7 Essential Elements For Effective Duty of Care

two business people looking at each other laughing while one is holding paper

5min read

Published 16 May 2024


We’re massive fans of business travel (obvs) but even we have to admit there can be some risks associated with hitting the road for work. For example, you might discover that the coffee queue at the lounge is longer than the fine print in a travel insurance policy; you could get stuck sitting next to a wellness influencer on your flight; or you might forget your room number and end up wandering the hallways aimlessly at midnight.  

But seriously, there are bigger risks to travel that need to be thought about and planned for. These can include a lost passport, illness, accidents, stress, weather events and political unrest.  

As an SME, you have a responsibility to ensure your travellers are safe when they are travelling for work. This is known as duty of care. A Duty of Care Policy sets out the rules and requirements for both the business and the traveller to follow when various scenarios occur. The aim is to create an environment of safety, support and trust for the traveller.  

A Duty of Care Policy’s effectiveness depends on how much work you put into developing it, and how well you implement it. To help make things easier for you, we’ve identified the 7 essential elements of an effective Duty of Care Policy below.

Large group of corporate business people
Large group of corporate business people
Large group of corporate business people

7 Crucial Elements of a Duty of Care Policy

1. Risk Assessment: establish the foundations of your plan by working through a checklist of potential issues:

  • Security - assess your traveller’s destinations and find out if there are there any security concerns such as political unrest, conflict, or crime.   
  • Workplace risk – identify the nature of the trip and establish the risks associated with the environment of where your traveller will be working, eg office, construction site, etc. 
  • Weather and environment – are there any prevailing or potentially unexpected weather events in the region? 
  • Health and disease – establish the level of risk due to disease in the area. 
  • Transport – evaluate local transport infrastructure and general conditions. 
  • Local infrastructure – includes proximity to medical facilities, internet access and cybersecurity 
  • Gender and identity – are your travellers more at risk in certain destinations due to their gender or identity?  
  • Documentation – check your traveller has all the necessary documentation, including passports. 

2. Mitigation Plan: with the issues identified, now work out what risks you can eliminate or mitigate before travelling. For example, if you know the area is prone to crime, can you identify the safest areas to stay or provide security? Could you also implement security measures such as alerts or tracking systems to monitor employee whereabouts in case of emergencies?

3. Crisis Plan:  Develop plans that can be put in place should any of the risks eventuate. For example, what will you do in the case of a violent street protests, an outbreak of disease, or a lost passport? Clearly outline roles and responsibilities, evacuation procedures, and communication protocols during a crisis.  

4. Health and Safety Plan: Provide guidelines for maintaining health and safety while traveling, including recommendations for vaccinations, medical insurance coverage, emergency contact information, and resources for accessing medical assistance abroad. 

Need help with your corporate travel arrangements?  

At Flight Centre Business Travel, we take corporate travel personally. We build partnerships, not just itineraries, because your success is personal to us. Our Travel Managers are dedicated, experienced and knowledgeable, and you’ll get direct access to the same person, who gets your business – and its travel needs – inside and out. 

5. Cultural Sensitivity and Legal Compliance: Provide your travellers with guidance on cultural norms, customs, and local laws to ensure that they respect local customs and adhere to legal requirements while traveling. 

6. Communication Protocols: Define communication channels for employees to stay in touch with your business while traveling (eg email, txt, phone), including emergency contact procedures and requirements for periodic check-ins. 

7. Traveller Wellness: consider the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of employees while they are traveling for business. This can include pre travel health preparation, mental health support, healthy travel lifestyle promotion, stress management and post travel support.  

three business people sitting at a table reading a document
three business people sitting at a table reading a document
three business people sitting at a table reading a document

Policy and procedures to lock in prior to Business Travel

Before travelling, it also pays to establish the rules and procedures related to the administrative side of things such as approvals, booking and expenses:  

  • Travel Authorisation Procedures: Clearly outline the process for obtaining travel authorisation, including approval levels and documentation requirements. 

  • Travel Booking Procedures: Establish protocols for booking travel arrangements, such as preferred vendors, booking deadlines, and permissible travel expenses. 

  • Travel Expense Policy: Set clear guidelines for allowable travel expenses, including transportation, accommodation, meals, and incidentals.

Update your Duty of Care Policy Regularly

A Duty of Care policy is an organic document that should be reviewed and updated regularly. Aim to incorporate feedback from travellers, changes in regulations, and emerging risks. Ensure that employees are aware of any updates and receive appropriate training as needed. 

Duty of Care means better business outcomes

With a quality Duty of Care policy in place, you can sleep easier knowing that your travellers are not only less likely to face risks, but they will be better prepared should they encounter the unexpected. The best bit? Your travellers will be happier, healthier and more productive, and that’s a win-win for them and for your business.  

Find out how Flight Centre Business Travel can help streamline your business’ end-to-end travel program and make your travel for work easy.   

Get in touch or call us on 1300 797 826 today. 

The company is responsible for creating their own Duty of Care policies, and Flight Centre Business Travel will help create a travel policy which provides guidelines of what and how to book that aligns with their Duty of Care policy requirement. SMEs can consult with a Risk Management company to provide advice on creating/updating Duty of Care policies. 

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