Is my new role a suitable alternative given it includes much more travel?

My manager is restructuring our department and my role is at risk of redundancy as a result. They are offering “two different suitable alternative roles”. However, both roles include more travelling outside of the country that what I do at the moment. In my current role I travel no more than 10 working days a year. In one of the alternative roles, they want up to 50% of the time travelling and in the other, up to 25% of the time. I am a mother of two young children and I am unable to.commit to more travelling as it will impact on my family life. Can I decline the alternative roles and ask for redundancy instead? They advised already that they do not envisage any redundancies because the roles are suitable.

The main difference between a suitable alternative and (non-suitable) alternative role is that unreasonably refusing a suitable alternative role means that you may be made treated as dismissed without being paid a statutory redundancy payment.

Whether a job is suitable or not is subject to the following:

  • the terms of the proposed role being offered;
  • the similarity of the work to your existing role;
  • your skills, competencies and circumstances in relation to the proposed role; and
  • the salary (including benefits), status, location and hours.

If your employer wrongly treats a job offer as a suitable alternative and refuses to pay you redundancy pay as a result, you can lodge a claim for a statutory and/or enhanced redundancy pay and unfair dismissal.

If it is reasonable for you to refuse what your employer is suggesting is a ‘suitable’ alternative role (i.e. one with increased overseas travel), you will still be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.

Whether or not it is reasonable for you to turn down the alternative roles depends on your specific circumstances including:

  • whether the role is permanent or temporary – from the information provided they are both full-time roles;
  • the way in which the offer is made to you – has your employer given you sufficient time consider it; and
  • your personal circumstances – the impact it would have on your travelling and / or family commitments.

The third bullet point is most pertinent to your circumstances in relation to the additional childcare that you would require in light of the increased proposed travel requirements.


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