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October 24, 2012

Can we require an employee to travel overseas for work purposes?

Can we insist that an employee travel overseas for work purposes? Or do employees have the right to refuse such a request?

All contracts of employment contain an implied term that an employee must comply with an employer’s lawful and reasonable requests or directions. Whether it is a lawful and reasonable direction of an employer to direct an employee to work at another location depends in large part on the employee’s contract of employment.

Often, a contract will state that an employee may be directed to work at another location. But if the employee’s contract is silent on the issue, it would not be reasonable to direct them to travel overseas, so you will need to obtain the employee’s consent to travel for which you may need to incentivise them.

If you can convince the employee to travel then the consent should be formalised through a simple letter requesting that the employee acknowledge their consent to the transfer and indicate that acceptance by signing a copy of the letter or, more formally, through a new contract/contract to vary the existing contract.

 

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