Friday May 20, 2022

An employee’s guide to their rights surrounding relocation

There may be any number of reasons for an employer to ask an employee to relocate, either on a temporary basis or permanently. Whatever the individual circumstances, it is essential that employers take the proper steps to ensure both themselves and their employee are protected.

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What do employers need to consider when asking an employee to relocate?

Many contracts will contain an express or implied mobility clause, which may require employee relocation within a set area. This might be locally, nationally or internationally. What can be unclear, however, is what an employer can reasonably expect of an employee in terms of a relocation.


Can an employee refuse? Employers must tread carefully. It is not enough to rely on the implied or even express terms in a contract when discussing relocation. It is vital that a fair process is followed; otherwise, there is the potential for a constructive dismissal claim. No employee can be compelled to relocate, even if the employer has a notional right.

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If the employee agrees to move in principle, the next step will involve ensuring all terms are carefully agreed and recorded. Regardless of how pleasant the transaction may appear at the beginning of the venture, there may be issues further down the road. There really is no alternative to a legal relocation contract.

Terms to consider include pay, benefits (such as additional travel allowances), length of relocation, which costs are covered (for example, the services of a specialist removal company such as, and any conditions applied during the relocation period.

Every situation is likely to be different; as a result, there are few ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. An agreement for relocation is a form of employment contract, although it is likely to be far more complex. The majority of considerations are likely to be led by the personal circumstances of an individual employee and the commercial viability of the move. There are a number of legal considerations that will also need to be in hand before either party signs on the dotted line, as leaving these to chance could potentially create problems further down the line.

The wisest employers will take care to consider all the above points, alongside any their employee generates, before creating an agreement that is mutually beneficial for both employer and employee.

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