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SECTION 700 - FINANCE AND BUSINESS

SECTION 700 - FINANCE AND BUSINESS

 

 

706.05                                     TRAVEL REGULATIONS

 

INTRODUCTION

 

While institutions of the University System shall be guided by general travel regulations set forth in Business Procedures Manual, Volume I, Revised, these policies incorporate certain specific regulations and limitations particular to the employees of Georgia Perimeter College.

 

In requiring certain of its employees to travel in the performance of their duties, Georgia Perimeter College will reimburse those employees for reasonable and necessary expenses that are incurred while traveling away from their official headquarters and places of residence.  In cooperation with regulations promulgated by the State Auditor's Office, the Office of Planning and Budget and the Board of Regents, Georgia Perimeter College has adopted the following regulations regarding travel of employees on official business of the University System.

 

TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION

 

Employees required to travel in the performance of their official duties and entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred shall have prior authorization from their immediate supervisor and the Comptroller's Office for the performance of travel.  A specific authorization is required for those individuals who are required to make occasional trips.  In the case of individuals required to travel on a regular or a continuous basis, approval may be in the form of a standing authorization prepared each quarter.  Specific authorization shall be in such form as to indicate the itinerary, the estimated cost of travel, the mode of transportation, and the general purpose of travel.  This form must be completed with all required approvals five working days prior to the anticipated travel.

 

SUBSISTENCE (MEALS AND LODGING)

 

Reimbursement claims for subsistence (meals and lodging) will be reported on a Travel Expense Statement.  The date, location, and amount for each meal and lodging will be reported.  An individual taking annual (vacation) leave while away from headquarters on official business is not entitled to subsistence for the period of the leave.  With certain exceptions, reimbursement for subsistence within a 30-mile radius (or within the county) of a person's home or residence is not allowable. 

 

1.         Meals

 

Reimbursement will be made for the actual costs of meals within certain limits.  Expenses for three meals at a rate of not more than $26.00 per day, including tax and tips, is allowed.  Charges for three meals in excess of $26.00 per day must be explained in writing on the Travel Expense Statement.  Reimbursement of claims for fewer than three meals per day should be evaluated in terms of the daily limit.  In normal circumstances, the following limits shall apply:

 

                        Breakfast                        $ 5.00

 

                        Lunch                                    $ 7.00

 

                        Dinner                                    $14.00

 

Employees are entitled to reimbursement for breakfast expenses if they depart prior to 6:30 a.m., and for dinner expenses if they return later than 7:30 p.m.  The noon meal is not reimbursable unless overnight lodging was incurred or unusual circumstances prevail which are individually approved by the institution.  Meals may be reimbursed for the day of departure and return from overnight trips subject to departure and arrival time restrictions.  Receipts for meals are not required.

 

Reimbursement is limited to the cost of meals for the individual employee.  Reimbursement may be allowed for meals within the 30-mile radius and for noon meals not associated with overnight lodging, if the meals are an integral part of a scheduled meeting and the individual is an official representative of the institution, or if the meals are a part of a required registration fee.

 

2.  Lodging

 

Reimbursement may be made for actual lodging expenses based on reasonable rates (State, Commercial, or Corporate rate).  This rate should be requested at the time the reservation is made.  All lodging claims must be documented by receipts.

 

It is expected that reservations will be made in advance whenever practical, that minimum rate accommodations available will be utilized, that “deluxe” hotels and motels will be avoided, and that commercial rates will be obtained whenever possible.  Many hotels and motels grant commercial rates upon request to State employees who show identification.  These rates may be exceeded, but must be justified, if an employee stays at a higher cost motel where a meeting is held in order to avoid excessive transportation costs between a lower cost motel and the location of the meeting, or for the safety of the individual.

 

Act No. 621, passed during the 1987 legislative session, provides that Georgia state or local government officials or employees traveling on official business within the State of Georgia should not be charged county or municipal excise tax on lodging.  However, sales tax should continue to be charged since the payment of hotel or motel bills by employees is not considered to be payment directly by warrant on state appropriated funds.  This tax exemption should be explained at the time reservations are made.

 

Some difficulty may be encountered in communicating with the hotel or motel that state employees are exempt from the excise tax.  A form has been developed that should be presented to the hotel or motel to provide documentation that the identified employee is on official state business and qualified for exemption under the provisions of Act 621.  It should be noted that the provisions of this Act only apply to lodging expense incurred while traveling on official business and that any personal lodging expense (even if incurred at the same hotel or motel, before or after the official business related travel) would not qualify for the exemption.

 

When a room is shared with other college employees on travel status, reimbursement will be calculated on a pro rata share of the total cost; however, when a pro rata share of lodging cost is claimed, the expense statement must show the name or names of the employees with whom the room is shared.  The simplest method would be for each employee to ask for a separate bill for his/her share of the room cost.  An individual on travel status accompanied by husband, wife, or other individual who is not an employee on travel status will only be entitled to reimbursement at the single room rate.

 

Lodging expense will not be allowed for other than overnight accommodations.  Lodging expense will not be allowed in the Atlanta area.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

1.         Vehicle

 

Use of common carrier or private aircraft will be left to the discretion of the Comptroller's Office.  A traveler will be authorized to choose between a personal vehicle, a common carrier or private aircraft only after a careful analysis of the distance, timeliness and overall costs of a trip have been considered.  Reimbursement for the most economical mode of transportation, consistent with the purpose of the travel, will be authorized.

 

Reimbursement for transportation expenses incurred when using personally-owned vehicles will be at the legally authorized rate per mile for the actual number of miles traveled in the performance of official duties.  Effective July 1, l995, the mileage rate is $.25 per mile.  The initial point of departure will be either the individual's residence or headquarters, whichever is nearer the destination point.  The initial point of departure on weekends or holidays, however, should be the individual's actual point of departure.  No transportation costs will be allowed between an employee's place of residence and his official headquarters.   Reimbursement will not be allowed for expenses other than those incurred by the employee in travel status.  Payments to friends or other individuals will not be allowed.  Employees should attempt to travel together when applicable.  Actual odometer readings will be reported; however, personal mileage will be excluded in determining the mileage for which reimbursement may be made.  Claims exceeding mileage computed by the most direct route from the point of departure to the destination (due to field visits, picking up passengers, etc.) must be explained on the Travel Expense Statement.

 

An employee on required College business will be reimbursed for local mileage provided these miles are in excess of the daily commute between home and office.  Reimbursement for local campus travel will be limited to the following:

 

                        South to North                                    22                        South to Gwinnett            31

                       

                        South to Central                        10                        Central to Gwinnett            21

 

                        Central to North                        13                        North to Gwinnett            19

 

Claims for local mileage must show points visited and the return location.  A point-to-point explanation is required.

 

The authorized mileage rate is to include the normal expenses incurred in the operation of a personal vehicle.  In addition, parking and toll expenses will be paid for official travel in a personal or state vehicle.  (Low-cost, long-term parking or automobile storage should be used.)  Receipts for parking and toll expenses should be provided when possible; if not available, a written explanation must be made on the expense statement.

 

Use of commercially-leased vehicles will be left to the discretion of the Comptroller's Office.  Commercially-leased vehicles should be obtained from the state contracted rental agency according to the conditions of the state contract.  Employees will be reimbursed for costs associated with official use of such vehicles.

           

Transportation by common carrier will be by scheduled plane or rail.  Reimbursement will be made upon presentation of an original ticket stub, receipt, or other documentary evidence of expenditure.  According to law (l978 S.B. 73, Act l369), officials or employees traveling by commercial air carrier will not be reimbursed for that portion of first class air fare which exceeds the amount of the next lowest fare for the flight on which such official or employee is traveling unless:

 

            (A)            space is not otherwise available;

 

            (B)            a licensed medical practitioner certifies that because of a person's mental or physical condition specific air travel arrangements are required;

 

            (C)            The Commissioner of Public Safety certifies that specific air travel arrangements are necessary for security reasons.

 

Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of airline reservations (or other travel reservations) shall be the institution's obligation if the employee's travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the direction of and for the convenience of the institution.  If the cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the employee, it shall be the employee's obligation to pay the penalties and charges.  However, in the event of accidents, serious illness, or death within the employee's immediate family, or other critical circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the institution will be obligated to pay the penalties and charges.

 

Super Saver Rates - When traveling by common carrier to conduct official State business, employees traveling to their destination earlier than necessary and/or delaying their return to avail the institution of reduced transportation rates may be reimbursed subsistence for additional travel days if, in the opinion of the appropriate authority, the amount saved in transportation costs due to the early and/or delayed travel is greater than the amount expended in salary and additional subsistence.  Prior written approval of the appropriate authority is required.

 

Limousine or taxi service will be reimbursed between the individual's departure point and the common carrier's departure point; between the common carrier's arrival point and the individual's lodging or meeting place; and between the lodging and meeting places if at different locations.  It is expected that limousine service will be utilized when available and when arrival or departure is during daylight hours.  Although receipts are not necessary for such items of transportation, a point-to-point explanation is required for each such item reimbursed.  Baggage handling (porterage) may be reimbursed when actually incurred in moving luggage into or out of lodging places and common carrier.

           

Employees traveling in state vehicles (from the state motor pool) should purchase gas at state owned facilities when feasible.  All such purchases should be made with a state credit card.

 

Employees sharing a ride with another state employee using either a state or personal vehicle, and not claiming reimbursement for mileage, should indicate in the automobile record section of the expenses statement the name of the person they rode with and the dates of the trips.  Those utilizing state owned aircraft should also indicate such as a mode of transportation.

 

2.         Private Aircraft

 

Use of personal aircraft (owned or leased) will be authorized only after a careful analysis of the distance, timeliness, and overall cost factors of a trip have been considered.  Reimbursement for the most economical mode of transportation, consistent with the purpose of the travel, will be authorized.  If a private aircraft is used, reimbursement will be at the rate authorized for use of a personal vehicle ($.25 per road mile) for the most direct route from the employee's residence or headquarters to the destination point(s), whichever is nearer.

 

MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE

 

Registration fees required for participation in workshops, seminars or conferences which an employee is directed and/or authorized to attend will be allowed when supported by a paid receipt or copy of a check showing payment.  Any part of registration fees applicable to meals will be reported as a meal expense and not as a registration fee, if the costs can be separately identified.

 

Expenses for official telephone and telegraph messages which must be paid for by the traveler are allowed.  The expense statement must indicate the origin of the communication, the person contacted and justification for it.  Postage expense incurred relative to travel will be allowed.

 

Expenses for stationary, supplies, and stenographic or duplicating services may be allowed if reasonable.  Any such claims should be accompanied by a written explanation and invoice.  Claims for laundry, valet service, theater entertainment, and alcoholic beverages are not allowed and will not be reimbursed.

 

REIMBURSEMENT PROCEDURES

 

Responsibility for auditing, approving, and reimbursing Travel Expense Statements is vested in the Comptroller or his designated representative.  Georgia Perimeter College Business Office personnel will process completed and approved travel statements in an expeditious manner. Claims will be paid weekly whenever possible.  Each Travel Expense Statement must be approved by the employee's supervisor before submission to the Comptroller's Office.

 

Forms for travel reimbursement shall be the standard form approved for use by the University System.  All forms, Prior Approval for Travel, Travel Expense Statement, and the Tax Exemption Certification may be obtained from the Business Office.  No other form will be utilized.

 

Revised 9/15/90

Revision:  “DeKalb College” replaced with “Georgia Perimeter College” (8/2001)