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Overseas travel - requirement of job

(9 Posts)
JeanSeberg Mon 15-Aug-16 13:18:08

It's in the job description of one of my staff member's to travel to France and Belgium a few years each year. They have done this several times over the last couple of years, most recently in May this year. However, now they are saying they are no longer prepared to travel to either country due to the increased security threat/recent incidents.

What is the HR position on this?

OlennasWimple Mon 15-Aug-16 13:23:28

Have you asked your HR team for advice?

If you are HR... I would show that I was taking their request seriously; complete a risk assessment (how often do they have to travel, could this be reduced if not eliminated, what is the impact on business); think about what I could provide in the way of training or other support on the case of something happening; but ultimately be guided by the FCO travel advice.

OllyBJolly Mon 15-Aug-16 13:30:03

The legal position is that they are not fulfilling their contract.

The HR position is much more complex. Is this travel required by the job? Is this a valuable employee? Is there a workaround?

It would be a hard employer who forced someone into situations where they feel very uncomfortable - no matter how irrational. But it's not black and white.

JeanSeberg Mon 15-Aug-16 13:31:57

Thanks for the reply, yes I've sought advice from HR as I'm not HR myself.

Good idea to check FCO advice although this doesn't say not to travel. It just advises that there is a high threat from terrorism and to be extra vigilant; also, of the 17 million visitors to France each year, most are trouble-free.

On the one hand I don't want to force my colleague to go in the extremely unlikely event that he did get caught up in something; on the other hand we have a service to provide to our customers in France and if he won't do it, where does this leave him/us?

JeanSeberg Mon 15-Aug-16 13:34:04

Thanks, Olly, yes agreed there's no question of forcing him to go and yes there are workrounds (although they will cost the company a lot more money).

LyndaNotLinda Mon 15-Aug-16 13:42:23

The threat in France isn't any higher than in the UK.

If he'd had an accident or was banned from driving and being able to drive was part of his job, he'd no longer be fulfilling his duty would he? This isn't really any different - you're not going against government travel advice by asking him to continue to do part of his contract.

LyndaNotLinda Mon 15-Aug-16 13:42:58

OlennasWimple Mon 15-Aug-16 14:09:40

I have American colleagues who now refuse to transit in Charles De Gaulle or Amsterdam in case they are caught up in something. Irrational, but mostly manageable through other travel routes - the slightly increased cost is annoying but ok. It'd be very different if their role required them to attend in-person meetings in central Paris and they refused to go. You could reduce travel (do yo have good conference call facilities?)but ultimately they are going to have to go, aren't they?

JeanSeberg Mon 15-Aug-16 14:27:34

Thanks again all. This particular activity can't be replaced by video/conference call, it has to be done in person.

The alternative would be to pay a local person (external to our company) to do this instead and foot the bill.

We're talking about 2 separate weeks in 2 separate locations in France (one is Paris) - Monday to Friday.

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