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I am a software engineer and I am finally taking the plunge to work remotely full time.

I've been working for the company for just under 2 years and have never had any issues whilst working there. My performance reviews have always been fine and I have never blown anything up so to speak.

I informed the company that I was planning to leave the country (UK) shortly after I joined and management were fine with it for many months. There are already lots of remote workers all over the world and more employees have transitioned to remote working during the period that I have been working there so I foresaw no issue until...

A few months ago, the person who had approved my working from home was sacked (it came out of the blue) and apparently they did not have the authority to approve remote working requests (despite having done so for many employees previously) now the new manager does not seem happy with any more employees working from home and I've had to submit another remote working request to be approved again.

I suspect this will not get approved as I've seen signs that they are trying to crack down on remote working so to speak - new jobs listed by the company have specifically included the line 'remote working will not be considered'.

Up until this point, I was operating under the pretense that everything was fine and it is now less than a month till I leave and my flights are booked but my notice period is 2 months.

So I am just wondering where I stand with this as I've never encountered this situation before. Can they sack me for this reason if they reject my remote working request? Should I start looking for a new job at my new destination now?

  • Is it a possibility to stay longer to see if the remote option will work out? Are you dead set on leaving the country in a month? Also, was the remote working option processed through Human Resources or was it you old manager’s word? – UnhandledExcepSean Feb 9 at 19:30
  • In terms of staying longer, unfortunately not, I've been planning this move for months and now can't change the date. I probably should have mentioned that we work on a shift rota some of which involves weekends or evenings that we work from home for anyway. I'd say about 50% of my time is spent not in the actual office so in terms of being able to work remotely, I am sure I can do it. – sarconia Feb 9 at 19:38
  • I'm honestly not sure if the previous request was approved by HR, the old manager indicated that everything was in hand so I'd assumed they processed everything. Maybe I was wrong and it was just a verbal agreement. – sarconia Feb 9 at 19:48
  • I had a colleague who had a start date at a company in one month, while the University told him he had to work 3 months notice... I told him that they would just ignore it and keep quiet... He left and obviously they did not pay him for the 2 months - did they take him to court - no, they don’t want future employees coming from industry to be scared off... The Universities need that experience... – Solar Mike Feb 9 at 20:12
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    Do you have anything in writing confirming permission to work from home? Also, how close are you to the 2 year point - that is significant in UK law as that is when you acquire employment rights. – Philip Kendall Feb 9 at 20:50
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  1. Start looking for a new job in the new locale or a new remote job. Start today.
  2. When you go into the office next time, talk to your new boss and make sure they understand you are moving in a month. If they seem to be unaware of the move, explain this has been approved for many months and the plans were already in motion.

No one here can say if they will or won’t fire you.

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I would go to your current manager and say the following: "I was approved in the past month to move away from the country, understanding that I would be allowed to work remotely. I've learned that this and future positions are not eligible for remote working; what should we do to rectify this?" This puts the ball in the manager's court; they could give you substantial reasons why ("We saw a decline in production/quality appreciable enough to end remote work" "We've seen that collaborating projects work much better in the office than remotely" "We had several employees who abused the privilege and we had to sack (fire) them.").

If your current manager won't budge ("Sorry, this decision is final") start seeking new jobs within your new location. You can't be sacked (fired) for the request from your previous manager, but it can be rescinded (and by the looks of it, it likely already is).

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A few months ago, the person who had approved my working from home was sacked (it came out of the blue) and apparently they did not have the authority to approve remote working requests (despite having done so for many employees previously) now the new manager does not seem happy with any more employees working from home and I've had to submit another remote working request to be approved again.

The way you worded this it sounds like prior approvals are okay. After all you said there are a number of remote workers currently out there who may have been mistakenly approved for remote work. Are they all fired?

I would also write an email and attach previous emails (official emails from the company would be best like a ticket system that says you're approved if possible). Ask, "Boss, I was approved to work remotely. I am leaving the country soon and will need to know if this is still good to go?" If he says no, then simply start looking for a new job in the interim.

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1) Start looking for a new job in the new location (either one where you are present or remote). If they decide they're not going to allow remote working anymore, then you will need a new job. (What does your contract say about remote working?)

2) Talk to your boss saying this had all been approved in the past and is there some issue now. You would like to remain working for the company (talk up how great the company is) but also need to go to this new location, and would be gutted if you now couldn't stay working for them after having made plans based on the green-light you had previously had.

3) If you are worried that your notice period is longer than the time you have left before your flight, don't be! Lots of people negotiate shorter notice periods - they are only a set length as an example of what is expected. I've worked a 3 week notice period when it should have been a month, but conversely I've worked a 6 month period when it only needed to be 3. Notice periods are negotiable - it's not in a companies interest to keep someone there when they don't want to be there! Usually you would wait until your confirmation/contract for the new job before handing in your formal notice anyway. If you explain that you were expecting to be able to work remotely, and therefore now you are not, you need to leave, I'm sure they will understand and be accomodating.

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