Brexit – City Workers Asked to Relocate Overseas – Know Your Rights
The current ongoing uncertainty in respect of Brexit continues to impact all sectors of the UK economy. The effect is, in particular, being felt in the financial services sector.
Many financial services institutions are taking steps to implement Brexit contingencies, particularly by relocating parts of their services to areas within the EU. It has been reported that 35% of firms have confirmed or are considering relocating their operations or staff to Europe. Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin appear to be the most popular locations at present.
It has been reported that across the financial services businesses surveyed between February and March by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and PwC, the net score of optimistic minus pessimistic dropped to its lowest reading since 2008. This is therefore a concerning time for employees.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist said “Brexit is now a national emergency. It is in absolutely nobody’s interest for the uncertainty to drag on, and continually chip away at our economy and financial services sector”. It must be said however, that it has recently been reported that the picture may not be as negative as initially envisaged. The Financial Times has reported that its “research shows top lenders are preserving as much optionality as possible by moving fewer people from the UK to the 27 other EU Countries, as they strive to avoid costly actions while grappling with deepening political uncertainty.”
The impact of any relocations, even if they are only potential at this stage, is likely to cause concern amongst employees. Whilst some employees may be happy to relocate, others are unlikely to be in a position to do so, particularly if there are family commitments involved, or simply a lack of desire to move abroad to another European country – particularly in light of the uncertainties that this also entails at the present time.
If you are asked to relocate, or given an indication that you may be asked to, but do not wish to do so, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. There may be various options available to you depending on the contents of your contract of employment, any mobility clause and your employee handbook. The circumstances surrounding the relocation, including whether the whole team is relocating or only selected employees, may also affect the options available to you. Many employees will find that their circumstances have substantially changed since entering into the contract, for example, they may now be in a long term relationship and have children.
Some employees who do not wish to move, may be offered either statutory or enhanced redundancy, which may include a settlement agreement. Employees are required to seek independent legal advice on settlement agreements. Our specialist employment solicitors have specific expertise in dealing with settlement agreements and the surrounding considerations, including post-termination restrictive covenants. We have also worked with many clients that work in the Financial and Insurance Sectors.
The great news is our fees are usually met in full by your employer, plus we can often improve the first offer of settlement that an employer might make, whilst ensuring that your opportunity to seek employment elsewhere is kept open.
If you would like to seek advice about your options, or you are offered a settlement agreement, please get in touch today. We appreciate it can be tricky to deal with these matters during office hours, so to make life easier, we have offices in London where we can meet with you during your lunch break, or at other times that suit you, avoiding any difficulties with your employer.
We also have offices in Southend, Rayleigh and Leigh-on-Sea. We have a confidential live-chat facility on our website and our phone lines are open 24/7.
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