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Relocation Policy

Version 1.0 Updated 3 Jun 2022
Policy Manage

Who can use this policy

This policy can be used by all employers.

Commentary 

From time to time, employers may wish to transfer employees to other locations (for example, overseas, interstate, or intrastate). Generally, an employer cannot require an employee to relocate to another place of work unless this is provided for in the employee’s contract of employment, and even then, the relocation must only be within a reasonable distance of the employee’s existing place of work. 

If your employee’s contract does not have an express provision which allows you to relocate the employee, or you wish to relocate the employee to a place of work which will require them to travel more than a reasonably short distance from their current primary place of work, seek legal advice before relocating the employee. Even if the employee’s employment contract does have an express provision allowing the employer to relocate the employee, it may still be a good idea to seek legal advice if the proposed relocation is going to be a long distance.

It is often necessary for employers to provide incentives for employees to agree to a relocation offer. For example, a remuneration increase or other forms of financial assistance.

This policy will allow you to set out the forms of assistance that the business may provide to a relocating employee. Such assistance may include the payment of:

  • relocation expenses (such as the packing and moving of personal items);
  • insurance of property while in transit;
  • airfares to the new location; or
  • a period of rental accommodation at the new location;

 

In the Policy you can specify a maximum monetary limit of assistance your business will provide or limit the assistance to 'reasonable expenses'. What is considered reasonable expenses will be at the discretion of management depending on the circumstances.

You will need to exercise your discretion in determining whether to offer an employee assistance in relocating and, if so, what assistance your business will provide. For example, an employee who has been asked to transfer to another office within the same city may not require rental accommodation. The Policy does not set out the distance of the relocation necessary for employees to be eligible for assistance. Employers should be wary of setting defined relocation distance as it may set a precedent that the business could want to change in the future.

The Policy allows you to require the relevant employee to obtain quotes prior to any assistance being approved and also provide receipts for any expenses incurred in connection with the relocation. Although you may refuse a request for reimbursement if an employee has not followed the correct approval process, you should exercise this discretion with caution. For example, if verbal instead of written approval is obtained prior to an employee incurring an expense, you should consider reimbursing the expense as long as the amount incurred is reasonable, evidenced by receipts and had prior verbal approval.

The Policy contains a clause that requires an employee to repay all relocation expenses if the employee resigns within a specified time period (determined by you), or if the employee is dismissed for serious misconduct. This should be clearly explained to any relocating employee.

If an employee refuses to repay the relocation expenses in accordance with the Policy, or you seek to enforce a repayment, we recommend you seek legal advice, as you may be able to recover the expenses as a debt. You may also wish to require the employee to sign a new contract upon relocation which outlines the employee's agreement to repay the relocation expenses.

Any employee who is being relocated overseas or from overseas to Australia will need an appropriate work visa, and other legal requirements apply concerning payment of expenses. Accordingly, you should seek appropriate legal and/or immigration advice in relation to this issue.

Important note to subscribers

The commentaries and documents in Workplace are updated as necessary, to keep them relevant. You should familiarise yourself with the relevant commentary each time you create a document.

This document has been drafted to suit a wide variety of businesses, with a number of options available to enable you to customise the document to better suit your business. Nevertheless, you may need to make other changes to the document so that it suits the specific needs of your business. If you make additional changes, we cannot guarantee that the changes and modifications you make to the document will be legally compliant or enforceable.
This commentary and any additional information provided to assist you in creating this document, does not constitute legal advice.

If you are unsure about any aspect of this document (including the changes or amendments you make to it), you should seek appropriate advice from a lawyer, skilled in these issues. You may also wish to consider contacting Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors for targeted advice on your business’s specific needs.

You should consult with your financial advisor in relation to any taxation or financial issues concerning the document you create.

After creating this document, you should read through it carefully to make sure it meets your business needs and is consistent with other industrial instruments, policies and procedures which operate in your workplace. This commentary is not designed to be provided to employees or other workplace

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