How Will Brexit Legally Affect Employee Relocations?

Speculation surrounding the potential impact of Brexit on businesses continues, and for many financial institutions the concern is whether they will still be able to have offices in the UK whilst their headquarters are elsewhere in the EU. Freedom to provide services is one of the fundamental principles of the EU, alongside the much debated freedom of movement for workers.

How Will Brexit Legally Affect Employee Relocations

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The concern is that businesses will relocate from the UK to EU countries, and consequently for employees, concerns around what their rights are in terms of any proposed international relocation.

EU Law and Employee Relocations

The vast majority of UK employment law comes from the EU, but much of this has subsequently been turned into legislation by Parliament and, as a result, Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will have no immediate impact. However, once the UK is no longer part of the EU they will be able to amend or repeal this employment legislation.

Mobility Clauses

Employees should be informed of their place of work in their employment contract. However, it is common for employers to incorporate into this contract a clause which allows them to require an employee to change their place of work, including to an overseas location.

If there is no mobility clause within a contract, an employer should discuss with their employee if thy are willing to relocate, and if so, could agree a variation to the employment contract. An employer who can ensure that relocation assistance will be provided is more likely to successfully agree such matters with their employee.

Practical Steps for Employers

To ease employees into their role in a new country, employers may wish to offer them assistance to make it as stress free as possible. An employee relocation company can help assist employees finding new accommodation and becoming acquainted with matters such as healthcare provision and schooling for children if necessary. Some employee relocation companies such as provide assistance with all aspects of relocation, from finding the perfect new home to ensuring removals are swift and on time.

Where a relocation service is offered, it would be helpful to employees to set out the terms and extent of the assistance that will be provided within one policy document.

Any relocation can be difficult for employer and employee, and ensuring such moves are seamless rightly remains a priority despite Brexit.