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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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I HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT WITH A LARGE COMPANY I WORKED

Resolved Question:

I HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT WITH A LARGE COMPANY I WORKED FOR IN THE UK TWO YEARS PRIOR TO ACCEPTING AN INTERNATIONAL POSTING WITH A DURATION OF THREE YEARS. THIS WAS EFFECTIVELY AN EXPAT PACKAGE WITH RELOCATION TO THE HOST COUNTRY AND ALLOWANCES OVER THE TERM AND THEN RELOCATION ALLOWANCES AT THE END OF THE THREE YEAR CONTRACT BACK TO THE UK. THE COMPANY WISH TO TERMINATE THE ASSIGNMENT EARLY AND THERE IS NO OBLIGATION FOR THEM TO FIND ME A POST BACK IN THE UK FROM WHICH I CAME. THEY CAN TERMINATE THE AGREEMENT IF BUSINESS DICTATES WHICH IT DOES. TAX AND NOTICE PERIODS AND SEVERENCE ARE ALL DICTATED BY THE HOME COUNTRY. MY QUESTION IS IF THERE IS 2 YEARS LEFT ON MY CONTRACT IS THE EMPLOYER OBLIGATED TO PAY AS SEVERENCE UP TO THE TERMINATION DATE OF THE CONTRACT OR WOULD THEY BE ABLE TO PAY A LOWER SEVERENCE IF THERE WAS NO ROLE IN THE UK THEY COULD PLACE ME ON MY RETURN. ALLOWANCES WILL BE TERMINATED RELATED TO THE OVERSEAS POST AND THE COMPANY CAN DO THIS IN THE SIGNED AGREEMENT GIVEN AN EARLY RETURN TO THE UK REQUESTED BY THE COMPANY. HOWEVER NOWHERE IN THE CONTRACT DOES IT TALK ABOUT THE BASIC SALARY OF THE AGREEMENT JUST WORDING THAT NOTICE AND SEVERANCE WILL BE DICTATED BY THE HOME COUNTRY POLICIES. I AM COMFORTABLE THE COMPANY WILL TREAT ME AS AN EMPLOYEE FAIRLY ON ALL RELOCATION ISSUES ON THE EARLY TERMINATION WHAT IM UNCLEAR ON IS THE FACT I HAVE AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT FOR THREE YEARS TERMINATED EARLY ARE THEY OBLIGATED TO SETTLE THE END OF THE CONTRACT IN TERMS OF BASIC SALARY AS A SEVERENCE IF NO POST IS AVAILABLE ON MY RETURN OR ARE THEY ABLE TO PAY A LOWER SEVERENCE REGARDLESS OF HAVING A THREE YEAR AGREEMENT WHICH THEY ARE TERMINATING EARLY.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
Thank you!
Nicola
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 2 years ago.
Hi thanks for your question. Is your overseas posting a fixed term with no early termination provision or is there a provision to terminate it early. Are you normally based in the UK and is the company based in the UK?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It was fixed to expire in 2016 but the company can terminate early if business dictates at which point all allowances in the host country can cease. I worked in th UK for the company and this was an international posting for a limited period with an expiry date in 2016 at which point it would extend or I would return to the UK. It states the company can terminate early and relocate me back to the UK and allowances would cease with notice given and relocation must take place within 90 days of termination. It is not clear however if back in the UK the company will honor the three year contract ex allowances ie the basic salary if they cannot find me a position in the UK or they can offer a less attractive severence

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the response. If they can terminate early then you are in no better position than any other employee in terms of severance. If you were employed in the UK prior to the assignment then you ought to be entitled to receive redundancy if no role can be found for you but only on normal terms. You would only be entitled to extra compensation if the employment overseas was for a fixed term which could not be terminated early so that you were entitled to be paid for the whole term as a matter of contract law. Nonetheless I would argue with your employer that you accepted the role because it was offered for 3 years and you should be compensated if they can't find you another role since you have have suffered detriment by agreeing to the posting and taking yourself out of. The job market for three years.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok thank you for your comments. I believe there are a number of factors at play here that instigated my decision to accept the posting. If the contract is not binding to the term in the event of the basic salary compensation then I'm afraid I will need to seek official legal advice if as I suspect there won't be role back in the UK on termination and the company will offer an inferior severence package. Hopefully I'm wrong and I won't need to do this. I was verbally assured this was a long term post although the company only issue three years as a maximum but verbally I assume is not helpful.

Expert:  Senior Partner replied 2 years ago.
Oral statements can be binding but are difficult to evidence. Verbal agreements are binding generally but if you have a written contract it can be hard to convince a.court any verbal statements overrode that contract.
The law will allow you to claim compensation for early termination of a fixed term but only if the termination is a breach of contract not if it is in accordance with the contract. If the decision is not on proper grounds you might be able claim unfair dismissal or unfair selection for redundancy and you can use that to push on the severance package.
I would get a lawyer when you have a better idea of what is on the table. Please feel free to come back but I am not around much today although I will respond as soon as possible it may not be until this evening.
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13325
Experience: Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
Senior Partner and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks this is very early days and I may be concerned without cause until I know any details which could be some time. Appreciate your input.

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