Every business has a duty to care for its employees. Whether office-based, working remotely or on international assignment, your obligations don’t change. However, a 2019 RES Forum survey1 found contrasting views on duty of care within global mobility.
In general, it’s considered an important part of the global mobility programme. Not only for risk and legal compliance elements, but also for ethical and moral obligations to the employee. Despite this, implementation of policies with a clear focus on duty of care was often lacking.
While the employers’ understanding varied, the employees had a clearer opinion. As a rule, the majority considered a strong duty of care programme to be important. Where there was a chance of hardship or danger in the host location, they all saw it to be essential.
With the world gripped by a global pandemic, duty of care has become a bigger priority. As assignees are clear on its importance, so it’s essential that employers bring it to the front of their programmes.
Effect of Covid-19
Recent global events have shone new light on duty of care. As the pandemic struck and countries went into lockdown, businesses suffered. Trade restrictions, travel limitations and the strains of remote working affected many companies.
Those organisations with international assignments faced extra challenges. An EY report2 from June 2020 found that only 4% of respondents took no direct action as a result of Covid-19. The rest moved to review, postpone or even cancel assignments in the wake of the outbreak.
In the Covid-19 world, employers must reconsider how they support assignees. With no global vaccine, medical insurance policies must be updated. As the virus continues to spread, travel insurance must allow for emergency repatriation.
What’s more, renewed focus on mental health is needed. Most respondents recognised a considerable mental health risk linked to the crisis. Future assignments depend on these risks being addressed and the employees being properly supported.
As businesses resume international assignments, duty of care demands more attention. The long-term impacts of Covid-19 are unknown, but your responsibilities are as clear as ever.
Local knowledge might be considered routine for the employer. For the employee it could be the difference between settling into an assignment or struggling to find their feet.
As the virus ebbs and flows, local knowledge becomes more important than ever. That’s not to say it wasn’t already vital. Understanding local laws, customs and legislation plays a major role in relocating employees. Indeed, from a duty of care perspective, it’s among the most important aspects of any relocation.
Nowadays, knowledge of local Covid-19 restrictions is essential ahead of any international move. Quarantine requirements, lockdown laws and guidance on masks is vital for the relocating employee. While some of that information sits with the employer, most of it comes from the relocation partner and their global network.
Reliable global network
Changing job and moving home rank high on life’s biggest causes of stress. Throw in relocating your family to another country, and the stress levels go through the roof. With so much upheaval, it’s essential that assignees are well supported throughout the relocation.
The supplier’s role in this process shouldn’t be underestimated. Aside from priceless local knowledge, assignees rely on their suppliers at every stage. Whether finding a home or tracking belongings, the supplier provides peace of mind throughout the journey.
In addition to the practicalities, advice on how to spend tight budgets helps reduce stress for the assignee. Through effective consultation, a relocation partner will prioritise each stage. On top of delivering value, they also identify risks that the assignee wouldn’t expect.
A managed lump sum solution simplifies the process for the employer, while giving the employee more freedom and flexibility. Effective programme management from a reliable network prioritises employee wellbeing. This provides peace of mind and ensures everything is delivered within budget.
Gerson Relocation’s Managed Lump Sum Programme
Through fixed sum relocation allowances, our managed lump sum programme helps you budget effectively. At the same time, it gives your employees the freedom to choose the services that best meet their needs.
From shipping to settling in, our expert support goes a long way towards successful global relocation. All relocations are delivered without compromise. And, with services managed through our approved partner network, your employees are supported every step of the way.
You have a duty to care for your employees, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Get in touch for more information on how we can help look after your international assignees, throughout their journey.