What should employers consider when producing a crisis management policy for employees on international assignments, eg to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack?

When producing a crisis management policy for employees on international assignments, employers must consider the legal, commercial, fiduciary and social responsibilities arising from sending employees to work in another country. They should try to identify potential crises that could affect employees working outside of their home country and assess whether or not extra security is required in the particular host country (and, if it is, what type of assistance should be provided).

An employer could consider offering increased rest and recuperation trips to an employee and any accompanying family members and the provision of enhanced medical cover, if warranted by in-country conditions.

When putting a crisis management policy in place, the employer should:

  • identify a crisis management team, including members of its international mobility team (whether an internal team or external advisers) as well as in-country representation;
  • make it company policy for employees working outside of their home country to notify the international mobility team of their whereabouts at all times;
  • develop a method of communication with employees and their dependants during an emergency and/or evacuation, and for tracking and controlling personnel movement;
  • identify evacuation routes;
  • make certain that the crisis management team have copies of essential items, such as passports and medical records, which may be required at very short notice; and
  • have a "shelter-in-place" strategy and strategies for repatriation home, evacuation to a nearby country or evacuation to a nearby location.