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Ask EdSeptember 2, 2015
If an employee is at a work related function, outside of normal hours, either hosted by our company or by a third party, am I required to pay for staff members to get a taxi home? Sometimes our staff are required to be at an event until quite late at night. Of course I want to make sure they all get home safely, but it can end up being very expensive – particularly with those that live more than an hour away.
We get this question a lot, especially as the festive season approaches and many of you will have organised office parties, functions with clients offsite and other events.
The short answer to your question is no, you are not required to pay for staff to get home from work related functions. However, employers need to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and welfare of their employees.
In addition to this, whether the event is onsite at your workplace or at an external venue, these functions are considered to be work related and behaviour at these functions is covered by the same rules that apply in the workplace. Employers need to be mindful of potential workplace claims that may arise from inappropriate conduct or a related health and safety issues at these functions.
If you are concerned, some reasonable steps to reduce the risk of potential issues are set out below:
Employees have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions for their own safety and the safety of others and they are expected to behave in accordance to company policies and procedures.