Travel - General
To provide for the proper control of expenses related to approved travel. Also, to set out the rates and conditions of reimbursement for travel expenses incurred on University business.
Applicable to all funds administered by the University (e.g. operating funds, research grant funds, trust funds, etc.) and to all University employees in respect of approved travel.
Headquarters - the actual building or other place of employment where an employee is normally stationed or required to use as a permanent base of operations.
Travel service - a commercial service that provides travel quotations and bookings such as a travel agency, airline internet site, or travel internet site.
Travel status - the absence of an employee from headquarters on University business with the prior approval of the Unit head. The starting point and final destination of employees on travel status will normally be the employee's headquarters.
Unit Head - For the purpose of this policy, Unit Head means Dean, Director, Executive Director, the University Librarian, the University Registrar, Associate Vice-President and Vice-President as per the circumstance.
University Corporate Travel Card- the credit card(s) approved by Financial and Administrative Services for use by employees while on travel status.
Employees are reimbursed for reasonable expenses related to business travel. When practical, employees are encouraged to consider alternatives to travel using available technology such as videoconferencing and teleconferencing.
All travel at University expense must occur by the most economical mode of transportation that is available and practical, while considering the purpose and the urgency of the trip. The shortest direct route must normally be chosen.
It is the responsibility of the Unit Head to ensure that this policy and its related procedures are properly administered. This responsibility may be delegated.
Employees are responsible for familiarity with this policy and its related procedures and adhering to them. Employees are also responsible for ensuring that travel funds derived from a Research Grant or from Trust Funds are spent in accordance with terms specified by the granting agency or by the Trust if these terms are applicable instead of University policy.
An application for expenses not provided for under this policy must be made to the respective Vice-President.
Guidelines for Claimable Expenses:
a. Vouchers are proof of the disbursement of cash and must be submitted with all travel claims, except where otherwise stated.
b. Vouchers must be current originals and must relate directly to the claim with which they are submitted.
c. Vouchers should be on a payee's bill head or receipt form; should be prepared by the payee; and should show the payee's address, the date of the receipt, the purpose of the charge, and the vendor's GST registration number. In most cases, vouchers will also contain a cash register impression.
2. Credit Cards
a. Credit card receipts are accepted as vouchers for the purchase of gasoline and taxi services only. In these cases, the credit card receipt must state that the purchase is for gasoline or taxi service, with the name of the company clearly displayed.
b. Credit card service and interest charges incurred by an employee who uses his or her card in lieu of cash are not claimable expenses.
c. When credit cards are used, it is still necessary to submit with the travel claim an acceptable voucher as defined above.
3. Traveler's Cheques
Appropriate receipts are required to cover the cost of obtaining traveler's cheques which is a claimable expense whenever the expenses of a trip exceed $100.
4. Foreign Exchange
a. Costs for conversion of Canadian funds to and from foreign currencies will be reimbursed when supported by receipts.
b. When translating expenses paid in foreign currencies, the rate to be used should be as follows:
- For cash payments, the rate paid when the foreign currency was purchased.
- For credit card purchases, the rate used by the bank to convert the purchase to Canadian dollars.
- When these costs are not supported by receipts, the average Bank of Canada nominal currency exchange rate shall apply. In cases where the Bank of Canada does not provide an exchange rate, an alternate bank rate from an established institution or web-site, as determined by the University, shall be applied. The rate shall be the average of the daily nominal rates applicable for the period of travel.
c. Claims submitted in respect to travel outside of Canada must specify the exchange rates used in completing the claim. A credit card statement or a print out of the foreign exchange rate from the approved bank website for the dates of travel is required to support the exchange rate used.
a. Expenses for meals are to be paid when they are incurred and are not to be charged to the University for future payment. The maximum that may be claimed for meals is specified in Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses.
b. Meal per diems will be only paid for meals not included in a conference or other registration fee.
c. Despite the abovementioned, an employee, when exposed to unusually high meal costs, may be reimbursed his or her actual expenses for meals based on proof of payment to the extent that the expenses claimed are reasonable and justifiable in the circumstances. If this option is chosen, receipts must be submitted for the entire trip in lieu of per diems. The details shall be briefly documented and approved by the appropriate administrative authority.
d. For persons travelling in excess of two consecutive nights an extra amount will be added to the meal per diem to cover the costs associated with personal telephone calls, laundry, gratuities, dry cleaning, valet services and other incidentals associated with travel away from home. This amount is specified in the Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses.
e. Extended travel: If travel is longer than 30 days in one general location, the meal per diem for this location is 50 per cent of the per diems specified in the Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses for the entire duration at this location.
6. Transportation - General
a. Unless the nature of the trip renders it impossible or imprudent, employees should take advantage of any special discounts available.
b. Employees will be reimbursed for expenses relevant to University business. If employees interrupt or extend their travel to accommodate non-University business, a quote for the expenses related to the University business portion must be provided.
c. Travel expenses should normally be submitted only in respect to the mode of travel approved on the Travel Request Form; however, necessary changes that are fully explained and approved by the appropriate Unit Head will be allowed.
d. Service fees charged by a travel service are reimbursable.
7. Transportation - Air
a. Except when another mode of travel is practical and more economical, air travel is the accepted normal mode of transportation for University business.
b. All air travel on scheduled flights should be made at the lowest obtainable cost and, in any event, should not exceed full economy or tourist-class fare. Business class (or equivalent) may be authorized when, in the opinion of the applicable Vice-President, the cost is justified by the following reasons:
i. Less costly transportation is not immediately available and a delay is not acceptable.
ii. The employee is officially accompanying a person travelling in business class (or equivalent).
iii. Some other exceptional circumstances dictate the necessity for departure from basic policy.
c. Travelers will purchase and pay for their own airline ticket and must submit, in the case of electronic ticketing, a printed version of the itinerary/receipt, or the original ticket stub, as the appropriate voucher to accompany the travel expense claim. If the travel was booked through a travel agency, a receipt from the travel agency must be attached. In any case, the receipt must identify the type of fare purchased and all applicable taxes.
d. It is the responsibility of the traveler to provide the necessary proof of air travel. Acceptable documentation to support proof of travel would include at least one of the following:
- a boarding pass (paper or printed copy of the image of an electronic boarding pass, that clearly indicates flight information), or
- a hotel invoice at the travel destination, or
- taxi/transit receipts to/from the airport destination, or
- a record of conference attendance
If there is no other documentation available that supports proof of travel to the destination, the traveler must include a signed statement attesting that they reached the destination(s) using the flight cost(s) claimed.
e. If an employee chooses not to travel by air, and air travel is the most economical and practical mode for the trip, the University will reimburse the actual cost of travel, not mileage, based on a direct routing to the destination. The total cost cannot exceed the cost of a 14 day advance airfare as confirmed by a valid written quotation from a recognized travel service. This quotation must be obtained prior to travel and must be submitted with the travel claim. Original vouchers covering traveling expenses (i.e., gas receipts, hotel bills, ferry changes and meals using per diem rate) must be submitted on a travel claim. Reimbursement for travel within Newfoundland and Labrador will be per kilometer allowance based on a direct routing to destination. Refer to Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses for current mileage rate.
f. The employee is responsible for recovering funds for unused portions of airline tickets.
g. Expenditures for travel insurance will not be allowed except insurance against forfeiture of ticket cost because of trip cancellation.
h. If an airline ticket is purchased using one of the designated University corporate travel cards, then the employee should be aware of the benefits to be obtained from the card for missed connections, delayed flights and denied boarding.
8. Transportation - Rail
Where travel by rail is authorized, the employee will be reimbursed for the cost of first class accommodations where overnight travel is involved.
9. Transportation - Sea
a. Because of the time and cost, travel by sea is not normally authorized. However, where this mode of travel is necessary, the employee will be reimbursed the cost of first class accommodations.
b. When ferry travel is authorized, transportation of a vehicle necessary to the travel will be permitted.
c. Under exceptional circumstances, the Unit Head may authorize the hire of a boat. Should boat hire be permitted, the Office of the Chief Risk Officer must be consulted in respect of insurance.
d. Proper receipts are required for all types of sea travel and should be attached to the employee's travel expense claim.
10. Transportation -Taxi
a. A taxi may be used when justifiable and reasonable, and when it is the most economical means of transportation under the circumstances. Vouchers are required for all taxi expenses in excess of $5.00.
b. The starting point and destination of a taxi trip must be stated on the travel claim.
c. Whenever a taxi is hired for travel other than within an urban area, care must be exercised to ensure that the rate is not excessive for the distance to be travelled and that it is the most economical mode of travel available. Where possible, public transportation or a University vehicle should be used.
d. When a taxi has been hired contrary to these provisions, the claim will be reduced to an amount equal to the cost of travelling the same route by the most economical and practical means.
e. For transportation to or from an airport or other terminal, the most economical form of transportation available should be used whenever possible.
f. When an employee is travelling from their normal place of residence to the airport (or the normal drop-off point of a commercial carrier), or from the airport (or the normal drop off point of a commercial carrier) to their normal place of residence, reimbursement shall be at the standard limousine or taxi fare or mileage between the employee's home and the normal pick-up point of the carrier to a maximum rate as set out in the Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses.
g. Reimbursement for travel above will be made for parking fees and mileage where the total does not exceed the standard limousine or taxi fare to and from the airport or drop-off point of a commercial carrier to a maximum as set out in the Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses.
11. Transportation- Private Vehicle
a. Travel by private vehicle will be authorized only when this method is economical and practical. Reimbursement will be at the standard rate per kilometer as outlined in the Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses. Refer to the procedure under the Employee-Owned Vehicle policy for reporting mileage claims. The mileage allowance covers all vehicle expenses.
b. Charges for bridge, ferry and highway tolls are allowed, but claims may not be made for storage, gasoline, traffic violations, repairs, towing, etc. Claims for parking will be allowed only when paid parking lots are the only type available.
c. When an employee chooses to use a private vehicle and more economical modes of transportation are available, reimbursement will be for the actual cost of travel, based on a direct routing to destination. The total reimbursement cannot exceed the cost of travel for the most economical mode available. Mileage will not be reimbursed.
d. Refer to "Transportation- Air", specifically section 7.d. for more detail about using a private vehicle instead of air travel.
e. Employees should reference the University policy on "Vehicles - Employee Owned".
12. Vehicle Rentals
a. Rental of vehicles may be authorized only when it is the most economical means of transportation or when it is justifiable under special circumstances. Written justification must accompany travel claims.
b. Receipts must be obtained for all such rentals. When renting vehicles on University business, employees are NOT to accept the collision damage waiver option. The University shall self-insure all collision damage losses due to accidents by employees when renting vehicles on University business. If possible, the vehicle should be rented using one of the designated corporate travel cards because use of these cards will provide automatic coverage of the collision damage waiver. In any case, the University will self-insure on collision damage.
c. When renting vehicles on University business, employees are NOT to accept the personal accident insurance available. This type of insurance is not necessary as University employees are adequately covered by the various personal insurance plans, by Workers' Compensation and by the travel accident insurance policy in place on employees when on travel status for the University.
d. The Vehicle Coordinator in the Department of Facilities Management shall endeavor to negotiate a special rate for rental of vehicles beyond 30 days for University use within Newfoundland and Labrador. The CAUBO car rental rates attached to this policy should be used wherever possible. Employees should consult with the Vehicle Coordinator the week prior to making rental arrangements in order to ensure you are obtaining the most favorable rates.
e. When on University business outside of Canada and the United States, vehicle rentals are not recommended except with the prior approval of the Office of the Chief Risk Officer. If an international rental is approved, the Office of the Chief Risk Officer will provide direction on whether a collision damage waiver option or personal accident insurance may be appropriate.
Reimbursement of telephone costs may be requested if the calls were related to University business. When such claims are made, the person to whom the calls were made must be noted with a brief explanation on the travel claim form.
14. Conference Fees
a. A conference brochure, agenda, or prospectus must be attached to the Travel Request Form indicating the purpose of the conference and any meals included in the registration fee.
b. An employee would normally pay the conference fees directly to the conference organizers themselves and claim the fees as part of their travel claim. If an employee is unable to pay the conference fees themselves, they may arrange for the University to pay the fees directly to the conference organizers on their behalf.
15. International Travel
When employees are required to travel abroad, the necessary documentation such as visa, inoculations, vaccinations, x-rays and health clearance certification will be reimbursed at the discretion of the Dean, Department Head, etc. However, passports are considered a personal item and must be obtained at the cost of the individual.
16. Excess Luggage
An employee may be reimbursed costs incurred in transporting personal effects or University equipment at excess luggage rates only if specifically approved and when it can be demonstrated that it was necessary for the effects or equipment to be taken on the trip.
17. Loss of or Damage to Equipment and/or Baggage
a. Claims for loss of personal effects or damages to personal effects are the responsibility of the employee and should be made to the carrier.
b. Loss of or damage to University equipment during travel must be reported to the Unit Head. Any insurance claims should be made by the employee in consultation with the Unit Head and the Office of the Chief Risk Officer. Refer to the Tangible Asset Administration and Insurance Coverage - Property and Liability policies and related procedures. If the equipment contained University information, see also the Procedure for Reporting Suspected Security Incidents.
c. If an airline ticket is purchased using the University corporate travel card, then the employee should be aware of the benefits to be obtained for luggage delay and/or loss.
Charges for medical and hospital treatment are not reimbursable expenses for employees who have coverage under the University health plan, which provides worldwide travel health insurance coverage for employees when travelling outside of the Province. For further information concerning travel health coverage contact the Department of Human Resources.
No expenditure on the travel claim designated as "sundry," "miscellaneous," etc., will be permitted.
20. Overnight Accommodations
a. Accommodation expenses will be paid by the employee and claimed as part of their travel claim.
b. Accommodation expenses will be reimbursed if necessary, to a maximum period beginning with the night before the date on which the University related business begins up to and including the night of the date on which the University related business concludes.
c. Accommodation charges related to additional occupancy of a room will not be reimbursed.
d. Hotels: The type, standard, and cost of accommodation should not be in excess of the minimum rate for a single room in a commercial establishment of reasonable class. Approval will not be given for accommodation at obviously high rates except when a satisfactory explanation is provided. The CAUBO Canadian "University" Hotel Rate Program provides hotel reservation telephone numbers and rates that should be used wherever possible. Employees should also request government rates. In any case, the lowest possible rate should be obtained.
e. Private: An employee may make arrangements for private overnight accommodation with the appropriate approvals. Such arrangements will be reimbursed at the standard rate for "Private Overnight Accommodation." See Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses.
f. Extended Travel: In cases where an employee is required to spend more than 30 days on travel status at one location, appropriate approvals should be obtained by the employee in order to make reasonable living arrangements. Board and lodging should be sought on a weekly or monthly basis. Where possible, accommodation should be arranged prior to the start of travel.
Entertainment expenses are not claimable expenses while on travel status with the exception of those outlined in the Hosting Policy.
Travel - Pre-Employment Interview Policy
Travel - Familiarization Visit Policy
Travel - Relocation and Removal Policy
Relocation - Post Doctoral Fellows Policy
Graduate Students Field Trip Policy
Travel - Guest Lecturers and other Official Visitors Policy
Harlow Campus Funding Policy
Insurance Coverage - Property and Liability Policy
Tangible Asset Administration Policy
Schedule of Reimbursable Expenses
CAUBO Travel Agreement
Travel Request Form
Memorial University Insurance Guide
For inquiries related to this policy:
Department of Financial and Administrative Services (709) 864-8222
Vice-President (Administration & Finance)
There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)