International business travel: employer responsibilities

International business travel: employment contracts and policies


As an employer, you can ask your employees to work in another country for your company, but if this is a likely requirement it should be written into the employment contract.

Amending employment contracts

If necessary, amend your employment contracts to detail this need for international business travel, but remember, there are rules you must observe when you change an employee's terms of employment.

Consider including a clause in your employee's contract that deals with business trips, for example: 'during the term of this agreement, you are expected to work internationally, but not for more than 31 days at a time'.

Unless circumstances are exceptional, an employee can't easily refuse to work in a different country if this requirement is written into their employment contract.

If the employee is working abroad for longer, specific requirements would need to be mentioned, eg applicable laws and payments. However, the wording of the clause would depend on the specific circumstances of the job and employee.

Effective employment policies for business travel

You should have a policy that details employee responsibilities while working overseas. This should be included in your staff handbook.

It should clearly define what represents unacceptable behaviour when travelling for business. Employees should know that if they are guilty of unacceptable behaviour, they will be dealt with through your existing disciplinary procedures. See disciplinary procedures, hearings and appeals.

Your policy should also explain other important topics such as claiming expenses, time-off in lieu if applicable, working hours, sickness, emergency procedures and driving.

See how to set up employment policies for your business.

Making business travel more convenient

Working in other countries can be less convenient for employees with family or care commitments. Give employees as much notice as possible ahead of business trips.

Where feasible, responsibility for overseas trips should be shared between employees. Also, consider ways of minimising the impact on other staff while colleagues are away on business trips.