Company relocation: the employer’s obligations
Consult staff representatives
If you have more than 50 employees, before validating the decision to relocate your company , you will have to consult the works council and the CHSCT (health, safety and working conditions committee). Indeed, a move can have repercussions on the working conditions of employees.
This is why article L.4612-8 of the Labor Code stipulates that the CHSCT must be consulted “before any major planning decision modifying health and safety conditions or working conditions, and in particular before any transformation. decisive of the workstations resulting from the modification of the tools, a change of product or the organization of the work before any modification of the rates and the standards of productivity linked or not to the remuneration of the work ” .
You will therefore need to present the staff representatives with a detailed plan for your move. They will then initiate a consultation with employees and weigh the pros and cons of such a project. Not going through the CHSCT is an offense that could call into question your relocation plan.
Evaluate employee transport time
When deciding to move, one of the big challenges for the employer is to define the transport time that his employees will have to perform. 28% of working people in France and 46% in Ile-de-France believe that travel time is a factor of hardship at work. The CHSCT will therefore have to study the impact of moving the company on the travel time of each of your employees. How many employees will find themselves too far from their main residence? What solutions can you offer them? You can study with the CHSCT the implementation of carpooling or shuttles, offer them to come in staggered hours, pay a transport premium or benefit from teleworking.
Employee information is essential
Don’t make your business move a state secret. The clearer and more transparent the information to your employees, the better. Ideally, notify them at least 6 months before the moving date and keep them updated in real time on the progress of the project.
Relocation of the company: what are the rights of employees?
The mobility clause
Before any move, you will have to make an inventory of employment contracts. Do your employees have a mobility clause? If this is the case, the employee has no choice but to follow the employer. Indeed , the mobility clause is a provision of the employment contract which provides that the employee accepts a change of place of work. The law does not provide for a notice period but this can be provided for in the employment contract. The employer must notify the employee within a reasonable time.
For employees who do not have this mobility clause, everything will depend on the geographic sector . However, the definition of geographic sector remains rather vague. It is the judges who will decide in case of conflict. Rather, the law determines the geographic area based on certain criteria such as travel time, the distance between the initial site and the new site or nearby public transport.
- If you move to the same geographical area as that provided for in the employment contract, the employee’s agreement is not necessary and he cannot refuse the change of workplace. His refusal would expose him to dismissal for personal reasons. However, he can have the case decided before the Prud’hommes.
- On the other hand, if your company settles in another geographical sector, then you will have to propose to the employees a modification of their employment contract.
- If the reason for the move is economic, the employer has the option of sending the proposal to modify the contract by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. The employee has one month to respond. If he does not respond within the time limit, the company considers the modification to be accepted.
What if an employee’s refusal to follow the move?
For some employees, the move, even if it is in the same geographical area, can have serious consequences on their private life such as much longer transport times and therefore additional fuel costs, additional childcare costs. children, fatigue, stress… It therefore happens that they refuse to follow the company. He is entitled to do so even in the presence of a mobility clause. How to manage this difficulty and what to do in case of refusal?
The move is in the same geographic area
In the case of a move of your company in the same geographical area, the employee who refuses to follow will be dismissed for personal reasons since his employment contract is not modified.
The move is in another geographic area
In the case of a move to another geographic area, we can distinguish two scenarios:
- There is a mobility clause in his employment contract. In this case, the contract is not modified (unless the clause seems excessive and is contested by the employee). The employee’s refusal can lead to dismissal for personal reasons.
- The employment contract does not provide for a mobility clause. The employee’s agreement is compulsory. This is then a modification of the employment contract that the employee is entitled to refuse. If the company shows that the move is due to economic problems, the employee may benefit from an economic dismissal. If this is not the case, the absence of a legitimate reason may make the dismissal unfair. In this case, if both parties agree, it is possible to consider a conventional break.