310 University Travel Policy

UW-Madison Administrative Policy
Policy # 310
University Travel Policy

Effective Date:
Last Updated:
Last Reviewed:
Next Review:

Functional Owner: Controller, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Executive Sponsor: Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, Laurent Heller and Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Policy Contact: Travel and Card Manager, Rusty Haines, Rusty.Haines@wisc.edu


Policy Summary

This policy establishes the general parameters associated with University travel and expenses for all faculty, staff, students and non-employees while in travel status or arranging travel.  Travelers are expected to use University funds and resources prudently, to understand and follow travel policies and to submit travel expense reimbursement requests in a timely manner. Travelers are required to use required contracts and travel reservation services that offer the highest degree of safety and service, consolidate purchasing volume and, thereby, limit travel costs.  Reasonable and necessary business-related travel expenses will be promptly reimbursed by the University when they meet policy and compliance requirements. University travel policies apply to all faculty, staff, students and non-employees using funds or resources administered by the University.

Note: NCAA funded travel has specific requirements, some of which may be less restrictive than University policies or rates. NCAA funded travel will be governed by NCAA policy.

Note: Sponsored projects (e.g. fund 144 or 133) are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific award, as well as applicable program guidelines, which may restrict use of funds for certain types of expenses.  Please contact the RSP accountant for your award with any questions


Who This Policy Applies To

All University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty, staff, students and non-employees traveling or arranging travel for a University business purpose using University funds or resources unless otherwise specifically exempt by provisions of this or other University policy.


Rationale

The University must extend a duty of care to travelers insuring their safety and well-being while in travel status for University related business.  Also, the University expects travelers to use University funds and resources prudently, understand and follow the travel policies and submit timely travel reporting to ensure the University meets all applicable compliance requirements.


Policy Detail

I. Travel Status. Travel status is the period during which a traveler is traveling on official University business outside the vicinity of his/her normal work (headquarter) location or residence. Typically, travel status is for a period of less than 30 consecutive calendar days in one location.

II. Business Purpose. When paying with University funds or requesting reimbursement from University funds, documentation of a clear business purpose is required so an approver, auditor, site manager, or post-payment auditor may reasonably conclude and agree the expenditure is an appropriate business expense. Business Purpose is defined as one that supports or advances the goals, objectives and mission of the University. The stated Business Purpose must adequately describe the expense as a necessary, reasonable, and appropriate business expense.  All expenses must have a University business purpose.

III. Pre-Trip Approval. Pre-trip approval requirements vary by Division or Department. Travelers are expected to follow all internal travel approval procedures prior to making travel reservations. Travel reimbursement prior to employment, following employment contract end or while on extended leave (e.g. leave with/without pay, sabbatical, research) is not guaranteed and will need to be approved in advance of incurring costs.

IV. Exceptions to Policy for Reasonable Accommodation Needs. The University understands the need to accommodate travelers with health issues or physical limitations in accordance with State and Federal disability accommodation laws.  Accommodating the specific need(s) may result in incurring expenses that are normally outside of policy or rate limitations.  For policy exemptions, travelers who seek a disability-related travel accommodation should contact the Office for Equity and Diversity.

V. Travel Rates. The University’s maximum travel rates and eligibility requirements are based on the Federal government’s rate tables, which vary by location and date of expense. Rates are established and periodically reviewed and are applicable for all travel and related activities when University funds and resources are used.

VI. Non-Employee Travel. University employees making travel arrangements for non-employees are responsible for ensuring non-employees adhere to the University’s travel policies. Non-employee travel expenses that do not conform to University policy will be paid as a tax-reportable fee for service.

VII. Departure and Return. The traveler should determine the necessary date for arrival and to allow sufficient time for business to be conducted. Arrival on the day prior to a morning start time for an event is acceptable. When business is concluded early enough in the day to allow the traveler to return to their home at a reasonable hour (e.g. by 10:00 pm), it is expected the traveler will return that day.

VIII. Ethics. Accepting items of value related to conducting University business is not allowed. Unless specifically noted, University travelers cannot personally benefit from travel related contracts, utilize negotiated discount rates or receive tax exemption for personal travel. Benefits or services from supplier rewards programs (e.g. airline frequent flier miles, hotel stay programs) earned from University-paid travel must be applied toward future University business travel. Benefits or services earned as a result of personal travel should not be applied to University business travel. Travelers will not be compensated for use of personal travel program rewards.

IX. Payment Methods. The University Purchasing Card is the recommended payment method for airfare, one night lodging deposit, rental car deposit, and conference or event registration fees. The My Corporate Card is the recommended payment method for lodging at the time of check out and rental car at the time of drop off.

Note:  It is recommended the My Corporate Card not be used for payment of per diem meals.  See Procedure 320.5 –Working with My Corporate Card and My Wallet.

X. Sales Tax Exemption. The University is exempt from the payment of Wisconsin sales and use tax. Please see Policy 340 – Tax Exemption for more information.

XI. Personal Travel Preferences and Related Costs. The University will not pay or reimburse additional costs resulting from traveler preferences or changes in itinerary due to personal reasons, including:

  • Personal travel prior or subsequent to the required business travel dates
  • Using transportation methods that are not the most efficient or cost-effective (e.g. electing to drive versus fly when flying would be the most efficient and cost-effective option)
  • Electing to combine business and personal travel
  • Electing to take a travel companion(s) on a business trip

XII. Combining Personal and Business Travel. When combining business and personal travel, the University will not pay any costs associated with personal days of travel, including additional days of lodging, M&IE per diems, parking, vehicle rental, etc.

XIII. Pre-Paid Expenses. The following expenses may be paid/reimbursed prior to travel:


Consequences for Noncompliance

Travel related purchases not made in accordance with this policy will be deemed unauthorized and will not be paid or reimbursed. Travel expenses pre-paid by the University, but subsequently deemed unauthorized, will be refunded to the University by the traveler.  This may include deducting from an employee’s earnings or working with the University’s General Counsel to recover costs from students or non-employees.


Supporting Tools

Lodging & M&IE Calculator

Oanda

Concur

e-Reimbursement


Definitions

  1. Travel Arranger – A University employee designated to reserve travel for University employees or guests traveling for University business.
  2. Travel Status – The period during which a traveler is traveling on official University business outside the vicinity of his/her normal work (headquarter) location or residence.
  3. Business Purpose – An expense justification that supports or advances the goals, objectives and mission of the University. The stated Business Purpose must adequately describe an expense as a necessary, reasonable, and appropriate business expense.  All expenses must have a University business purpose.
  4. Americans with Disabilities Act – A Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
  5. University maximum travel rates – Location/date specific maximums based on Federal rates, established and modified by University of Wisconsin System Administration, and supported by the Lodging and M&IE Rate Calculator.
  6. Purchasing Card – A university-liability credit card issued to a UW-Madison employee for business-related purchases.
  7. My Corporate Card – An individual-liability credit issued to a UW-Madison employee for business-related purchase.
  8. Expense Receipt – An document issued by a supplier or service provider to document a business transaction. The receipt should include an itemization, purchase date, amount and proof of payment.

Responsibilities

Traveler – A traveler conducting official University business is responsible for the following:

  • Understanding and complying with University travel procurement and payment policies.
  • Understanding and complying with the travel rate maximum(s) for the location(s) and date(s) of travel.
  • Securing pre-trip approval or authorization prior to incurring travel expenses.
  • Utilizing contracted suppliers when required.
  • Providing required travel information, including emergency contacts, prior to entering travel status.
  • Exercising the same care when incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise for a personal trip.
  • Not incurring excessive or avoidable costs.
  • Personally paying any excess costs or additional expenses incurred for personal preference, convenience or additional expenses outside of University policies.
  • Obtaining receipts or other supporting documentation for expenses.

Travel Arranger – A travel arranger is responsible for the following:

  • Understanding and complying with University travel procurement and payment policies.
  • Understanding and complying with the travel rate maximum(s) for the location(s) and date(s) of travel.
  • Utilizing contracted suppliers when required.
  • Collecting and providing traveler information as required by policy.
  • Ensuring receipts and other supporting documentation are provided to the traveler.

Traveler’s Supervisor or Approving Authority- The traveler’s supervisor or the approving authority for the traveler is responsible for granting pre-trip approval with the departmental/divisional policies and ensuring funds are available.

Institution Chief Business Officer – The Chief Business Officer holds ultimate responsibility for designing formal processes and internal controls to appropriately meet the audit and approval requirements at their institution.


Link to Current Policy


Link to Related Policies


Link to Policy History


Revisions

Policy Number
Date Approved
Revision Dates