So, first of all let’s be clear on what duty of care in relation to travel management actually means, and why do we need it.
What is duty of care?
The legal aspect of this is fairly straightforward. Businesses have a corporate duty of care, a legal requirement to prepare their employees properly for business travel and to provide support to them during their trip and when they return.
Why is duty of care important?
Companies have legal obligations to their employees, contractors, volunteers, spouses and family members while they engage in travel for work. In an ever changing world, this has perhaps never been as important as it is now.
If this is not robustly demonstrated or carried out, then the consequences for individual employees and the company as a whole can be severe, resulting in legal proceedings, reputational and profit damage.
Guidance from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the International SOS Foundation states that the increase in volume of employees travelling (and the profile of such employees) has “an impact on the arrangements and control systems that might be required to control and manage risks effectively”. As this suggests, employers under UK common law have a duty to take reasonable care for their employees.
According to the guidance referred to above, “this duty of care continues to exist when their employees are sent to work in other jurisdictions, either on a short-term basis or as part of a longer-term arrangement” and may also cover “a worker’s travel arrangements to or from work on a day-to-day basis while working abroad” as well as “the employee’s safety while in transit”. (Source Croner-i)
A number of civil cases in relation to the employer’s duty of care for employees while overseas have highlighted the need to take all reasonable “best practice” precautions to ensure the safety and security of employees on overseas assignments.
Companies also have moral obligations to fulfil. Increasingly employees health and wellbeing are being taken into consideration and acted upon. Rightly so! More about taking care of business traveller well-being in an upcoming blog.
How can Travel Counsellors for Business help?
Making us part of your travel risk management strategy demonstrates a commitment to fulfilling your duty of care. We can help you to develop policies to manage and demonstrate management level commitment to health and safety monitoring and control.
Our monitoring systems come into their own when your book through us. You’ll know exactly where your travelling employees are at all times during their business trip. Should the unexpected happen, we’ll help get every member of your team home quickly and safely.
Specifically, we can…
- Provide destination specific advice prior to the trip.
- Keep business travellers up to date with live information through the myTC app.
- Help you to get your people home safely if an international event occurs.
- Pinpoint any vulnerable employees in affected destinations through our e-Locate travel tracking system.
- Help you deal with emergencies and re-plan and rebook travel arrangements using our uniquely personal 24/7 service.
- Provide tailored reports from our systems for pre and post trip analysis and duty of care/risk intelligence records.
· Our Global Duty Office monitors worldwide news and developments so all Travel Counsellors can proactively respond to international events.
Travel risk is nothing new, but what is new are the changing risk profiles around the world. These changing patterns of risk have made fulfilling your duty of care as an employer far more complex, just as the penalty for breaches has become more severe.
Employing a travel management company such as Travel Counsellors for Business can help keep your people safe and avoid reputational damage and legal penalties that breaches of duty of care can bring.