The “duty of care” must be ensured by the employer. Indeed, the increase in business travel and the potential risks associated with it are leading companies to change their travel policies to protect their employees during their missions abroad. If an employee’s safety is hindered, whether he or she is an expatriate or simply on a mission of a few days, the company may be held criminally liable. What then are the obligations of companies and the means to be put in place to ensure the safety and protection of business travellers?
Duty of care of employees abroad and regulations.
It’s a reality, more and more people are moving outside our borders for many reasons. One of the main reasons is obviously professional. In addition, without necessarily settling abroad, French employees also travel a lot for their work on a regular basis. In order to ensure their safety while travelling, companies must therefore take full account of the potential risks, mainly related to the countries where missions are carried out, by implementing preventive security measures and protocols to be respected in the event of a crisis situation.
Protecting employees abroad: what does the French law say?
According to article L4121-1 of the Labour Code, “the employer shall take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and protect the physical and mental health of workers. These measures include: actions for the prevention of occupational risks; information and training actions; the setting up of an appropriate organisation and means. »
Moreover, in a decision of the Court of Cassation of March 5, 2018, “(…) the employer is bound, with respect to his staff, by an obligation of security of result which requires him to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and protect the health of workers; that he is prohibited, in the exercise of his management power, from taking measures which would have the object or effect of compromising the health and safety of employees”.
What are the sanctions in the event of a breach of the duty to protect?
In the event of negligence, the company may risk criminal consequences. Moreover, according to Article 223-1 of the French Criminal Code, “directly exposing another person to an immediate risk of death or injury likely to cause mutilation or permanent infirmity by the manifestly deliberate violation of a particular obligation of safety or prudence imposed by law or regulation is punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 euros”.
“Duty of care”: an important part of the company’s travel policy (PVE).
Security is one of the main concerns of business travellers. Indeed, in addition to budget management, a company travel policy must also take into account the comfort and safety of its employees when travelling on company business. However, the evolution of the risks obliges the travel manager to rethink the Travel Policy in order to better anticipate all types of dangers and situations.
To make sure you don’t forget anything, these 10 tips for business travellers will help you draw up your checklist before you leave.
The main risks during a business trip.
The company must ensure the safety and protection of its employees on business trips abroad from the various possible risks. On the one hand, there are health risks and accidents: infectious diseases, local environment (hygiene, access to drinking water, infrastructure). It must also guarantee access to healthcare and medicines if necessary. On the other hand, it must ensure their protection in the event of geopolitical or climatic risks: kidnapping, conflict, vandalism, terrorism, natural disasters, etc.
The duty of care in the face of the global evolution of insecurity.
Over the years, the list of potential risks has expanded. While certain areas or countries can be classified according to their level of dangerousness, in the current context it is almost impossible to classify them as “safe” areas or destinations. Moreover, climate change, as well as the events of recent years, are proof that danger can occur everywhere. This unpredictability confirms the importance and necessity of the “duty of care” for business travellers. Coronavirus is a cruel reminder of this duty of care.
Before any business trip abroad, it is strongly recommended that you consult the Business Travellers Tips section of the reference site France Diplomatie of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which contains all the necessary information on each country as well as the regional maps of the zones of vigilance. It is updated very regularly.
Moreover, in the face of insecurity, business travel is changing, thanks in particular to new technologies dedicated to the protection of professionals during their travels. Certain companies specializing in security and medical interventions around the world can be of great help.
What should a duty of care policy be based on?
The main concern of the company and the travel manager is to enable employees to travel efficiently and in optimal security conditions. This is what duty of care is all about. While each trip must be closely studied, a risk management policy must be based on risk prevention, by preparing the trip in advance and defining precise rules, but also by establishing a procedure to follow in the event of a problem or crisis situation. Finally, to ensure that this risk prevention and logistics policy is implemented, it is imperative to communicate well with employees in order to train and inform them.
The company must take out international health insurance.
As an employee of a company travelling abroad, whether it is to attend a trade show, a congress, a business meeting, or as part of a long assignment or expatriation, the company must take out international health and risk prevention insurance for its employees. It covers the employee during working hours, during travel to and from work, and also during free time. During an assignment abroad, the company’s liability is very extensive and the employee is covered beyond his or her working hours. If an employee is injured while jogging, shopping or during an evening out with friends, the company may be liable. The company is often liable for the entire duration of the stay, and the airline ticket is often proof of this, both day and night, including weekends.
Employees must be informed of the risks and the protocol to follow in the event of a problem.
Each assignment abroad, whether it lasts a few days or is an expatriation, must be prepared in advance. The objective is to prevent risks as much as possible. This preparation must imperatively include informing employees. They must be informed of the company’s obligations regarding employee protection, potential local risks and the procedures to follow in the event of danger. This duty to inform also helps to reassure employees on the move.
MagicStay furnished apartments are perfectly integrated into companies’ “duty of care” policies.
More than 30% of business travellers have already felt unsafe when travelling. According to them, to feel safe, the choice of accommodation and its location is the most important criterion. Hotels, which are high-traffic areas, can contribute to this feeling of insecurity. The MagicStay furnished apartments around the world for long or short-term rental in Paris, for example, fit perfectly into companies’ “duty of care” policies and help reassure the traveller.
In December 2019, MagicStay won the Safety of Travelers Award of Lauriers du Voyage d’Affaires.
Whether for expatriation, impatriation, long or short term assignments, all the furnished apartments, studios, villas, apart-hotels offered by MagicStay have been carefully selected and are guaranteed by the Trustay approach. A 24/7 assistance, in French or English, allows us to respond to all travellers’ requests during their stay.
The Extendeez® online software allows companies to optimize the management of accommodation for their employees on long missions and to ensure their security by communicating in real time with the selected security operator such as iSOS, SSF, Anticip… for example.
Are you leaving on a business trip soon? MagicStay offers you a selection of comfortable and secure accommodation anywhere in the world.