What Is a Hardship Transfer?

A hardship transfer is a request by an employee to move and work in another employer location because of personal circumstances. The employee does not lose her job but gets a same or similar position in the new area. Employers typically offer hardship transfers at their sole discretion, and the employee must qualify and apply for the move.



Employers set individual company polices on transfer eligibility, but some situations commonly merit hardship transfer consideration. An employee who is or has a family member suffering a medical condition can ask for a hardship transfer to an area offering treatment options if he cannot find local treatment. A worker with a family member, typically a parent, that needs help due to physical or mental incapacitation may require a transfer to the parent's area. Some companies allow transfers for an employee separated from his children because of circumstances beyond his control, such as divorce.



Once an employee determines her circumstances meet her company's guidelines for hardship transfers, she must apply to the employer following the set procedures. Exact applications vary by employer, but she commonly must provide her current job description, the transfer job and location, and the specific reasons she is asking to transfer. The worker must provide documentation of the hardship reason, including statements from medical professionals and final court custody orders.



The employer may ask the employee to sign a waiver allowing relatives and medical professionals to speak to the employer to verify the transfer reason. Domestic violence is sometimes an eligible reason for a hardship transfer if the employee is at immediate risk from another person, such as an ex-spouse.

Some employers cover travel and relocation expenses associated with a job transfer even if the employee requested the move. The reimbursement amount typically matches what an involuntarily transferred employee would receive.



Getting hardship transfer approval does not guarantee the employee can move with a new job immediately. Some companies maintain lists of hardship employees, and when another area has a vacancy, the human resources department reviews the list for matches.

An employee may not receive the same level of authority or pay in the transferred job. Employees try to match transferring employees to an equivalent position, but an employee who needs to move quickly may take a lower position if offered.