Have you heard of the term duty of care? If you’ve read up on business travel, you may well be familiar with the term, but what exactly does it mean for you as an employee, or an employer?
By definition, duty of care means ‘a moral or legal obligation to ensure the safety or well-being of others’. Meaning, essentially, that employers should take all reasonable steps possible to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees whilst they’re in the workplace or away on business. Duty of Care is actually even written into the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.
When it comes to talking about business travel, there is a lot of discussion around Duty of Care and what exactly it means for both employers and employees, so let’s take a look at exactly how Duty of Care affects you when it comes to travelling for business.
You’re the Employer
- It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employee whilst travelling for business, no matter how near or far afield they might be.
- Steps you can take to ensure your employees are safe while travelling for business largely revolve around communicating to them and preparing them, for what to do in the event of an emergency. This could be a major world event or emergency such as a hurricane, or it could be something on a much smaller scale such as losing their passport, falling ill abroad or missing their flight. Preparation is key, and if you have procedures and plans in place for all eventualities, you’ll be covering your duty of care.
- However, your duty of care doesn’t stop there. Because it also extends to wellbeing, you must also consider whether your employees are fit to travel, and the impact that travelling may have on them. For example, if they’ve just landed from a long-haul flight, you should consider providing a taxi home for them.
You’re the Employee
- Your employer should provide adequate support for you, especially when you’re travelling for business. There should be procedures in place to support you no matter what eventuality might crop up – if you’ve been asked to travel for business and you’re not sure of these systems, then it’s worth asking if there is a duty of care process in place.
- Is your employer looking after your wellbeing as well as your general safety? If you feel you’ve been asked to travel too frequently, or are expected to drive yourself home after a long-haul flight for example, and you feel this is compromising your wellbeing then bring this up with your employer. It is their duty to consider your wellbeing when travelling for business and everything this entails.
If you’re an employer who has to organise lots of travel for your employees, then you could benefit from working with a Travel Management Company. TMCs are experts in traveller safety and security, and will be able to help you best deliver your duty of care programme to your employees. Find an example of exactly what we do, as a travel management company, to ensure duty of care to our client’s employees here. If you like what you see and would like to work with us, then please get in touch here.