Global expansion of a company is key when it comes to accessing the best markets and talent for your business. While the advantages of employee relocation are clear, not all strategies will be welcomed by all involved parties. Supporting your employees with relocation management services should be the priority for your programme.
Relocation can be a huge challenge for some employees, putting pressure on their lives, work, and personal relationships. The last thing a business needs is to be made vulnerable to legal claims or the loss of vital employees. Managing legal aspects will also ensure that productivity is boosted through employee relocation and that costs are kept to a minimum. To organise a successful corporate relocation programme, employers must know the rights of their employees inside and out.
Employees’ Relocation Rights
When employees sign an employment contract for a position that may require relocation, there should be a section of the contract detailing this. If a ‘mobility clause’ is present in an employee contract, relocation must be followed through unless the relocation is not deemed reasonable by employees. This means that there are, in fact, instances where the relocation of an employee can be classed as unreasonable.
What Classes a Relocation as ‘Reasonable’?
What is meant by an unreasonable move is not defined by rigid figures, which means there is no firm answer to questions such as ‘what is a reasonable distance for relocation?’. What is seen as reasonable for some employees may be taken as unreasonable by others, as different employees will have varying dependent family members, living situations, and personal responsibilities.
It’s vital that you consider the effect of an employee relocation on the quality of life of the allocated employee. If the move would cause a decline in their quality and enjoyment of life, the relocation is likely to be classed as unreasonable.
The following factors can influence the legitimacy of a reasonable relocation:
- Distance to a new location: If the distance to their new location is deemed too far, this could be considered unreasonable.
- Costs: For expensive moves, employers should consider taking some of the cost on.
- Commute: If relocation will increase the employee’s commute a considerable amount, this could be cause for refusal.
- Salary: Inconvenience to the employee may be cause for a salary increase.
- Amount of notice: Give employees ample and written notice of their relocation, with all the information they need.
Forced Relocation Employment Law
As an employer, you cannot force an unreasonable relocation on staff members. If the relocation assignment is considered unreasonable by the employee, they can then decide to refuse to move in accordance with the company’s wishes. Without a mobility clause in the contract of employment, staff have the option to choose whether they wish to carry out the relocation or not.
Employers should only consider dismissing an employee if they are refusing a relocation that you consider to be reasonable. However, bear in mind that ‘reasonable’ is a subjective term.