Travel, Subsistence and Expenses Policy

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1 UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL Effective from 1 April 2014

2 1. Purpose & Introduction 1.1. This policy sets out the rules and procedures associated with incurring and reclaiming travel and subsistence expenditure whilst engaged on University business and form part of the University Financial Regulations Although this policy relates specifically to the reimbursement of expenses, it also applies to all categories of expenditure, regardless of the method of payment and funding source (including any expenditure associated with University discretionary accounts (DF accounts). The general principles therefore cover: Purchase invoices Purchasing card expenditure Travel and Subsistence card expenditure Cash passports Expense claims Petty cash purchases 1.3. It is expected that the majority of purchases will be done using University systems with direct payment to the supplier rather than an individual purchasing the goods and services themselves and then claiming for reimbursement of expenses. 2. General Principles 2.1 This Policy applies to the following group of claimants: All staff All students, and Any persons on University business Please see Annex A for further details on the responsibilities of each role holder (claimants and budget holders) and the duties/responsibilities of the Faculty/Professional Services Finance team. 2 April 2014

3 2.2. The core principle of this policy is that any travel and/or expense should be reasonably incurred for appropriate business purposes on a nil-gain, nil-loss basis. These rules indicate what is generally reasonable and should be strictly adhered to. In addition any expenditure incurred must be accommodated within annual budget or project budget allocations These rules are mandatory and can only be deviated from if exceptional business circumstances require alternative treatment. In such cases, (and if practical in writing), this will need to be agreed by the Head of School/Divisional Unit prior to the expense being incurred Claims must not in any circumstances contain charges which are not relevant to University business Employees must exercise sensible judgement in determining the most cost-effective and the most efficient means of carrying out the University s business. This includes considering public transport and car sharing when travelling on official business. All unnecessary travel should be avoided. Staff are encouraged to use conference call and video conference facilities for meetings in order to avoid travelling unnecessarily The Finance Director, through the Finance Services team, may refuse to meet in whole or in part any unreasonable expenses, or those expenses which could have been avoided had a journey been better planned Where possible, the claimant should ensure that travel, accommodation and conference fee and other expenditure is invoiced directly to the University rather than claimed on expenses. Advantage should be taken of any discounts or other arrangements negotiated by the University Procurement Unit ( 3. Receipts and vouchers 3.1. Receipts are required for all reimbursed expenditure unless there is a genuine reason that such documentation was not available. In addition, the receipts and vouchers should detail the goods purchased and evidence payment having been made Credit card receipts presented only as evidence of reimbursement and copies of credit card statements are NOT valid receipts for these purposes. 4. Subsistence Allowances 4.1. The University does not have a fixed daily subsistence rate Claims for reasonable subsistence should be on the basis of actual costs incurred. 3 April 2014

4 4.3. Please note that where a fixed daily rate as opposed to actual expenditure is claimed because the funding provider (e.g. Royal Society, British Council etc.) allows and has agreed to provide such expenditure, the University may be required by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to deduct appropriate income tax and national insurance. 5. Allowable/Not Allowable Costs 5.1. Travel Please note the following: Partner s expenses: The University will not meet the cost of any persons relating to the individual travelling or anyone not authorised by the University who accompanies them on a business trip unless there is a specific operational requirement to do so and which has been approved in advance by the Head of School/Divisional Unit. Such approval must be given in writing and attached to the relevant reimbursement claim. Holidays linked to business trips: An employee shall not claim any additional travel costs, subsistence or other expenses for days taken as holiday linked to a business trip. In such instances the University will reimburse the return flight home providing the cost of such is no more than it would have been had the individual returned home immediately following the conference/business meeting. Insurance cover for personal travel linked to a business trip can be extended for up to ten days. An insurance policy is held by the University and the minimum term of cover is 3 months. Such costs relating to insurance cover are charged to individual charge codes. Overseas trips and conferences: For costs and expenses incurred regarding overseas trips and conferences, it must be clearly demonstrated that attendance is required by the individual(s) in order to carry out their duties of employment. No costs should be incurred without the authority of the budget holder. Claimants will be reimbursed for the actual travel and other incidental expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of employment and should not gain or lose financially in doing so e.g. promotional incentives to 4 April 2014

5 travel with certain suppliers, air mile schemes etc. Where possible, staff are encouraged to use the University s contracted supplier for travel services and where they can provide competitive pricing, individuals are asked to test this first before seeking alternatives. Note that the mode of transport should be the most cost effective and where possible, and if it is cheaper, travel reservations should be made as far as possible in advance using the University s procurement systems. Rates below apply to UK trips only Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Car Mileage Casual User 1 45p per mile For the first 10,000 miles of tax year (6 th April to 5 th April in the following year). 25p per mile After first 10,000 miles. Essential Users 1,115 pa + 25p per mile For those whom a car is required as per their contract of employment or travel more than 4,000 miles p.a. on University business. Mileage needs to be recorded on the expenses claim form. Home to Work No In exceptional circumstances payment may be allowable if the University campus is a temporary workplace or duties of employment require staff to be on call, e.g. over the weekend. Such payments may give rise to a tax liability. Note that where an individual is travelling on University business and has elected to go straight there from home, then the lesser of the cost of the journey from home to the meeting venue or from University premises to the meeting venue will be reimbursed. An appropriate reduction should normally be made to reflect the normal mileage from home to work when travelling directly. 1 Casual User is defined as an individual generally travelling less than 4,000 miles per annum on University business 5 April 2014

6 Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Fuel Costs No Individual receipts for fuel costs are not an allowable expense as this is covered by the use of mileage rates detailed above. Motor Cycle 24p per mile Cycle 20p per mile Car rental Hire charge Bookings can be made using the University s contracted supplier ( Travel to/from work is not allowable unless it is more practical for delivery/return of hire car from the home address. A vehicle hire log form must be completed for each hire in order to comply with the University Motor Insurance Policy ( It is expected that the class of car hired is suitable for the business need and generally classed as large compact/intermediate level e.g. UK equivalent of a Ford Focus/VW Golf. University Pool cars N/A Schools/divisions may be able to offer use of a pool car for required business journeys. A log should be kept for each school/division of all journeys undertaken and such cars should not be taken home by employees unless to facilitate an early start/late finish to a journey. Fuel costs (only for hire cars) Petrol receipts must be obtained and included in any travel expense reimbursement claim in respect of the business miles travelled using the hire car. Any claims for mileage rate in respect of hire cars will not be reimbursed. 6 April 2014

7 Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Taxis Business travel Generally used for short local journeys and where it is not cost effective or unrealistic to use public transport. Taxis can also be used for longer journeys providing it is more appropriate and/or more cost effective to do so. In such instances the claimant must provide evidence to support this. Note taxis should not be used for ordinary commuting to/from employee s home address unless to facilitate occasional late working after 9pm where public transport is not available or inappropriate. Car parking and tolls charges Reasonable parking expenses and charges for tolls will be reimbursed when necessary on business journeys. Receipts must be obtained as proof of evidence. Parking fines No Parking fines will not be reimbursed by the University. Speeding fines No Speeding fines will not be reimbursed by the University. Oyster Cards, Smart Cards top ups Personal No Expenditure incurred using personal oyster cards while on University business will not be reimbursed. Business Claimant must state to and from stations for each journey plus obtain a receipt for the top-up value on the oyster card. Travel Cards Any Providing such cards cover the genuine business journey and it is more cost effective to purchase such a card. 7 April 2014

8 Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Rail Tickets Standard Class Expected standard of travel. Consideration should be given to select the most appropriate cost effective tickets. First Class Heads of School/Divisional Units, Deans and/or members of VCAG may purchase First Class tickets where they feel it is appropriate to do so for business needs. Underground tickets Any type Claimant must state to and from stations for each trip and in addition obtain receipts as proof of purchase where possible. Air travel Economy Expected standard of travel. Business/Premium Heads of School/Divisional Units, Deans and/or members of VCAG may purchase Business/Premium tickets where they feel it is appropriate to do so for business needs. First Class No Not allowable. For other staff business/premium class is allowable where the flight is over 6 hours and the Head of School/Divisional Unit considers it reasonable to do so and/or it is more cost effective to do so if additional baggage allowance is required. Excess Baggage Charges Only where travelling with heavy or bulky materials or equipment necessary for business and/or where excess baggage consists of University records or property. In such circumstances, excess baggage allowance should be booked in advance of travel. 8 April 2014

9 Category Sub Category Allowable Lost Baggage No Personal Items Rate The University will not reimburse personal items lost while travelling on University business as this is deemed to be covered by any subsequent insurance claim. Ferry travel Ferry crossing only Crossing and accommodation For crossings over 6 hours, standard cabin accommodation for each ferry crossing. Travel Insurance No Travel insurance is covered by the University policy for all employees and students (under the age of 85) travelling on University business for at least part of their trip and can also include their spouse/partner/children. Please contact the Secretary s Office for further information: Meals, Meetings and Entertainment Individuals may claim reasonable costs of meals eaten while on University business away from their normal place of work and will be reimbursed for actual expenditure incurred with receipts as backing documentation. For each claim, Claimants must detail: The business reason for the meal Who with Date of the event Location 9 April 2014

10 Note: Credit card receipts and copies of credit card statements ARE NOT valid receipts for these purposes and if attached as supporting evidence, then the claim will not be paid. Category Sub Category Allowable Subsistence Daily/Overnight N/A Allowance Rate No general allowance given for daily or overnight business trips. Individuals must submit receipts for all reasonable and appropriate expenses incurred while away from the University. It is expected that such expenses are incurred on an out of pocket basis. Telephone calls to home Telephone calls made to home incurred on an overnight stay will be reimbursed providing they are not deemed to be excessive. Excessive claims will be rejected. Accommodation Overnight accommodation Major Cities - maximum 180 per night Other - maximum 100 per night Where possible, accommodation should be booked in advance of travel using the normal University procurement processes and systems. It is expected that the accommodation would be a standard room with private bath/shower. Hotel accommodation varies per location and is demand driven. Therefore, the figures quoted are stated as a maximum value and all staff are expected to book the more cost effective accommodation and not to spend up to the levels given. In very exceptional circumstances these may be exceeded provided the employee gives satisfactory explanation and it is approved by the Head of School/Divisional Unit. 10 April 2014

11 Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Accommodation Evening Meal Major Cities 35 per night Other 25 per night The University will reimburse the actual cost of meals (including drink) while the individual is away on University business up to the maximum limit stated per person. Prices will vary depending on location and demand. The figures quoted are stated as a maximum value and all staff are expected not to spend up to the levels given. In very exceptional circumstances this may be exceeded provided the employee gives satisfactory explanation and it is approved by the Head of School/Divisional Unit. Private accommodation 25 per night An overnight bed and breakfast rate of 25 per night is payable to the claimant arranging private accommodation with family or relatives. A signed receipt needs to be obtained as proof. Any cost of alcohol associated with this type of stay will not be reimbursed. Hotel Expenses Mini bar Only in exceptional circumstances. Note: Alcohol is not an allowable expense item. Newspapers No Not an allowable expense item. Toiletries No Not an allowable expense item. Laundry, providing stay is more than 5 consecutive nights. Emergency dry cleaning is also allowable providing the claimant can provide written justification. Internet Access, providing used for business purposes. 11 April 2014

12 Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Pay-as-you go TV No Not an allowable expense item. Hiring videos or No Not an allowable expense item. games Leisure facilities No Not an allowable expense item and covers massage, sauna, gym, beauty treatments. Entertaining Staff social functions (including Christmas parties) Max 30 per person per annum (Inc. of VAT) Providing this is an annual staff social event such as a Christmas party and is available to all staff generally at one location/school/division. Cost of hiring a dinner jacket/ball gown for formal functions Lunch/Evening meetings - University employees only No Not an allowable expense item except for members of VCAG where formal dress is a requirement of the function attending on behalf of the University. Must be clear that the prime reason for the event is to discuss business requirements and supported by a formal agenda. University catering facilities should be used for all such meetings. Where this is outside of core hours and is classed as a business meeting, alternative venues may be used. It is expected that most catering requirements would be sourced using University facilities unless there is a clear business need to justify the use of alternative requirements. Any meeting that takes place offsite must have a business requirement and should only be done in exceptional circumstances. Agreement must be given from primary Budget holders (as deemed by the Financial Regulations) prior to the meeting taking place. The names of all individuals attending the meeting offsite must be stated on any reimbursement claim and other associated documentation. 12 April 2014

13 Category Sub Category Allowable Lunch/Evening meetings with external visitors Rate Where appropriate and practical, University facilities including catering facilities should be used for entertaining visitors. Where this is outside of core hours or more appropriate venue is required, then the costs can be reclaimed for the business meeting. There must be a reasonably equal ratio of University staff to visitors. If this exceeds 2:1, then this will be reported as a taxable expense. The names of all individuals attending the meeting (both internal and external) must be stated on any reimbursement claim and other associated documentation for any external venues used/meetings held. Tips and gratuities Reimbursed where considered reasonable and in line with the practice of the country where the expense incurred. They should be included in the cost of the expense item to which they relate and clearly detailed on the receipt Telecommunications Category Sub Category Allowable Telecommunications Telephone No Landline Mobile Phone No personal contract Rate Not an allowable item. Not an allowable item. Mobile Phone personal phone but making calls on University business Detailed call log required for supporting documentation (minimum claim for reimbursement 2). Note: The University will not reimburse any associated contract fees (monthly rental). 13 April 2014

14 Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Mobile Phone - business Contract Such items are NOT to be purchased via individuals on an expenses basis. There must be a clear business need for the phone and they must be purchased via Telephone Services and requires approval from the Head of School/Division. Further information available at Reasonable use of such a phone for personal use is allowed but an annual contribution from the individual would be expected to cover such costs. Please contact your Faculty Finance Team on how to do this. Mobile Phone business UK - No Pay-as-you-go They should be purchased via Telephone Services on contract where appropriate(see above). Overseas - Pay-as-you-go Where it is more cost effective to purchase a short term contract for this type of service in the destination country. Note that this is only possible on SIM-unlocked phones. Broadband No Not an allowable item. Apps University corporate credit cards are not to be used for the purchase of mobile apps in app stores. The individual must purchase the app using their own personal funds and submit a claim for reimbursement with supporting evidence detailing the need for such a purchase. 14 April 2014

15 5.4. IT equipment Category Sub Category Allowable IT equipment Personal Desktop No Computers Computer Peripheral Laptop computers Mobile devices No No No Rate Such items should be purchased by IT staff only and using the appropriate procurement process. Please refer to the IT budget responsibilities and guidelines for further information. Such items should be purchased by IT staff only and using the appropriate procurement process. Please refer to the IT budget responsibilities and guidelines for further information Fees and Subscriptions Category Sub Category Allowable Fees and Professional No subscription membership fees Rate Where membership of a professional body is a normal expectation of the role e.g. Finance Director is expected to be a member of an accountancy body these will not be reimbursed. In exceptional circumstances e.g. where membership of a professional body is an externally imposed requirement in order for the individual to undertake the role, the costs of professional membership may be reimbursed. Arrangement to reimburse such costs must be determined and agreed by the Finance Director in advance. In circumstances where the cost of membership of a body, when purchased at the same time as attendance at an event which is for business purposes, is more cost effective than the non-member cost of attendance the cost of the membership will be reimbursed. Course registration Providing associated with University business. Conference fees 15 April 2014

16 5.6. Gifts, Vouchers and Contributions for Participation in Research Experiments Category Sub Category Allowable Gifts Flowers/Food items Gifts to staff Gift Cards/Vouchers Rate Only in exceptional circumstances such as for a long term sick member of staff (over 1 month), bereavement of a very close family member and long service awards to mark not less than 20 years service. Normal maximum cost should be 25. Gifts to Hosts Reimbursed where considered reasonable and in line with the practice of the country where the expense incurred. A record of such gifts must be kept by the School/Division in order to comply with statutory legislation. Participation in research experiments Gift Cards/Vouchers For individuals who has purchased the gift cards/vouchers to give to participants involved in research experiments providing they are not more than 50 per individual for each visit required. For any payment in excess of this, contact the Tax department. 16 April 2014

17 5.7. Eye Tests Eye tests can be arranged for staff that have been identified as display screen equipment users. Please refer to Health & Safety for further details. Please complete the eye test form, found at: Category Sub Category Allowable Rate Eye tests Eye test Up to 20 The University will contribute towards the cost of an eye test for all staff who have been identified as a Display Screen Equipment (DSE) user. Glasses Up to 35 Providing the glasses are primarily for DSE use only and evidence is provided from the optician to support this. The University will not pay for spectacles which are used for other purposes such as reading or driving in addition to DSE work Relocation Expenses For further details regarding reimbursement for relocation expenses please see: Purchase of Goods Exceptional circumstances only Note that the standard procurement route should normally be used for goods, via Proactis or using a University purchasing card. In exceptional circumstances, such as an emergency purchase while away from the office on University business will the purchase of goods or services be reimbursed to an employee. A clear justification of the reason for making the purchase personally must be included. 6. Guidance 6.1 Further detailed guidance on how to make an expenses claim can be found at 17 April 2014

18 6.2 Further guidance and training is available in respect of tax issues arising from the above guidance. Please contact in respect of queries arising and training available. 7. Further Review 7.1. These arrangements will be monitored and reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they meet the evolving needs of the University, continue to offer appropriate rates to ensure costs incurred by staff are properly reimbursed and take account of relevant tax legislation rules for the reimbursement of expenses. 18 April 2014

19 Annex A 1. Roles & Responsibilities a. Claimants Must ensure they are aware of, and comply with, the Travel and Subsistence policy and associated procedures. Employees found to be in breach of this policy may face disciplinary action which could result in dismissal; Are responsible for the correctness and completeness of the claim they submit; Are responsible for submitting their expenses claims in a timely manner generally within 1 month of the expense has been incurred and in exceptional circumstances 2 months particularly where such expenditure is being charged to external funding sources. Failure to do so may result in the claim being rejected; Are responsible for ensuring their travel arrangements are appropriate to business needs; Should ensure the costs are actually and necessarily incurred on University business; Should ensure that they do not incur any unreasonable expenses or if so, be prepared to justify such to the Head of School/Division and/or Finance Services; Should ensure they use the correct rates when making a claim and each claim is supported by receipts; Should ensure they use the greenest, most economic and efficient means of transport in the given circumstances. b. Line Manager/Budget Holder The Line Manager and/or budget holder for the member of staff will check the claim to ensure that the expenses claim, travel arrangements etc. are appropriate to the business needs before authorising the claim and passing it to the Faculty/Professional Services Finance team for processing. In some instances, the claimant will also be the budget holder and in such circumstances, self approval is allowed. c. Faculty/Professional Services Finance Team The finance team will: Ensure that the reimbursement items are allowable and reasonable within the context of this document; 19 April 2014

20 Check to ensure that the charge code has sufficient funds within it and also that the reimbursement is within the terms and condition of the funding source; Process all claims promptly for payment; Provide prompt and authoritative advice to members of staff on the T&S policy and procedures; For expense claims from staff using Proactis or from non staff using the paper forms: check all the necessary receipts are attached to the claim and that the claim has been authorised by all parties For cash passports: ensure the correct receipts are provided by the claimant with the necessary additional information it reconciles to the transaction log and cash passport statement detailed journal analysis has been provided and has been authorised by all parties For cash advances: (available in exceptional circumstances only) ensure the correct receipts are provided by the claimant with the necessary additional information it reconciles to the transaction log and cash passport statement detailed journal analysis has been provided and has been authorised by all parties For Purchasing card and Travel and Subsistence cards: ensure that all the necessary receipts are attached to the claim appropriate journal analysis has been provided and that the claim has been authorised by all parties If there are any inconsistencies or anomalies with any of the above, they will contact the member of staff / line manager to discuss the issue and either correct the rates to be claimed or reject the claim. 20 April 2014

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