Business Travel Expense Policy

Scope

This policy applies to faculty and staff in all offices and divisions of the university.

Policy

Eastern Mennonite University reimburses faculty and staff for travel expenses incurred while on official university business as long as the travel and expenses are:

  1. consistent with the institution’s overall mission and policies (or practices);
  2. within budgetary limitations;
  3. cost effective;
  4. reasonable; and
  5. in compliance with the Guidelines that follow.

All travel expense reimbursement requests must be submitted on the standard expense report form provided by the university (See Expense Report form), and must be approved by the traveler’s supervisor. It is the responsibility of both the traveler and his or her supervisor to ensure that all travel charges to be paid by the university are incurred for the benefit of the university and that the travel is completed at the most economical and reasonable cost. Reimbursement may not be claimed for meals, lodging or other items provided at no cost to the traveler. See instructions accompanying the Expense Report form for requirements for original and detailed receipts for meals, lodging and transportation.

Guidelines

1. Transportation fare selection

Travelers should generally select the lowest available coach or tourist rates for airline or train travel. First class travel is not authorized unless other seats are not available. Tickets and upgrades paid with frequent flier miles will not be reimbursed.

2. University vehicles

University vehicles, if available, may be used for regional travel. University vehicles are not to be used for a non-business purpose. Employees anticipating personal travel in connection with a business trip should not use a university owned vehicle for the trip.  University owned vehicles are scheduled through the physical plant office and are charged out at the university approved rate.

3. Personal automobile

At times it may be more convenient for travelers to use their personal vehicle instead of scheduled carriers or university vehicles. The university reimburses actual mileage from home or office and return at the approved rate (currently .45 per mile.) or gas receipt but not both. Actual mileage based on odometer readings should be used.

4. Alternative travel arrangements

When a traveler elects, for personal reasons, to use a mode of transportation that is not the most economical, reimbursement for mileage and additional expenses shall not exceed the projected cost of the most economical and reasonable mode. For example, if a traveler elects to drive to a conference rather than fly, the reimbursement for mileage, lodging, meals, and other business expense enroute shall not exceed the amount for airline tickets plus applicable ground transportation expenses to the authorized destination. Extra working days necessary for making the trip by vehicle over the most economical and reasonable method should be charged to annual vacation leave, if applicable. Where alternative transportation is chosen, a comparative calculation of costs should be submitted with the travel expense report.

5. Lodging Selection

Travelers are expected to seek out and select moderately priced accommodations. Travelers attending a seminar or convention may stay at the facility hosting the meeting event though lower priced accommodations are available in the vicinity of the meeting. University faculty or staff traveling with students or other university employees are expected to secure separate rooms. This ensures safety for all parties involved.

6. Car Rental

Travelers requiring an automobile at their destination are expected to use a compact or small class car unless the requirements of a group dictate otherwise. Travelers should decline the insurance offered by the rental car company. The university has insurance through its fleet policy that covers the vehicle and driver.  In order for that coverage to be accessed, the rental must be made in the name of Eastern Mennonite University. In case of an accident involving a rental car, the insurance contact is Linda Martin at Campbell Insurance (1-434-847-5541) and the insurance policy information is The Travelers Property Casualty Company of America policy no. Y-810-652K4589-TIL-06.

7. Meals

Reimbursement for meals, including tips, may not exceed the reasonable and actual meal cost of the traveling employee. A suggested guideline is $30.00 per day (breakfast $6.00, lunch $8.00, dinner $16.00) although higher or lower costs will be appropriate depending on circumstances and location.   Meals for persons other than the traveling employee may be reimbursed if the cost is necessary to conduct university business. Under these situations, the names and business purpose must be stated on the expense report. All receipts must be itemized/detailed. You will most likely have to request this when paying your bill.

8. Other reimbursable expenses

The following expenses are normally reimbursable if incurred for authorized travel:

  • Taxi fares, airport limos, shuttle bus or subway fares
  • Parking and tolls
  • Gasoline for rental cars
  • Baggage handling tips
  • Excess baggage charges for university equipment
  • Business related telephone charges including an occasional (up to one per day) call to family members when traveling overnight on university business
  • Currency conversion charges

These expenses must be recorded on the travel expense report and supported by receipts whenever possible.

9. Non-reimbursable expenses

The following expenses are not reimbursable:

  • Alcoholic beverage
  • Check cashing charges
  • Child care or pet sitting
  • Clothing
  • Club dues, airline clubs
  • Expenses directly or indirectly incurred by a spouse or dependent or other person traveling with an employee
    • Fines for parking or traffic violations
    • Gifts
    • In-room movies, movie rentals, entertainment
    • Mileage to and from work
    • Personal automobile repairs, maintenance and gasoline
    • Personal excess baggage charges
    • Personal health and hygiene items
    • Personal telephone calls (except as noted above for family)
    • Purchase of luggage
    • Taxi costs to personal entertainment
    • Travel or flight insurance

10. Registration fees

Advance registration fees for conferences and seminars should be paid by university check or credit card.

11. Business and personal travel

In instances where a traveler interrupts business travel for personal convenience, travels by an indirect route, or is accompanied by his/her spouse not on university business, the traveler must maintain accurate records for official business travel. The university does not reimburse any expenses incurred on behalf of the spouse or for personal travel.

12. Business travel for hourly paid employees

Employees paid on an hourly basis may be permitted to travel on university business. Supervisors should consult with Human Resources Department regarding overtime during travel for hourly paid employees and discuss these provisions with the traveling employee before permission to travel is granted.

Adopted by President’s Cabinet February 11, 2004

Updated by President’s Cabinet, June 25, 2008

Updated by Provost's Council, March 29, 2017