Workplace policies on cancelling work travel for medical reasons?
September 30, 2016 10:10 AM   Subscribe

I will likely need to cancel a work-related conference trip next week for medical reasons. Can I expect reimbursement for the money I've already spent? Bonus: my cancellation will be for mental health reasons, documented by my team of doctors. Does your workplace have policies around this? I am in the state of Massachusetts.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total)
As far as I know every business is different with this stuff. Can you just talk to your supervisor? They should be able to tell you what the norm is where you work. Just tell them it's a medical thing and see what they say.
posted by FireFountain at 10:43 AM on September 30, 2016

I would expect there to be a travel policy and an expense policy in most workplaces that require travel including what may be educational institutions. Have you consulted yours?

How it would work in my place of employment (probably in a different country so not a lot of use to you) is that you'd be expected to minimise any cost by cancelling things as soon as possible. But you'd absolutely get reimbursed for any non refundable cost that you have incurred.

However, with the exception of flights I don't normally have non refundable reservations.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:52 AM on September 30, 2016

You often can get airplane tickets refunded for medical reasons, even if the tickets themselves are non-refundable. I've had to do this with family health issues a couple of times in the past, and many airlines (including, even, United) are surprisingly accommodating. May be worth looking into - there may be some kind of process that you have to go through, but it's been relatively painless IME. Just something to keep in mind if you get some kind of pushback from your workplace/boss/HR/etc.
posted by un petit cadeau at 11:50 AM on September 30, 2016

I'm confused here.

Are you paying for the conference for your own reasons/own personal development? If so, getting sick doesn't change that - your employer isn't on the hook for expenses whether or not you went, as they never agreed to pay.

Is your employer paying for the conference? If so, getting sick doesn't change that - your employer should reimburse you for all normal expenses associated with the trip. No reasonable employer charges you expenses because you got sick. If they are trying to do so, you should find a new job.
posted by saeculorum at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2016

I think this is going to differ from workplace to workplace.

I work for the government - and employees could find themselves on the hook for cancelled travel or might not depending on the situation. I would try to explain the situation to your boss.
posted by arnicae at 12:11 PM on September 30, 2016

my workplace policy is: "fuck you you owe us for the plane ticket and hotel room." even if you have cancer or your wife died or whatever. it's *great*
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:05 PM on September 30, 2016

Do you book through a personal credit card, or through an organizational/corporate credit card?

We have to book all of our work travel using corporate credit cards (which we individually manage) and they have insurance on them for pretty much everything, including travel cancellation in the case of illness.
posted by scrute at 8:00 AM on October 1, 2016

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