4.4 Travel Policies

Purpose

These policies are intended as a guide to reimburse employees for University-related expenses. The responsibility to observe carefully the guidelines rests both with the employee and the department chair who certifies conformance to these guidelines by approving the reimbursement request. The same judgement and consideration applies to expense accounts as to any University transaction. Reimbursement should be sought and authorized only for expenses that conform to University policy, are reasonable and customary, and are not personal in nature.

Responsibility

These policies and related procedures are also needed to meet federal tax law requirements, state of Michigan policies, and third-party sponsoring agency regulations. They will ensure consistent and fair treatment among departments throughout the University and the uniform reporting of financial results. In general, the quality of travel, accommodations, business meals, and related expenses should be governed by what is reasonable and appropriate to the purpose involved. The University does not require sacrifice on the part of its personnel where safety, comfort, and convenience are concerned, nor does it permit excessive spending.

The University respects the personal integrity of each employee and conducts expense account affairs accordingly. University employees who falsify travel expense reports are subject to discipline, up to and including discharge.

Travel Policy

This policy relates to expenses submitted by faculty, staff, and guests of the University. The University shall reimburse employees for reasonable travel, meals, lodging, and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the transaction of University business.

  1. Hotel

Michigan Tech will pay only actual room costs supported by the hotel bill for each day that lodging away from home is required for business reasons. When traveling, employees are expected to use good quality, but reasonably priced hotels or motels whenever practical. It is understood that when attending a conference, travelers will stay at the conference hotel.

The minimum corporate/government rate should always be requested and the original paid hotel bill should be attached to the Travel Voucher for reimbursement.

It is the employee's responsibility to cancel reservations by the required time of the hotel. Room costs due to failure to cancel will be deducted from subsequent reimbursement. The person canceling the hotel reservation should note the cancellation number and the name of the person accepting the cancellation call.

If there is a chance that arrival will be later than the required check-in time, employees should request a guaranteed late arrival reservation on their credit card.

Private Residence Allowance - An allowance of $10/night may be claimed if staying at a private residence with family of friends.

  1. Meals

Michigan Tech will reimburse employees for reasonable meal expenses (breakfast, lunch, dinner) incurred. Meals not covered in a conference fee are reimbursable through the per diem rate. A listing of the per diem rate for various cities around the U.S. is found on Financial Services website. If the destination is not listed, the standard per diem applies.

  1. Car Rental

The use of a rental car should be justified as an economical business necessity and not as a matter of personal convenience. All rentals should be at the corporate/government rate or the lowest possible rate per day. When traveling in groups, sharing of cars should be practiced to minimize costs.

  1. Taxi and Other Local Transportation

The cost of taxis or other transportation to and from hotels, airports, etc., in connection with business activities is reimbursable. If available and practical, public limousine transportation to and from airports should be used. Long term airport parking should be avoided. Receipts are required when the costs exceed the maximum amount.

  1. Personal Automobile

The use of the employee's personal automobile will be reimbursed at the effective mileage rate. When traveling on University business, the departure and termination point for determining the actual mileage will be the employee's home. The employee's use of a personal automobile will only be reimbursed using the current mileage rate, which includes operating costs (gasoline and oil) and fixed costs. Employees who receive an automobile or automobile allowance may not charge mileage for use of the personal automobile.

  1. Per Diem

Per diem rates applicable to travel are established through federal guidelines and IRS regulations. A schedule of the per diem rate in various cities will be provided. The per diem rate includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  1. Tips

Tips are reimbursable for normal services associated with business travel such as services, porters, etc. Tips should be reasonable. Actual tips up to a daily maximum are allowed.

  1. Telephone

Business & Personal - The University will pay charges for calls made outside a University office provided the calls are substantiated by hotel bill or telephone bill.

  1. Spouse Travel

Travel expenses for a spouse are not reimbursable as a business expense.

  1. Dependent Care

Dependent care expenses above and beyond regular dependent care costs that directly result from travel on University business will be reimbursed. Receipts are required and a daily maximum will be paid.

  1. Miscellaneous Expenses

Laundry and dry cleaning away from home are allowed when the expenditures are supported by out-of-town receipts and are reasonable in nature.

Parking/Toll expenses require a receipt, except for trivial amounts (less than $10.00).

  1. International Travel

International expenses include expenditures incurred for travel, meals, business meals, lodging, passport fees, airport taxes, exchange rate fees and fluctuations, and other items necessary for the conduct of Michigan Tech business. All international travel must have the prior approval of the Dean/Department Chair/Director or next higher level of authority.

*If international travel is being paid on a general fund (A1XXXX), additional prior approval of the time appropriate Vice President is also required.


Revised:
2/13/2017 - Annual Review: To reflect current language changed "is found on Financial SVCS website." to "is found on Financial Services website."
12/08/2016 - Annual Review: To reflect current practice, addition of "Private Residence Allowance - An allowance of $10/night may be claimed if staying at a private residence with family of friends." to the Travel Policy section. Expanding on the location of the per diem rates "A listing of the per diem rate for various cities around the U.S. is found on Financial SVCS website." Removal of the Personal sub-section of the Telephone section "Personal - To a reasonable extent, the University will pay charges (substantiated as in "Business" above) for personal long distance calls of normal duration when away from home on business; however, such calls should be limited to one per day." Addition of "*If international travel is being paid on a general fund (A1XXXX), additional prior approval of the time appropriate Vice President is also required." to the International Travel section.
01/27/2015 - Annual Review: To reflect current practice, the email address for questions is now policy@mtu.edu. Item J. Dependent Care read "Dependent care expenses in excess of those normally experienced will be reimbursed to Michigan Tech employees traveling on University business" now reads "Dependent care expenses above and beyond regular department care costs that directly result from travel on University business will be reimbursed". The last sentence on the page read "See Accounting's ..." now reads "See Financial Services and Operations' ...".
02/13/2014 - Annual Review: Updated Michigan Tech and Handbook banners. Under Responsibilities, the third sentence read: "In general, the quality of travel, accommodations, entertainment, and related expenses should be governed by what is reasonable and appropriate to the purpose involved." and now reads: "In general, the quality of travel, accommodations, business meals, and related expenses should be governed by what is reasonable and appropriate to the purpose involved." Under Travel Policy, item D. Taxi and Other Local Transportation, added the last sentence "Receipts are required when the costs exceed the maximum amount." Item G. Tips, the last sentence was added: "Actual tips up to a daily maximum are allowed." Item H. Telephone, added "Employees who receive a monthly cell phone allowance may not request reimbursement for telephone calls." Under J. Dependent Care, the last sentence "Receipts are required and a maximum of $50/day will be paid." now reads "Receipts are required and a daily maximum will be paid."
03/20/2013 - Annual Review: From the paragraph under Taxi and Other Local Transportation, the sentence "Alternative arrangements from travel to the airport should be made when the airport charges will exceed the cost of a two-way taxi or limousine service." was deleted; and under Tips, the sentence that read "...such as food services, porters, etc." now reads "...such as services, porters, etc."
06/14/2011 - Annual Review: From Item A, the sentence "It is the employee's responsibility to cancel reservations by 6:00 pm local time of the hotel, or earlier if required" now reads "It is the employee's responsibility to cancel reservations by the required time of the hotel"; the sentence "If there is a chance that arrival will be later than 6:00 pm, employees should request a guaranteed late arrival reservation on their credit card" now reads "If there is a  chance that arrival will be later than the required check-in time, employees should request a  guaranteed late arrival reservation on their credit card." From item H, deleted "Employees who have a University calling card should use it for business calls. To receive a University calling card, call Information Technology Telecommunication Support, phone 2800." and "The University  calling card may be used for these calls." From item L, the sentence "All international travel must have the prior approval of the President" now reads "All international travel must have the prior approval of the Dean/Department Chair/Director or higher in the supervisory chain-of-command." Changes made to reflect current practice and University titles, the email address for questions is now hbwebmaster.