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Your questions answered: Is an employee’s refusal to relocate reasonable?

By Portner Press on January 18th, 2019
  1. Termination of Employment
  2. Redundancy

 

Q
We are planning to move our office from an inner suburb location to the city centre. Are our employees eligible for a severance package if they say they cannot or will not move to the new location?

 

A
Whether you are required to pay them redundancy pay (i.e. a severance package) will depend on whether the individual employee’s refusal to move is reasonable.

If it is reasonable, then you are required to pay them redundancy pay. If it is unreasonable, then you are not required to pay them redundancy pay.

Reasonableness depends on many different factors. No factor is determinative.

The typical relevant factors to consider are:

  • the distance between the old location and new location;
  • the distance between the new location and employee’s residences;
  • whether just a few employees refuse to move with you or most employees refuse to move;
  • the amount of notice you give to your employees about the planned relocation; and
  • how similar the employees’ terms of employment are at the new location, compared with at the old location.

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