Being forced to relocate - so must resign

(69 Posts)
HopefulHamster Sun 24-Apr-16 22:05:37

This will out me if you know me - so please don't say if you recognise the situation! Very long, sorry.

I work for a company with two offices, due to one company buying another a few years back. I live and work in Herts and we have an office in London that over time has become 'head office' (though when I joined we only had the Herts office).

I have been there for ten years, full time for five and part-time after two mat leaves for the last five.

Before my most recent mat leave, my boss was in the same office as me. He left just before I went on mat leave. Then on my return, my new boss was in the London office but supportive of me working in Herts. The only other person in our department is in the same office as me.

Last week my boss was made redundant. Colleague and I were told we must now move to London in four weeks, when a new boss (with slightly different title) starts. Our London office is currently in north London but is moving to south London in June. They will cover travel expenses until December when it will be 'reviewed'.

I have two children, and I am the person responsible for doing all childcare drop-offs and pickups. DH can't manage it with his job and I have partly stayed in my role over the years because I knew it meant I could manage the kids.

Logistically, I cannot do south London. I would have to reduce my hours so much they wouldn't cover childcare and also I would be too far away in case of illness. I have told work I'll have to resign. They're all 'what a shame' but in reality not bothered.

My work is all done online, so there is no desperate need to be in the same office as boss. We work as much with the teams in Herts as the teams in London. I can understand boss wanting team near her, but not at the expense of losing the team, if you see what I mean.

Everyone is telling me I 'should' go for constructive dismissal. I don't like confrontation and feel stressed at the thought, but on the other hand I appear to be given no choice but to leave.

Thinking 1) be nice to get a good reference and maybe some freelance or 2) go for constructive dismissal after I've left if no work is coming through.

But I don't know much about constructive dismissal. Is there a good guide anywhere? Should I ask them to put in writing that I must resign if I won't go to London? Is it just a hassle with little likelihood of a good outcome? Better to move on with head held high? I don't really have the money for legal help.

HopefulHamster Sun 24-Apr-16 22:24:22

Meant to say two other departments have also been made to move to London. I know at least one person looked at the legal issues around it but didn't get anywhere. I am getting my most recent contract tomorrow so I can check the wording. As the other teams all had to quit or go along with it, I'm guessing they must have it pretty well sewn up.

lougle Sun 24-Apr-16 22:47:44

I don't think it would be constructive dismissal unless you could prove (extremely difficult) that this was being done to force you to resign.

However, read this: Check your contract to see if it has a mobility/relocation clause. If it does, you are bound by it (but could still resign). If it doesn't, you don't have to move and if they can't find you suitable alternative work, you could be made redundant.

Babymamamama Sun 24-Apr-16 22:56:16

Don't resign. Ask for your childcare considerations to be taken into account and also for them to consider flexible working options. Be clear that you don't want to resign but cannot work in south London. Maybe you could get a redundancy package that way?

HopefulHamster Sun 24-Apr-16 23:14:32

Hmm that's interesting lougle, I am pretty sure there is a relocation bit in there, especially as I have a newer contract as I got a new one on my return (have misplaced my copy at home which is why I will see it tomorrow). But I thought it had to be reasonable, but what is reasonable can vary! I know Herts to north London isn't too far, but South London really adds on ages to a commute, it just makes it impossible for me.

tbh I can't really face constructive dismissal, I was getting fed up there and beginning to look for new work anyway, it's the people constantly telling me that's what I should do that is beginning to get to me, so I thought I should look into it.

Do you think I could ask for redundancy? ie ought they give me redundancy if I ask for it? That link suggests so. I would be content with that to be honest. I think it is fair after ten years, and them moving me with very little need.

babymamma I could ask for flexible working but if they are willing to let me work from home then they would be willing for me to work from Herts. Redundancy might be best.

Tiggeryoubastard Sun 24-Apr-16 23:17:55

How long is the commute to the new office?

OutToGetYou Sun 24-Apr-16 23:20:21

It is a redundancy situation, no question. Speak to ACAS tomorrow.

lorelei9here Sun 24-Apr-16 23:25:10

This isn't constructive dismissal
I don't know where you are on redundancy though
Your post hasn't gone
If they consider the commute doable then I think you might have some issues.

HopefulHamster Sun 24-Apr-16 23:39:14

This is probably too much info, but to fill out the picture here goes:

Currently I work 9-5, which is flexible hours as the rest of the office does 9:30-5:30.

This is due to childcare, one in nursery from 7:40-6 every day, one in wraparound school care from 7:45- 5:45 each day. On paper I am 40 mins drive from work but in practise it can be much longer so I need that hour(ish) to get to and from work.

To get to the new office, I would have to get (for example), a 7:56 train to get to the right train station for 9:12. However the earliest I can drop off my son is 7:45 and the station is a good 10 min walk away (I can park at childcare but not at station). So this is a train I wouldn't even be able to get realistically and I still wouldn't get to the office for 9:30 at the earliest. Can't recall the way back but you're looking at up to two hours to get back and get both children. 6pm is when my son's childcare finishes at latest so I would need to leave at 4. If I worked 10-4pm then I wouldn't earn enough to cover childcare costs (which are approx £90 per day).

There is also the fact that travel and carparking will cost £35 a day and that will put me into minus figures even on current working hours.

Probably irrelevant but my boss was made redundant on fairly spurious reasons. I have a different job title to my colleague, it would be easy enough for them to recruit a fulltimer with her title as opposed to someone doing my part time role. Also I thought if redundancy was due to relocation it didn't matter if role wasn't lost? But I know very little so could be wrong!

ChablisTyrant Sun 24-Apr-16 23:43:48

It is in these situations that you need a trade union to advise you! Don't say anything at work that boxes you into a corner. I don't know where you can get good employment advice. CAB?

RB68 Sun 24-Apr-16 23:51:16

Alot depends on the wording in your contract about usual place of work. I would definitely get some independent advice as 4 weeks is not really a reasonable time for most people with childcare issues for a start. Don't resign, get professional independent advice and negotiate I would say is the way forward.

RB68 Sun 24-Apr-16 23:52:15

oh as to where to get good advice ACAS is brilliant, but a good employment lawyer too

HopefulHamster Sun 24-Apr-16 23:55:08

I have been working there 10 years in early July. I've just read that as I've been there 9 years they would have to give me 9 weeks' notice if I was made redundant.

If they do that and the notice period takes me up to the 10 years mark, do they then have to give me 10 years of redundancy instead of 9? It is only a matter of a few hundred pounds but if so I would definitely wait a couple of weeks to suggest it.

Please note I am not normally an out for all I can get kind of person but after ten years I feel it is kind of shitty to put me out of a job with only four weeks notice!

UpsiLondoes Mon 25-Apr-16 00:12:08

No the redundancy is from day they make you redundant. They usually pay it instead of making you work your notice period in redundancy situation.

HopefulHamster Mon 25-Apr-16 00:21:15

That's good to know, cheers.

They would be better off making me work it, as they have just got rid of my boss and we are in the middle of some important projects that have to be wrapped up in the next few weeks, but I would be happy to go now or in nine weeks time.

I am sure they will have already thought of all this though... Maybe the fact that the move is initially to our north London office will be a factor. Blah.

DPotter Mon 25-Apr-16 00:26:21

I agree don't resign and seek advice from ACAS as it sounds like redundancy due to relocation.

AllThreeWays Mon 25-Apr-16 00:48:43

Nothing to add other than yes go for redundancy.
I am confused as to how 9-5 can be part time hours though? That's considered full time where I live?

HopefulHamster Mon 25-Apr-16 01:13:44

I only work Mon-Wed smile

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 25-Apr-16 01:23:54

Please can you just clarify - what is your actual journey time to and from the new place?

HopefulHamster Mon 25-Apr-16 01:34:42

Stupid question but does journey time mean from the train station or when I leave my house but before childcare run? As I said above one example journey by train would be 7:56 to 9:12 but I would then have to walk to the office which is about ten/15mins away (haven't done it). So I would leave home at 7:30 to get to my desk at approx 9:30. Not sure how to be clearer than that.

HopefulHamster Mon 25-Apr-16 01:35:51

I haven't worked out how to get there for 9am yet, will do that in the morning. It would be a pointless exercise as that definitely wouldn't work with childcare!

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 25-Apr-16 01:38:02

if you were going directly from home to the new place how long is the journey?

HopefulHamster Mon 25-Apr-16 01:41:39

Can't sleep. National rail app says I could get 7:26 to get to right station for 8:40. Way back is harder. Weird timings means I would have to get 16:08 to get to first childcare pickup before 18:00. If I discount childcare I could get 17:17 to get to home station for 18:22.

To make childcare work I would only be able to work 9:30-4pm. But I wouldn't be able to make that work due to finances.

HopefulHamster Mon 25-Apr-16 01:42:49

Cross posted. If I was walking to station I would leave home around 7am to get to station for 7:26. Driving, 7:10.

Tiggeryoubastard Mon 25-Apr-16 01:46:40

So it's just over an hour from your home? That's not a case for constructive dismissal. At that distance I doubt whether redundancy would be necessary. Your childcare issues are irrelevant to the legalities. They're being generous in today's market offering to pay travel expenses for so long.

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