An Employer’s Duty of Care for Business Travel

By Linda RoperSeptember 28, 2022
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Managing travel is an important part of any business. It’s not just about getting the right people to the right place at the right time, however, but also ensuring they have everything they need during their journey. It’s therefore an employer’s duty of care to guarantee their employees are safe and comfortable while away for work and that they know exactly what to expect when travelling for business purposes.

In this guide, we take a closer look at what duty of care is, particularly in the context of business travel. We also reveal how cloud-based technology, such as ExpenseIn, can make managing your duty of care easier and more efficient.

Table of Contents

What is an Employer’s Duty of Care and Why is it Important?

Duty of care is a legal term that encompasses the obligations an employer has towards its employees. The duty of care is a moral obligation, as well as one that is applicable by law. It helps ensure the safety of employees and reduces their risk of suffering harm while travelling for work.

Duty of care is important because it provides employees with the right information and support so they can make informed decisions about their travel. Furthermore, it protects workers from dangerous situations while they are on-the-job, such as when driving alone in a car or working at night in remote locations. It’s also your duty of care as an employer to ensure workers have access to safety equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE), personal protective clothing (PPC) and first aid kits, amongst other items necessary for safe travel management.

Employer duty of care

How Does Duty of Care Work in Relation to Business Travel?

An employer’s duty of care is particularly important in the context of business travel, when employees aren’t under direct supervision in the workplace but are conducting their business in a different location entirely.

Your employees therefore rely on you to confirm that travel is safe, secure, and efficient. This means ensuring they’re supported on their journey and protected from any potential risks.

An employer’s duty of care in the context of travel management is determined by an analysis of four factors:

  1. The nature of the work being done.

  2. The circumstances surrounding the trip.

  3. The employer’s knowledge about any risks it knows about or should have known about.

  4. Whether there was a reasonable opportunity for precautions to be taken.

As a result, an effective travel management process should cover:

  • Travel booking: making sure the right person makes the booking at the right time with the right information so that there are no problems when it comes to checking in or boarding flights.

  • Airport support: providing staff with any relevant information before they arrive at the airport facility (for example, how long does it take to get through security at this airport?).

  • Travel insurance: ensuring staff have appropriate insurance for the journey.

  • Onward journeys: planning for alternative transport or accommodation if necessary.

  • Travel security: ensuring staff are aware of any travel security issues that might affect their journey (for example, if there is a terror threat in the country they are travelling to).

  • Travel expense management: helping employees to manage their expenses effectively (for example, by providing them with up-to-date information about currency exchange rates or redeemable expenses).

To protect your employees from harm, it's best to take any safety precautions you can think of when planning trips for work or business purposes. Some examples include:

  • Requiring confirmation of vehicle documents from your employees (including driving licence, MOT certificate, and vehicle tax).

  • Making sure all your drivers adhere to traffic laws for their country.

  • Providing your drivers with insurance coverage in case anything goes wrong during transport.

  • Requiring two people per vehicle whenever possible.

  • Following speed limits at all times (even if it means a job takes longer to complete or travel is slower).

  • Never taking shortcuts through dangerous areas like construction sites.

  • Always using seatbelts, even if just moving a vehicle from one parking space to another.

  • Avoiding driving during peak traffic hours, if possible.

How Can Technology Help Companies Manage Their Duty of Care?

Technology can help companies manage their duty of care by providing them with the tools they need to ensure that employees are complying with policies and guidelines. By using technology to track all employee activity, companies can identify any potential policy breaches or other issues that could arise from an employee’s travel management activities.

Technology can also enable better travel policy enforcement by making it easier for managers and employees alike to see where there may be gaps or inconsistencies within existing policies—as well as remedy these issues before they become problems down the road.

When it comes to travel management, expense management software can also help in many ways. It can assist with the process of managing travel expenses, as well as the procedures of managing reimbursement and compliance. Additionally, it helps employers be able to ensure that they are following all the necessary rules and regulations when it comes to employee travel. Finally, the software also allows employees to submit their receipts electronically, which means that there is less paperwork involved in managing these expenses—from both the employee and employer.

All-in-all, utilising the right technology to assist with your duty of care with business travel means you’re able to provide better support for your employees. This, in turn, helps them to feel more comfortable when travelling for work purposes.

Set Up Duty of Care Using ExpenseIn

ExpenseIn is a cloud-based expense management software that has features designed specifically for assisting employers with their duty of care for business travel.

duty of care

With the duty of care feature, employees are required to upload their documents such as driving licence, vehicle tax, MOT, and business insurance before they can start submitting mileage claims. They will also receive automatic renewal notifications when documents are due to expire.

Employers are then able to review these documents to ensure they meet the required standards set out in their company travel policy. Doing so means you are fulfilling a vital part of your duty of care and ensuring employees have the necessary expertise and documentation in order to operate a vehicle legally and safely.