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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48192
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I've been asked by my employer to travel to Canada

Customer Question

I've been asked by my employer to travel to Canada for business for two weeks, leaving next week.
This would normally be something I’d welcome, were it not for the fact that my wife and I are expecting the arrival of our first baby in four weeks time. We've been advised that there is a significant risk of premature birth, and so for obvious reasons I'm reluctant to go.
I've flagged this with my employer (who are a US based firm, and not well versed in UK culture or law) and have plainly told them that if I do have to travel it would be under duress. However, their stance remains the same, and that I am required to go.
Checking through my contract, it does state that I may be required to travel as required by my employer.
I feel I need to draw a line somewhere, might I have any legal grounds to push back on this request?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
18 months
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Good morning. In this case the law will not be that helpful to you because there is nothing specific which you can use to refuse to travel if you are asked to do so by the employer.
First of all your contract contains a clause which allows them to ask you to travel whenever necessary. So the actual request to ask you to go is legal and allowed under contract.
Secondly, the fact that your wife is expecting a child does not give you any rights to refuse to travel. You have the right to take paternity leave once the child is born but there is no right to take it before that or to be excused form travel or other work in the meantime.
Finally, your position is a bit vulnerable due to the length of service you have with them. Until you have at least 2 years’ continuous service you are not protected against unfair dismissal so they could seek to terminate your employment for more or less any reason. It does mean that if you refuse to travel and they are unhappy with that, they could potentially dismiss you without you being able to challenge it. So it is an additional risk you should be aware of.
The argument in this case is therefore a moral one rather than a legal one – any reasonable employer would be expected to be flexible with you and understand your position however that is left down to them. However, it is not a legal requirement on their part that you can’t force them to do so. It is mainly about negotiation and trying to agree on something that works for both.
I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Ben. What I suspected, really, but good to know.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
You are welcome and hope you still manage to resolve this in some way. All the best