Travel policy

Financial Management Policy 30800

1. Purpose

The College shall comply with the State Travel Regulations per Topic Number 20335 and 20336 in the Commonwealth Accounting Policies & Procedures Manual (CAPP).  The CAPP manual does allow for more restrictive policies which are detailed in this document along with interpretations and common practice.

2. Policy

See State Travel Regulations, Topic Number 20335 and 20336, CAPP Manual, Department of Accounts.

3. Process

3.1 Pre-approval:

Pre-approval is required regardless of amount for all overnight travel by submitting a cost estimate before the travel takes place.   The routing of the pre-approval is built into the automated Travel & Expense system and is based on minimums required by CAPP.   Items requiring DOA or Cabinet Secretary approval do not route from the automated Travel & Expense system but do require the supporting documentation and their written approvals to be attached to the pre-approval.

3.2 Out-of-country:

All out-of-country travel must receive prior written approval from the College President and such approval must be submitted with the travel reimbursement request. The Chancellor and the Secretary of Education must approve the College President’s out-of-country travel. The College President is required to report all out-of-country travel to the Secretary of Education at least quarterly.

3.3 Commuting between campuses:

The Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System and the State Comptroller’s Office have approved an exemption to the State Travel Regulations that allows for mileage reimbursement for travel conducted by Germanna Community College employees between the two campuses when conducting official College business.  Employees are required to try to secure a State vehicle before using a personally owned vehicle via the online vehicle request. The President, by memo to the Business Office, may exempt certain employees who frequently travel between campuses from the need to secure a State vehicle.  The exemption is required to be attached to the travel reimbursement request in the automated Travel and Expense system to qualify for the higher reimbursement rate.  Mileage reimbursement will be charged to the traveler’s department.

3.4 Transportation:

Employees should make use of a State vehicle whenever possible for job related travel. The Department of General Services, Office of Fleet Management Services also maintain a contract with Enterprise Leasing to provide vehicles for short term travel when a State vehicle is not available. When a State vehicle is not available or easily accessible, the traveler must conduct a cost/benefit analysis to determine whether a State owned/OFMS rental or a personally owned vehicle should be used. The traveler should visit the OFMS website (www.dgs.virginia.gov/fleet.aspx) and use the trip calculator to assist with the cost/benefit analysis.

3.5 Personally owned vehicles:

A copy of the on-line vehicle reservation calendar attesting that a State vehicle is not available or not accessible must accompany requests for State Travel Reimbursement for personal mileage reimbursement. A State vehicle will be deemed to not be accessible if a traveler must travel ten or more miles (one way) out of the travel route or most commonly used travel route to the point of destination. A State vehicle will also be deemed to not be accessible if an employee is unable to take a State vehicle from the workplace because the employee’s daily commute involves transporting family, friends, or other parties not permitted in State vehicles and the employee would have to return ten or more miles on way to campus to pick up a vehicle.  The circumstances under which the State vehicle is deemed to not be accessible must be documented in the mileage reimbursement comments section in the automated Travel and Expense system.

Employees may elect to use their personal vehicles as a matter of convenience. Employees electing to do so will be reimbursed for mileage at the current DOA approved rate.

3.6 Reimbursement rates:

Authorized personal vehicle mileage is reimbursed at the maximum allowable rate by State Travel Regulations.

Reimbursement for personal vehicle mileage will be based on the current IRS mileage rate.   Commuting mileage should not be deducted when on travel status.   The location for the actual starting and ending point(s) of the trip should be entered into the “to” and “from” fields in the automated Travel and Expense system.

Mileage incurred when the individual is required to work on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday that is not a scheduled workday may be reimbursed at the appropriate rate subject to verification by the supervisor of the need to work on that day.

3.7 President:

The College President is authorized to drive his/her own vehicle at all times due to scheduling concerns and due to the need to set forth an image to the public about the College.  The mileage reimbursement rate shall be that rate authorized by the State when a personally owned vehicle is cost-justified except when the total mileage exceeds 15,000 miles in one fiscal year.

3.8 Lodging:

Lodging may be reimbursed when an individual is traveling overnight on official business outside his/her official station. Employees are required to comply with lodging guidelines and rates listed in the State Travel Regulations. The President, or designee, may authorize exceptions for lodging up to 150% of the stated guidelines when circumstances warrant; however, lodging expenses incurred beyond approved amounts will NOT be reimbursed. Such approval must be received in advance of the travel.   Electronic copies of original, itemized hotel bills must be submitted for reimbursement. Hotel charges for non-canceled reservations will not be reimbursed if the traveler is negligent in canceling reservations.

3.9 Meals:

Employees are required to comply with meal guidelines and rates found in the State Travel Regulations. These meal rates include meals provided to visitors, guests, employees, and students at our campuses. Meal expenses above the published rates will NOT be reimbursed. Purchase requisitions and/or contracts for meals provided by the College will not be authorized for amounts exceeding the published rates.

The President, or designee, can authorize an exception for Business Meals up to 150% of the stated guidelines. This approval must be received in advance of the meal. In addition, all other criteria must be met as listed in the State Travel Regulations.

3.10 Conference fees/registrations:

The Shared Service Center may prepay conference fees and registrations. Prepayment of the conference fees or registrations by the traveler will not be reimbursed until after the scheduled travel has occurred.

3.11 Cash advances:

Cash advances are not allowed.   The use of prepayment through the Shared Service Center and/or direct billings should be used in lieu of cash advances.

3.12 Travel charge cards:

Travel charge cards are permissible for employees who typically travel more than twice per year. Refer to the separate Germanna Community College policy on travel charge cards.

3.13 Airfare:

The Shared Service Center may make travel arrangements and purchase airline tickets on behalf of the traveler.   Alternatively, the traveler may purchase tickets on their personal credit card for reimbursement.  Purchases on a personal credit card should be made only after travel has been pre-approved and must meet all fare and travel requirements.   Reimbursement for airfare that has been purchased in advance by the traveler will in no case occur prior to completion of travel and must be submitted on the automated Travel and Expense system with all other trip expenses.   Direct billing by Travel Agencies for the purchase of airline tickets is not acceptable.

3.14 Travel credits:

Travel credits, reduced rates, or free services received from public facilities (i.e.: airline, car rental agencies, motels, etc.) by individuals, for whatever reason, accrue to the College and/or the Commonwealth. Any such credit, reduced rate, or free service must be reported to the Vice President of Administrative Services and must be deducted from the amount of the travel expenses claimed.

3.15 Disallowed miscellaneous expenses:

  • Lost or stolen articles
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Damage to personal vehicles, clothing, or other items
  • Services to gain entry to a locked vehicle
  • Movies charged to hotel bills
  • All expenses related to the personal negligence of the traveler, such as fines
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Towing charges
  • Expenses for children, spouses, and companions while on travel status

3.16 Expense report:

The official form for requesting reimbursement is the Expense Report created in the VCCS approved automated Travel & Expense System.  By submitting an expense report in this system the traveler is certifying the accuracy of all of the information, the legitimacy of the travel, and the appropriateness of the expenses.   By approving the expense report in this system, the approver certifies that he/she agrees that the travel was necessary and the requested reimbursements are proper.

3.17 Required documentation:

In addition to documentation required by CAPP and other sections in this document, the following are also required to be uploaded and attached in the Travel & Expense System:

  • Justification letters for any exception to policy
  • A conference agenda detailing the location and nature of the conference
  • Travelers are required to submit electronic copies of receipts at the associated line item level of their expense report.

3.18 Document retention:

The Travel & Expense system will be the source of retention for the expense report and required receipts and other documentation.   The electronic records must be retained in accordance with Library of Virginia guidelines.   Travelers are encouraged to keep the paper receipts.

3.19 Non-employee travel:

Non-employees do not have direct access to the automated Travel & Expense system, instead the travel expenses for non-employees must be entered and approved by proxies. Non-employees should submit their travel expenses using the TERV spreadsheet supplied by the college.

Contractors that charge their travel along with other services on an invoice in the normal course of business will be processed as a vendor payment through Accounts Payable and not through the Travel & Expense system.

Non-employees (except for students) and contractors are required to provide a COVA substitute W-9 for vendor setup and maintenance in the T&E and accounting systems.

Although CAPP doesn’t explicitly require adherence to the State Travel Regulations for non-employees, colleges should take measures including adopting college specific policies if appropriate, to comply with the regulations and minimize travel costs for non-employees. Such steps may include communicating the guidelines to non-employees, centralizing travel planning, and direct billing where allowed.

3.20 Student travel:

Colleges should adopt specific policies governing student travel and such policies should be communicated to the students and faculty and staff involved with the travel event(s). These policies should include at a minimum required forms, faculty or staff involved as sponsors or chaperones, and reimbursement limits.

The reimbursement process for student travel is the same process as “Non-employee” covered in Section 3.19.

3.21 Reimbursement payment process:

Employees should complete and submit their electronic expense report within five (5) working days after completion of trip. In the case of continuous travel, the employee submits the voucher to the supervisor within five (5) working days of the last day of travel for which reimbursement is requested or on a schedule approved by the Director of Finance. The Supervisor must electronically approve the voucher and submit to Shared Services within three (3) working days of receipt from the employee

4. Definitions

Employee – Individuals that are actively employed on a part-time or full-time basis for Germanna Community College.

Non-Employees – Individuals that travel on official State business for the VCCS but are not employees of the VCCS.  These individuals are mainly students, board members, job interview candidates, or others that are closely affiliated with the VCCS.

Contractor – Individuals or businesses providing goods or services to the VCCS may have circumstantial travel expenses and these expenses would normally be included as part of the invoice or contract for the goods or services.

5. References

CAPP manual – Cardinal, topic 20335 state travel regulations
CAPP manual – Cardinal, topic 20336 agency travel processing
CAPP manual – Cardinal, topic 21005 records retention and disposition
VCCS policy manual, section 4.2 accounting and fiscal management
Travel expense reimbursement voucher (TERV)

6. Point of contact

Director of Finance

7. Approval dates

College Council:  April 28, 2017
President’s Council: January 11, 1999; February 19, 2002; April 3, 2002; October 1, 2007; June 19, 2017

 

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