My employer has just informed me that the business will be relocating to a different city in the Netherlands. I'm also planning to move house soon, which will mean that the commute to the office will be significantly longer. Unfortunately, I have to be in the office on a daily basis so can't even work from home. I have discussed my concern with my manager and she has now asked me to think this through carefully and whether this will be ok for me going forward or if it will cause issues for myself and the company. I have a feeling that she implies that I can either accept the change or resign - can my employer do this?

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    What else are you expecting your employer to do, other than ask you to either keep coming to the new office, or quitting? – Erik Oct 19 '18 at 10:04
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    can my employer do this? - why can't they? So you expect the relocate to be on hold just because of you? – Revol729 Oct 19 '18 at 10:10
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    Depending upon local labour laws you may have a case for something like breach of contract - I'm not going to post an answer as my Netherlands knowledge is minimal in this area but certainly in the UK significant relocations (and a different city implies that it is) can lead to that sort of situation. I'd speak to an employment lawyer/solicitor ASAP – motosubatsu Oct 19 '18 at 10:31
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    @Revol729: The employer generally can't do this because the location of employment is part of the employment contract, and cannot be changed unilaterally. If you were assigned to offices A,B and/or C, and office A closes, your employer can ask yo to move to office B or C but not D. But most employees are assigned to a single location. – MSalters Oct 19 '18 at 10:34
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    What is 'significantly longer'? Context would help here. I once worked for an employer that was 5 mins from my house. They moved to one that was 45 mins. That's 9 times longer. So I either needed to adjust my schedule or look for another job. I chose the former. – JazzmanJim Oct 19 '18 at 14:26

There's no default assumption in Dutch Law stating that this is either allowed or disallowed; each case has to be considered individually.

In your case, one factor in your advantage is that there's significantly more travel time. But we don't know how strong the case of the employer is. If the employer has to move because of factors outside their control (rental agreement expired, permit not renewed, etc) then they generally have a good case for moving.

In either case, the choice won't be between "accept and resign", it would be between "accept or be dismissed". Do not resign, you would lose Unemployment Benefits and dismissal benefits ("Transitievergoeding")

  • Downvoter: if you think I am wrong and there is a default assumption in Dutch Law, please link to wetten.nl showing that specific law. – MSalters Oct 19 '18 at 10:36
  • Should OP not have the choice to resign and use savings as well? Just in case they don't want a dismissal mark. Weighing up whether it's worth the cost of not having the benefits to assist this may make it easier to find another job since this one is inevitably going to fall through – Twyxz Oct 19 '18 at 10:52
  • @Twyxz: That's not a realistic choice. Even if you can find a new job tomorrow, the dismissal benefits are instant. Voluntary resigning means signing away that money. And because of those costs to the employer, I would not say dismissal is inevitable. The move may turn up to be too expensive if not enough employees are willing to relocate. – MSalters Oct 19 '18 at 10:59
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    @Twyxz MSalters is saying that resigning is in his experience and opinion a stupid move, and I fully agree with him. There is no "dismissal mark" if your employer moves his offices to a different location. – gnasher729 Oct 19 '18 at 11:19
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    In the UK, it is almost always better. You get unemployment benefits, and if you have worked at a company for a while, they will have to pay you some severance package, which can be a lot of money. Being dismissed is no problem if there is a good (from the employee's point of view) reason. Exception would be for example if you were caught stealing things, and given the choice of resigning or fired + police called with evidence. – gnasher729 Oct 19 '18 at 12:11

In the Netherlands, the employer should seek advise from the works/employees council (Ondernemingsraad) that should give an advise. However, the employer is not bound to follow that advise, in which case the council can then go to court.

You should discuss your problems with your employer. You can't force your employer, but your employer is obliged to actively seek a solution with you. If he doesn't even listen to your complaints, it entitles you to ask a judge to terminate your employment and a get severance package and keep your claims to social security.

The way you tell it is that your manager isn't thinking with you at all. Get this in writing! Get everything in writing from now on. Send written recaps of talks that you have to her and if needed to upper management and send yourself a copy to your private email account. (Avoid sending along sensitive company data.)

Possible solutions are that you and your employer can agree upon are for example: partially working from home, have part of your travel time count as working time or that you move to a house near the new office and have your employer pay (some of) the costs. (You said you were planning on moving house anyway!)

In the end, if you can't find a solution, you can always go to court about it. So think about at what phase you might want to consult a lawyer about this.

A lot has to do with how much extra travel time is needed. Dutch jurisprudence seems to see less than 2 hours of round trip travel time normally as not a big issue.

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