What is Duty of Care? Why is it crucial to your company travel program?

8 essential tips from your Duty of Care Experts at Elite Travel Management.

Now more than ever, business travellers will depend on their employer to determine when and if it is safe to travel. Employers have a significant level of responsibility to ensure the well being of their travellers before, during, and after business trips. With the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization’s Duty of Care due-diligence is under the microscope. 


1. Always know where your travellers are 

It’s time to take the Duty of Care component as a necessary step in your company travel program. So, how do you go about protecting your travellers and organization through Duty of Care?

Companies who do not yet use a Travel Management Company (TMC) – and even some who do – are unable to locate their travellers in the midst of a major event. This could include new pandemic restrictions, an act of terror or a natural disaster – just to name a few. Elite Travel Management provides peace of mind by consolidating all of your organization’s travel to one central reporting system that locates your travellers in real-time, at all times. 

2. Empower your travellers with education 

With endless online availability of articles and resources on travel and trip preparation, it’s important that business travellers have one central, consistent and trusted resource to turn to. From vaccine requirements, to locally vetted in-destination hospitals, traveller education is a checkmark every organization should complete.

3. Remember that business travel is truly 24/7

Even if typical office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your region, you might have employees in-destination at all hours of the day. With all that can go wrong when travelling for business, employees feel empowered when a TMC is in place to ensure that regardless of the hour, someone is available to help immediately. 

ELITE INSIGHT: Ask your TMC to confirm response times after hours. The last thing a traveller wants to do is wait on hold for hours at 2 a.m. in the midst of a stressful situation or last-minute change. 

4. Don’t underestimate the importance of travel insurance

“I have travel insurance on my credit card and our company has a blanket travel insurance policy for travel.” Sound familiar? You may think you have an adequate business travel insurance program in place, but do you want to wait until travel insurance is needed to determine what it really covers? It’s important to consult with your TMC and determine if enhanced insurance should be purchased. It’s an investment you won’t know the true worth of until it’s needed!

5. Establish a process for all travel approvals 

Wait a minute – Bill is overseas right now? Who approved this? If this also sounds familiar, it could be time to implement a travel approval process to ensure that all travel is approved by the appropriate stakeholder(s). Your TMC may even be able to offer an automated approval system that documents reason-for-trip and who approved it!

ELITE INSIGHT: Implement no more than one level of approval with your company’s online travel tool. A multi approval level has appeal, but by the time several people have approved a trip, it could be days later!

6. Recognize that individual travellers have individual needs 

Business travel is a breeze to some and more worrisome for others. It’s important to ensure that those who represent your company worldwide feel safe at all times through Duty of Care. For example, Duty of Care programs can provide guidance on accessing an in-destination pharmacy in the event an employee’s necessary drug is lost, stolen or forgotten. How about local LGBTQ+ guidelines? Recommendations for transport from meeting to meeting? What in-destination areas are more susceptible to crime than others?

ELITE INSIGHT: We advise you consider this section in further detail based on where your company is required to travel for business.

7. Implement a traveller waiver 

“I feel comfortable travelling for business,” is different than, “I acknowledge in writing the risks associated with travelling for business at this time, including but not limited to COVID-19.”

In a world where paper trails can make all the difference, it’s time to consider a waiver for your business to ensure travellers have accepted the associated risks when travelling. These waivers can be built on a per trip basis, through automation.

ELITE INSIGHT: Like any formal document, we suggest running this one by your legal council or seek third party advice before implementing. Ask us for a template to get you started: info@elitetm.ca 

8. Be aware that not all Duty of Care programs are created equal! 

Saying you have a Duty of Care program in place is like saying “I drive a vehicle.” Is it a car or SUV? Is it a two seater or a seven seater? Does it have airbags? What’s the safety record? Is it a Ford or an Audi?

The point here is that you can pick a low-priced or “free” Duty of Care program, but nonetheless it’s important to know what it truly covers. Like travel insurance, Duty of Care often comes into play when you need it most – and that’s not when you want to find out the vehicle you drive is a dud.

ELITE INSIGHT: Consult with your TMC about the “included” Duty of Care programs they provide, and ask for their advice on the enhancements your company should consider adding on. In many cases, the Duty of Care program is separate from your TMC, but the TMC should be able to confirm who is the Lamborghini.


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