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Travel Guidelines and Resources

The University of Richmond will bear all reasonable and necessary business-related expenses that are incurred by authorized travelers. The University wishes its employees to travel in reasonable comfort, but expects employees to exercise prudent business judgment.

Additional information may be obtained from the Faculty Handbook or each department's guidelines.

These guidelines do not specifically apply to expenses covered under other guidelines, such as relocation, interviewees, purchases of services or equipment, or meetings and customer events.

Transportation
Air Travel

Reservations should be made for economy class on the lowest cost carrier meeting appropriate time considerations. Frequent flyer or promotional discount coupons issued by airlines and not received in cash may be used by employees. Employees must not bias the selection of the vendor to benefit themselves, resulting in increased cost to the University. Personal side trips or vacations taken in conjunction with business trips are not reimbursable.

Obtaining a refund for a lost ticket is the employee's responsibility and may be accomplished by filing a claim with the carrier.

Personal Car

Mileage from the employee's home or the University to the airport or other business related locations is reimbursable based on the standard mileage rate set by the University or funding authority, such as a governmental agency.

Rental Car

The University's preferred vendor should be used whenever possible for automobile rentals. Contact procurement and strategic sourcing for information pertaining to preferred vendors, which include:

Always ask for the UR contract rate and for the lowest or best available rate when renting a vehicle. On certain days of the week there is less demand and, therefore, you may get a lower rate than a quoted contract/corporate rate. A negotiated (contract) rate serves as a protective ceiling so that the client never pays more than that amount (except where city taxes apply).

Since coverage is provided under the University's insurance policy for University-related travel, employees should decline supplemental automobile rental insurance, which includes collision damage waiver, personal accident insurance (PAI), and property damage. All auto accidents must be reported immediately to the automobile rental agency and to the Director of Risk Management.

Relocation
For household moving and relocation services, please visit relocation services.
Group Transportation
Group Transportation Charter Services

The University of Richmond has several contracts with qualified charter bus services that meet University requirements.

Lodging

Hotel rates vary widely. It is expected that employees will exercise prudent business judgment concerning cost and comfort and seek advice and recommendation from procurement and strategic sourcing.

Suites are considered extravagant. Examples of items that are not reimbursed include video rentals, pay-per-view movies, golf fees, and health club or spa fees.

The University is exempt from lodging tax in Florida, Tennessee, Maryland, and New York City (not New York state). Contact Jerry Robinson if you need a tax-exempt form for University business travel.

Recommended hotels:

Meals While Traveling on University Business

This change in policy is effective February 1, 2016. Schools and divisions may have additional requirements.  Please contact your division or school for clarification on the specific policies applicable to your department.

Meals While Traveling on University Business

Introduction

This policy pertains to meals taken only while traveling on University business. Meals taken locally or while entertaining are addressed in the “Business Meetings and Entertainment” section of the policy. 

Divisions or schools may choose to institute more restrictive policies.  If such policies are put in place, these units should ensure their policy is appropriately documented and that travelers are aware of the specific requirements.  Schools or divisions are responsible for ensuring compliance with their internal policies.

As the traveler is making arrangements for the trip, it is suggested that they decide which reimbursement method to use, as this will determine whether or not they must retain meal receipts while traveling.

Policy Statement

The reasonable cost of meals, including tips, is reimbursable to employees while traveling away from home on University business. Travelers may choose to be reimbursed using one of two methods:  the per diem method, or actual receipted meal expenses.  The selected method must be used for the entire trip, with the exception of group meals (as described below).

Per Diem Method

The per diem covers meals and incidental expenses, such as tips for meals and services.  Travelers should refer to the published federal per diem rates for meals and incidentals (M&I) for their destination city using the links below.

For domestic travel:

http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877

For international travel:                    

https://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=184&menu_id=78,

If a meal is included as part of a conference or meeting; is paid by another employee or colleague, vendor, or third party; or when traveling for a partial day, the full per diem amount should not be claimed.  The daily per diem should be reduced as follows:

Breakfast

20%

Lunch

30%

Dinner

50%

For example, if breakfast and lunch are provided as part of a conference registration fee and the employee purchases dinner, then the employee may claim only 50% of the per diem allowance for that day.

Group Meals with University Employees

In situations where University employees may be traveling together, one employee (“host”) may purchase a meal for other employees (“guests”).  In this instance, the host employee must claim the actual meal expense for that meal and submit receipts or other supporting documentation, including the names of the guest employees, with their Travel and Entertainment Expense Report.  The host employee may claim the per diem for that day’s other meals, in accordance with per diem section. Guest employees using the per diem method must reduce that day’s allowance by the appropriate percentage, as noted above.  

Submitting for Reimbursement Using Per Diems

Travelers electing to use the per diem rates are not required to provide receipts to substantiate meal expenses. However, a print screen of the federal per diem rate table, showing the allowance for the destination city or cities, must be included with the reimbursement request.

Travelers Using a University Credit Card

Individuals using a University credit card for their travel expenses may choose to claim the per diem for their meal and incidental expenses.  In order to claim the per diem, the traveler must pay for all of their meal expenses out of pocket, i.e., meal expenses may not be charged to the University card, with two exceptions.  Group meals, as described earlier in this section, may be charged to the University card; and meal expenses incurred as part of business entertainment, e.g., a gift officer takes a prospective donor to lunch, may also be charged to the card.  Group meals and business entertainment expenses must be documented in accordance with the University’s card policies. 

Travelers should submit a Travel & Entertainment Expense Report, indicating the per diem amounts for which reimbursement is being sought and attaching a screen print of the federal per diem rate table for the applicable city or cities.  The daily per diem amount should be reduced, as discussed in the “Per Diem Method” section, above, for any group meals or business entertainment meals charged directly to their own or another employee’s University card. 

It is the approver’s responsibility to ensure that the per diem is not claimed in addition to meals charged directly to the traveler’s University credit card. 

Submitting for Reimbursement Using Receipts

Employees may elect to provide actual receipts for the reimbursement of reasonable meal expenses.  The receipt should include the following information:

  • Name of the restaurant
  • Date and amount of purchase
  • Number of people served
  • Tip or gratuity amount

If the receipt does not include this information, the traveler should provide it with their reimbursement request. If the receipt is not available, the traveler will be reimbursed only for the receipts that were submitted. The traveler may also opt to use the federal per diem for all of their meals rather than submit receipts, if a receipt is lost.

Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs for Meals Per Diem Policy
Business Meetings and Entertainment
All reported expenses for business meetings and entertainment must include the business purpose.

If a meal is being reimbursed, a list of everyone whom the meal covered must be supplied with the reimbursement request. Recognition lunches for employees may be reported as business meals.

Miscellaneous Expenses
Items identified as follows are normally reimbursable and should be reported on the travel and expense report (T&E report) on BannerWeb:
  • Parking and tolls, other than normal commuting costs (receipts should be obtained whenever possible)
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Business postage and baggage handling charges
  • Business telephone calls and one personal telephone call per day of reasonable duration when on overnight University business. A University of Richmond telephone charge card should be used rather than operator-assisted service through the hotel or other public phone service. University telephone charge cards are available through Telecommunications, with supervisor approval.
Reimbursement

Individual employee's travel, entertainment, or meal expenses should not be direct billed to the University of Richmond. Only Accounts Payable is authorized to pre-approve direct billings to the University.

Expense Report Process Procedures

A properly completed and approved Travel and Expense Report (accessible on BannerWeb) explaining the nature of and purpose for expenditures must be submitted to Accounts Payable in order to receive reimbursement for business travel and entertainment expenses.

All expenses must be itemized and reported in the proper spaces provided. Enter daily room charges separately for each night of occupancy. Be aware that a hotel charge for local telephone access may be on the hotel bill. Long distance telephone charges made with a calling card will be charged to the employee's office telephone.

Multiple travel and entertainment reports may be submitted for a trip if necessary (to cover early booking of airfare, for example). Be sure to submit original receipts for all reimbursements.

All reimbursements for university employees will be direct deposited to the employee's bank account. An employee's reimbursements will not be processed until the direct deposit information has been provided to Accounts Payable.

Charge Cards

The University offers several charge cards that may be used for business-related travel expenses.

The individual travel card may be issued to employees who travel frequently on University business. The card carries University liability, which means the University pays the bill each month. The cardholder, or designated individual, is responsible for reviewing and allocating the credit card charges to the appropriate index and account code in the credit card system, PaymentNet, as charges are made. The cardholder, or designated individual, is also responsible for submitting appropriate documentation to Corporate Accounts for review, by the tenth of each month.

The University also offers departmental travel cards which may be used to book hotel rooms, transportation charges, or registration fees.

University credit cards should be used for University travel and business entertainment expenses whenever possible. For more information about University travel cards, please visit the Purchasing Card section.

Individuals who elect to use their own personal charge cards are expected to submit a travel and entertainment report for reimbursement after the expense is incurred and must not request a travel advance.

Travel Advances

Group travelers or one-time travelers who need a travel advance should submit an approved Advance Request Form. Travel advances should not exceed the traveler's estimated out-of-pocket expenses for the particular trip. The IRS has instituted a regulation (Temp Reg 1.62-2T) that states that all or part of any travel advance may be considered taxable income to the employee if not reconciled in a timely manner.

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

The University will not reimburse (nor pay) for the following expenses:

  1. Travel insurance
  2. Upgrades to airfare
  3. Upgrades to hotel rooms (or suites)
  4. Movies
  5. Health and beauty spas
  6. Physical fitness equipment or gym fees
  7. Tennis court/racquetball fees
  8. Golf/greens fees
  9. Traffic fines, court costs, parking violations, or auto repair
  10. Laundry/dry cleaning (unless the trip is longer than seven (7) consecutive days)
  11. Travel expenses of family members
  12. Gifts for co-workers (if reimbursed by the University, the gift is taxable to the recipient - See the Gift Reporting Policy)
  13. Credit card finance charges or delinquency fees
  14. Any other charges deemed unacceptable

 See the Travel Guidelines for more detailed guidelines regarding employee reimbursements.

Definitions

Reasonable expenses: Those expenditures made using prudent business judgment and due care of funds as the specific circumstances warran

Reimbursable expenses: Properly approved and documented Reasonable Expenses incurred by employees for valid University travel, entertainment, or other miscellaneous expenses as specified within these guidelines.

Non-reimbursable expense: Any expense that is not properly approved, documented, or necessary to the University’s business as defined in these guidelines, or as defined by the employee’s dean, director, or the University Controller’s Office.

University credit card: The University offers several credit cards that may be used for business-related travel expenses. Please contact Accounts Payable for information about receiving, or using, a University credit card.

Accounts Payable: The department within the Controller's Office responsible for processing Travel and Expense Reports for reimbursement and answering any questions relating to the reimbursement process.