The following policy has been authorized by Benedict Leuthner, OSB; Corporate Treasurer. Please keep in mind that most travel budgets are funded by student tuition dollars and it is the responsibility of all employees to be good stewards of institutional resources. We strongly encourage each employee to exercise good judgment while traveling, to seek simplicity and to avoid extravagance. We expect all employees to be honorable and reasonable in their compliance with this policy.
Travel Reimbursement Forms are available on the SJU Business Office web page. Please attach all related original itemized receipts, credit card receipts showing only the total amount paid will not be accepted. The expense report must be reviewed and signed by the department chairperson or vice president. Please submit the completed form with attachments to the Accounts Payable Office within 30 days upon returning from a trip.
Conference registration fees or lodging expenses may be paid in advance. Please complete a check request form (available on Business Office web page) and submit it to the Accounts Payable Office.
Infrequent travelers are asked to use their own personal credit cards for travel expenses and request reimbursement on their expense reports. After proper documentation and approval have been received by the Accounts Payable Office, reimbursement will be made within six working days.
All expenses should be supported by itemized receipts. Receipts are required for taxi or shuttle fares. Limited out-of-pocket costs such as tips and toll are included in the daily per diem incidentals amount. Any undocumented items over $25.00 will not be reimbursed.
In some instances the traveler may find it necessary to use a skycap or bellhop. Normal tips range from $.50 to $1.00 per bag. Consider the size/weight of the item. Record the tip on your expense report.
Expenses incurred by or on behalf of a spouse or guest accompanying an employee on business will not be reimbursed.
If a group of employees are traveling together, it is recommended that one employee pay for the travel expenses of the group and submit the expenses for reimbursement, documenting the names of all of the travelers. Another option would be to have the expenses billed directly to the institution.
Meals and Entertainment:
Meals should be appropriate to the business at hand; extravagance is discouraged. Employees in travel status (travel requiring an overnight stay), on University business will be reimbursed a flat per diem rate for travel related meal expenses. Receipts are not required to be turned in to be reimbursed for travel meals. For more information please refer to the Per Diem Policy.
Buying meals for or entertaining a prospective donor or prospective faculty appointee may be in the best interest of the institution if it is conducive to promoting goodwill. The traveler should exercise good judgment in his/her decision. As in any expenditure, proper documentation must accompany the expense report including an itemized receipt, a list of attendees, and the business purpose for the meeting.
The institution will not pay for or reimburse employees for the personal consumption of alcohol (beer, wine, cocktails, etc.). An exception to this policy may be granted for specific goodwill ventures, i.e. dinner with prospective donors or prospective employees. In these cases, one alcoholic beverage will be reimbursed for the employee.
Generally a 15% gratuity should be applied to restaurant charges. Verify that the gratuity has not been automatically applied to the bill. The tip should be based on the cost of the meal before taxes have been applied.
SNACKS AND OTHER INCIDENTAL ITEMS
Miscellaneous refreshments outside of regular meals (i.e. coffee, water, and soda), snacks, mini-bar, and other incidental items such as magazines, toiletries, and medicine are considered personal items and are not reimbursable.
MEALS DURING A SINGLE-DAY TRIP
If travel is wholly within a single day:
- Breakfast is reimbursable if business requires that the traveler leaves home before 6:00am.
- LUNCH IS ONLY REIMBURSEABLE AND NON REPORTABLE IF ATTENDING AN ALL DAY CONFERENCE WHEN LUNCH IS NOT PROVIDED.
- Dinner is reimbursable if business requires the traveler to return home after 7:00pm.
The IRS requires that breakfast/dinner reimbursements for single-day trips be reported as income. Qualifying reimbursements will be submitted to payroll for payment, and should not be included on your travel reimbursement.
An employee would fill out a check request form for single day trips. Single day meals will not exceed the regular per diem amounts. No alcohol is reimbursable. An original itemized receipt is required. A copy of the day conference schedule is required and should be attached to the form for all lunch reimbursements. Check breakfast or dinner reimbursements for day trips as reportable income. In the reason for expenditure box – the purpose of the day travel is required.
Meal Regular per diem amounts
- Breakfast $8.00
- Lunch $12.00
- Dinner $22.00
Employees are expected to make hotel/motel reservations at moderately priced properties. Room costs should range from $50 to $150 depending on your location. Keep in mind that the IRS per diem is currently $55 per day for lodging within the continental U.S. but may vary by city. Please inquire as to the safety of the hotel prior to making reservations. Employees should use their own discretion when choosing accommodations based on logistics. It may be more practical to stay at a higher priced hotel that is hosting a conference than the price of taxis or car rentals from another site.
Travelers should request single occupancy rooms when traveling alone. Employees traveling together may choose to share a room when feasible and agreeable to travelers. Employees traveling with a spouse or guest must pay the difference of a single versus a double occupancy room. Upon making reservations, ask if the property will accept a check from the institution.
Employees should verify the room rate and accommodations at the time of check-in and inquire if this is the lowest available rate. When checking out, carefully review the expenses listed and request a detailed breakdown of the charges. Submit this listing with your expense report. Personal expenditures which are not incidental to company business are not reimbursable. Examples of such expenditures include personal travel expenses, personal entertainment, magazines, books, movies, in-room movie rentals, tours, museum fees, souvenirs, haircuts, dry cleaning services, in-room mini bars, etc.
If an employee stays at the home of friends or relatives, a gift, meal or other appropriate token of appreciation may be purchased in lieu of lodging costs. These expenses are not intended to replace the cost of lodging but, rather, be an expression of appreciation or gratitude.
When traveling for extended periods, occasional phone calls home to one’s immediate family will be reimbursed. Calls should be limited in number and duration, for example one call per day not to exceed 10 minutes. If you are a frequent traveler, the Telecommunications Office can provide a phone card for your use. If you choose not to use the corporate phone card, the institution will reimburse up to $.50 per minute with adequate documentation of calls.
All travelers must use the lowest logical fare available that addresses the mission of the trip. Obtaining two quotes is encouraged. Whenever possible, purchase the ticket at least thirty days in advance. Always inquire about discounted fares. A Saturday stay over may reduce the fare, in making this decision give consideration to the cost of an extra night’s lodging, meals, etc.
Infrequent travelers are asked to use their own personal credit cards and request reimbursement.
Employees extending a business trip for personal reasons are expected to pay the difference if additional air travel expenses are incurred as well as additional lodging and meal expenses.
Employees are encouraged to participate in frequent flyer programs. However, doing so must not increase the cost of air travel paid by the institution.
Our preferred travel service provider is Marathon Travel
If an air traveler needs to leave a car at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, use of the off premises parking near the airport is advised. However, airport parking ramps may be utilized if the rates are comparable.
Executive Express offers a shuttle service to and from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.
Local transportation such as taxis and airport limousines should be utilized whenever possible unless car rental provides a savings. If renting a car while on institutional business, you must have completed the defensive driving course (see the Human Resources Department). Please contact the Business Office for insurance information you may need in the event of an accident.
Reserve an economical car through a travel agent whenever possible. Request that the travel agent check two or three car rental companies for price. Inquire as to refueling requirements, drop charges and mileage limits.
Renting a car from a rental car company that awards frequent flyer points and is higher in price than a competitor is not allowed.
Upon check-in at the rental agency, ask if the quoted rate is the best rate available. Decline all optional insurance. Employees are covered by the institution’s insurance policies when renting a vehicle. For your protection, physically inspect the vehicle for obvious damage prior to leaving the car compound. Be sure to inquire about the policy on returning the vehicle with a full versus an empty fuel tank. It is often less expensive to fill the tank prior to returning the rental car. When dropping off the car, receive and retain the copy of the rental agreement showing the total charges.
If your rental car breaks down, or if you have an accident, follow the procedures in your rental agreement. Please call the Business Office in the event of an accident as soon as possible.
Traffic violations are the responsibility of the traveler.
Corporate Fleet Vehicles:
A limited number of institution-owned vehicles are available through the transportation department for college related activities. A valid driver’s license and completion of the defensive driving course prior to checking out a vehicle are required. Please see the policies maintained by the OSB transportation department for further information. Carpooling is recommended when more than one employee travels to the same destination.
Use of your personal car for institutional business will be reimbursed at the current institutional rate. If an employee travels additional miles for personal reasons, these miles are not covered. The institution will not reimburse commuting expenses between an employee’s home and office. Use of a personal car for business travel that exceeds the lowest available air fare is not allowed. Carpooling is recommended when more than one employee travels to the same destination.
Bus transportation is available for trips between the St. John’s and St. Ben’s campuses. The institution does not reimburse for mileage between the two campuses.
Corporate Credit Cards i.e.: Purchasing cards:
Some employees, by the nature of their jobs, may need to have a Corporate Credit Card. Corporate Credit Card i.e. Purchasing Cards can be obtained through the Business Office upon the approval of the vice president in charge of that area. See the Purchasing Cards Policy and Procedures for more information.
Questions regarding this policy may be referred to Ginny Vickerman in the OSB Accounts Payable Office.