International SOS Collaborates with Partners to Launch the Duty of Care Concept in China

BEIJING, Sept. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ —

  • International SOS launches the Global Framework in China via think tank International SOS Foundation, to give organisations a structure to ensure the health and safety of business travelers
  • International SOS additionally launches a legal paper supported by a law firm on the implications and application of Duty of Care in China
  • The practice of organisations taking responsibility for employees during business travel and international assignments will support the continued internationalisation of China

International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company, has today launched in China the world’s first global framework to protect workers travelling or on overseas assignments, under the concept of Duty of Care. The document, put together by the research body the International SOS Foundation, provides strategic guidance for organisations to identify hazards and threats and manage risks to ensure the safety, health and security of its workers.

Put simply, Duty of Care is an organisations obligation to protect their employees from risks. In the dynamic world of multinational corporations and with the rapid globalization of Chinese companies, employees face the highest risks when on business travel or international assignments, especially in developing nations.

To support the practical application of the Global Framework to companies operating in China and Chinese companies going global, International SOS has launched an additional legal paper with the support of legal contributors King and Wood Mallesons. The paper sets out for the first time the legal framework around applying Duty of Care in China and for Chinese companies going overseas.

John Williams, Managing Director Partnership and Government Affairs at International SOS said, "A recent PWC report found that a 50% growth in mobile workers is expected by 2020. With outward Chinese investment reaching USD 85 billion in 2013 compared to USD 10 billion in 2005, it is clear China will be at the forefront of this increasingly large mobile workforce.

In order to grow, attract and retain the best talent, companies operating in and out of China must ensure they are responsible for the health and safety of their employees and their dependants. The Global Framework for the first time maps out precisely how this can be achieved."

Applying Duty of Care to China

Although accepted as a concept in many western countries, there is little experience of Duty of Care in China. With the rise of Chinese international assignees, and a recent study showing that the cost of a failed international assignment is between 3 and 5 times the assignees annual wage, Duty of Care is a topic that must be addressed in China to support economic growth. To ensure that the application is understood in the context of China’s legal environment, International SOS joined hands with legal experts at King and Wood Mallesons to create a legal paper to be launched alongside the Global Framework. Dr. JIANG Junlu, Senior Partner at King and Wood Mallesons said, "The legal paper for the first time explains the obligations of companies to their workers under Chinese law as well as the care and support for workers physical wellbeing and benefits package. From a legal point of view, it is essential and necessary for employers and employees to understand what rights are afforded to them."

With 100 Chinese companies in the 2014 Fortune 500 compared to 54 in 2010, China’s increased global role comes with the expectation to set the standard in caring for the health and safety of business travellers and international assignees. Antonoil is leading the Duty of Care concept in China and LIU Yang, Group Senior Vice President of HR at Antonoil Group, commented, "With the dynamic nature of Chinese businesses, we want to look after our employees to make sure we attract and keep the best available to maintain our competitive growth. Applying the practices of Duty of Care with International SOS as our partner is an essential element in doing this."

Through the Global Framework, the International SOS Foundation has produced a prescribed method of ensuring an organisation fulfils their Duty of Care to staff. The Framework in combination with the legal paper, has allowed International SOS to lay the building blocks for the concept of Duty of Care to be developed in China, which will take Chinese companies to the next level of globalization.

About International SOS

International SOS ( is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 700 locations in 89 countries. Our expertise is unique: More than 11,000 employees are led by 1,200 doctors and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect our members.

We have pioneered a range of preventative programmes and offer an unparalleled response to emergencies. We are passionate about helping clients put ‘Duty of Care’ into practice. With us multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.

About the International SOS Foundation

Established in 2011, the International SOS Foundation ( is a global think tank with the goal of improving the safety, security, health and welfare of people working abroad or on remote assignments through the study, understanding and mitigation of potential risks. The escalation of globalization has enabled more individuals to work across borders and in unfamiliar environments; exposure to risks which can impact personal health, security and safety increases along with travel. The foundation was started with a grant from International SOS.
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