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Sending Workers Abroad - Employer Duty of Care

In the current marketplace, global travel is becoming the norm, with more employers than ever before sending their employees abroad. The graduates who form part of the millennial generation are keen to work outside their home country, suggesting that there will be even more demand from employees for international postings going forward. However, the risks involved in posting employees abroad are also on the rise.

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Recent world events have shown the increased risks associated with global travel: from aviation disasters to an increased risk of terrorist activity, from natural disasters to pandemics such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2013 and the MERS outbreak in South Korea earlier this year, there is an inherent risk involved in sending employees to work in other jurisdictions. Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease and, in economic terms, the International Labour Organization has estimated that 4% of the world’s annual GDP is lost as a consequence of occupational accidents and diseases . Of course, not all of these accidents take place while employees are working abroad, but if employers are going to build a borderless workforce against this backdrop, it is critical that they are aware of the duty they owe to protect their employees from harm, both in the UK and abroad.