Very few businesses claim to have an extensive travel policy. Most businesses only have some kind of coverage governing the usage of personal electronic devices for business purposes, though this often is written more in an IT context and not really covering the details on just how personal electronic devices should be utilized within your organization. One of the most important elements in any travel policy is a section that clearly spells out the different permitted uses for your mobile phone, laptop computer and other electronics as well as the rules governing their usage. This is an absolute must and you should never skip this section. If you do not have it, be sure to include it in your corporate policies manual. It is also a good idea to actually update this policy on a regular basis.
The second most important aspect of any travel policy is that it clearly lays out the limits of coverage for personal injury, lost property and any other categories of damages that may occur. This section is also very important because it limits your ability to collect damages in situations where employees are injured while traveling on your company’s behalf. In addition, employees may be able to file claims with the local government and insurance carriers directly rather than through the company. Clearly laying out these limits will help protect your business and help protect the hard-working employees who provide your company with a great deal of its success.
There are other aspects of business travel policies that are equally important to any travel policy. That’s what many people refer to as the liability section. The main purpose of this section is to specify when employees will be covered for any injuries that they sustain while travelling on company time or any other claim that may arise. For example, if you were to write in your travel policy that no employee can be held responsible for any claim involving a domestic or international flight, you need to make sure you actually follow through on that policy.
Your business travel policy should also include details about what types of medical treatment employees may be entitled to for any injury sustained while travelling on company time. While it’s fairly common sense for employees to seek medical attention immediately following an injury, the rules can be somewhat complicated. If you aren’t prepared to take the time to fully explain all the laws regarding employee medical care and treatment, your employees may not be sufficiently informed about their rights and options. Also, if you’re not providing sufficient insurance coverage for employees to be covered for any potential injuries when travelling outside of Canada, you run the risk of having those employees denied coverage when they truly need it. Make sure that you have appropriate tax compliance documents, for instance, so that you don’t run into any problems with the IRS.
One of the most popular items that many business travel policy documents include is a list of miscellaneous travel expenses. What may be billed as business travel expenses can actually be separate areas of expense. For example, if an employee is on leave of absence, they might be charged for meeting room accommodations and other related goods and services. Some companies prefer to include travel awards at no additional cost to the employees. These are usually provided as an incentive to employees who demonstrate outstanding performance or who go above and beyond what is expected of them. When you’re reviewing these categories, be sure to look at what services are included, whether or not they are required by the law, and how they are calculated.
One of the most overlooked areas of travel coverage is your employees’ mileage allowance. You might think that this is simply an expense for driving back and forth between your home and the office, but the actual amount of mileage that an employee can use in a year can vary greatly. Most university employees use a standard amount of miles driven each year, and most often the company will make this figure up themselves based on the number of kilometres driven, the age of the employee, the mode of travel used, and so on. This can lead to discrepancies in mileage allowance billing from year to year.
A good travel policy should include a definition of “boarding fees” and “other miscellaneous charges”. The term “other miscellaneous charges” can mean many different things, and it is best to determine what it is meant by looking at all the terms of your travel policies. For example, are you familiar with the term “mobile devices”? Most travel procurement experts define mobile devices as anything that is personal electronic such as a PDA, laptop computer, iPod, etc. If the travel documents specify a usage of such items, this can often increase the underwriting requirements of your insurance policy significantly. Be sure to ask your corporate travel managers about any special circumstances involving mobile devices.
Travel management requires thorough coverage, especially when travelling outside of your country of origin. Make sure that you are well prepared by creating policies and procedures for all the aspects of your travels, including your baggage, vehicle, and itinerary. Your travel policy must have clear terms of coverage, clearly defined definitions of the terms, and a process for dispute resolution. By following these basic guidelines for creating a sound corporate travel policy, you can ensure that travellers are treated fairly and get the best possible experience travelling within your industry.