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The purpose of this travel procedure is to set forth the basic guidelines for all personnel, defined as employees of the State of New Jersey when traveling on official Hudson County Community College (“College”) business. The intent of this procedure is that the individual traveler neither gain nor lose personal funds while traveling on official College business. All reimbursable travel must be authorized prior to any travel. All approved travel must be essential to achieving the goals or fulfilling a particular department's responsibilities and is to be conducted in the most economical and practical manner for the College.
a. Meal Allowance – including gratuities, the college allows the federal rate per
day as implemented by the General Services Administration (“GSA”). Receipts must support
expenses. There should be no request for reimbursement for any meal costs included
in conference or association registration fees. For more information on rates based
on location, please review guidelines at https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates/per-diem-rates-lookup/?action=perdiems_report&state=&fiscal_year=2021&zip=07306&city.
b. Auto Allowance – if the use of the employee’s personal automobile is required due to local or short distance travel, the employee shall be reimbursed at the appropriate mileage rate, plus tolls and parking, with proof of travel distance and receipt of expenses. The applicable mileage rate is typically the IRS approved rate.
c. Receipts – required for all expense reimbursements. No expenses shall be reimbursed without supporting receipts.
6. Prior to submitting the Travel Reimbursement Form to the Accounting Department, the employee shall submit the form and supporting documentation to the employee’s Supervisor and the appropriate Dean or Executive Officer for approval and confirmation that the claimed reimbursable expenses are within the limits and allowances of the College. It is essential that an employee’s Supervisor reviews and approves the reimbursement request for “reasonable and necessary” expenses only. The Supervisor is charged with utilizing business judgment if a particular item not listed in the policy or procedure is submitted for approval.
7. Travel Request (Appendix A) and Travel Reimbursement (Appendix B) forms are available on the College Finance Portal.
This procedure covers all administrative employees, faculty and staff, and others authorized to travel on behalf of the College. Compliance with this procedure is the responsibility of the individual traveling on College business. This procedure applies to all travel regardless of the source of funds.
If travel reimbursement is from a grant or contract, the employee must receive prior approval from the Grants Office or College Accounting Department in order to establish that all anticipated travel costs will be allowed for reimbursement in accordance with the terms of the grant or contract.
Staff members traveling on official College business are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business at their own expense. Expenditures for approved travel are reimbursable only in accordance with these College travel procedures.
A. Travel Approvals
All conference, convention, staff training, workshop and seminar travel require prior approval in accordance with this procedure.
B. Allowable Expenses
Reimbursement travel expenses are limited to those expenses essential to transacting the official business of the College. Only the actual and necessary expenses incidental to the traveler's ordinary comfort in the performances of his/her official duties will be reimbursed. Business expenses must be reasonable and necessary. Reimbursement for tips, gratuities and similar fees is permitted provided the amounts paid are within normal acknowledged standards.
C. Extraordinary Expenses
Requests for reimbursement of extraordinary or unusual expenses that either could not have been anticipated prior to travel, or that exceed the maximum allowable rates, are subject to approval before reimbursement. A written justification must be completed on the Travel Reimbursement Form explaining the circumstances necessitating the expenses, along with all appropriate supporting documentation, which must be sent directly to the appropriate Department head, Dean or Vice President for approval. The President must approve extraordinary situations for Executive Officers or Trustees. The documented approval should then be attached to the applicable forms and submitted to Accounting for reimbursement.
D. Special Conditions
Employees who have any special travel needs not explicitly addressed in these policies should contact the appropriate Department head, Dean or Vice President for approval, and the College President if necessary.
A. The Approval Process
B. Preparation and Distribution of the Travel Request Form
C. Staff Training
Staff training requested to enhance an employee’s skills, maintain current skills in technological developments, and/or gain knowledge/new information, requires pre-approval by the staff member’s Supervisor. If travel is involved, a Travel Request Form must also be prepared and submitted for approval in accordance with this procedure. As noted above, a Travel Request Form is required for rental vehicles and overnight lodging, regardless of cost.
Wherever practical, travelers are expected to use the most economical means of transportation. Administrative travel may involve the use of a College-owned, private or rented vehicle, a public carrier, taxi, or car service.
A. College Vehicles
College vehicles may only be used for College-related travel and not for personal use unless specifically approved by the Board of Trustees. Operators must comply with all applicable vehicle laws and regulations, have a valid driver’s license, and are personally responsible for fines for all vehicle infractions and moving violations incurred during or as a result of their use of the College vehicle.
Arrangements for reserving and picking up College vehicles are to be made with the College Facilities or Security Office. The Security Office maintains a list of authorized drivers for College vehicles. Extraordinary expenses (e.g., tire repair, repair of vehicular parts) while using the College vehicle are reimbursable provided an adequate written explanation and receipts are submitted and approved.
B. Privately Owned Vehicles
Staff members using privately owned vehicles for official business will be reimbursed for mileage at the rate specified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Expenses for tolls and parking fees will be reimbursed at the cost incurred.
C. Rental Vehicles
Certain unusual circumstances, such as the unavailability of public transportation or the non-feasibility of other modes of travel, may require the rental of a vehicle. In such cases, regardless of cost, the employee shall provide a written justification for the use of a rental vehicle on the Travel Request Form in advance of the travel date. The justification shall cite the need for the rental, provide reasons why other transportation is not available or feasible to use, and include the estimated total cost. Approval, if granted, shall be limited to the rental of an economy or mid-size vehicle. Rental vehicles must be at no greater cost than the prevailing market rates and original copies of the rental agreement odometer readings at the point of origin and the point of return, and proof of payment, must be attached to the Travel Voucher in order for this expense to be reimbursed.
D. Public Carriers
Travel to and from the destination should be by the most direct and economical route. Reimbursement is based on the actual cost of travel by a public carrier (e.g., rail, bus, airplane). Original receipts are required for rail and airplane travel. Coach or economy class will be used for plane and train travel.
E. Taxis and Airport Car Service
Necessary taxicab charges are permitted, but only where public transportation is not readily available, practical, or in the case of an emergency. Regularly scheduled car services may be used to/from an employee’s home and the airport, and to/from the airport and the trip destination when public transportation is not available or practical, and only if the car service is less costly than a taxi.
VI. Conventions, Conferences, Staff Trainings, Workshops
A. Definition: Conference travel and convention travel is defined as travel not directly related to the employee’s duties and responsibilities but which is undertaken for:
Travel outside the United States, regardless of the cost, requires approval of the Dean, Division Vice President, and the College President.
B. Expenses: For conventions, conferences, staff trainings, workshops, training seminars and for trips in excess of 24-hour periods requiring overnight lodging (including situations in which a package arrangement includes lodging and meals as an integral part of the scheduled activities), the allowable (GSA) per diem reimbursements (per union contract) are limited to actual reasonable expenditures.
C. Day Trips: Meals for one-day trips that do not involve overnight lodging are not reimbursed except under circumstances where the travel may be to localities where food costs exceed those at or in the vicinity of the College, or where the length of a day trip would exceed a typical working day.
D. Lodging Costs: Expenditures are fully reimbursable for lodging and meals that are an integral part of the scheduled activities of a conference, convention, staff training, etc. Meal reimbursements are limited to the Meal Allowance. When lodging is not an integral component of the event, employees are entitled to reimbursement for a single standard room at a business class hotel.
E. Registration Fees: Registration fees for conventions or workshops are reimbursable. Original paid receipts must be submitted for the registration fee.
F. Excluded Expenditures
VII. Prospective Employees and Guest Speakers
Travel expenses of prospective employees and guest speakers must be approved and reimbursed under the same conditions, limitations, and requirements of staff members traveling on College business as set forth in this procedure; however, travel reimbursements to prospective employees and guest speakers is discretionary.
Reimbursement for moving expenses will not be not authorized without Board of Trustees approval.
The Dean, Department Head, or Search Committee Chair is responsible for informing the individual of the policies and procedures governing travel, especially as they pertain to covered and excluded expenditures, and on how to obtain reimbursement for travel costs. For allowable expenses, the procedure is as follows:
VIII. Reimburstment of Travel Expenses
A Travel Reimbursement Voucher (Appendix B) is to be completed and submitted within two (2) weeks after the completion of the conference or trip. Approved Travel Expense Vouchers should be submitted to the Accounts Payable section of the Business Office together with all original receipts and supporting documents (certificate/sign-in sheet) for all expenses requested for reimbursement.
Approved by Cabinet: July 2021
Related Board Policy: Accounting, Travel Reimbursement