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Annie Hayes

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HR Tip: Workplace relocation

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Q: We are relocating our workshop and offices to a new site five miles away. Does this equate to a redundancy of staff? Can we force workers to move?

A: If the contracts of employment make it clear that the employees will or may have to relocate to a nearby site, then they are not redundant and are obliged to move. You cannot of course force them but, if they choose not to move, they are resigning. Your e-mail rather suggests that you do not have this provision in the existing employment contracts, therefore the answer is yes, your employees are redundant. However the question then arises – are you offering them suitable alternative employment?

Assuming that their jobs and other terms and conditions will remain unchanged, it is a question of how reasonable it is for each individual to travel. For example anyone with a company car or workers who can get to the new site as easily as the old one, is being offered a reasonable alternative and therefore cannot claim a redundancy payment if they choose not to move. However someone who would find the new journey significantly difficult because, say, there is no public transport or because they would have to travel for much longer, would be entitled to leave and claim a redundancy payment. Your best bet would be to convince your employees that the new location will offer more benefits than problems.

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Annie Hayes

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