Geographical mobility


Geographic mobility refers to that situation in which the worker must change his place of residence in order to carry out his work.

Therefore, we would not be talking about a one-off transfer, for a short period of time. Nor from a situation in which the worker is displaced to a place for something specific. In other words, an indispensable requirement is the obligation to change the place of residence.

Reasons for geographic mobility

Companies cannot simply transfer their workers. There must be a series of reasons that it alleges in case of conflict.

  1. Economic: In this case, we can talk about economic improvements for the worker. The company may be interested in offering its more qualified workers a better position. Geographic mobility can be a promotional opportunity.
  2. Techniques: Sometimes, due to a technical issue, it is necessary to transfer workers to another plant in another location. Normally it would be related to better access to raw materials or some type of production process, which must be carried out in a certain place.
  3. Environmental: The environment is a growing concern. For this reason, sometimes it is necessary to transfer the productive activity to certain places where the polluting effect is less, or it can be produced in a more sustainable way.
  4. Organizational: This is usually one of the most common. Sometimes an organizational restructuring is necessary. Thus, some of the workers must be transferred.
  5. Strategic: We are facing a situation in which the company has carried out strategic planning to carry out a project. It usually occurs when they expand their market and require that some workers move to the new one.

Considerations in geographic mobility

We are going to see, next, some considerations about geographic mobility.

Above all, we will focus on some requirements related to duration and distance, reconciliation or your working day.

  • In the first place, for there to be geographical mobility, a transfer must take place at a certain distance and for a minimum duration. These two parameters depend on the country, but they represent the difference between considering it transfer (durable) or displacement (temporary).
  • On the other hand, work-life balance is still relevant in these cases. There are situations in which it is the worker himself who requests the change of position for family reasons. The company usually accepts it if it is viable.
  • Regarding the working day, it is necessary to take into account the change of schedule. You have to check whether or not the new destination is profitable for the employee.
  • Finally, as we will see in the example, an individual or collective transfer can take place. To differentiate them, some requirements related to the number of workers affected are followed. Keep in mind that the procedures have certain differences in both cases.

The worker's options in geographical mobility

Geographic mobility must be notified in advance. In addition, the causes for this must be included. The worker can accept it, reject it or go to court.

  • In the first case, which you accept, it would only be necessary to specify the conditions with the company. The start date, destination and other related issues.
  • A second option is one in which the contract is terminated. It would be a dismissal with unemployment and severance pay. In Spain, for example, it is 20 days per year worked.
  • Third, the worker may not agree to the change. One of the situations that occurs is the change in conditions of the day or salary. Then we would not be facing geographical mobility per se, but rather a change in the employment situation that can be challenged.

Geographical mobility case study

Let us imagine, as an example and to finish, a specific case using Spanish law. We are going to study if it is a collective or individual transfer. We assume a company of 10,000 workers in which 100 are transferred.

The Workers' Statute (ET) establishes that, to be considered collective, in companies with more than 300 workers, at least 30 must be transferred (art. 40.2.c ET). Therefore, this transfer should be considered collective and not individual.

Basically, the difference is that, in cases of collective geographic mobility, a consultation period must be carried out by the company and the workers. We can see that these situations can occur, but not in any way.

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