Procedure 414: Travel Procedures – General

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Administrative Affairs Procedure #414           

Section 1.        Procedure

This procedure is established to provide for the authorization of employee travel when such travel is necessary for the conduct of university business and to insure the prompt reimbursement of such authorized expenses and that such reimbursements comply with all applicable travel expense policies and procedures set forth by the State of Minnesota.

Section 2.        Authority

This procedure is issued pursuant to the Minnesota Department of Finance Operating Policies 06:05:14 Travel Advances, 06:05:15 Employee Travel Expense and Department of Employee Relations Administrative Procedure 4.4 Special Expenses.

Section 3.        Effective Date

The procedure outlined herein shall become effective upon signature of the Vice President of Administration and Finance and shall remain in effect until modified or expressly revoked.

Section 4.        Responsibility

The responsibility for implementation of this procedure is assigned to the Vice President for Administration and Finance.

Section 5.        Objective

To provide guidelines for authorization of employee travel and the reimbursement of expenses therein occurred by the employee.

Section 6.        Implementation

a.         Advance Approval Required

All travel at university expense shall be authorized in advance by the appropriate supervisor.  An Internal Requisition (1400 form SL-10130-020) must be filed with the Business Office prior to the travel taking place.  If appropriate, an Authorization of Out-of-State Travel (form SL-10331-01) and a Request for Approval to Incur Special Expenses (form FI-00023-03) must accompany the requisition.

b.         Responsibilities of Employee

Each employee who travels on university business at university expense is responsible for the accurate completion of all required forms, including the Employee Expense Report (form FI-00010-02). The employee is also responsible for attaching all required receipts to the expense report.

c.         Responsibilities of the Supervisor

The employee's supervisor is responsible for approval of the Internal Requisition,  the Employee Expense Report and all other required forms.  The supervisor approves the report based on (1) knowledge of the necessity for travel and expenses and (2) compliance with all provisions of applicable travel regulations.

d.         Responsibility of the University

The university has primary responsibility for the accuracy of Employee Expense Reports and other forms and for insuring compliance with all labor agreements, compensation plans and all travel policies and procedures.

The review or pre-audit function rests with the supervisor and the purchasing technician in the Business Office.

e.         USE OF THE EMPLOYEE EXPENSE REPORT (FI-00010)

All university employees must complete the Employee Expense Report in order to receive reimbursement for travel expenses.  Instructions for completion are on the back of the form.  Failure to complete this form properly and promptly may result in a delayed payment.

The employee should promptly complete the form and submit it to his/her supervisor for review.  The supervisor should review it for propriety and accuracy prior to forwarding it to the Business Office.

Employees should submit expense reimbursement on a monthly basis or by event.  Travel occurring on or before June 30 at the end of a fiscal year must be forwarded to the Business Office by July 5.  Failure to do so will result in non-reimbursement.

Receipts

Receipts are required for all expenses except meals, baggage handling, and parking and taxi services that are under $10 per day. In the event that a receipt is lost or otherwise unavailable, the employee must obtain a duplicate receipt from the vendor.  The fact that the original receipt was lost must be noted on the report. An affidavit in lieu of a receipt will not be accepted by the university.  Credit card billings or carbons are not acceptable

Meals

Employees are reimbursed for the cost of a meal, up to the maximum established in applicable labor agreement or compensation plan. Cost of a meal includes tax and a reasonable gratuity. These rates can be found in the appropriate employee labor agreement or compensation plan.

An employee may not claim reimbursement for breakfast unless he/she was required to leave home for a travel status assignment before 6 a.m. or to be away from home overnight.

An employee may not claim reimbursement for dinner unless university business caused him/her to return home from travel status after 7 p.m. or to be away from home overnight.

An employee is not considered in travel status unless traveling outside the metropolitan seven-county area. Departure and arrival times must be noted on the report.  Failure to do so will cause reimbursement delays.

Meal reimbursements greater than labor agreement or within the seven-county area require an approved Special Expense form.

When the state is paying the cost of commercial transportation or conference registration fee and a meal is included as part of the travel or conference, employees are not eligible to be reimbursed for the same meal.

Lodging

In order to be reimbursed for lodging, the employee must stay at a licensed lodging facility.  Employees cannot be reimbursed for staying at the house of a friend or relative.

Employees must submit any lodging receipts with their expense reports in order to obtain reimbursement.  Employees can only be reimbursed for the single-room rate for lodging.  If the bill submitted for reimbursement is for a multiple rate, the single rate must be clearly stated on the bill.  If the single rate and multiple rate are the same, this should be stated on the bill.

Transportation

Persons traveling by air on university business should select the lowest cost of transportation available upon arrival at their destination.  The choice will depend upon availability of transportation services.

A rental car may be considered if business travel (other than between airport and meeting site) is required and public transportation is clearly not adequate.  Justification for use of a rental car must be stated on the Out-of-State Travel authorization form.  A travel agency should be able to provide information on the options that exist.  Employees should not purchase the collision damage waiver as the state's automobile self-insurance program will cover these losses.

In the event of an accident involving collision or comprehensive damage with a rental vehicle, the Department of Administration, Risk Management Division, must be notified, whether the state driver is at fault or not.  Personal Accident Insurance or Personal Effects Protection are personal expenses and will not be paid or reimbursed.

When the employee uses his/her private vehicle, mileage will be reimbursed.  If a State of Minnesota vehicle is available and the employee chooses to drive his/her personal vehicle, a rate of $.21 per mile reimbursement is given.  If a state vehicle is not available AND the employee notes the Control Number given by the state, the employee may receive a rate of $.27 per mile reimbursement. Odometer  readings must be noted on each trip to receive reimbursement.

Air Fare

Air fare reimbursements must be the lowest round-trip fare available on the day of the trip request approval.  This amount must be documented on the Out-of-State Travel Authorization form. Out-of-state travel by personal car (including lodging, meals, and mileage) may be authorized by the university; however, expense reimbursement will be limited to the amount of air fare which otherwise would have been charged.

Further, if travel occurs during normal workdays, vacation leave must be used for any time over and above that required for air travel.

Air fare may be charged directly to the university if a purchase order and payment upon completion of the trip is acceptable to the travel agency the employee is utilizing.

Personal Phone Calls

Except as provided in labor agreements or compensation plans, the state will not reimburse employees for personal phone calls.

International Travel

If an employee is planning and has approval to travel internationally, a formal request using the Special Expense form must be made to the Department of Employee Relations prior to departure. If approved, the employee must document current rates of exchange at a banking institution once there.  Actual costs will be reimbursed for meals if receipts are submitted.

Section 7.        Review

This procedure will be subject to review on an annual basis or as needed.

Section 8.        Approval

 Issued this first day of February, 1995

 

          

 W. Gordon Scott, Vice President for Administration and Finance