Short-term internal secondment policy
Author: Lynda Macdonald
When to use this model short-term internal secondment policy
Use this model policy to set out the employer's approach to short-term temporary secondments, as part of the staff handbook or (where appropriate) as part of employees' terms and conditions of employment.
It is the policy of the organisation that staff [in grades [ ] and above/in [ ] part of the organisation] are required, as part of their contract of employment, to undertake temporary secondments to [other branches of the organisation/other organisations within the group/other parts of the UK] at the request of the organisation.
A short-term temporary secondment for the purpose of this policy is a work assignment away from the employee's normal place of work for a period of at least one month but not longer than [12/18] months. Secondments of over [12/18] months will fall under the organisation's long-term internal secondment policy.
It is the organisation's policy to compensate employees for all reasonable additional costs incurred when they are required to undertake a secondment away from their normal place of work and normal residence.
While on short-term temporary secondment, an employee will receive an uplift on his/her normal salary of [[10%/20%/25%], up to a maximum of £[ ] per day/week/month]. This allowance will be paid automatically to the employee along with his/her normal salary. No further payment will be made and the employee will be expected to fund all other additional expenses [such as accommodation, travel and meals] out of this allowance.
The employee will be entitled to reclaim the following expenses while on short-term temporary secondment up to the maximum figures given.
Travel allowance equivalent to standard [first/second] class rail from the station nearest to the employee's permanent residence to the station nearest to the location of the temporary secondment. Alternatively, travel allowance equivalent to economy class air fares may be claimed if the distance of the secondment location is more than [ ] miles from the employee's home. A further allowance of up to £[ ] may be claimed in respect of travel to and from [stations/airports].]
The above travel costs may be claimed once per [week/fortnight/month] for the whole of the period of the temporary secondment irrespective of whether or how often the employee actually travels.
Travel costs will be paid only in relation to journeys the employee has actually made from his/her place of residence to the location of the secondment assignment. If no journey is made, no travel costs will be paid.]
[If the employee wishes, the travel costs detailed above may be used to allow the employee's partner to travel from the employee's place of residence to the location of the secondment on the same frequency basis as described above.]
An accommodation allowance of up to £[ ] per week. The organisation will provide assistance to the employee to find temporary rented accommodation if required.
[For the first [two/three/four] weeks of the employee's secondment, the organisation will pay for the employee to stay in a hotel. [The booking will be made by the organisation and the organisation will pay the hotel directly for these costs./The employee should pay the hotel directly and reclaim the relevant costs from the organisation.]]
A meals allowance of £[ ] per working day.
If the temporary secondment is to a location within [ ] miles of London, a London allowance of £[ ] per [week/month].
The secondment allowance or expenses will be paid only for those weeks that the employee is working at the secondment location. Expenses will not be paid during periods of annual holiday, sickness absence, or maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. It is recognised, however, that employees may have to retain temporary rented accommodation during such periods and may thus incur expenses in doing so. In this case, subject to management approval, claims may be submitted for accommodation costs provided that they are accompanied by valid receipts.
The employee should submit an expense claim for the above expenses on a [weekly/monthly] basis. The travel allowance, meals allowance and London allowance will be paid without submission of receipts [although the organisation will require the employee to sign a declaration in respect of the dates on which journeys have been made from the location of the secondment to the place of residence and vice versa]. For accommodation costs, the organisation requires receipts to be provided and will pay only the actual accommodation costs incurred up to the maximum figure stated above.]
How to use this document
This is an example document and should be adapted to suit your circumstances.
Law relating to this document
Leading statutory authority
Equality Act 2010
A requirement for an employee to go on secondment may be indirectly discriminatory because of sex, as it can be more difficult for a female employee with childcare responsibilities to change her working arrangements or relocate. Notwithstanding this, employers should be careful to avoid making assumptions about potential secondees and their suitability during any selection process.
Relevant case law
Meade-Hill and National Union of Civil and Public Servants v British Council  IRLR 478 CA. The Court of Appeal held that a mobility clause requiring a female employee to work anywhere in the UK would be indirectly discriminatory against women unless the employer could objectively justify the need for the clause. This was because a greater proportion of women than men are secondary wage earners and thus fewer women than men would be able to comply with an instruction to relocate.
If there is a contractual right to second, the employer must still act reasonably in how that right is exercised. Any substantial variation to an employee's contract at short notice risks the employer being in breach of the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence, potentially entitling the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
Further, employees should not be required to undertake external secondments to other organisations unless it is necessary and appropriate in relation to the business needs of the employer and/or the employee's particular job. It will normally be appropriate to offer external secondments to senior or professional-grade employees as a means of career development. Secondments should be available on a voluntary (rather than compulsory) basis.