Some employment contracts include an international mobility clause. In these cases, employers can legally enforce relocation provided that they are acting reasonably. This would include giving employees sufficient time to organize their affairs prior to relocating, for example. In addition, a reasonable compensation scheme and relocation package should be available to employees.
If no international mobility clause exists and an employee refuses to relocate, then redundancy may be involved. This is the case when the location of an entire element of the business operation is changing or if the demand for particular work is reducing, for example. The consultation period involved will vary according to the number of employees affected by the redundancy situation.
If the employer is to change – to a different subsidiary company, for example – then there will have to be a TUPE consideration. This applies when an enforceable international mobility clause exists. Jupp says: “Under TUPE, employees have the right to object to a transfer but if they do so they will not generally be treated as having been dismissed.”
He adds: “However, if the transfer involves a substantial change to the employees’ working conditions that is to their material detriment, they are entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal. There is a real risk that relocation to a different country may, depending on the precise circumstances, amount to such a change to working conditions.”
Louise Chilcott, Global Move and Relocation specialist of BTR International says: “We manage and co-ordinate the physical moves, enabling HR managers to concentrate upon the contractual and business element of relocations. We support our clients to ensure that every move is as stress-free as possible.”
For a no-obligation discussion about your organisation’s relocation policy and plans, contact Louise by firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her on +44 (0) 1582 495495.