A risk consultancy has urged employers to do more to protect workers against accidents that may happen on leisure-related activities during business travel.
A survey by risk consultancy Collinson Group indicated that 72% of business travellers take “bleisure” or additional days off during a trip intended for business.
Businesses may be accused of breaching their duty of care obligations if travellers face accidents even during the leisure related activities as the trip was intended for business, the survey said.
But the company warned that only less than a third of these employees are actually protected by the company’s travel insurance.
The findings raised alarm on the fact that employers could be violating their duty to care obligations towards their employees. It furthermore means that workers could be extending their time overseas during business trips under the misconception the full length of their trip is being covered by the firm’s work travel policy.
The survey urged employers to extend the cover to leisure days and also to understand the exact terms and conditions of their company insurance policy from insurance companies.
Collinson Group head of product and travel Randall Gordon-Duff said: "If a company's travel policy allows leisure days to be tagged onto a business trip, there is a moral imperative to ensure that employees are aware of any stipulations of cover where the company offers this, or of the need to arrange their own cover if they do not.”
The report also said manual-call in or emergency calls at 38% was the most common mode of communication between employers and workers during business trips. Only about 21% of companies kept in touch with travellers using global positioning systems (GPS).
Some 15% of HR professionals said the firm had no mechanism in place to track the employee whereabouts during business trips.
The firm announced a series of initiatives for firms to better identify and manage risk, and to better inform travellers on any insurance risks their trips may cause.
This includes limiting the number of days that can be taken for leisure purposes during the business trip, making clear to employees that they will only be covered for travel that does not mark a substantial U-turn from their original itinerary. The recommendations also suggested the degree of travel risk involved in leisure trips would be considered in the decision to extend insurance to leisure trips. It also said that travellers must be prepared to provide proof of arranging their own cover if the company is unwilling to insure leisure related travel within the company’s travel insurance.
The survey polled 103 HR professionals in the UK.