Kiwi businesses need to know the new Health and Safety at Work Act is about more than just keeping workers safe while they’re on-site. Business travel is also covered in the new rules. Employers now have a greater responsibility to protect staff when they’re away from the office for business reasons.
The new legislation requires employers to take a more active role in managing their workers’ transport, accommodation and activities while they’re on work trips. Non-compliance could leave employers facing personal fines or even jail time.
Most large companies have resources dedicated to booking and managing staff travel. However, that’s a luxury many small and medium sized businesses don’t have the time or budget for. In small organisations, employees often organise their own accommodation, flights or car hire.This makes it easy for employees to “fall off the grid” while they’re away on business – putting them at even greater risk if an incident was to occur.
Serko for business travel
Knowing exactly where employees are staying and how they’re travelling is a crucial step towards complying with the new legislation. Our ecosystem connects Xero to online tools to help small businesses thrive. Later this year, we’ll be connecting to serko.travel. It’s designed specifically for small and medium sized businesses and uses Serko’s booking technology so flights, accommodation, transfers and car hire from any supplier can be booked in one place.
The integration will make it easy for small businesses to keep track of exactly when, where and how workers are travelling. For those making overseas trips, it will also offer traveller risk assessments and disaster and emergency response advice. Beta testing is currently underway and the integration is expected to launch by mid-2016.
All New Zealand businesses, no matter what the size, should have a duty of care programme and travel policy in place, including health, safety and security guidance. Businesses that already have one should review it to ensure it’s inline with the new legislation. If you want to know more about meeting your safety obligations for travelling workers check out this video from Serko.
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