The past few months have seen significant upheaval - both across
the financial markets and politically. Many businesses are still in
the throes of deciding what their Brexit strategy is going to be,
but there are already some murmurs of mass relocations to countries
elsewhere in the EU, such as Dublin and Frankfurt, or even outside
of the EU altogether.
For some employees, a geographical move may not be feasible. For
others, it may be an unexpected opportunity. However, if you are
amenable to relocation, you should give careful thought to your
relocation terms, as it is a mistake to assume that there is no
negotiating room. If there is a mass relocation, many employers
will be worried about retaining key staff, which may make them much
more willing to negotiate than they may otherwise be.
Your contract and employer
The starting point for any change should be your contract. Many
contracts may have a term allowing for relocations but they are
typically limited in duration. If you are going to be issued with a
new contract as a result, you should understand the implications:
is your employment being permanently transferred to another company
altogether or are you going on a secondment? If you are no longer
going to be working in the UK, it may be that UK employment law
will cease to apply to your employment: you may not necessarily be
worse off as a result if you are moving to another country in the
EU but you would be if you were moving to the United States.
You may need advice as to whether you should be bought out of
your UK employment rights. If so, see this article.
Transport and haulage
On a practical level, you should consider how you are getting
there. Most companies will pay the shipping costs for your personal
belongings but you should check how much and what they are prepared
to transport and insure. Family and partners' accommodation and
haulage costs should be covered as well. Most companies should
cover outward flights, and you may be able to negotiate a certain
number of flights home every year.
Accommodation is a significant cost. If you are going somewhere
on a short term basis, you may be able to negotiate paid
accommodation as part of your package. Even for permanent moves, it
would be reasonable to ask for interim accommodation, to allow you
to find somewhere appropriate.
If you own a property in London which you are leaving, you may
also want to ask for money to cover the costs of renting that
The move is likely to have an impact on how you are taxed and
you could potentially become subject to two tax regimes. It will be
important for you to check what this tax position is likely to be
and, if you are moving to a less favourable regime, you may want to
ask for tax equalisation. Equally, if you are moving to a more
favourable regime, you may want to be taxed as a local resident.
You may be able to negotiate the costs of independent tax advice to
assist you with completing and filing any tax returns you require
during your stay, and when your employment comes to an end.
Visas and immigration
The cover of visa and immigration advice should be covered in
the package for any move. If you are moving with a family or
partner, you should think about negotiating the cost of immigration
advice for them too. If your relocation is for the longer term, you
should not overlook this if your relocation is in the EU.
Schooling is also a cost that is easy to overlook. However, this
can be expensive, particularly if you are moving to a jurisdiction
which has fewer English speaking schools and there may be a
disparity of costs with the UK.
One you have relocated, there is the question of your salary and
soft benefits. Do not overlook negotiating a pay-rise or a
promotion if you do agree to the move. You may also be eligible for
a cost of living allowance (particularly given the variable value
of the pound), or may want to be paid in a different currency
Whilst you plan and hope for the best, as assignment contracts
often contain clawback provisions, think about the contingencies if
things do not work out as planned.
There is a lot more to think about if you are offered the chance
to relocate but if you are going to agree to the disruption and
inconvenience of a move, you should make sure that you are being
properly compensated for it.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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