But while many firms (89 per cent) are happy to allow their employees to conduct these ‘bleisure’ trips, almost one third of employers (31 per cent) say that they do not extend their corporate travel risk policies to cover additional days. Collinson Group’s study found that 72 per cent of corporate travellers add extra leisure days to their business trips, with the average corporate traveller adding five extra days to their work-related excursions annually.
“The legalities around the question of employer accountability for those who bolt leisure days on to a business trip are a somewhat grey area,” said Randall Gordon-Duff, head of product business travel at Collison Group. “However, 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.”
If corporate policies do accommodate ‘bleisure’ extensions, he continued, ‘the quid-pro-quo should be that employees uphold key aspects of the corporate travel policy such as pre-travel risk assessments or traveller tracking – particularly when in destinations deemed higher risk – as this can impact the company’s own risk or ability to fulfil their duty of care’. “We advise those responsible for international business travel to talk to their insurer or broker about what is and is not covered in terms of leisure days, to modify their policies accordingly and ensure this is communicated to staff,” he added.
Meanwhile, a separate report from Collison has suggested that many firms are neglecting their duty of care requirements – only 38 per cent of the UK-based HR professionals surveyed said that their firms conduct appropriate risk assessments before employees head to high-risk locations for business purposes. Over half of respondents said that they believed their travel management companies provide medical and security assistance for overseas employees, while 40 per cent believed that these companies provide crisis management and response services, when many in fact do not offer these services.
The survey also found a number of inconsistencies with regards to risk assessment processes: only 44 per cent of organisations make sure to issue staff with company guidelines before they travel, and of those companies that do conduct risk assessments, 58 per cent rely on Google searches and only one in three make use of reports from security consultancies. The majority (63 per cent) simply rely on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s website.