An employer’s duty of care
Employers have a duty of care obligation to protect their employees from undue risk when they are on a business trip. Since the coronavirus outbreak, this has become increasingly important. The duty of care covers an employee’s health, safety and wellbeing. The duty is based on legislation, but it is also a moral duty.
For the employer to meet the duty of care, the employer must analyse, for example, the risks relating to travelling, draw up travel policies and guidelines, take out the appropriate insurance, and train the personnel who travel, as well as know the destination the employees are travelling to at any given time. The assessment of risks relating to travel must be a continuous process, as the conditions in different countries may change quickly.
In this article, we will also look at what has changed for employers in the wake of the continuing global coronavirus pandemic.
According to Henrik Rahm, Nordic Head of Employee Benefits Underwriting, “Business travel has been significantly reduced due to the pandemic, and it is still unclear how the shift towards remote work will affect internal meetings, client visits and conferences. The pandemic has also made companies reevaluate their internal travel policies with a focus on the bottom line and the environmental impact. We are expecting a slow return to business travel as many companies continue to operate with essential business travel only, with added layers of executive approval.
“For those who are still travelling it is essential for us to provide the security of the proper travel insurance, making sure that travellers feel safe and comfortable during the journey. From If Login we provide companies with relevant information including travel advice to consider before, during, and after the journey,” he notes.
Analysing country-specific risks
Country-specific risks vary: some are global, while others may be hyper-local in nature. Risks may relate to semi-permanent conditions, such as regional disease risk or climate. These risks are relatively easy to identify and can be effectively managed through careful planning prior to the journey. Other risks may develop suddenly, however, such as changes in the political environment, or because of exceptional or even extreme weather phenomena. The current situation in the destination country should always be checked just before the journey, and, if necessary, the risks and the necessity for travel should be carefully reassessed.
In addition, traffic accidents remain the most significant cause of serious accidents abroad, regardless of the duration and destination of the journey. To that end, many transport-related risks can be considerably reduced by the traveller’s behaviour themself. For instance, wearing a seat belt when required, as well as general alertness and the use of common sense, will almost always bring positive benefits.