Revised August 2015
The Drew University Travel and Business Entertainment Policy is established to provide a standard for all University employees who engage in business travel or expend funds for business entertainment. All travel or business entertainment (T&E) processed through the University is governed by this policy, regardless of the source of funding. This policy supports Drew’s compliance with the Internal Revenue Service’s code and regulations and establishes guidelines to assure that expenses reimbursed by or charged to the University are not taxable.
It is the responsibility of any employee who plans to travel or expend funds on business entertainment to read and understand this policy, before transactions occur.
Vice Presidents, Deans, Supervisors (Department Heads/Directors) are required to review and approve all travel and business entertainment expenditures in order to ensure the consistent administration of this policy. (The roles of such officers are explained below.) They are also responsible for the adequacy of T&E documentation processed by their staffs to be submitted to the Accounts Payable Office.
One of the goals of this policy is to increase awareness and control at the Vice Presidential level. Vice Presidents have the authority to interpret this policy, determine what essential Drew business is, and identify certain employees as “frequent travelers” who may be governed by modified rules. They are expected to work with the Vice President for Finance and Administration to communicate their interpretation and affect necessary modifications.
In the case of situations not specifically addressed by these regulations or if exceptions to these regulations are required, the advance written approval of the Vice President for Finance and Administration is necessary. The Vice President for Finance Administration shall recommend to Cabinet amendments to these regulations as conditions warrant.
Legitimate Business Expenses
The University will provide funding for travel and business entertainment when such expenses have been incurred in accordance with the provisions of this policy. Expenses related to travel and business entertainment may be charged to the University only when they meet the following criteria:
- The expense is essential to transacting the official business of Drew University.
- Sufficient funds exist within the specified budget.
- The expense has the prior approval of the appropriate Supervisor/Dept. Chair/Director and Vice President/Dean.
- The expense is transacted in accordance with the fiscal policies of Drew University.
- The expense is supported by appropriate documentation.
- An Expense Voucher detailing the expense has been completed and submitted to the Accounts Payable Office.
- The employee has made a sincere effort to keep costs at the lowest possible level.
- The employee involved does not profit financially in any way.
Expenses Related to Travel
Drew University encourages its employees to engage in a variety of scholarly and professional experiences through attendance at meetings, seminars and training programs in order to keep themselves current in their fields and fully equipped to meet the responsibilities of their position. University administrators also understand that certain departments have a travel requirement closely related to their core mission. In any of these activities, travel transacted through the University must follow the provisions of this policy.
For the purpose of this policy, “Travel” shall be defined as any activity which involves an overnight stay and/or expenses for transportation, meals, registration, etc. which exceed $300. Inexpensive “Day Trips” are regulated differently and do not require the level of approval described in this section.
University travel requires two levels of approval. First approval is provided by the traveler’s Supervisor, Dept. Chair, or Director. The second level shall be provided by the appropriate Vice President or Dean whenever expenses exceed $1,000 for any single event.
An employee wishing to travel at University expense must begin by creating a travel plan which includes an itinerary and budget. The plan should also include the purpose of the trip and highlight the benefit received by the University. The plan should be indicated on the Request For Travel Authorization Form which shall be presented to the appropriate supervisor/chair/budget manager and Vice President/Dean (requests over $1,000) for approval prior to any commitment for travel or lodging reservations. The completed Request For Travel Authorization Form shall be filed in the traveler’s department. A copy of the completed form must be turned in to the Accounts Payable office with the completed Expense Voucher.
Frequent travelers, defined as those who travel regularly as part of their department’s core mission (example: Admissions Officers on recruiting trips), are not required to complete a Request For Travel Authorization Form for each trip. Frequent travelers are required to complete the form if they travel to attend a conference, convention, seminar or training.
Approvals for travel related expenses, including signatures on both the Request For Travel Authorization Form and Expense Voucher should follow the schedule as below:
|All other Administrators or Staff||Supervisor/Director
and Appropriate Vice President
The Expense Voucher must be completed and submitted to the Accounts Payable Office by the participating employee within 30 days of return from the travel event. All expenses incurred, no matter what the method of payment, must be detailed on the form. A completed form is required even when no reimbursement is forthcoming. In any case where an expense amount is unknown at the time of submission, this item may be submitted the following month.
The purpose of the Expense Voucher is to document the details of the travel event including dates, destinations and categories of expenses. It serves as proof that costs listed are legitimate Drew business expenses and can not be classified as taxable personal income (“perks”) by the Internal Revenue Service. The form must be signed by the employee as well as the person(s) authorized for approval (see above) to certify the validity of the expenses. It is the responsibility of the traveler to route the form to the required signer(s) and to ensure the signed form is delivered to the Accounts Payable Office.
Original receipts are required for all expenses (except for expenses under $5) incurred on the trip with the exception of meals which qualify under Drew’s per diem allowances. Receipts shall be attached to the Expense Voucher form when it is submitted to the Accounts Payable Office. It is the responsibility of the employee to provide sufficient documentation and detail to fully justify all expenses.
In cases where the employee used personal funds for legitimate travel expenses, the University shall provide reimbursement within a reasonable period of time from the receipt of the Expense Voucher.
Legitimate Travel Related Expenses
Employees traveling on approved University business may charge the following to the University:
- Transportation costs
- Tips (maximum 15%)
- Meal expenses up to per diem level
- Automobile rentals
- Parking costs
- Expenses associated with baggage handling
- Technology charges made in connection with official business
- Laundry expenses when away for seven or more consecutive days
- Telephone calls, including those calls necessary to conduct University business and one call per day to family
Travel Related Expenses Which May Not Be Charged To the University
Employees traveling on University business may not charge the following to the University:
- First Class or Business Class Airline Tickets
- Flight Insurance
- Telephone calls except as noted above
- Personal grooming
- Reading matter
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Room service, except for meals up to the per diem limit
- Health club fees
- Expenses of spouse, children or other travel companions
- Changes to reservations except in case of emergency
- Personal entertainment including extra-cost social events at conferences or conventions
Travel which does not involve an overnight stay or expenses in excess of $300 are considered “Day Trips”. Such travel events do not require a Request For Travel Authorization Form or the approval of a Vice President/Dean. The Expense Voucher may be approved and signed by the Supervisor/Dept. Chair/Director. All other requirements of this policy remain in force for Day Trips.
The term “Transportation” shall encompass all necessary official travel on airlines, railroads, buses, taxicabs, rental cars, etc. When planning a trip, employees are expected to choose the least expensive mode of transportation whenever reasonably possible.
Travel by air is often the most economical and efficient mode of transportation utilized to reach destinations a significant distance from Drew. Air travel is authorized when it is determined that this mode is the most advantageous to the conduct of Drew business. Employees are expected to search for the most economical fares and to be flexible with their travel planning. Additionally, airfare should be booked at least one month in advance in order to secure the most favorable rates. Employees may only charge the University for coach or economy class fares. In cases where it is determined that the traveler did not make a sufficient effort to find the most economical fare, the University reserves the right to require the traveler to repay the portion of the cost deemed excessive.
Receipts are required to document air travel. In cases where the traveler was issued an e-ticket, the boarding pass must be submitted with the Expense Voucher.
Use of a rental vehicle is authorized only when it is deemed the least expensive way to reach a destination. University travelers may only rent compact cars at University expense unless a group traveling together requires a larger car or van. Fines due to motor vehicle infractions are the responsibility of the operator and may not be charged to the University. Travelers attending, conferences, conventions, seminars or training are not authorized to rent vehicles for use at their destination. Drew’s VISA Travel Card provides Auto Rental Collision Damage Coverage for damage or theft of rental vehicles. This coverage only applies if the operator of the vehicle is a valid Drew VISA Travel cardholder.
The University will not pay or reimburse the traveler for additional insurance offered by the car rental company.
Use of Traveler’s Personal Vehicle and Personal Insurance Implications
For purposes of this policy, a “Drew University community member” is defined to include Drew faculty, administrators, staff and students.
Use of a personal vehicle for University business by a Drew University community member is authorized only when it is deemed the least expensive way to reach a destination. Using a personal vehicle for University business must be approved in advance by the appropriate supervisor.
All members of the Drew University community using privately-owned cars on Drew University business must have proof of insurance indicating that insurance coverage is in full force and effect with companies approved by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance. The insurance card shall be made available upon request. Drew community members who are out-of-state residents shall make available appropriate identification in lieu of the New Jersey Insurance Identification Card.
All members of the Drew University community traveling in their personal vehicle on Drew University business are eligible for mileage reimbursement. The standard mileage rate is set annually by the federal government and is designed to cover all fixed and variable costs of automobile use for business purposes. This rate includes consideration of maintenance and repairs, tires, gasoline, oil, vehicle insurance and license and registration fees. In offering this reimbursement rate, the University is supporting the cost of automobile insurance on the personal vehicle that is being used for business purposes, and so, the owner’s privately owned insurance will be considered as primary coverage.
If during the operation of the private vehicle while on Drew University business an accident, theft or mishap of any kind occurs, the responsible insurance company will be the car owner’s and a claim must be sent to the owner’s insurance company. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for payment of the deductible. Fines due to motor vehicle infractions are the responsibility of the operator and may not be charged to the University.
Drew University purchases automobile liability insurance, which provides limited non-ownership coverage to privately-owned vehicles while being used for authorized Drew business. Drew’s coverage is in excess of any valid and collectible insurance on the privately-owned vehicle.
Motor Vehicle Accident
Any motor vehicle accident involving a traveling Drew employee must be reported in accordance with procedures set forth by the Chief of Public Safety (973-408-3378) within 24 hours of occurrence.
Taxicabs should only be used when other, less costly, modes are not available or require the traveler to wait an inordinate amount of time for service. Shuttles should be used for transportation between an airport and a downtown destination or hotel.
Employees may stay at hotels at their destination if authorized business requires their presence more than one day and the destination is more than 75 miles from the Drew Campus. Hotel rooms may be charged to the University provided that the rate does not exceed Drew’s reasonable daily room rate of $135.00. In “prime” travel markets: Boston, San Francisco and Washington, DC, the reasonable rate is $250.00. In cases where a conference, convention or training is staged in a hotel, an employee is authorized to charge that hotel’s conference rate to the University.
Travelers and those approving travel expenses may visit www.gsa.gov to determine reasonable per diem lodging rates for the area visited.
Employees are expected to restrict their stay to the minimum number of nights required. If an event concludes prior to 5:00 p.m., employees are expected to return home that afternoon or evening whenever reasonably possible. The traveler may stay over an additional Saturday night if airfare savings exceed the cost of the room and additional meals. Receipts are required for hotel expenses. Incidental or personal hotel expenses must be lined out and the lodging total recalculated by the employee, prior to submission for approval.
Employees are authorized to charge meals to the University provided that the costs per meal do not exceed the per diem rates set by the University. The total meal expense guideline for three meals per day is shown below. When travel covers part of a day, only the appropriate pro-rated amount may be charged.
|Daily Per Diem Rate||$34.00||$41.00||$50.00|
Travelers and those approving T&E expenses may visit www.gsa.gov to determine reasonable per diem rates for meals for the area visited.
In cases where a conference, convention or other event provides meals as part of the program, the employee may not charge or be reimbursed per diem rates for the meals made available at the event. This applies even if employee chose not to partake of the meals offered. Receipts are not required for per diem rate meals.
Room service may not be charged to the University unless charges fall within the limits of the meal per diem limit.
Alcoholic beverages may not be charged to the University except in cases where authorized employees are entertaining guests of the University.
Expenses Related to Business Entertainment
The Business Entertainment Policy is intended to govern the funding of events and expenses/reimbursement of employees engaged in any activity involving food, beverages, gifts and social activities.
Legitimate Business Entertainment consists of activities which are directly related to specific University endeavors such as fund raising, alumni relations, admissions, recruiting, and hospitality offered to special guests of the University. In most cases, this activity is conducted by a University employee whose duties involve entertaining or providing hospitality to donors, alumni, recruits, candidates, speakers, lecturers, trustees or other guests of the University.
University funds may be used to provide catering services when the event is an officially sanctioned University event which has been approved by the President’s Office. Additionally, University funds may be used for events which are an integral part of the core mission of departments involved in recruiting, admissions, alumni relations, development or student life activities. Catered events for student life activities shall be approved by the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs.
Catering/refreshments for department meetings or department social events, coffee service, refreshments or snacks for employees in the department office can be provided within the limit of the approved budget (by the Dean or Vice President).
Employees may charge the University or be reimbursed for meals only in cases when the meal includes a donor, speaker, trustee or other official guest of the University or is part of the recruitment of faculty and staff. No more than two employees may be involved in any charged meal unless the meal is part of a sanctioned University event or part of a core-mission activity (example: Development staff entertaining a donor).
Flowers, Gifts and Cards
Individuals or individual departments may not use University funds to provide flowers, gifts or cards for employees, family members, associates or friends. The Department of Human Resources shall make provision for flowers (bereavement), service awards and retirement gifts on behalf of the University. Departments should work with Human Resources in these cases.
Flowers, gifts and cards are allowable when related to core-mission activities involving development, alumni relations, admissions and official guests of the University.
Official events of the University will be announced by the President’s Office. Such events will be sponsored by the University and paid from University funds. The Board of the staff organization, US/A, may sponsor and approve events open to all staff members which may be funded through the US/A budget. Student Life events will be approved and announced by the Dean of Campus Life and Student Affairs.
University departments may schedule holiday parties in December to celebrate seasonal holidays. Departments my charge food and beverage expenses to adequately funded department accounts to a maximum of $10.00 per department member. University funds may not be used to purchase alcohol for departmental holiday parties.
University funds may not be used to buy alcohol for any purpose except in cases of officially sponsored University events or events sponsored by the Admissions, Alumni Relations or Development offices which are directly related to their core mission or other events approved by a Vice President or Dean.
University funds may be used for dues for membership in organizations or associations which are directly related to the department’s core mission. Prior approval of the Department Chair or Director is required. The approval of the appropriate Dean or Vice President/Provost is required if the fee for dues is $1,000.00 or above.
The authority to use University funds for charitable contributions shall rest in the President’s Office. Individuals or departments may not make donations utilizing University funding.
Expenditures Which Are Not Legitmate Business Entertainment
The following types of expenditures may not be charged to the University:
- Meals for one or more employees while meeting for business or social purposes.
- Meals for an employee meeting with an associate or colleague.
- Birthday parties or other parties for an employee, associate or colleague.
- Birthday gifts, retirement gifts, etc. for an employee, associate or colleague.
- Flowers for an employee, relative of an employee, associate or colleague.
- Holiday/seasonal decorations with the exception of reception areas of Admissions, Alumni, Development, Seminary Hall and Mead Hall.
Drew University Travel Card
The Drew University Travel Card is the preferred method of payment for all travel and business entertainment expenditures. Employees who anticipate regular T&E expenditures should confer with their supervisor and then make application for a Travel Card. The procedure for application and related policy is included on the Purchasing Department web site.
Employees utilizing the Drew Travel Card for travel and business entertainment are reminded that strict compliance with Travel Card Policy and Procedures is required and all T&E transactions must be detailed on the Credit Card Transaction Log. Whenever the Travel Card is used for a T&E transaction, a properly completed Expense Voucher must be submitted to the Accounts Payable Office within 30 days of the charge.
Exceptions to this Policy
Exceptions to this policy may only be established when stated, in writing, by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I am expecting to travel next semester, how should I begin?
A. Begin by creating an itinerary/budget and discussing your plans with your supervisor or chairperson. Complete a Request For Travel Form making sure to get required signatures before making any arrangements.
Q. How do I get a “Request For Travel Authorization” Form and an “Expense Voucher”?
A. Both forms are available on Drew’s web site and are linked through the Accounts Payable and Purchasing pages.
Q. How should I pay for my travel expenses?
A. The Drew University Travel card is the recommended method to pay for travel. You may also use your own funds and request reimbursement.
Q. If my travel or entertainment is funded by my grant, am I required to follow this policy?
A. Yes. Drew’s Travel and Business Entertainment Policy remains in effect regardless of the source of funding. It is normally the expectation of grant providers that organizations utilizing grant funding have in place reasonable policies. In any case where a granting agency identifies more stringent guidelines, Drew employees are expected to meet them.
Q. If all event expenses were charged to my Drew Travel Card, am I required to submit an Expense Voucher?
A. Yes. An Expense Voucher must be completed for all travel or business entertainment expenditures. The method of payment does not affect this requirement.
Q. Do I need receipts for meals if I am claiming the per diem rate?
A. Meal receipts are not necessary if the per diem rate is charged.
Q. May I charge the University the per diem meal rate for each day I travel?
A. No. The traveler may only charge the University for meals actually eaten and paid for. The per diem rate is set only as a maximum daily spend for meals.
Q. What will happen if I purchase an airline ticket on the day of the flight and pay a much higher rate than I would have paid had I planned ahead?
A. Unless there is an emergency or another compelling reason to make arrangements at the last minute, the traveler is expected to make up the difference in cost.
Q. If I change my arrangements or cancel a flight, will the University pay for the costs?
A. Only in cases of emergencies will the University pay for changes or cancelled reservations. The traveler must have the approval of the appropriate Vice President or Dean prior to making the change.
Q. Who determines what is an emergency or compelling reason to modify this policy?
A. The appropriate Vice President or Dean.