Duty of Care for Business Travel in Europe

13th December 2019

Duty of care for business travel in the EU can be a grey area as legislation differs from country to country. An official legal review carried out in 2017 found that is becoming more and more common for employees to travel to new and emerging markets throughout the world. Employees who are required to travel might find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings with greater frequency than ever before. While these employees travel for the company, they have family and loved ones at home to consider. Health and safety for frequent travelers is an important part of travel plans. Traveling to a turbulent region may not be as far away as you think. There are risks of adverse events in many of the major European cities such as Barcelona, Paris and London. According to a survey carried out by the European Legal Review in 2017 46% of European companies say that health and safety instances had an effect on their business stability in 2016.

Health and safety of each employee is the responsibility of the employer. The legislation for each European country differs but duty of care remains a legal obligation for a standard of reasonable care, for each staff member carrying out a task set out by the company.  Having a set of policies in place to guide business travel decisions is the first step to creating a high standard for health and safety. This can reduce risk and the chance of injury and as a result upholding the well-being of the employee while traveling. The guidelines in the company will need to be compliant to the legislation of the EU Member State which the employee is traveling from.


Compliance to duty of care legislation can take on a layer of complexity when dealing with international companies. When operating in several countries, international companies need to understand the complexities of national laws. For example, in Belgium when a staff member travels to another country, both the company and the staff member, can choose the law which applies to the employment contract. This is according to the regulation number 593/2008 of the European Parliament. The employer can, under this legislation, subject the employee to a law from another country. This law would be different to the law which previously officiated it. While traveling to another country the employment rules of that country would apply to the employees traveling. This could affect the working hours and rest times of those employees.


This is entirely different to Denmark, when an employee who travels to another country and is not a local employee, Danish law will continue to apply. However, if traveling to another EU Member State the employee will be covered by local health and safety laws. Having a corporate travel policy can go a long way to ensuring the safety of the employees. In 2002 a worst-case scenario occurred where 11 engineers sadly passed away due to a terrorist attack.


There have been multiple cases of accident or injury during business travel which resulted in new legislation being introduced. Along with legislation companies can do their part to assure the safety of employees. By analyzing travel exposure and using the benefits of technology, an employer can minimize risk to the employee. 1Time Tracking has a time management system available on any device anytime. With easy to manage time-sheets, business travel hours can be logged by the individual. Try our 30day free trial to learn more about the individual view with automated reminders.



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