"Of course we need a travel health policy…"

Travel Health Policy

Travel health is about looking after the health needs of travellers, specifically business travellers, by assisting employers to develop a travel health policy and providing information, clearance, immunisations and medical kits to travellers.

Do your staff travel overseas for work (under normal circumstances)? Do you know for sure they are properly prepared to stay healthy on the journey? Have they had all recommended pre-travel health protection for their trip? Is their overseas sojourn a “safe workplace”? Companies often have policies for bullying, sick leave, for social media use, nondiscrimination, noise levels etc but often there is no overseas travel policy - to ensure that employees are properly prepared to stay healthy on their business trip. It’s good for morale to care for your staff.

Whether it is called a business travel policy, company travel policy, corporate travel policy, staff travel policy or overseas travel policy, they all need to have a travel health policy section included.

The Travel Medicine Alliance or TMA is a network of Australian doctors with experience in Travel Health, and international medicine. All our focus is directed at keeping travellers healthy ensuring no medical emergencies occur. Our medical staff know all about the diseases that put travellers “out of business”. Even before COVID-19 was famous, we were obsessed with infectious diseases.

Our team provides business or corporate travellers with information, vaccinations, travellers medical kits. Most importantly, we can document for employers, that all the correct steps have been taken from an occupational health and safety point of view. We supply the documentation needed to prove the business has fulfilled their duty of care to staff. Anyone with travel plans or travelling overseas can consult our doctors before departure. Ideally, we like to see travellers 4-6 weeks before departure on the first visit. After the initial consultation, we can generally organise top-up protection at very short notice. Pre-travel health care is especially important for those travellers who have pre-existing medical conditions or who might need medical treatment while travelling.

TMA has doctors all over Australia so business travellers can easily access the most up-to-date medical advice and tools to stay healthy while overseas.

Travel polices have various names, overseas travel policy, business travel policy, company policy or corporate travel policies. So the question is, does your company have any of these policies to make sure all work travellers are properly prepared before travel? If not …the company could be taking an unnecessary risk with their most important asset - their staff. It could also be expensive. Medical expenses for pre-travel preparation are relatively modest compared to the cost of hospital care or repatriation, or even litigation. Not all travel insurance products or insurance plans will cover all situations.

Some companies that have no overseas or company travel policy in place, someone might just say ‘Maybe go and get your jabs if you want’, so the employer or directors have no way of knowing if their staff have had the proper preparation for staying well on a work trip. Business travel polices are a must!

AND from a medico- legal perspective … employers have a duty of care to provide a safe workplace. An overseas travel policy must include not only passports, visas, plane tickets and job brief, it must include health considerations. A staff travel policy needs to include health preparation: outline such things as how long before departure staff should make medical preparations, which medical clinic should they use, who should pay, what documentation is required, and even what the procedure should be if the staff decline to have the recommended preparation. Policies should also document what to do if staff become ill on their return.

The importance of comprehensive travel insurance, and especially health insurance, is well recognised. Staff expect the best treatment if they get sick. In Australia, private health insurance ensures you get access to the doctor and hospital of your choice. Domestic travel within Australia (once life gets back to normal) is relatively safe as there are great medical services across our country, BUT Business travellers go to countries where first class medical care is not always available, especially now when medical systems have been under such pressure due to COVID-19. Global assistance and travel insurance is all very well but better not to need it.

Wouldn’t it just be so much better if staff don’t get sick in the first place. Better if staff stay healthy so they do not NEED to visit a hospital? The COVID-19 ’storm’ has highlighted how bad infectious diseases can be. The health of staff should not be left to chance. As part of any staff travel policy needs to be a staff travel health policy.

Our helpful TMA staff can help you set up a travel health policy that is individualised for your business, giving employers and their staff peace of mind.

Email us now to find out how you can ensure your staff have all the protection they need. During the COVID-19 storm, there is an opportunity to look into SYSTEMS and get policies in place so that when everything restarts, you are ready to go.