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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48158
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I work in a regional office in

Customer Question

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I work in a regional office in Belfast for a multinational company.
I have just been told that our office is to close at the end of August - I have NOT been put on notice of redundancy.
However this means that I will either have to relocate to GB, or depending on discussions to be had, travel across monday and return friday to GB offices for work there, for which I would be suitable. I have seven years service.
Would my employer be able to offer a voluntary redundancy package, as my employment conditions would be significantly different and, for personal reasons I would prefer to be based in Belfast?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Do you have a relocation clause in your contract?

Customer:

Hello Ben, I have not read my contract recently, but I believe not

Customer:

I will check this

Customer:

The contract is at home, but I don't think so

Ben Jones :

ok no problem, let me get my response ready please

Customer:

sure, thanks

Ben Jones :

Because your workplace is closing down, this is automatically a redundancy situation as it falls within the specific meaning of redundancy under the Employment Rights Act. If there is a redundancy situation, an employer has a duty to offer those employees at risk any suitable alternative employment (“SAE”) that may exist at the time. The objective is to keep the employee in a job rather than make them redundant. Therefore, if an employee accepts an offer of SAE, their employment will continue in the new position and they would lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment.


 


If the offer is considered unsuitable and the employee refuses it, they will be made redundant and still receive redundancy pay. However, if the offer was suitable and the employee unreasonably refuses it, they would effectively be resigning and will lose their entitlement to redundancy pay.


 


So the main issue is what makes an offer suitable and when can an employee reasonably refuse it. The most common factors that would make an offer unsuitable are:



  • Job content/status – drop in status, substantial changes in duties, etc.

  • Pay and other benefits – significant drop in earnings/benefits (e.g. basic pay, bonuses, overtime, sick pay, holidays)

  • Working hours – change in shift pattern, removal of overtime, extension/reduction of working hours

  • Change of workplace – new location making it unreasonable to travel to the new place of work

  • Job prospects – going from permanent to temporary work, becoming self-employed or being employed on a fixed-term contract.


 


Where an offer of alternative employment has been made and its terms and conditions are different to the employee's current terms, they have the right to a 4-week trial period. If during the trial period they decide that the job is not suitable they should tell their employer straight away. This will not affect their employment rights, including the right to receive statutory redundancy pay.


 


So it is important to consider whether any offer that has been made is suitable or if there are reasonable grounds to treat it as unsuitable and safely reject it, opting for redundancy instead.

Customer:

Thanks Ben, that's very helpful!

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome

Customer:

There is a company relocation policy, an extract is below:

Customer:

1. RELOCATION AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT


 


1.1 What happens to the Terms and Conditions of my employment if my place of work changes permanently?


 


1.1.1 In the event of a permanent relocation, the employee will be written to confirming their new place of work. This letter will confirm that the “place of work” has changed and any other changes to terms and conditions of employment.


 


1.1.2 In accordance with our Sponsorship Licence dutues, the UK Border Agency will be notified of any permanent change to the location of a migrant worker.

Ben Jones and 2 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
It is certainly not as simple as saying there is a relocation policy and that is it. The suitability of the new job must still be taken into consideration