With workforce collaboration happening globally, employers require key personnel in charge of project to travel on international assignments for a period. Managing employees travelling long distances, especially international travel for work but not at the place of work can raise several questions on the organisation’s obligations with regards to paying for working time, transport, health, safety and security.
Sometimes not having the correct policies and procedures documented when it comes to employee travel for international assignments could prove expensive for employers to cope with financially. Most organisations and companies do not consider the commute time taken to and from work, as working hours of the employee.
Additionally, employee and the employer agree on contractual terms that travelling everyday from home to work is not considered as work hour; however in exceptional cases when travelling from home to work at odd hours are required then it can be considered as the working hour.
HR managers should make a note of the employees working hours and retain records of travel to ensure that the company policies aren’t breached and regulations are followed. Employees, who need to travel a lot and have opted out of the 48-hour week, should be taken particular care.
Based on the contract agreed upon, HR managers can calculate if travel time for work has to be considered, and hourly paid employees will be compensated. However those on monthly arrangements will be compensated thereof for travelling on business outside their normal working hours.
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Costs of travel should be driven by clear communication of organisation policies and procedures. Employees should be made aware thereof to avoid any disputes over entitlement. Employers can always set rules, regards travel by a standard class for employees of a certain professional cadre and cap reimbursements for meals, drinks and accommodation.
These need to balance with the health and welfare of employees who travel miles and explore international markets for business. Employees should be reminded of the anti-bribery laws and any rules that govern gift and hospitality from a client, other than an employer.
Employers should consider risk assessment for employee (especially women employees) who travel frequently, regards their safety, health and security. Sometimes frequent travel may have adverse effects on the health of an employee, leading to sickness and frequent absentism from work.
Furthermore, companies should have policies for employees using their own vehicles to commute for work, to ensure that the vehicle is in good condition and its insurance is regularly checked. Employers should make sure that employees do not access any confidential information related to business during their travel time, such as on flight or in public transport.
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This can leave room for information leaks; hence employees should not access personal emails, or documents that other travellers can read. Also bags containing confidential information (for example, memory cards or laptops) should not be left unattended while travelling.
Companies need to ensure that proper IT security systems and provisions through encryption are in place. Policies and procedures for employee travel issues should be reviewed regularly as the organisation grows, to include more business travel for employees and upgrade practices to stay ahead of the times.
Also read: 5 Valuable Lessons from Your Employees
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