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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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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
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
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
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
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 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
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
My employer is moving location approximately 40 minutes commute away from my office location now.I currently live near my current office and have no commute or travel expenses. Can my employer expect me to move and for me to pick up the travel costs and lifestyle change.
sugar - 20-Sep-16 @ 8:30 PM
Hi, I have been advised that my office is relocating 60 miles away.I currently work part time for the company and have done for the past 4 and a half years.I don't want to leave the company because I love my job, I am willing to travel and have put a proposal forward asking that I go to the office one or two days a week and working the remaining hours at home (I have everything I need so there will be no "setup" costs involved for them.They have formally put me at risk of redundancy.My question is, can they make me leave?
chez - 20-Aug-16 @ 6:13 PM
My SE firm was taken over in May 2013 by an international company. Later that year I agreed to move North with the proposition. My job is now being relocated to the SE. Verbally told a month ago and nothing in writing re relocation package or redundancy. My understanding it is a like-for-like role. No idea if there are any subtle tweaks in the role though. New life carved out having moved with husband who is doing really well. Thoughts?
Loulougib - 10-Aug-16 @ 11:05 PM
My Back office work outsourced abroad, my job will no longer exist shortly, I have worked in company for thirty years and our T/C'are covered under TUPE. My employer, states that as my job is now redundant he wants to relocate me to a call centre which involves shifts my presentjob has flexible working hours. Please advise what rights I have if any.
Ally g - 9-Jun-16 @ 6:52 PM
My company relocated ten years ago,I do not drive but went with them as two people offered me a lift and I could not afford to give up my job. Now these two people have been made redundant and I am expected to use public transport at an extra cost of £100-200 per month which I cannot afford. All my money is accounted for and I cannot afford this new expense. I have worked for the company for 18 years. Can you advise please.
Cazza - 19-Mar-16 @ 3:59 PM
the company i work for has been taken over but will still be trading under their current name.they also are relocating 15 miles away. i have not been offered a position at the new premises will i be entitled to redundancy pay
steve - 26-Feb-16 @ 8:27 PM
mandy - Your Question:
Hi! I've been reading about relocation of work, mobility clauses etc but still can not find an example or case that actually applies to my situation. My boss is not english and does not fully understand, first of all the english language and secondly english customs. He is not relocating his office or our workplace but actually is asking me to relocate where I live. I understand I'd be expected to move if it was the case that I applied for a job that was in a different city to where I live, but it's not! My work place is in London and I live in London. And not even far away from my work place. I live in east London zone 2 and my workplace is in southeast London zone 3. It takes me less than an hour to get there with public transport. Around 20-25 minutes if I were to take a taxi or drive. Is it really reasonable of him to require me to move to the EXACT area of my workplace? (To me the obvious answer to that question is no. But I don't know how to explain this to him that he can not require me to change my personal life without being scared of being fired. are there any clear laws on this thing so that I could prove to him that he can't force me to move? )I like where I currently live, I also live with my partner and can't really force him to move. Also I do not want to live in the same area as my job, it's further from central and frankly, a quite boring location. And I don't even work full time! I see no reason how living 20 minutes to 1 hour travel distance away will affect my work?I also like my job. It's not my dream job, but it pays the bills, has flexible hours and I enjoy my work tasks and the people I meet at work. (to clarify, this is a very very small company, only me and my boss! So I do not have the option to go to the HR department as there is none etc.)

Our Response:
Your boss has no right to ask you to move your home location. I can only suggest giving ACAS a call and speaking to someone directly for advice on how to approach this and what your rights are if you refuse.
WorkingRights - 29-Jan-16 @ 10:00 AM
Hi! I've been reading about relocation of work, mobility clauses etc but still can not find an example or case that actually applies to my situation. My boss is not english and does not fully understand, first of all the english language and secondly english customs. He is not relocating his office or our workplace but actually is asking me to relocate where I live. I understand I'd be expected to move if it was the case that I applied for a job that was in a different city to where I live, but it's not! My work place is in London and I live in London. And not even far away from my work place. I live in east London zone 2 and my workplace is in southeast London zone 3. It takes me less than an hour to get there with public transport. Around 20-25 minutes if I were to take a taxi or drive. Is it really reasonable of him to require me to move to the EXACT area of my workplace? (To me the obvious answer to that question is no. But I don't know how to explain this to him that he can not require me to change my personal life without being scared of being fired... are there any clear laws on this thing so that I could prove to him that he can't force me to move? ) I like where I currently live, I also live with my partner and can't really force him to move. Also I do not want to live in the same area as my job, it's further from central and frankly, a quite boring location. And I don't even work full time! I see no reason how living 20 minutes to 1 hour travel distance away will affect my work? I also like my job. It's not my dream job, but it pays the bills, has flexible hours and I enjoy my work tasks and the people I meet at work. (to clarify, this is a very very small company, only me and my boss! So I do not have the option to go to the HR department as there is none etc...)
mandy - 28-Jan-16 @ 1:01 PM
Hi there my fatory is moving 12-14 miles for my home ! I have no ways of transport to get there on time every day ! As it would take me 2 hours by bus and there are only bus that run to the new fatory ! I've work for the company over 10 years will my boss have to pay me redundancy if I do not wish to move ?
Energy - 26-Jan-16 @ 4:41 AM
On Monday 11th Jan we were call to the canteen to be told that site is to be closed down and sold to a local company. There are two companies on the site owned by the same mother company.One is to cease the other(the one i work) is to be relocated from Bath to the Midlands. The main issue for me is that we have entered into a 30 consultation period(from the 11th) but they have openly admitted they dont have a site to go to yet just somewhere in the Midlands (the Midlands is a big area). We have been told in a letter that if we do not relocate then we are at risk of redundancy. How can we be expected to relocate if we dont know the exact location so we have a chance to look at house prices/schools the area etc. Also the 30 days is running down. Please can anyone offer advise!
shep - 21-Jan-16 @ 6:01 PM
disgruntled employee - Your Question:
Ive worked for a rather large energy company now for nearly 2 years. My company have recently outsourced myself and quite a large number of their employees without any consultation, only told, we were being outsourced.My companyhavent got much of a reputation in regards to employee,s and we do alot of unpaid overtime, and when we need time off for a doctor/ dentist, its always unpaid leave which is deducted from our pay. the new company we are outsourced to have changed our work hours and expect us to start work now at 7.30 instead of 9. we are required now to have to confirm our appointments the day before and also confirm the appointment when we are on our way the next day. This does involve alot more time spent on diary management which I have to do in the evenings in my own time. Recently, my area manager says I have to attend a conference call at 8am with our outsourced client. Again, unpaid and also interfers with my schedule of the day. I cant fit in all appointments as it stands and end up having to call customers to cancel appointments I cant make where they arent happy as they have taken time off work for my visit. Just to clarify, I am full time with this company nearly two years but my work is not office based and I am mobile using my own car for which I get an allowance of pence per miles travelled. working for this outsourced company, ive found im covering areas much further away than when I work for my company. Is there any help for me in regards to employees rights that I can enforce here without losing my job?I heard their was some law in regards to full time employees with a company who are home based and the hours of work which they are supposed to be paid for? but my company are obviously not aware of this and expect you to work all hours for them

Our Response:
I think in this case it would be more advisable to give ACAS a call over these issues. You have not said either whether your contract has been changed to accommodate these new working hours etc. If they have and you have signed the contract, then you have agreed to the changes. If the contract changes have not been made by your employers and they are expecting you to work these extra hours regardless of whether they in work time or out, then your employer may be working outside employment law guidelines.
WorkingRights - 18-Jan-16 @ 11:26 AM
Ive worked for a rather large energy company now for nearly 2 years. My company have recently outsourced myself and quite a large number of their employees without any consultation, only told, we were being outsourced.My companyhavent got much of a reputation in regards to employee,s and we do alot of unpaid overtime, and when we need time off for a doctor/ dentist, its always unpaid leave which is deducted from our pay. the new company we are outsourced to have changed our work hours and expect us to start work now at 7.30 instead of 9. we are required now to have to confirm our appointments the day before and also confirm the appointment when we are on our way the next day. This does involve alot more time spent on diary management which I have to do in the evenings in my own time. Recently, my area manager says i have to attend a conference call at 8am with our outsourced client. Again, unpaid and also interfers with my schedule of the day. I cant fit in all appointments as it stands and end up having to call customers to cancel appointments i cant make where they arent happy as they have taken time off work for my visit. Just to clarify, I am full time with this company nearly two years but my work is not office based and i am mobile using my own car for which i get an allowance of pence per miles travelled. working for this outsourced company, ive found im covering areas much further away than when i work for my company. Is there any help for me in regards to employees rights that i can enforce here without losing my job? I heard their was some law in regards to full time employees with a company who are home based and the hours of work which they are supposed to be paid for? but my company are obviously not aware of this and expect you to work all hours for them
disgruntled employee - 17-Jan-16 @ 12:47 PM
Hi, The company I work for in the UK was recently taken over by a global company. They want to move our depot to one which they already have over 40 miles away. I have only worked for the company for 18 months and have no mobility clause in my contract. Would I be eligible for redundancy pay if I do not want to follow the company to the new premises?Thanks in advance.
Mush - 14-Jan-16 @ 9:03 PM
I work as a mobile grade. Prison officer at Dover. We have been given 3 weeks notice that all officers will be forced to move to the Isle of sheppey or Rochester as Dover is closing by then. This will add a further 2 hours per dayto my journey against my wishes. I would rather be made redundant as I had a serious RTA in 2006 when I was in this position before. My family all live in Deal so moving is not an option. No offer of work life balance and shifts can end at 9pm but start againby 7.45 am. Leaves me about 6 hrs between shifts. I have served 24 yrs so do not want to leave but they have shown no duty of care and the option is resign or travel .
Mutley - 15-Oct-15 @ 9:01 PM
I work for the prison service and have been in service 24 years. My house is only 20 mins drive fromDover but today they have told us we are deploying to the Isle of sheppey or Rochester.Both an extra hours drive for me. They have given3 weeks notice to staff on duty but I have not been officially informed. I'm a mobile grade but think this is overly excessive.This commute nearly killed me in 2006 after a serious RTA. They have not even offered travel time allowance on my shift. Can I force them into a redundancy package as this driving experience will kill me eventually as some shifts end at 9pm but start again at 7.30.
Mutley - 15-Oct-15 @ 8:53 PM
Lee - Your Question:
Hi, my office is moving to a location that is about 3 further miles from my home but in terms of traveling time is a huge difference.I have childcare issues as I pick my son up from school and we are expected to park 2 miles from the office and either walk or fit around a bus time table set up for a 9-5 call centre which we are not with me and many members of staff on alternate times 7-2.30 for example.This is also our 3rd move in 6 years from a south Birmingham office , 2 in the city centre and now a north Birmingham office. My travelling time to the carpark will also increase and public transport does not suit my needs.

Our Response:
You can really only speak with your employer and request flexible working, see link here. I'm sure, if you are working in a call centre, you are not the only person/parent with this issue. It may mean your employer might put an alternative provision in place.
WorkingRights - 7-Oct-15 @ 2:27 PM
Hi, my office is moving to a location that is about 3 further miles from my home but in terms of traveling time is a huge difference. I have childcare issues as I pick my son up from school and we are expected to park 2 miles from the office and either walk or fit around a bus time table set up for a 9-5 call centre which we are not with me and many members of staff on alternate times 7-2.30 for example. This is also our 3rd move in 6 years from a south Birmingham office , 2 in the city centre and now a north Birmingham office. My travelling time to the carpark will also increase and public transport does not suit my needs.
Lee - 7-Oct-15 @ 7:32 AM
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