Travel and business expense

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish policies and procedures for the reimbursement of travel and entertainment expenses incurred on behalf of Lynn University.

Policy

The University’s Travel and Business Expenses Policy provides guidelines for the authorization and reimbursement of all reasonable travel, entertainment and business expenses incurred by employees while conducting Lynn University business.

Lynn University employees will be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses, which are essential to the University’s business and incurred when traveling on and/or conducting University related business. For purposes of this Policy, University-related business expense is defined as an expenditure for a particular good, service, or activity that is necessary to fulfill the mission of the University and is of primary benefit to the University rather than the individual; the purpose of the expenditure can be well defended under public scrutiny or audit.

The University assumes no obligation to reimburse employees for expenses not in compliance with Lynn University policy, IRS guidelines, or incurred in a manner not in compliance with policy. Repeated non-compliance may be grounds for termination of employment.

Definitions

Business Travel Purposes—purpose that confirms a particular good, service, or activity is necessary to fulfill the mission of the University and is of primary benefit to the University rather than the individual; a purpose that can be well defended under public scrutiny or audit.

Receipt—a legible image of the original merchant receipt or invoice issued by the supplier or service provider to document and substantiate the business transaction.

Traveler—an individual who is engaged in business travel for which the University is covering expenses as a result of necessary authorization being granted.

University Travel—transportation on University business in excess of one’s normal commute. University-approved travel includes movement on official University business from home or normal place of employment to another destination, and return to home or normal place of employment. University-approved travel does not include commuting between home and normal place of employment.

Procedures/Guidelines

I. Travel Guidelines

Guidelines for all reservation and expenditures must be followed, as set forth below.

Travel must be by the most direct and least expensive route possible. Any employee traveling by an indirect route or incurring expenses to meet personal preferences shall assume any additional expenses. Selection of the mode of transportation should be based upon the distance, cost, time involved and the purpose of the trip.

There will be no international travel without the prior approval of the President. First class or business class travel is not allowed, unless an upgrade is obtained with frequent flyer miles or paid for by the traveler.

Spousal travel, paid for by the University, is not permitted.

II. Responsibilities and Control

A. Management

It is the responsibility of all levels of Management to assure that employee expenses incurred for travel and other business related activities are essential to the performance of their job; that expenses are necessary, reasonable, justifiable, properly documented and are in compliance with the Lynn University Travel and Business Expense Policy and IRS guidelines.

Primary control should be exercised by the employee’s Supervisor through:

1. Advance approval for all travel arrangements, activity and estimated expenses for each individual trip or activity. The departmental Vice President must approve participation in all conferences and other meetings. The President must also approve any international conference expenses (including travel and lodging).
2. Review and approval of all expenses reported for reimbursement in accordance with this policy and Lynn University guidelines.
3. Review and evaluation of submitted Expenditure Report.

B. Traveler

The employee is responsible for compliance with the Lynn University Travel and Business Expense Policy, IRS guidelines and will:

1. Fully complete and submit an Expenditure Request Form with appropriate signatures, at least three (3) weeks in advance of travel. Requests for international travel must be submitted at least thirty (30) days in advance of the departure day (not applicable to Office of Admission).

2. When booking travel, purchase ticket(s) at the lowest possible fare per trip.

3. Notify the Department Vice President in writing if full fare tickets with no restrictions are required. The reason for the full fare tickets must be documented in the “comments” section of the Travel Request Form for each individual trip. Expenses for travel submitted without this form will not be reimbursed.

4. Provide the supervisor with a copy of itinerary before leaving on business travel.

5. Submit a completed Lynn University Expenditure Request Form to Supervisor for approval prior to reimbursement.

6. Comply with guidelines as set forth in the reimbursement procedures, as well as any applicable grants and contract as applicable. In some situations, compliance with U.S. Government travel regulations is required.

Travelers who do not comply with this travel policy may be subject to delay or withholding of reimbursement.

C. Office of Business and Finance

The Office of Business and Finance will assure full and equal treatment for all employees consistent with the requirements and procedures set forth in this policy. It is the responsibility of the Office of Business and Finance to:

1. Review expense reports for required receipts with documentation, authorized approval and mathematical accuracy;

2. Review reported expenses for reasonableness and make inquiries when appropriate; and

3. Return any expense reports to the employee for review and appropriate action/response, if it is not in compliance with this policy, require substantiation or is not completely filled out with information required by accounts payable to process payment.
It is the policy of the Office of Business and Finance to process reimbursement within 6 business days of receipt. Inquiries concerning interpretation, application, procedures or administration of this policy should be referred to the Vice President for Business and Finance.

III. Reimbursement Procedures

Employees must prepare and submit a Lynn University Expenditure Request Form as well an Employee Travel Expense Form to Accounts Payable, with sufficient detail to permit determination of the business purpose and reasonableness of the expenditure. Reports not prepared as specified (all fields must be filled in as required) and in a clear and legible manner will be returned.

It is the responsibility of the employee to keep all receipts to support each element of an expense. Receipts are required for all business and/or entertainment items of $25.00 or greater and the business purpose must be legibly documented. For an entertainment expense, the employee is also required to provide guest names along with the business reason of meeting. If original receipts are not available, an electronic image of a cancelled check, credit card receipt, supplier statement, or a paid notice may be substituted. If none of those are available, documentation that explains why a receipt is not available must be provided to the Supervisor, including the date, place, amount, and explicit business purpose.

The Lynn University Expenditure Request Form and Employee Travel Form should be forwarded to the Accounts Payable Department for processing. Employees are required to submit the forms within 21 days of completion of any business trip or activity and will not be reimbursed if submitted after 21 days.

Employees will not be reimbursed for:

1. ATM or check cashing fees;
2. Airline Club Memberships;
3. Automobile Club memberships;
4. Barbers and hairdressers;
5. Car washes;
6. Corporate Card delinquency fees/finance charges;
7. Country Club dues;
8. Damage to hotel property;
9. Excessive personal telephone calls;
10. Expenses related to vacation or personal days while on a business trip;
11. In-flight telephone charges;
12. Laundry and dry cleaning services- (unless stay is more than 5 days);
13. Magazines, books or newspapers;
14. Medical bills incurred during domestic travel;
15. Mini-bar;
16. Movies, including in-flight and hotel in-house movies;
17. Non-compulsory insurance coverage;
18. Optional travel or baggage insurance;
19. Parking or traffic tickets;
20. Personal items, i.e. toiletries, medication;
21. Shoeshine;
22. Souvenirs or personal gifts;
23. Spa or Gym usage/massages;
24. Spousal companion travel.

The University does not reimburse personal gifts to employees. This is not considered an appropriate business expense.

A. Airline Tickets

Employees are to travel “coach” or at the least expensive discounted fare available.

First class or business class travel is not allowed, unless the upgrade is obtained with frequent flier miles.

Travel arrangements should not be influenced by airline preference or frequent flyer rewards.

There will be no international travel without the prior approval of the President.

If an employee, with a supervisor’s approval, chooses to take advantage of the Saturday savings that are offered by some airlines, they may do so provided the differential in cost is more than offset by the additional costs incurred for lodging, meals and car rental.

Cancellation - When a trip is canceled after the ticket(s) or e-ticket confirmation has been issued, the employee must NEVER discard, destroy or submit the unused ticket(s) with an Expense Report as these documents may have a cash value whether they are refundable or not and can be used for future travel.

The travel agency or airline should always be called prior to the flight to determine their policy and procedure for unused tickets. These polices are usually subject to change.

B. Car Rental

The University has low pre-negotiated rates through special arrangement with Avis. Avis is to be used whenever possible. Compact cars should be rented unless the size of the group or equipment to be transported makes them impractical.

Employees should not purchase auto Liability or Physical Damage insurance from the rental company as these costs are covered under your Lynn University’s insurance.

Travelers are required to make every effort to return the vehicle on time, with a full tank of gas and to the original rental location to avoid costly charges. A one-way rental must be approved prior to travel via the Travel Request Form.

In the event of an accident, first notify the local authorities, then the rental car company and Lynn University General Counsel as soon as possible.

C. Lodging

When making hotel reservations, an employee should stay in a standard room in a medium tier hotel but may accept room upgrades if they are at no additional cost to Lynn University. The employee is responsible for canceling hotel reservations. “No show” charges for guaranteed reservations will be charged back to the employee unless the cancellation is the result of an unavoidable scheduling change in furtherance of Lynn University business.

When making reservations for out of town guests, existing discount programs for local hotels must be used. Refer to the Purchasing Department for details.

Employees will not be reimbursed for staying in a private residence with family or friends while traveling on business. Expenses for a token gift to the “host” will be reimbursed in accordance with IRS guidelines.

D. Meals

Overnight Travel - The cost of three meals per day while traveling on business will be reimbursed based upon reasonable actual cost. When traveling with other employees, meals may be paid for by one employee, preferably the most senior staff employee attending, who then must note attendees on the Expense Report. Reimbursement for meals includes gratuities and taxes. Documentation must include original receipt, names of all attendees and purpose of meeting.

Business Meetings - Expenses incurred for meals for the purpose of discussing Lynn University business will be reimbursed upon submission of appropriate documentation on a Lynn University Expenditure Request Form. Documentation must include original receipt, names and titles of all attendees and their business affiliation on the Expense Report form.
Reciprocal entertaining is not allowed.

Reciprocal entertaining is defined as entertaining where the participants are Lynn University employees only. Entertaining a non-Lynn University participant is acceptable, as long as the receipt for the entertainment clearly indicates the participant(s) and the business purpose of the meal.

E. Personal Automobile

Employees will be reimbursed at the prevailing IRS rate for all miles traveled, parking and/or toll expenses incurred while on University business therefore, reimbursement for actual fuel charges will not be allowed. To calculate reimbursement, the normal daily cost of commuting must be computed and deducted (netted) when using a personal automobile locally. Employees who drive company owned or leased vehicles will be reimbursed at the prevailing IRS rate for company owned or leased vehicles. Employees are covered by their personal automobile liability insurance.

When travel by private automobile is chosen over a common carrier to save time, transport equipment, or reduce costs when a number of people are traveling to the same destination together, reimbursement to the traveler will be on the basis of actual business mileage traveled but will not exceed the cost (or sum of costs for more than one traveler) of round trip air travel between the nearest airport of origin and destination, including coach fare and incidental expenses to travel to or from the airport. In calculating this figure, the cost of the transportation is based on the most recent reimbursement rate per mile published by the IRS. This rate includes all expenses incidental to such transportation. If several travelers share a privately owned vehicle, only the owner of the vehicle will be reimbursed for mileage.

F. Tips

Tips should not exceed 15-20% of the cost of service. Skycaps and Bellmen are limited to $2.00 per bag. Any additional monies spent at the discretion of the employee will not be reimbursed.

Miscellaneous Expenses such as parking, road tolls, ferries, taxis, car services (i.e., Uber, Lyft, etc.) and airport buses are reimbursable subject to the presentation of original receipts.

In addition, the following items are also generally reimbursable to the extent they are reasonable and necessary business expenses: registration/conference fees; computer network access; currency conversion fees; fax charges; and overnight parcel service when needed for business documents.

G. Travel Insurance

All employees are covered by a Lynn University insurance policy and will not be reimbursed for personal or additional travel insurance. This includes flight insurance.

IV. Lynn University Furnished Goods and Services

Lynn University expenses are those expenses for which Lynn University has arranged payment (i.e. airport limousines). These expenses must appear on the Lynn University Expenditure Request form along with the receipt from the vendor. Even though the employee does not seek reimbursement for the expenses when including these expenses on the forms, it is necessary to assure that all expenses are charged to the appropriate budget line by the Business Office.

V. Lynn University Pool Cars

Lynn University pool cars are those vehicles leased by Lynn University and are available for the specific use of employees while conducting Lynn University business. Operation of these vehicles is strictly limited to Lynn University employees for business purposes only when another form of transportation would be more costly or inappropriate. Employees will be reimbursed for properly documented expenditures, which are in compliance with policy. Use of pool cars must be authorized by the department Vice President as well as with the purchasing office. Dates of use and mileage will be recorded.

Lynn University reserves the right to perform an audit of any expenses submitted by an employee for reimbursement. A violation of the policy may result in the employee being held liable for any unauthorized expenditures. Lynn University reserves the right to recoup reimbursements made to any employee for an item or charge found to have been inappropriate or made in error. Should any misrepresentations be found, the findings will be conveyed to Senior Management. Employees found to have misrepresented expenses may be subject to discipline and/or criminal prosecution.

To learn more about this policy or the supporting procedures, please contact Procurement.

Policy updated on: Oct. 24, 2018