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University Business Travel and Entertainment (when travelling) Policy
Purpose:
  1. This document sets out the policy for all domestic and international travel and related entertainment expenditure including:
    1. air travel;
    2. car hire;
    3. accommodation;  and
    4. meals and entertainment (whilst travelling).  
  2. This policy should be read in conjunction with:
    1. Travel Procedures Manual;
    2. Financial Delegations Policy;
    3. International Mobility (for students) Policy;
    4. Charter of Conduct and Values;
    5. University Payment Card Policy
    6. University Payment Card Procedures Manual
    7. Entertainment & Hospitality Policy (to be drafted); and
    8. Air Travel Carbon Offset Policy (to be drafted).
  3. The primary objective of the University’s travel policy is to ensure the safety and comfort of our staff, students, guests and employees, including related entities (hereinafter called “travellers”), while providing a fair and cost effective travel framework for the University.
Scope:
  1. This document applies to all official ‘travellers’ of the University and related University entities, namely:
    1. staff;
    2. students;
    3. third parties such as affiliates eg members of Council and Entity Boards; and
    4. all staff involved in the administration and approval of Business Travel.
  2. A travel journey (to which this policy applies) is one that requires the traveller to journey 50 kilometres or more away from the University of Canberra’s Bruce Campus.
Principles:
  1. University travel may only be undertaken when there is a clear business need.  Video, telephone and internet conferencing should be considered as cost effective and practical alternatives to travel. 
  2. The health and safety of travellers is important to the University.   Accordingly the University reserves the right to withdraw approval, restrict, or cancel travel having regard to health warnings, security warnings and other factors as published by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
  3. The University has direct membership with International SOS a provider of 24 hour medical and security advice and assistance for medical, security or other emergencies, for all authorised University travellers. 
  4. All Air Travel will be subject to the University’s carbon offset program.  Travellers’ must not purchase the ‘offset’ programs offered through the airline carrier.  The University is providing for an internal carbon offset program where funds collected are directed to appropriate, University ‘green’ initiatives. 
  5. All business travel must have the prior approval of the travel authoriser as specified in this policy, section roles and responsibilities refers.
  6. The travel approval process will include the approval of the ‘travel’ budget.  Travel budget costs will include:
    1.  the most ‘logical fare of the day’ as provided by the University Travel Management Company;
    2.  accommodation and car hire organised through the University’s preferred supplier agreements;
    3. reasonable daily meals costs, incidental costs  (up to a maximum of 75% of the ATO base rate);
    4. any additional conference costs as agreed by the approving cost centre delegate / portfolio delegate in accordance with local faculty practises (ie from zero to 75% of the ATO base rate);
    5. any costs payable in relation to accommodation, meals and expenses for Off Shore Teaching will be in accordance with the procedures of relevant policies; and
    6. entertainment and hospitality expenditure (if applicable).
      Note: Members of SMG and VCG will have the option of electing (once a year) to receive meals and incidental costs as per (general principles 6.3) above or  incurring these expenses direct to a University approved credit card.  Details of this annual election will be kept by Finance and Business Services in the Express Booking Register.
      Detailed procedures on acceptable travel budgets / acquittal of travel expenses are included in the Travel Procedures Manual.
  7. While on University business, the University’s Code of Professional Ethics and Conduct applies whilst travelling to, from and at any business travel destination.
  8. The University’s Payment Cards (Corporate MasterCard and the UC1 Card) are to be used for all business travel, associated expenses and approved entertainment with the exception of Field Trips and Motor Vehicle Mileage payments.  Refer to the Travel Procedures Manual for additional information.
  9. Travellers must complete a travel diary for all international and domestic travel 6 or more nights in a row”[1].
  10. Conference related travel must be approved in the same manner as business travel.  Where meals and other costs are included in the conference fee, no additional expenses are payable.  Any additional expenses paid (up to a maximum of the ATO base rate) are at the discretion of the cost centre / portfolio delegate.
  11. All University approved travel will be booked through approved University suppliers.  Specifically air travel must be booked through the University’s Travel Management Company, Voyager, either directly with a travel consultant or via their online booking tool, Serko.
  12. Car hire and hotel accommodation may be booked directly with the end provider. Whenever possible, preferred suppliers should be used.
  13. The UoC’s Corporate Travel insurance policy applies for all approved travel including where any incidental private travel component is not greater than 28 days.
  14. Travel related costs such as visa fees and inoculations are payable by the University. Passport costs may be approved at the discretion of the local delegate.   
  15. The cost of luggage, except when especially required for the transport of University assets, equipment or documents, is considered a personal expense and will not be reimbursed.
Responsibilities:
Of The Traveller
  1. Be responsible for your own health and safety when travelling. 
  2. Exercise the same care as you would when incurring personal expenses.
  3. Conduct business at minimum cost for achieving success and desired outcomes.
  4. Must not authorise or approve their own travel or expenses acquittals/reimbursements.
  5. Must submit the travel request (domestic and international) to the travel delegate in a timely manner allowing sufficient time for approval.
Approver (Travel Authoriser)
  1. Timely approval of travel requests
  2. Ensure the business case for the travel request is substantive and designed to support and enhance University of Canberra activities.
  3. Staff must not approve travel requests or travel expenses for an individual to whom they report.
Approval Process
  1. All international travel must be approved by the appropriate SM2 (Senior Manager 2) or above in advance of departure or ticketing of travel, whichever comes first.
  2. All domestic travel must be approved by a member of SMG (Senior Management Group) or above in advance of departure unless the traveller is endorsed with express booking status. 
  3. Express bookers are those staff with pre-authorisation to undertake domestic travel.  All members of SMG and VCG are automatically included on the Express Booking Register to be maintained by Finance and Business Services.  Frequent domestic travellers, with the approval of the appropriate SM2 or above may request express booking status. 
  4. Any travel being charged to a cost centre, project or unit not directly controlled by the travel approver must have written approval of the financial delegate of the other cost centre, project or unit manager.
Audit and Error
  1. All travel arrangements and costs pre and post departure, may be subject to audit by Finance and Business Services and/or Internal Audit.
  2. Any errors or omissions detected by the traveller or approver should be reported as soon as possible after they are known. Any errors or omissions detected will be advised by Finance and Business Services Management to the traveller as soon as possible but no later than 10 business days after detection.
Supporting Information:
Expenses Not Paid
  1. First Class Travel is specifically not permitted, unless arranged at no cost to the University (e.g. via an upgrade using Frequent Flyer Points). 
  2. Business Class / Premium Economy Travel is not permitted:
    1. For domestic travel; or
    2. For international travel within 12 hours of Sydney;
      Unless:
      • you are a member of the VCG;
      • specifically provided for in the travellers’ conditions of employment;
      • arranged at no extra cost to the University (eg via an upgrade using Frequent Flyer points); or
      • approved by the Vice-Chancellor.
  3. For international travel greater than 12 hours from Sydney, business class/ premium economy travel is not permitted, unless:
    1. you are a member of the VCG;
    2. the travellers’ conditions of employment specifically permit business or premium economy travel; or
    3. it is arranged at no extra cost to the University (eg via an upgrade using Frequent Flyer points), or
    4. approved by the Vice Chancellor.
  4. The University does not pay for Airline Lounge membership, unless specifically provided for in the traveller’s conditions of employment.
  5. Due to insurance and duty of care requirements, use of a personally owned motor vehicle for University Travel is discouraged. Please refer to the Travel Procedures Manual for preferred vehicle usage.
  6. Private travel, when added to a bona fide trip on university business, will only be permitted where the private travel time component is 25% or less of the total time away from campus, excluding weekends thus ensuring the travel will stay within the ‘reasonable’ limits required under the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation.  An exception to this rule will only be permitted by the travel delegate where a pro-rated private contribution towards airfares and other transport costs is paid from personal funds in advance of travelling. Evidence of the pro-rated contribution must be provided to the Director, Finance and Business Services.
  7. The University will not pay for any costs associated with travel expenses of a personal or private nature.
  8. The University will not pay for the travelling costs of a relative, spouse, child or other accompanying traveller, unless that traveller is an employee of the university and travelling on bona fide University business or where such travel has been specifically provided for in the traveller’s conditions of employment.
Exceptions
  1. Approval of exceptions to this policy will only be considered for sound commercial, safety or health reasons. 
  2. Policy exception approvals can only be granted by a member of the VCG or the Director, Finance and Business Services and as outlined above for business & premium travel. 
  3. Approval for exceptions to policy must be in writing and attached to the travel documentation submitted with travel expense acquittals and travel diaries as required and outlined in the Travel Procedures Manual.
Travel Procedure Manual
  1. Supporting this policy is the Travel Procedures Manual which set out the processes and procedures to be used in the application of the policy. 
  2. The Travel Procedures Manual may be subject to regular updates due to operational changes. Changes to the Travel Procedures Manual require the approval of the Director, Finance and Business Services.
Policies and procedures supporting this policy:
Definitions:
Term Definition
Agreed contribution The sum of money required to reduce to zero any Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) component arising from associated private travel.
Allowances Allowance is a statutory / legislated payment that will be varied from time to time.  These types of payments must be made through a payroll system.  Payroll allowances are not payable to students or visitors.
 
Approval
 
Approval is the specific, written approval given to the traveller to travel on University business and incur expenses on behalf of the University in accordance with established delegation authorities.   Domestic travel must be approved by a Senior Manager 1 and above (unless the traveller is registered as an Express Booker).  International Travel must be approved by a Senior Manager 2 and above.
ATO base travel allowance This is the rate specified by the ATO as ‘reasonable’ for meals, incidentals and accommodation costs incurred while travel on approved business. 
Business Activity An activity undertaken by an employee (e.g. attendance at a meeting, at a conference, field research, speaking at a lecture) that relates to their work as a University of Canberra employee.
Business Entertainment This is entertainment that is considered essential for the facilitation of University business.  The amount spent on business entertainment should meet the principles contained in Schedule 5 of the Travel Procedures Manual.
Designated Travel Arranger  A nominated travel organiser from within the Traveller’s business area,  faculty, research centre or related entity (where available).
 
Domestic Travel
 
Travel to any destination within Australia.  This does not include the domestic leg of travel connecting to an international flight unless there is a gap of 24 hours or more between the domestic leg and the commencement of the international component of the travel.
Domestic Travel Request This is the University’s approved eform or Self Booking Tool for submitting domestic travel requests on/ through or other such method as approved by the Director, Finance and Business Services from time to time. 
DFAT Warning DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) provides travel risk ratings for countries on its Smart Traveller website.  This risk rating ranges from Category 1 = Be Alert to your own security to Category 5 = Do not travel.
Evidence of Expenses This is in the form of detailed invoices and receipts of all expenses incurred prior, during and after travel.  If unavailable the traveller must complete the missing receipts form or the minor receipts form. 
Exceptions An exception is where approval has been given to vary the University Business Travel & Entertainment (when Travelling) Policy in accordance with Section E.  All exceptions must be in writing and attached to the travel request and expense acquittal documentation. 
Expense Management System The University’s online expense management system is called iCMS. This system is used for the acquittal, claiming and processing of payment card transactions and cash expenses.
Expenses of a personal or private nature Expenses of a personal or private nature are generally not payable by the University.  The ATO views these expenses as ‘expenses’ that would have been incurred when at home.  Whilst an exception (in accordance with Section E of the University Business Travel & Entertainment (when Travelling) Policy) can be made to approve these expenses from time to time, a fringe benefit liability will most likely be incurred.  For examples of expenses of a personal or private nature refer to Schedule 6 of the Travel Procedures Manual.
Express Booking Register This is an excel workbook maintained by Finance and Business Services and published on the University’s travel portal from time to time. This register will detail staff who has Express Booking Status.
Express Booking Status
 
A form of domestic travel booking where individual trips can be booked without the specific, individual trip authorisation of the usual authoriser (SM1 or above).
Can only apply to domestic travel.
Staff approved automatically for Express Booking Status are members of SMG and VCG.  Other staff must be nominated (and registered on the express booking register) by the appropriate (cost centre/ portfolio) SM 2 or above. 
Extended Travel ATO has defined this as the period in which the employee is away ‘for 6 or more nights in a row.’ 
 
FBT
 
Fringe benefits tax (FBT) is a tax paid on certain benefits employers provide to their staff or their staffs’ associates (typically family members). FBT is separate from income tax and is based on the taxable value of the various fringe benefits provided.
Frequent Flyer Points (FFP) Airline loyalty program points redeemable for upgrades and fares.
Frequent Traveller Expected to travel on long distance flights (>4 hours flight time) more than twice a year in carrying out one’s role.
GST Compliance Evidence of expenditure which satisfies the requirements of the Australian Tax Office in respect to Goods and Services Tax Legislation.
GST Compliant Receipt/Invoice Tax Invoice requirements vary, depending on the total $ value of the tax invoice.
For Transactions greater than $1000, the tax invoice must include:
  • The name of the recipient (i.e. University of Canberra);
  • The address or ABN of the recipient, i.e. University of Canberra’s Bruce address or ABN Number).
iCMS The University’s online Expense Management System. This system is used for the acquittal and approval of processing of credit card charges and reimbursement (and approval) of cash expenses.
iCMS Delegate Is the financial delegate for an employees’ payroll cost centre.
International SOS Provides 24 hour medical, security and other emergency advice to approved University travellers.
International Travel Travel to any destination outside of Australia.  This includes the ‘domestic’ leg of an international journey providing the gap between the domestic leg and commencement of the international component is 24 hours or less.
International Travel Request This is the University’s approved form (hard copy/eform or self booking tool) for submitting international travel requests on.  This form should be completed and approved before international travel is booked, ticketed or commenced. 
Lowest Logical Fare The lowest cost to deliver the Traveller to their destination taking into account timing, safety and reliability of carrier.
Merely incidental In the context of business travel, private travel will be considered to be ‘merely incidental’ to the business purpose of extended travel if the private travel component of the trip does not exceed 25% of the trip up to a maximum of 28 days.
Partially Funded Travel Travel for University Business, where the University does not fully meet the travel expenses or travel and/or expenses are partially paid by a third party or the traveller.
Payment Card University issued corporate credit card, corporate charge card, debit card or cash card as defined in the University Payment Card Policy from time to time.
Personal / private funds These are funds held outside the University bank account and financial ledger.
Preferred supplier agreements Preferred supplier agreements are value for money arrangements backed by specific contractual obligations designed specifically for the University and must be used when undertaking University approved travel.
Private Travel Component The private component of a trip is the number of days where an employee is not undertaking business activities.  Please note, days in transit and unavoidable delays between business activities due to weekends, public holidays and scheduling issues will not be counted in the private component where documentation is attached to support the classification of these days as days in transit/unavoidable delays (eg. itinerary, explanation of scheduling limitations etc).
Reasonable Costs/ Expenses Legitimate work related costs/expenses which are incurred to conduct official business effectively up to the appropriate levels as determined by Financial Services from time to time.
Reasonable daily meal costs This is the maximum rate specified by the ATO (from time to time) as ‘reasonable’ for meals, incidentals and accommodation costs incurred while travelling on approved business.
Related Entities Related entity is an entity associated with the University such as the University of Canberra College, The University Union and Natsem Pty Ltd.
SBT Self booking tool.
Serko (Voyager) Serko is the ‘self booking tool’ used by the University for booking travel. 
SMG Senior Managers Group (membership as directed by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor from time to time).
Senior Manager 2 or 3 These are a series of delegation categories introduced by the University in 2009 (as amended from time to time).
Source of funds Includes Operational, Research, Consultancy or Capital funds.
Ticketing (of Travel) This is when the travel agent issues the ticket (including an ‘e’ ticket) and charges the University payment card.
Travel Administrator Is a staff member of the University or related entity who assists with travel related matters.
Travel Advisory Information provided by the Australian Government through the Smart Traveller website.
Travel Approver – University of Canberra Domestic Travel – Senior Manager 1 or above.
International Travel – Senior Manager 2 or above
Business Class Travel – various.  Refer Section D.
Travel Approver – Related entities Each entity can set their Travel Approval structure through their respective Boards.  The approval structure should have regard to the UC approval structure as outlined in the policy and be communicated to the Director of Finance and Business Services (in writing).
Travel Budget Is the estimate of travel submitted by the traveller with their travel requisition form (both domestic and international).  The travel budget should include all relevant costs including any business entertainment or additional expenses proposed while travelling e.g. gifts.
Travel Diary Record of actual events following travel to meet the requirements of the ATO for the purpose of assessing Fringe Benefit Tax.  The University has prescribed a travel diary form. A travel diary is required when an employee is away ‘for 6 or more nights in a row.’ 
Travel Journey This is a journey that requires the traveller to journey 50 kilometres or more away from the University of Canberra’s Bruce Campus.
Traveller(s)
 
All staff, students and third parties of the University and related University entities undertaking, official University travel on behalf of the University and related entities.
Travel Management Company
(TMC)
The Travel Agent or business that provides travel services including expert business travel advice, bookings, ticketing and ancillary services to the University and with which the University has entered into a contractual relationship to provide travel services to the University. As at time of policy preparation the University’s TMC is Voyager Travel.
Travel per diems Is another name for ATO specified travel allowances. 
Travel Procedures Manual Sets out the processes and procedures to be used in the application of the policy.
Travel Request Is the travel request method as specified from time to time by the Director, Finance and Business Services.  It may take the form of a hard copy form, an e form, an express booking register or a self booking tool.
Unavoidable delay A delay between business activities will not be counted as part of the private component if:
  • it was essential that the business activities on either side of the delay were undertaken during the trip; and
  • the business activities could not have been scheduled at any other time (such as to minimise the delay).
University Business Activity of a business, educational or professional nature approved by the University.
University funded Travel that is funded in whole or in part by monies held in the University bank account(s). 
University Travel Portal A travel home page designed to provide the University traveller with a single entry point to the University travel policy and related information.
VCG Vice-Chancellor’s Group (membership as directed by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor from time to time).
Work Related Travel Travel undertaken by a University of Canberra employee in their role as an employee (i.e. not in their capacity as a private individual). Note: If the University has paid for (including payment from a grant allocation) some or all of the travel expenditure, or continued to pay the employee, or provided travel insurance cover, the travel will constitute work-related travel.
Written Evidence The ATO requires that you must have written evidence for the whole of your ‘travel’ claim, not just the excess over the reasonable amount.  Suitable written evidence will include detailed receipts (not just credit card slips) of the expenditure undertaken and why cheaper alternatives were not available or suitable (eg peak time of travel, safety requirements etc.
Links:
https://www.canberra.edu.au/myuc-s/business-units/travel/travel-policy