy roads...they are moveingso my journey will be 22 miles ..through very difficult areas more than doubling my travel time ...there is no mobility clause in my contract .and i could not manage this change ..i am 59 yrs old will i be elligable for redundance...thank you
Joby1 - 10-May-17 @ 8:16 PM
I have been temporally transferred to another site to help out. was meant to be for a short time it's turned out to be much longer. They was paying for my travel there and back as my previous site was within walking distance. They have now stopped paying for my travel. Which was £90 a week They haven't changed my pay and they said there is other means of travel. But the times I finish there is no public transport in my area .when even cutting down my travel expencies is still about £60 a week.. What can I do?......
Stephens - 11-Apr-17 @ 11:10 AM
Hi, my office is closing in September this year. I could have taken a redundancy package but instead chose to go to another office within reasonable daily travel. There was a job there for me but now I'm told that there isn't.The redundancy package has since been reduced so I have missed out on the more favourable package. Could I please have some advice about my rights.Many thanks
Dan - 1-Apr-17 @ 9:22 PM
A mum - Your Question:
Hi there, my employer is moving premises and I've been asked to way up my options. I took the job as p/t so I could drop/collect my children from sch as only 5 mins away. There now moving further away. meaning I will know have to do less hrs to communicate as there would be no point in sch cost i.e. breakfast/after sch club - wouldn't be cost effective. Are they allowed to reduce my wage due to less hours?

Our Response:
A mobility clause says employees have to move within certain limits. It means that employers can normally force their employees to move to places allowed by the clause, unless this is completely unreasonable, please see link here. Likewise, if you are on a permanent contract and there are terms in your contract that says your employer can reduce your contracted hours, then your employer can, please see link here. I hope this helps answer your question.
WorkingRights - 23-Mar-17 @ 2:14 PM
Hi there, my employer is moving premises and I've been asked to way up my options. I took the job as p/t so I could drop/collect my children from sch as only 5 mins away. There now moving further away.. meaning I will know have to do less hrs to communicate as there would be no point in sch cost i.e. breakfast/after sch club - wouldn't be cost effective. Are they allowed to reduce my wage due to less hours?
A mum - 22-Mar-17 @ 11:16 PM
At present I have a 7/10 minute commute to and from work, with free onsite parking - 2 reason I took my job in the first place , however we are relocating to far side of the city centre and I will have at least a half hour commute each way and either have to pay for onsite parking or purchase a monthly bus pass neither of which I have budgeted for. Can I ask they afford me either one or the other. Thank you.
Carol - 8-Mar-17 @ 9:56 PM
i was facing redundancy but was interviewed and offered a new role within the company. In my old role i had completed my probation and had a full time position. however with the new role i had to complete a new probation period. for 6 months. it looks like i'm not going to pass the probation period. and be dismissed from the company . would this be classed as unfair?
david - 14-Feb-17 @ 6:45 PM
I have been told my department are being made redundant, as they want to centralise to Sheffield difference of 120 daily commute.We have been advised of similar post at head office, but there has been no offer of relocation.Would this something that wouldcbe deemed unreasonable?
Reet - 4-Jan-17 @ 8:37 PM
Hi there, My company is moving location and after checking my contract, I note that there is no mobility clause, only "you may be required to work at a different location from time to time." I will be 4 months pregnant when the move takes place and my commute will increase from 1 hour each way to over 1.5 hours, each way. I anticipate that this will be incredibly difficult to manage, especially as I get farther into my pregnancy. I have a 14 month old as well so will need to prevent wasting valuable energy on commuting! What are my rights? I think it is illegal to be made redundant while pregnant, even if voluntary?
Cece - 18-Nov-16 @ 10:15 PM
Hi there, My company is moving location and after checking my contract, I note that there is no mobility clause, only "you may be required to work at a different location from time to time." I will be 4 months pregnant when the move takes place and my commute will increase from 1 hour each way to over 1.5 hours, each way. I anticipate that this will be incredibly difficult to manage, especially as I get farther into my pregnancy. I have a 14 month old as well so will need to prevent wasting valuable energy on commuting! What are my rights?
Cece - 18-Nov-16 @ 9:43 PM
Movehelp - Your Question:
Hi the company I work for is about to announce a move, do they legally have to give a notice period before moving.

Our Response:
When an employer moves, employees with a mobility clause in their contract have to move unless they can prove the request is unreasonable. You can see further information regarding your rights regarding time limits via the gov.uk site here. I hope this helps.
WorkingRights - 8-Nov-16 @ 10:36 AM
Hi the company I work for is about to announce a move, do they legally have to give a notice period before moving.
Movehelp - 7-Nov-16 @ 10:16 AM
2Tech - Your Question:
My employer wants me to work at one of their other sites 30 mins away, for an unknown length of time, because "they need another person" there. I have a mobility clause saying "as per needs of the business" I cant afford to travel but they said an hours overtime will be given to cover this. I am not being made redundant, but I really don't want to go. can they force me? Ive been told i'll be given a disciplinary for not reporting to the new site

Our Response:
If there is a mobility clause in your contract and you have agreed to it by signing the contract, then there is unfortunately little you can do.
WorkingRights - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:13 PM
My employer wants me to work at one of their other sites 30 mins away, for an unknown length of time, because "they need another person" there. I have a mobility clause saying "as per needs of the business" I cant afford to travel but they said an hours overtime will be given to cover this. I am not being made redundant, but I really don't want to go. can they force me? Ive been told i'll be given a disciplinary for not reporting to the new site
2Tech - 19-Oct-16 @ 7:56 PM
Hi recently asked to move to another branch&it will be 30 mins each way driving so more petrol costs and parking costs as well as worried to be late to pick my child up from school and school holidays as not much explained i.e what hrs&dates new place requires. They wont cover the fuel cost. Before accepting the new position to start within 2 weeks what options do I have? Need bit advise to see what I can/cant ask&expected. Thanks in advance
Sunny - 15-Oct-16 @ 10:20 AM
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