7.1 Travel Expense Policies and Procedures (Revised 11-01-2017)

PURPOSE

This policy governs the process to account for and/or reimburse individuals for university-related travel and other related expenses. The responsibility to observe the guidelines rests with the individual incurring the expense, their immediate supervisor, budget administrator or other individuals who may certify conformance with these guidelines by approving the expenditure(s). Expenses should be limited to activities that are directly related to the furtherance of the university's mission. The same judgment and consideration applies to reimbursements as to any university financial transaction. Reimbursement should be sought and authorized only for expenses that conform to university policy, are necessary and reasonable both in amount and relative to its purpose.

The decision on whether to approve travel for individual employees and the prioritization of approval is not covered by this policy, and is at the discretion of the business unit. Approval should be secured prior to making any travel arrangements.

This policy applies to any WSU employee or non-employee (hereafter referred to as "Individual") who incurs travel and/or business hosting expenses and seeks reimbursement for those expenses from the university, regardless of funding source. The university will reimburse for reasonable transportation, meals, lodging and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the transaction of university business.

These policies are not expected to cover every possible situation. Items of an unusual nature should be approved by the appropriate members of the S/C/D before the submission of expenses. The President, Provost, Vice Presidents or Deans can approve exceptions to this policy in the event of extenuating circumstances. However, even if approved, these exceptions may result in a taxable reimbursement. The written explanation and approval, as needed, must be included with the  submission of the Expense Report.

RESPONSIBILITIES

These policies are necessary to comply with Federal and State tax laws and third party sponsoring agency regulations. They are intended to ensure consistent and fair treatment across departments throughout the university and the uniform reporting of financial results. In general, the cost of travel should be governed by what is reasonable and appropriate to the purpose involved. The university respects the personal integrity and discretion of each traveler and conducts expense account monitoring accordingly.

Submitting Travel Expense Reports

Travel Expense Reports must be submitted, processed and approved using the online TravelWayne System. Reimbursements to employees will be processed via direct deposits for those who have valid banking information on file. Otherwise reimbursement will be processed with a check.

The University's Travel Policy allows for reimbursement for expenses in advance of the trip (e.g., for airfare, conference registration/fees, etc.). The traveler can file a Travel Expense Report to capture these costs and generate reimbursement to the traveler or payment to the University Travel Card Company.

Approvals

Travel Expense Reports require both the electronic signature of the employee (traveler) and the appropriate approval authority. The appropriate authority is defined to be the traveler's immediate supervisor for approval to travel, and the Business Affairs Officer or her/his designee for expenditure approval. In no instance shall an employee approve their own Travel Expense Report.

All exceptions to the university Travel Policy will require the approval of the respective Vice President or Dean, thus requiring the appropriate electronic routing within the TravelWayne System.

The following information outlines the responsibilities of various parties involved in the process:

Responsibility Action
Individual /Employee

The Traveler submitting a Travel Request and Expense Report (ER) is responsible for:

  1. Submitting a Travel Request in TravelWayne prior to incurring expenses.  Travel requests for international travel must be submitted and approved prior to departure.
  2. Verifying that all expenses for which reimbursement from the university is requested are valid expenses incurred while conducting University business and conform to the appropriate university policy.
  3. Understanding that requests lacking required documentation and/or business purpose will be questioned and may not be reimbursed.
  4. Attesting that expenses submitted for reimbursement have not been previously paid via a prior expense report, travel advance, or expected to be reimbursed by an outside agency or other third party.
  5. Completing the ER within 10 calendar days after completion of travel.  Hotel and airlines reservations paid in advance should be expensed as they are incurred
  6. Retaining accountability for ensuring all expenses are in accordance with university policy, even though the employee may delegate responsibility for preparation of the request.
Travel Request Authorizer

Individuals authorized to approve travel requests of other WSU staff are responsible to:

  1. Approving authorized travel requests in TravelWayne.
  2. Attest that the purpose of the expense is valid and directly related to university business.
  3. Attest that estimated expenses requested are reasonable for the requested travel event.
Travel Expense Approver

Individuals authorized to approve travel expenses are responsible to:

  1. Attest that the purpose of the expense is valid and directly related to university business.
  2. Request further documentation or explanation for expenses that appear to be excessive or unusual in relation to the nature of the business travel. Explanation of such expenditures must be included with the Expense Report.
  3. Take action on the  submitted Expense Report within 5 calendar days of receipt in the approval queue.
  4. Understand that while Disbursements may provide a post reimbursement review of the Expense Reimbursement, the primary responsibility for the appropriateness of expenditures rests with the traveler/employee and the approving parties.
Disbursements

The Disbursements Department is responsible for random, post-reimbursement review of Travel Expense Reports; verifying expenses meet the following criteria:

  1. Information in the Travel Expense Report is supported by accompanying documentation, which is both complete and in accordance with University policy.
  2. Expenses conform to requirements imposed by university policy and the Internal Revenue Service.
  3. Expenses have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate individual.

TRAVEL CARD PROGRAM

Wayne State University has contracted with JP Morgan Chase Bank for the administration of a Travel Credit Card program. The card may only be used for University travel and business hosting expenses. Only University employees are eligible to request a card. The internal application form must be completed, authorized by the appropriate department personnel and forwarded to the Disbursements Department for approval.  

TRAVEL AGENCY SERVICES

Wayne State University has contracted with Conlin Travel for travel management services. As the University's designated travel agency, they offer faculty and staff access to WSU negotiated rates and charge contracted booking fees. These services are available either through the TravelWayne online travel booking tool or via Conlin agent assistance. An agent can be reached between the hours of 8:00AM – 8:00PM EST at 1-800-783-9559.

TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

The following table provides the university's requirements for receipts and other documentation for the more commonly used expense types. This table is provided as a guide.

Type of Expense Documentation
Airfare Passenger Itinerary and proof of payment
Other transportation costs, ie train, taxi, etc Itemized receipts for amounts greater than $15
Lodging, Accommodations Itemized bill with name of lodging
Car Rental Itemized rental car bill
Personal Auto Mileage claimed for trip (see Sec 7.2.8)
Conference/Meeting Registration Registration form with agenda, or  URL link to website 
All incidental expense items Itemized receipts for amounts greater than $15