Travel Authorization and Reimbursement
Memorandum #217 - Travel Authorization and Reimbursement
May 5, 2016
To establish guidelines for all employees and Trustees to obtain approval and reimbursement of College-related travel and business expenses.
Community College of Philadelphia employees or Trustees may be authorized to attend professional conferences, meetings, workshops and development seminars at the College’s expense and/or during normally assigned working hours if the purpose of such travel is in accordance with the mission, goals, objectives and priorities of the College and if funds to support such travel are available in the appropriate budget.
- The respective Vice President, Dean, Director, Associate Vice President, Assistant Vice President or President is authorized to permit personnel to travel at College expense if the purpose of such travel is in accordance with the objectives of the College and if funds are available in the appropriate budget for such travel. A Travel Authorization Request form must be completed by the person requesting approval for all travel explaining the purpose of the trip and the expected benefits to the College.
- Travel by Trustees must be approved by the Chair of the Board or, the Executive Committee of the Board.
- Travel costs and any interference with performance of duties must be justified by offsetting benefit to the College and/or to the individual’s professional development.
- The mode of travel selected shall be that which is most practical and economical.
- All travel outside the City of Philadelphia requiring a hotel stay requires the prior written approval of the Vice President, Dean, Director, Associate Vice President, Assistant Vice President or President.
B. Initiating the Travel Request
All employees requesting travel authorization must complete the Travel Authorization Request form and submit it to their Supervisor and other authorized approver per Section III A.1. for approval. All Trustees must complete the Travel Authorization Request form and submit to the Chair of the Board or the Executive Committee of the Board for approval. No form will be considered complete unless all required signatures for authorization have been obtained. The travel authorization form should be submitted as soon as possible but is required no later than ten (10) business days prior to the travel date to allow time for Purchasing to make arrangements if requested.
C. Making Travel Arrangements
- Travel arrangements should be made by the traveler with exception of vehicle rentals. The Purchasing Department is available to assist with arrangements for hotel, rail and airfare. Purchasing may have discount contract rates available to employees or trustees. Conference registration is to be arranged by the traveler.
- Traveler must select the lowest possible coach airfare or train fare that meets the business needs of the College by considering Saturday night stays or other alternatives.
- If the traveler’s plans change and the airline ticket is no longer of use, the traveler must immediately contact Purchasing. If the ticket has value, it must be used for College business only.
- Transportation to and from airports and train stations
- Travelers must use the most practical and economical mode of ground transportation to and from airports and train stations (e.g., hotel and airport shuttle services, shared ground transportation, etc.).
- Travelers must use the most practical and economical mode of ground transportation to and from their residence. Shuttle service is permitted if it is the most cost effective method.
- If the traveler takes an indirect route for other than a college business purpose, or interrupts a direct route of travel, the traveler is responsible for all costs above and beyond those that would have been incurred by traveling the direct route.
- Vehicle Rental
- Rentals must be arranged by the Purchasing Department.
- If driving is the most efficient and cost-effective mode of travel and a rental car is utilized, the rental should be an appropriately sized vehicle.
- If a rental accident occurs, the traveler should immediately contact:
- the vehicle rental company, in accordance with the company's requirements for reporting accidents;
- local authorities, as required;
- his/her department head;
- Purchasing (no later than 24 hours); and
- The College will not provide reimbursement if the rental is not arranged by the Purchasing Department.
- Personal Vehicles
- If the approved mode of travel is by personal automobile, the traveler will be reimbursed based on the IRS allowable reimbursement rate for business miles plus expenses related to tolls and parking. (See policy #210 - Personal Automobile Mileage Reimbursement) Business miles are based on the most direct route. At the conclusion of the trip, the traveler must complete the Travel Reimbursement form indicating the expenses associated with the travel and a check request form and submit it to the Controller’s Office along with all accompanying receipts for which reimbursement is sought (i.e., tolls and parking). The traveler will be responsible for all fuel, towing and maintenance costs related to his/her private automobile; and for carrying adequate personal insurance coverage for his/her vehicle and occupants.
- A traveler should review his/her personal insurance coverage prior to using his or her vehicle for college business and consult with his/her insurance agent to determine appropriate coverage. The traveler's insurance is the primary insurance coverage when using a personal vehicle for travel related to College business. Traveler must provide proof of insurance with the Travel Authorization Request form if driving their own vehicle.
- The College will not provide reimbursement for repairs to personal cars, even if the costs result from college business travel or travel between the personal residence and regular work location of traveler.
- If a personal car is involved in an accident while on College business travel, the traveler should immediately contact:
- his/her insurance company;
- local authorities, as required;
- his/her department head;
- Purchasing (by the next business day); and
- When attending a conference, all attempts should be made to reserve rooms at the conference site. If that is not possible, reservations will be made at the closest hotel charging at or below the federal rate for lodging. See maximum lodging rates for all U.S. States, territories, and possessions established by the U.S. General Services Administration for allowable lodging expenses (http://gsa.gov/portal/category/100120).
- Travelers are encouraged to make their own hotel arrangements. However, in the event that the Controller’s Office will issue a check for the cost of the hotel stay, all checks will be made payable to the hotel and it will be the responsibility of the traveler to submit the request for payment to Accounts Payable in a timely fashion so it can be mailed to the hotel. Check pick-ups cannot be permitted for travel. Upon checkout, the hotel will issue the traveler a receipt indicating the applicable room rate and the total amount charged for the stay. The hotel receipt and related documentation must be submitted to the Controller’s Office immediately upon return from travel.
- Upon arrival at the hotel, the traveler must use their own method of payment (e.g. personal credit card) to guarantee payment for any charges above the negotiated room fee (e.g. pay-per-view, personal telephone calls, and in-room bar, dining to the extent in excess of the meal allowance below, among others).
- The traveler is responsible for canceling hotel room reservations when necessary. The traveler must request and record the cancellation number in case of billing disputes. Cancellation deadlines are based on the location of the property (e.g., Pacific Time Zone when the property is in California). Expenses incurred as a result of a failure to cancel a hotel reservation are the responsibility of the traveler. The Dean, Director, Org Manager or President may authorize exceptions to the traveler’s responsibility of expenses related to a lodging “no show” based on an approved written explanation indicating the reason/s for the failure to cancel the reservation in a timely manner.
- The maximum per diem meal allowance for each full day of travel is established by the U.S. General Services Administration for allowable meal expenses (http://gsa.gov/portal/category/100120). Detailed, itemized receipts for meals including names of attendees and business purpose are required. The College will only reimburse traveler's meals that are not otherwise paid for or provided. Therefore, the College will not reimburse breakfast, lunch, or dinner if provided as part of the conference, meeting, or other business activity necessitating the travel. Without exception, the College will not reimburse the traveler or pay for any expenses related to alcoholic beverages.
The maximum per diem tip allowance is $10 per day exclusive of meals and transportation. This includes tips for baggage handling, room service, hotel maid service, etc. Receipts for tips are not required. However, tipping for meals may not exceed 20%.
- Group Travel
Group Travel should be made through the Purchasing Department
a. The sponsoring College department must provide a list of traveler names to the Risk Manager and Director of Security. The sponsoring department is responsible for ensuring all student travelers have obtained the necessary student travel insurance.
- International Travel
- All College-sponsored international travel involving students must follow the "Guidelines for College-Sponsored International Travel" as published by the Center for International Understanding.
- Currency Exchange
- When charges are in foreign currencies, travelers must:
- Submit foreign expenses in U.S. dollars using the exchange rate in effect during the dates of travel;
- Include documentation indicating the exchange rates used to make the conversions; and
- For purchases made with a credit card, use the exchange rates provided by the credit card company for purchases made with a credit card.
D. Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Expenses
It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain original itemized receipts for all allowable expenses. Accounts Payable will not reimburse the traveler for any costs without an itemized receipt. Only authorized costs, accompanied by the appropriate receipt, will be reimbursed. It is suggested that the traveler call Accounts Payable if they are unsure whether an expense will be covered.
- The following are examples of reimbursable expenses for College-approved travel:
Wi-Fi if required for College business; meals; tolls; transportation to and from the airport; telephone calls related to official College business only; conference registration expenses; or other expenses associated with the travel, so long as the expense is essential to the transaction of College business and in accordance with the limits outlined in this policy.
- The following are examples of expenses not allowed for reimbursement:
Alcoholic beverages, hotel gyms, mini-bars, in-room movies, entertainment, laundry, vehicle fines, and personal phone calls.
- Travel expense reports must be submitted to the Controller’s Office within 10 business days of the return from travel.
- Cash advances will not be provided unless a hardship can be demonstrated. Approval by the department’s Vice President, Dean, Director, Associate Vice President or Assistant Vice President is required.
E. Timing of Event and Reimbursement
Reimbursements for meals, lodging and other expenses will normally be limited to expenses incurred during the day(s) of the meeting, conference or other business activity attended by the traveler. Expenses incurred on additional days may be reimbursed if extending the period results in reduced airfare sufficient to cover the additional meals, lodging and other expenses or it is not possible to arrive and/or depart on the day(s) of the meeting, conference or other business activity attended by the traveler
F. Partial Reimbursement
- If your expenses are partially covered by another organization, the College may accept copies of receipts in place of originals. The voucher must include the name of the organization that is paying the partial reimbursement, what is being reimbursed, and the amount reimbursed.
- If any meal is provided by the conference, hotel, or any other source, the traveler should reduce the per diem meal allowance by the amount in Section III C.9a. (Making Travel Arrangements) that corresponds to that meal.
- The per diem allocation for meals, which is intended to cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each full day of travel is located at (http://gsa.gov/portal/category/100120).
G. Other Means of Transportation
The College may provide reimbursement for other commercial means of transportation such as train or bus. However, reimbursements must not exceed the cost of reasonable coach airfare or other reasonable transportation costs to the same destination.
H. Personal Travel Combined with Business Travel
The College will only reimburse for the business portion of a trip. The traveler must provide evidence to support the business portion of the trip and the allocation between the business and personal expenses. A quote for the business-related travel must be obtained at the time of ticketing to document the incremental costs that will be treated as personal expenses. This quote must be submitted along with the Travel Request form.
I. Reimbursement Payment
- Accounts Payable will generally send reimbursements of approved expenses to employees within ten business days of the receipt of the Official Travel form (will include link to form), along with all accompanying receipts. Forms submitted for travel reimbursement must be signed by the Vice President, Dean, Director, Associate Vice President, Assistant Vice President or President.
- Willful violations of this policy, including falsification of expense reports, will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including denial of requested reimbursements and/or termination of employment.
The payment for travel of prospective employees and their families must receive prior written approval by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources or by the Board of Trustees if the recruitment is for the position of President.
K. Travel Between Sites Using Personal Vehicles
Authorized travel for operational purposes may be reimbursed according to policy #210 - Personal Automobile Mileage Reimbursement.
L. Local Travel
- Entertainment Expense
Entertainment expenses are limited to Board of Trustees, the President, and members of the President’s Cabinet or their designee(s) incurred in connection with their job responsibilities. Local entertainment expenses may be incurred while conducting ordinary and necessary business for the College such as fundraising, public relations activities and other College events. Expenses may include meals, transportation, parking, tolls, meeting rooms and conference facilities. Business related meals charges are subject to Section III C.9. Business meals that include charges for alcoholic beverages incurred by a member of the President’s Cabinet, Board of Trustees, or Designee must be properly approved by the President and separately itemized on meal receipts. Alcohol charges are unallowable for sponsored projects (grants). Alcoholic beverages for entertainment functions held in Pennsylvania must be purchased in Pennsylvania.
- Business Expense
Local business expenses include local conference or seminar fees, meals, parking fees and other out-of-pocket expenses while attending local workshops or business meetings and are subject to Section III C.9. Approval of local business expenses will follow Section III A.1.
Exceptions to this policy are subject to the approval of the traveler’s Vice President and the Vice President for Business and Finance.
Effective May 5, 2016