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Employer moving my job location 90 mins away, can they force me?

(15 Posts)
PossumInAPearTree Wed 29-Mar-17 19:39:52

I've worked for the same organisation for ten years. They have two bases. I work at Base A and always have done. My contract states location is Base A. Some more recent employees have multi site contracts and are warned that if needed they could be moved but it's never happened. Some senior managers have jobs which are dual site but their choice to apply.

My counterpart on Site B left a while ago and they've advertised the job without success a few times. Ive now been told I'm probably going to have to start covering the work at Site B. By nature of the job it would mean being physically present.

It's 90 mins if not a bit longer away. My immediate boss pointed out to the director my contrac says Site A. Director says "give her a new contract". Does it work like that?

They've said they'll pay mileage. However I don't want to increase the mileage on my car like that, for one thing I got cheaper insurance as I said I drive under 8000 miles a month. I guess I could change it but my insurance will increase, plus wear and tear on my car. Work only reimburse mileage of I get business car insurance so that will add on more as I don't currently have it.

I asked about travelling in work time and they didn't seem overly receptive to that but said they may negotiate. So potentially I could be commuting 3hours plus a day. At the minute it takes me 10 minutes to drive to work.

What if I decide to sell my car? Maybe I shall have a health kick and decide to bike to work and sell my car as I'm skint? The mileage rate is crap and I don't think covers for wear and tear enough...it's something like 25p a mile. Can my employer force me to own a car?

I currently take Dd to school and sometimes pick her up as her school is beside my work place. I'd be unable to do this if I had to commute to B. Yes, she could get a bus but I could do without the upset to routine just before GCSEs when she is in a very fragile mental health state (recent suicicde attempt due to bullying so hates school and the bus).

Any ideas?

CartwheelGirl Wed 29-Mar-17 19:47:19

Don't hold me to it - I may be wrong - but I think they can safely arrange for your current job to be no longer needed and offer you a different job at Base B. It's then up to you if you take it, but you won't get anything beyond standard redundancy entitlement if you don't want it.

In practice, of course, it makes sense for them to keep you on their side and happy, otherwise you won't do a good job, so they might be willing to negotiate to some degree.

What other options, other than this job, do you have? Are you marketable/employable?

Emphasise Wed 29-Mar-17 19:50:25

The advice I was given in similar circumstances is that they can only make you if it's "reasonable". What's reasonable will depend on things like your personal circumstances and the seniority/status/salary of the job i.e. more reasonable for area manager to have a long commute than it is for a cleaner.

However, if the job's moving, it's moving. If you decide not to go and can show it's unreasonable to go with it, you'll be redundant.

PossumInAPearTree Wed 29-Mar-17 19:50:45

i could walk into another job doing similar to what I do now but sadly only at locations further away than Site B.

PossumInAPearTree Wed 29-Mar-17 19:53:11

They will still need the job doing at Site A. Site A is actually bigger and same operations at both sites. They need someone in both locations. But in the interim just want me to spread myself thin and work at both sites....3 days a week at Site A, 2 days a week at B. So effectively doing two peoples jobs.

Emphasise Wed 29-Mar-17 19:54:40

As a short term fixed while they recruit a replacement I think you'll be hard pressed to prove that's unreasonable.

PossumInAPearTree Wed 29-Mar-17 19:54:43

Would I get redundancy or could they just say they're sacking me due to refusing to do what I was told?

PossumInAPearTree Wed 29-Mar-17 19:55:42

They've been trying to recruit for 18 months without success. I am worried it won't be a short term fix. I can't see them recruiting. Nobody wants to work there.

daisychain01 Thu 30-Mar-17 04:45:00

They can't sack you just because you are unable or unwilling to change your office location. That would be unfair dismissal. You have full employment rights as you have work for the company more than 2 years.

If a redundancy is offered the company would need to clarify to you and other affected employees of the start of a consultation period. You should be offered access to management or HR during that time when you can vocalise your concerns about your family circumstances and financial hardship such an office move would subject you to. You should be offered the opportunity to suggest alternatives to your office move e.g. The ability to use computer connectivity to work instead of daily travel to the other site or any other suggestion that could work for you and the company

You are within your rights to seek out the redundancy policy and terms thereof as soon as possible so you can check up on the facts.

nooka Thu 30-Mar-17 05:42:05

I'd go and talk to HR. You should be in a relatively strong position to negotiate. They shouldn't be able to fire you and they can't make you redundant if there is still a need for your role at Site A.

Ifailed Thu 30-Mar-17 05:53:30

Can you offer them a compromise, such as a maximum of 2 days a week at site B, plus they cover transport costs - is site B accessible by train and taxi?
If so, get the agreement in writing. Otherwise I'd be looking to work elsewhere and take the redundancy.

AyeAmarok Thu 30-Mar-17 06:17:22

My previous employer (after I left, sadly!) did something similar, although it was for a full department of staff rather than just one person. Moving them all to an office 90 minutes away. They were all given a "relocation allowance" of £15k. This allowed them to purchase a new car better suited to the journey, although some used it to move house,and it also compensated them for the inconvenience.

If my current employer wanted me to "temporarily" do what you are being asked, as a minimum I would ask for (and know I would get):
a) use of a company car
b) a fuel card
c) flexible working, so you could go in early to avoid traffic
d) a slightly shorter working day to take into account the extra travelling time, or a bit of time off in lieu of the extra hours spent travelling (eg a half day every other week, or similar.

My employer isn't even particularly good or generous, but they do know that moving your place of work is a really crappy thing to do, and they'd be happy to put things in place to minimise the inconvenience to you and to acknowledge that this will hugely impact your work/life balance. Plus, the duty of care angle, having you work a full day, and do a 3 hour commute each day you're at site B means you'll be very tired driving and more likely to have an accident.

Remember, you're doing them a favour here by considering this, not them doing you one by allowing you to have a job. Plus, it sounds like you'd be hard to replace, I might remind them of that.

BikeRunSki Thu 30-Mar-17 06:30:35

In that situation my employer would provide a pool car or hire car, and allow travelling during my normal working day.

mummytime Thu 30-Mar-17 06:39:27

If you are working at both sites, but your contract says you are based at site A, then surely they have to pay transport costs to site B (and that would be a tax free expense).
You could also point out that they are already struggling to recruit for site B - how much more awkward it would be to have to recruit for site A and B.

PossumInAPearTree Thu 30-Mar-17 06:59:52

They'd be able to recruit for Site A a lot easier than Site B. And they know this. In an ideal world they would ship me off to B for ever and recruit someone for A.

No public transport to B. I could ask about a pool car.

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