Duty of Care for Business Travel – Everything businesses need to know

Written by Emma Marais

March 1, 2024

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If your business needs your employees to travel for work then it is your ethical and legal responsibility to ensure a plan is in place to look after them. This plan is known as duty of care, it is a detailed plan of all foreseeable and unforeseeable risks of a business trip. This plan is to make sure no employee is injured while travelling and ensures there are no legal ramifications for the business.

Below we will cover all the big questions about duty of care so you are well aware of what your responsibilities are and how important duty of care is for your employees and your business.

Let’s start with the basics. 

Planning and taking precautions to reduce risks demonstrates your concern for your employees’ safety.

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of care means a moral obligation to maintain the security, safety and well-being of others. For businesses, this means doing whatever you can to keep your employees out of harm’s way during a business trip. In a business, duty of care is a corporate policy and legal requirement that makes sure businesses prioritize the physical and emotional safety and well-being of employees. This policy includes a variety of risks like health and safety, fire safety, stress, violence, discrimination, bullying, and more. During a business trip duty of care will cover various travel-related risks. 


Why is Duty of Care Important?

Showing your employees that they are supported by you when they are travelling for business is important. Employees want to have peace of mind while on business trips and feel they are safe and cared for. Most companies already have a duty of care procedure for the office that states the plan of action for various emergencies. These plans of action aren’t just for logistic reasons but are also a legal obligation. These plans are also necessary for employee safety when on business trips and travelling on your behalf. 

Business travellers are constantly exposed to new risks and businesses need to ensure their safety as best as they can to avoid breaching duty of care and potential civil liability. Becoming dangerously ill or sudden political unrest arising are situations that travellers can be faced with and having a duty of care policy that ensures their safety is very important.

What Does Duty of Care look like?

Now that you know what Duty of Care is, what should it cover? There are various examples of what duty of care looks like in different situations. Businesses often hire Travel Management Companies or use other business travel solutions to cover these scenarios for them with their duty of care services. These services include:

1. Finding Safe Accommodation

2. Offering Emergency Assistance

3. Proving Health and Vaccination guidelines 

4. Organising Travel Insurance

5. Providing Travel alerts and safety information


Is Duty of Care the same as Travel Risk Management?

Duty of care in business travel is your legal obligation to evaluate risks, it’s your responsibility to research, plan and implement a strategy that will reduce the risks for employees on business trips. In a duty of care policy, the business will add a statement that states their commitment to care for their employees with different processes and tactics to stand by this commitment, travel risk management process is one of the strategies used to uphold the company’s duty of care. A company fulfils its duty of care by carrying out travel risk management procedures. Travel risk management is the procedure of anticipating, preventing and reacting to unexpected risks travellers are presented with while travelling. 

To put it more simply duty of care is the alarm that goes off in an emergency and travel risk management is the plan of action for that emergency. 

Managing Travel Visas And Work Permits

How can you build a duty of care policy?

Every business should have a specific plan for their business traveller. You need to know exactly what all the worst-case scenarios could be so that you as a business are fully prepared for anything that happens. 

Various situations can occur while on a business trip like travel disruptions, natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, crime and terrorism, new travel laws, political and social unrest, disease outbreaks and health emergencies. Your duty of care policy should cover all of these situations. 

So where do you start? 

 1. Risk Assessment– You need to start by understanding your business travel. Assessing your business travel risks in general and on specific trips is a good place to start. The goal is to find any threat that your traveller could face while on their journey. This will help you start creating a duty of care policy that fully protects your travellers and your business. It’s a good idea to consult your team and employees when doing your risk assessment so you can include different points of view to make sure you are looking at the whole picture. 

2. Plan and Prevent– Once you are aware of all the risks it’s time to build your plan of action. All business’s duty of care policies will differ but there are some common things to be aware of: Your strategy should include support for travellers before, during and after a trip. You should promote employee wellness and avoid burnout this can be achieved by encouraging manageable schedules during business trips etc. You should always have a plan for emergencies no matter where the destination is. Your plan should be revised and reviewed often as travel risks change and evolve. 

3. Educate and communicate– It is a business’s responsibility to communicate travel policies and educate employees about travel safety. Make sure employees planning trips have access to the duty of care policy. As already mentioned risks change and evolve so having your employees report back to you after a trip regarding your policy is a good idea to ensure your policy is effective and that you are fulfilling your duty of care. 


Fully understanding duty of care can be very complicated but is an essential part of all business travel. Travel Management companies like The Travel Group can make your business travel a lot less stressful. They offer many business travel services including duty of care. Having a dedicated TMC handle all aspects of business travel for you allows you to focus on other important tasks.

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