1. Basis for Travel Rules and Regulations
The College's travel rules, regulations and procedures are based on State travel law, as provided in RCW 43.03. The Statewide requirements covering the general administrative practices to be observed by State agencies are described in the State Administrative and Accounting Manual (SAAM), published by the State of Washington's Office of Financial Management. At the College, authority of this area is with the Vice President for Finance and Administration and is overseen by the Travel Office under the direction of the Director of Business Services.
The State of Washington holds the College accountable for the administration of all travel funds in accordance with State regulations. The College is equally accountable for and must apply the same regulations to the expenditure of grant and contract funds that it applies to all public funds.
All travel documents must be signed by an authorized person. Authorized persons may fall within any of the categories noted below:
- General fund budget: the budget manager to which the budget is assigned or his/her designee.
- Grant or contract budget: the principal investigator to whom the grant or contract is awarded, or an authorized designee.
- Claimant is the authorized person: when the claimant is the budget manager or the principal investigator, the approval signature must be that of the appropriate vice president or dean or an authorized designee other than the claimant.
- Foundation budget: the foundation operations manager.
4. Who must comply with these policies?
All TESC employees, students, other clients of TESC, and contractors (unless there are specific contractual arrangements modifying travel reimbursement) are required to comply with these policies.
5. Department Responsibilities
Ensure that any travel costs incurred are:
- Directly work related,
- Obtained at the most economical price, and
- Both critical and necessary for College business.
- Exercise prudent judgment in approving travel-related costs.
- Ensure travelers are not treated differently under like travel circumstances.
6. Responsibilities of travelers
A traveler on official College business is responsible for:
- Being familiar with State and College travel and transportation regulations before embarking on travel.
- Exercising the same care in incurring expenses and accomplishing the purposes of the travel that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business. Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official College business travel are not acceptable.
- Paying any excess costs and any additional expenses incurred for personal preference or convenience.
- Unless authorized, returning as promptly as possible to either the official station or official residence when the College business is completed.
- Securing prior authorization for travel.
- Preparing the Travel Expense Voucher and providing appropriate receipts and documentation as required.
7. Criteria used for selecting and approving travel
In addition to complying with State travel policies and procedures, an authorized person must use the following criteria to determine whether to authorize a person to travel on official College business, and to determine what travel alternatives to authorize.
Select the travel alternative that is most economical to the College. All costs should be considered--travel, labor, etc.--in making the determination.
Select the travel alternative that is most advantageous to the College. An agency may use this advantageous criterion only in the following situations:
- To ensure the health and safety of agency travelers
- To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Process and travel situations for meals with meetings
- Use of privately owned motor vehicles
The personal travel plans of the traveler shall not influence this criterion.
8. Considerations when placing an employee in travel status
Plan the itinerary of the traveler to eliminate unnecessary travel in the performance of work assignments. Whenever it is feasible for two or more persons to travel on official College business in one vehicle, they are to do so. Before placing a traveler in travel status, the College is to determine for each occurrence whether it is more economical or advantageous to reimburse the traveler for meals and/or lodging, or to require the traveler to return to the official station or official residence daily or on weekends. After 90 days, the College should review assignments placing travelers in travel status at a temporary duty station to determine if the traveler's permanent official duty station should be changed. The College should inform the traveler of the possible federal tax implications of official station assignments for an indefinite period of time or for longer than one year.
9. Health and Safety of Traveler
The health and safety of travelers is a top priority in the conduct of travel related activities. It is advantageous to the College to establish and alter travel plans and itineraries with consideration of hazardous inclement weather and other situations that could threaten the health and safety of College personnel. When this occurs, travelers should:
- Promptly notify the traveler's supervisor of the change in travel plans.
- Note the reason for any additional expense on the traveler's Travel Expense Voucher.
10. Americans with Disabilities Act
Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is mandatory. All College employees are to be afforded equal opportunity to perform travel for official College business even if the travel costs for travelers with disabilities will exceed what would normally be most economical to the College. Travel authorizations and travel claims should be annotated that the extra costs were required to comply with the ADA. ADA supporting documentation should remain confidential and a statement added to the travel voucher indicating the file location is Human Resource Services.
11. Corporate Travel Card
Each authorized person may approve the use of or approve the issuance of the corporate travel card to those travelers whose work requires them to travel on official College business. When a College employee uses the corporate travel card they are billed directly, are responsible to pay all charges, and must apply for travel reimbursement through the College.
12. Prior Authorization for Travel
Travelers must receive prior authorization for all travel from an authorized designee using the Travel Authority form. All travel in the State of Washington and travel to counties/cities in the states of Oregon and Idaho that are contiguous to the border between Washington-Idaho or Washington-Oregon, covering the entire fiscal year may be approved with a Blanket Travel Authority. Blanket Travel Authorities expire each June 30th. Travel to Hawaii and foreign countries except British Columbia, Canada requires a Trip Justification form.
13. Meetings, Conferences, Conventions, and Training Sessions
When meetings or conferences are necessary, the College must give first preference to locations at State or other public (e.g., local government) facilities. A list of meeting facilities can be found at https://fortress.wa.gov/ga/inet/servlet/ADASearchFormSv. Limit the number of persons from the College attending a particular conference, convention, meeting, or training session to the minimum necessary to benefit from the event. The location and facilities for all conferences, conventions, training sessions, or meetings held or sponsored by the College are to be barrier-free. Agencies should consider cost to the College, the suitability of barrier-free facilities, accessibility to attendees, and other relevant factors in their selection. First priority is to be given to using State-owned or other public owned barrier-free facilities in lieu of renting or leasing other facilities. Where a convention, conference, training session, or meeting held or sponsored by the State is conducted at a rented/leased barrier-free non-state facility, the person responsible for the choice of location and facilities is to submit justification in advance in writing to the authorized designee for approval. The justification is to include:
- The purpose and objective of the meeting;
- The name of the organizations or persons expected to attend and an estimate of the number of guests attending;
- An estimate of the anticipated cost to the College to include travel costs of travelers; and
- An explanation why State-owned or other public owned barrier-free facilities cannot be used.
B. Travel Reimbursement Principles
1. Types of travel costs that are eligible for reimbursement
Travelers may be reimbursed for the following types of expenses incurred on official College business.
- Lodging-The actual cost of lodging up to a specified maximum. An original receipt is required.
- Meals - Allowable rate for meal reimbursement (Lodging and meal rates comprise the two components of the maximum allowable per diem rate for the Continental United States (CONUS). The meals and incidental rate for travel outside CONUS includes an allowance for laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing of clothes expense.)
- Transportation-Costs of necessary official College business travel on railroads, airlines, ships, buses, private motor vehicles, and other means of conveyance
- Miscellaneous travel expenses-Other expenses essential to the transaction of official College business are reimbursable to the traveler upon approval.
2. Types of travel costs that cannot be reimbursed
The following types of travel-related costs shall not be reimbursed.
- Alcoholic beverage expenses.
- The cost of the daily commute between the traveler's official station (or telecommuting site) and official residence.
- Certain travel expenses are considered as personal and not essential to the transaction of official College business. Such non-reimbursable expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Valet services, defined as the hiring of a personal attendant who takes care of the individual's clothes, or helps the individual in dressing, etc. The prohibition against valet services for general travelers is not to be considered as a prohibition against the use of a personal care attendant required by a person with a disability.
- Entertainment expenses, radio or television rental and other items of a similar nature.
- Taxi fares, motor vehicle rental, and other transportation costs to or from places of entertainment and other non-College business locations.
- Costs of personal trip insurance (such as personal accident insurance, personal effects insurance, and extended liability insurance), and medical and hospital services.
- Personal telephone calls.
- Any tips or gratuities associated with personal expenses such as those listed here.
- Out of pocket charges for vehicle service calls caused by the negligence of the traveler. Examples include service charges for the delivery of fuel, retrieval of keys from locked vehicles, jump starting vehicles when the lights have been left on, etc.
3. Reimbursement for meals and lodging
Reimbursement for meals and lodging shall not exceed the maximum allowable per diem rate for that location, unless an exception is specifically provided by statute. To find the maximum allowable per diem rates for the Continental USA, Non-Continental USA, and Foreign locations refer to Trave Rates
4. How travel for the convenience of the traveler affects reimbursement
If the traveler elects to return to the official station or official residence after the close of a regularly scheduled working day when overnight travel would normally be required the maximum reimbursement shall be the lesser of either:
- The travel expense incurred in returning to the official station or official residence, whichever is closer; or
- The amount which would have been allowable had the traveler remained at the temporary duty station.
The traveler is to return to the temporary duty station in time to observe the next days regularly scheduled working hours.
If travel to a destination for the traveler's own convenience is in advance of the necessary time for arrival no reimbursement for additional meals or lodging costs shall be paid to the traveler for extra field time incurred. If a traveler remains at the destination following an official meeting or other work assignment for the traveler's own convenience no reimbursement for additional meals or lodging costs shall be paid to the traveler for extra field time incurred. If a traveler would like to couple a vacation or other personal use onto a legitimate business trip it is allowed WHERE ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS EXIST:
- The primary purpose of the trip is official College business;
- The traveler uses, where necessary, his or her approved leave for the vacation or personal part of the trip; and
- The College does not incur any extra expenses beyond what it would normally incur had the trip occurred without any personal use coupled to the trip.
If a traveler spends extra field time at the destination, the College may authorize per diem for extra field time at the destination if it can be demonstrated that a direct savings will accrue to the College. The calculation of the direct savings is to include a comparison of the commercial transportation costs; the per diem costs; and, when applicable, the salary and fringe benefit costs of the traveler(s) for whom the extra field time is being authorized. Such comparisons are to be documented and retained with the traveler's Travel Expense Voucher.
5. Leave of absence during travel
When a traveler takes leave of absence of any kind because of being incapacitated due to illness or injury that is not due to the traveler's own misconduct the authorized reimbursement for meals and lodging may be continued during the leave period. Providing the traveler is able to travel, reimbursement is not to exceed in total the cost authorized for motor vehicle car mileage or common carrier in returning the traveler to the official station or official residence, whichever is closer, and then back to the assignment.
When a traveler takes leave of absence of any kind as a result of illness or injury that is due to the traveler's own misconduct, the authorized reimbursement for meals, lodging, transportation, and all other travel expenditures may not be continued during the leave period. When leave of absence of any kind is taken while in a travel status, the exact hour of departure and return to the temporary duty station must be shown on the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20).
1. Basis for reimbursing lodging costs
Reimburse lodging expenses at actual costs, as evidenced by a receipt, up to the specific daily maximum allowable lodging rate in effect at the time of travel for the specific area or locality. Refer to www.gsa.gov for the maximum allowable lodging rates for the continental USA (CONUS).
Travelers may be reimbursed taxes paid on lodging in addition to the maximum lodging amount. Code the payment of taxes on lodging as lodging expense.
Travelers requesting reimbursement for staying in commercial lodging facilities must obtain original receipts and attach them to their Travel Expense Voucher.
For non-mandatory attendance at seminars or professional meetings, the College may reimburse lodging expenses at less than the maximum lodging amount, provided that reimbursement at a lower rate is agreed to in writing by the traveler in advance of the travel.
2. Exceptions to the maximum allowable lodging rates
In the following situations, the maximum allowable lodging amounts may not be adequate and the authorized designee may approve payment of lodging expenses not to exceed 150% of the applicable maximum per diem with a letter referencing the applicable situation. The authorized designee approval must be obtained in advance of the travel.
- When a traveler is assigned to accompany an elected official, a foreign dignitary, or others as authorized by law, and is required to stay in the same lodging facility.
- When costs in the area have escalated for a brief period of time either during special events or disasters.
- When lodging accommodations in the area of the temporary duty station are not available at or below the maximum lodging amount, and the savings achieved from occupying less expensive lodging at a more distant site are consumed by an increase in transportation and other costs.
- The traveler attends a meeting, conference, convention, or training session where the traveler is expected to have business interaction with other participants in addition to scheduled events. Further, it is anticipated that maximum benefit will be achieved by authorizing the traveler to stay at the lodging facilities where the meeting, conference, convention, or training session is held.
- To comply with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or when the health and safety of the traveler is at risk.
- When meeting room facilities are necessary and it is more economical for the traveler to acquire special lodging accommodations such as a suite rather than to acquire a meeting room and a room for lodging.
In the following situations, the President or a Vice-President may approve payment of lodging expenses in excess of 150% of the applicable maximum per diem amount for the location with a letter indicating all three situations apply. The approval must be made in advance of the travel.
- The traveler is required to attend a meeting, conference, convention, or training session where the traveler is expected to have business interaction with other participants in addition to scheduled events; AND
- It is anticipated that maximum benefit will be achieved by authorizing the traveler to stay at the lodging facilities where the meeting, conference, convention, or training session is held; AND
- The lowest available advertised lodging rate at the lodging facility exceeds 150% of the applicable maximum per diem amount for the location. Written documentation supporting the lodging rates is to be attached to the travel voucher.
When any exception to the Maximum Allowable Lodging Amount is used, the traveler is to select the most economical room available under the circumstances.
Include the written approval for the exception, signed by the authorized designee, as part of the payment document. Also provide an explanation describing why an exception was necessary.
The College may request in writing an exception to this regulation from the Director of OFM when special duties or conditions of an assignment result in unusually high expenses.
When utilizing any of these conditions, the College is not to treat any employee differently under like travel circumstances.
3. Lodging for College employee meetings, conferences, conventions, and training sessions
Maximum allowable lodging amounts may not always be sufficient for the College to rent properties with the facilities needed to host a meeting, conference, convention, or training session for College employees. When this occurs, the College may increase the lodging reimbursements up to 125% of the applicable maximum allowable lodging rates.
4. Types of lodging costs that are reimbursable
Reimbursable lodging expenses include the basic commercial lodging cost and any applicable sales taxes and/or hotel/motel taxes on that amount. Lodging costs, in excess of the allowance and the associated taxes on the excess, will be paid by the traveler. When this occurs, taxes are to be prorated between the allowable and unallowable costs.
5. 50-Mile Rule
Reimbursement is allowed for lodging expenses when the temporary duty station is located more than fifty (50) miles (most direct route) of the closer of either the traveler's official residence or official station.
Under one of the following conditions, reimbursement for lodging expenses is allowed when the temporary duty station is located within fifty (50) miles (most direct route) of the closer of either the traveler's official residence or official station:
- An overnight stay in a commercial lodging facility to avoid having a traveler drive back and forth for back-to-back late night/early morning official College business.
- When the health and safety of travelers is of concern.
- When the College can demonstrate that staying overnight is more economical to the College.
The College may request an exception to this regulation for other conditions from the Director of OFM. Written supervisory approval for the first and third conditions and cost analysis documentation for the third condition is to be attached to the traveler's Travel Expense Voucher.
6. Commercial Lodging rented on other than a daily basis
Costs incurred by a traveler during occupancy of a commercial lodging facility rented on other than a daily basis, such as on a weekly or monthly basis, may be reimbursed not to exceed the total obtained by multiplying the number of days involved times the applicable daily lodging amount(s).
7. Certain lodging costs cannot be reimbursed
Reimbursement of lodging expenses incurred at a lodging facility located at either the traveler's official station or official residence is prohibited except:
- As an allowable moving cost.
- In emergency situations when the authorized designee determines that employees performing critical College functions must remain at their workstations.
- When an employee, acting in a custodial or leadership role must, as a part of their duties, lodge with students or other clients of the College (i.e. coaches lodging with student athletes).
Reimbursement for lodging expenses is not to be authorized when an employee does not incur lodging expenses at a commercial lodging facility.
8. When lodging expenses for normal return night allowed
Lodging expenses for the normal return night may be reimbursed in certain situations. The College may reimburse a traveler for lodging expenses for the normal return night to allow the traveler to remain overnight away from the official station or official residence under one of the following three conditions:
- When the overnight stay is more economical to the College. Complete justification should be referenced or attached to the traveler's Travel Expense Voucher.
- The health and safety of traveler is considered advantageous to the College and can be used to justify an overnight stay.
- Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is mandatory and can be used to justify an overnight stay. The Travel Expense Voucher should be annotated that the extra costs were incurred to comply with the ADA.
When the traveler does not return to his/her official residence or official station on the normal return night, the traveler is to promptly return the next day or as soon as possible thereafter.
9. How to purchase lodging accommodations
Personal financial resources may be used to purchase lodging accommodations. Using the Corporate Travel Card is optional if available to traveler. Travelers are to attach original lodging receipts to the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20) for all lodging reimbursements.
It is encouraged to apply for all tax exemptions offered by state or local governments to governmental travelers. Also, it is encouraged to apply for various tax rebates offered for business travel to the providences of Canada. Rebate forms and instructions can be obtained from the Canadian Consulate General in Seattle.
10. Using a travel trailer or camper
When used for the employee's convenience, lodging reimbursement is limited to actual space rental costs (as evidenced by a receipt) not to exceed the daily maximum non-high cost location lodging. The employee is not to be reimbursed for the rental or lease cost of the travel trailer or camper.
The authorized designee, with the traveler's concurrence, may authorize the use of a privately-owned travel trailer or camper when all of the following conditions exist:
- Suitable commercial lodging is not available;
- State lodging is not provided; and
- There is a benefit to the College for the traveler to remain at the temporary work station. In this situation, the traveler is to be reimbursed at the hourly, non-high cost per diem.
1. Basis for reimbursing meal costs
Reimbursement for meal expenses is on an allowance basis not to exceed the amounts in effect at the time of travel. The meal allowances are given at Travel Rates.
When an employee elects to use a travel trailer or camper in lieu of commercial lodging, reimbursement for meals is to be at the "Non-High Cost Locations." Rate. When an employee is requested by the College to use their travel trailer or camper in lieu of commercial lodging, meals are reimbursed as part of the hourly per diem payment.
When it becomes necessary to determine the amount to reimburse for individual meals (from the daily meals rate), use the following calculations rounded to the nearest dollar:
- The breakfast portion is 25% of the set daily meals entitlement.
- The lunch portion is 30% of the set daily meals entitlement.
- The dinner portion is 45% of the set daily meals entitlement.
2. Exceptions to the meal allowances
Generally, travelers are to be reimbursed for meal expenses at the set per meal entitlement rates. However, an authorized designee may require the College's travelers to provide receipts for meal reimbursement. When receipts for meals are required, reimbursement will be based on an actual cost basis as evidenced by a receipt up to the applicable maximum per meal entitlement amount.
The authorized designee may approve reimbursement for the actual cost of a meal when the College requires the employee to attend a meeting that is being held or sponsored by a non-state organization. The actual cost of the meal, as evidenced by a receipt, is eligible for reimbursement as long as the meal is an integral part of the meeting.
Meal payments are not required to be reduced or eliminated due to meals served on airlines. Similarly, meal payments are not required to be reduced for continental breakfasts which may be included in the lodging rate or registration fee of a meeting, conference, convention, or formal training session.
For non-mandatory attendance at seminars or professional meetings, reimbursement for meal expenses may be less, provided that in all instances reimbursement at a lower rate is agreed to in writing by the traveler in advance of the travel.
3. Types of costs that are included in meal allowances
Meal allowances cover the following costs:
- The basic cost of a meal,
- Any incidental expenses,
- Any applicable sales tax, and
- Any customary tip or gratuity.
4. Certain meal costs cannot be reimbursed
Reimbursement for meal expenses incurred at the traveler's official station or official residence is prohibited, except:
- In emergency situations when the authorized designee determines that employees performing critical agency functions must remain at their workstations.
- When an employee, acting in a custodial or leadership role, must, as part of their duties, dine with students or other clients of the College (i.e. coaches dining with student athletes).
Reimbursement for meal expenses is not to be authorized when a traveler does not incur expenses for meals because they are furnished.
Where identifiable costs of meals are included in the lodging rate or registration fee of a meeting, conference, convention, or formal training session, the meal costs, not to exceed the designated meal allowances, are to be deducted from the traveler's allowable travel reimbursement amount. If the included meal costs are not specifically identified, the College is not to pay the traveler the meal allowances.
5. When a traveler may be reimbursed for meal costs
For overnight travel assignments, the meal periods are used to determine when a traveler is entitled to a meal. For non-overnight travel assignments, the following two criteria must be met to receive a meal allowance:
- Three Hour Rule - A traveler may be reimbursed for meal expenses only after the traveler is in travel status for three hours beyond the traveler's regularly scheduled working hours for any one day. The three hours may consist of hours occurring before, after, or a combination of both before and after the traveler's regularly scheduled working hours for the day.
- In travel status during the entire meal period - Travelers must be in travel status during the entire meal period(s) in order to qualify to collect payments for meal(s). The traveler may not stop for a meal just to meet the three-hour rule.
If the traveler is reimbursed for meal expenses and does not stay overnight, then the payment is considered a Taxable Fringe Benefit and the traveler's taxable gross wages will be increased on the employee's W-2 by the payment amount.
6. Meal reimbursement rate
For overnight travel assignments, IRS publication 463 requires all meals to be reimbursed at the rate in effect for the area where the traveler stops for sleep. The meal reimbursement rate for the last day of travel (return day) would continue to be the rate for the location where the traveler last stopped for sleep.
E. Travel Arrangements and Reimbursement
1. Types of transportation costs that are reimbursable
Reimbursable transportation expenses include the costs of all necessary official College business travel on railroads, airlines, ships, buses, private motor vehicles, and other usual means of conveyance.
2. Reimbursement for privately-owned motor vehicle use
Reimbursement for the use of a privately owned motor vehicle on official College business is to be at the private vehicle mileage reimbursement rate specified at Travel Rates.
Point-to-point mileage in the State is to be determined on the basis of the distances shown on the latest Department of Transportation Official State Highway Map or other standard highway mileage guide. Out-of-state mileage is to be determined on the basis of standard highway mileage guides.
"Vicinity" or local miles, as determined by odometer readings, may be shown on the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20) as a separate figure.
3. Restrictions on reimbursement for privately-owned motor vehicle use
Daily commute transportation expenses between the traveler's official residence and official station (or College approved telecommuting site) is a personal obligation of the traveler and is not reimbursable by the College. (See definition of official station and official residence in section K of this policy.) All other miles driven on official College business are reimbursable.
Following are general guidelines and examples of POV mileage reimbursement:
- Travelers may be reimbursed for miles driven between their official station or official residence and a temporary duty station. When traveling directly from the official residence to the temporary duty station, reimbursement may be authorized even if the traveler passes the official station on the way to and from the temporary duty station.
- Working during hours or days that the employee is not normally scheduled to work does not entitle the employee to reimbursement for transportation mileage expenses incurred between their official residence and their official station. Example: An employee works 10 hour days Monday through Thursday and has Fridays off. The employee is required to come into the office on Friday, to take care of an emergency. The employee leaves from home and travels to the office to take care of the emergency and returns home. The employee is not entitled to mileage reimbursement, since the trip is considered the employee's normal commute.
- When an employee is assigned to work at more than one location (building) within their official station, they may be reimbursed only for the miles driven between the work locations. The mileage from home to the additional work/training location is not reimbursable if it is in the same city as the official station.
Example: An employee's official residence is in Lakewood and official station is in Olympia. The employee travels from home directly to training in Tumwater. After training the employee goes by the office in Olympia to do some work before returning home. The miles driven between Lakewood and Tumwater are considered the normal commute and therefore not eligible for reimbursement. However, the miles driven between the work/training locations (from Tumwater to Olympia) are reimbursable.
Reimbursement for the use of a privately owned motor vehicle is payable to only one traveler when two or more travelers are traveling in the same motor vehicle on the same trip.
4. Restrictions and requirements on rental motor vehicle use
Rent motor vehicles from rental firms approved by the Department of General Administration (GA), Office of State Procurement (OSP) using the State charge card system. When the traveler is billed individually and seeks reimbursement for purchase of rental car services, the traveler should attach the original receipt for the costs to the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20). Record the date and purpose of the trip on the Travel Expense Voucher.
Transporting of unauthorized passengers in a rental vehicle is considered a personal decision. The State of Washington will not provide excess liability protection to any unauthorized passengers in the event of an accident.
The State contract for rental of motor vehicles does not authorize vehicles to be used for other than official College business. Therefore, when a traveler couples a personal vacation with College business, the traveler is expected to execute a personal contract to rent a motor vehicle for the vacation portion of the trip.
The State contract for rental of motor vehicles usually includes full insurance coverage. The College will not reimburse travelers for the cost of additional insurance coverage purchased on State contract vehicle rentals.
5. Purchasing airline tickets
The College may purchase airline and other common carrier tickets in advance under certain conditions
When the College determines it can save money by taking advantage of discounts offered by a common carrier for advance bookings and payments, it is authorized to pay for airline or other common carrier tickets prior to a scheduled trip if the following conditions are met:
- The ticket is purchased through the State Charge Card System administered by OSP, and
- The College retains control of the ticket or E-Ticket authorization numbers(s). If unused at the end of the fiscal year, the ticket cost is to be recorded in the concluding fiscal year as an asset rather than an expenditure. Tickets or E-Ticket authorization numbers should be provided to travelers in a timely manner in advance of travel to avoid last minute problems.
6. How to make air travel arrangements
The College must use an OSP qualified travel provider when making air travel arrangements. The only exceptions are for:
- The contracted carrier does not travel to the desired destination and/or does not do so within the time constraints for the official college business.
- When airfare is offered to the general public at a published rate less than the State contract rate. However, if the rates are the same and the State contract has seats available at that fare, the State contract shall be used.
- Emergency situations that have been approved by the approved designee.
For a complete, state wide listing of all travel agencies go to the GA web site at www.ga.wa.gov/pca/travel/index.html and select Travel Agencies Contract.
7. Airline contracts and limitations on reimbursement
In accordance with GA negotiated contracts, where a city pair contract exists, such as between Seattle and Missoula, MT, reimbursement may be made up to the contract air fare amount. The College may make reimbursement above the contract airfare only:
- For allowable conditions as stated within the contract documents, AND
- When the air carrier has sold all seats for the desired destination.
Except as noted below, reimbursement above the airfare contract is to be at the lowest applicable airfare not to exceed tourist class or its equivalent. This reimbursement limitation may be exceeded, if necessary, for the Health and Safety of the traveler, and when persons with a disability (and a personal care attendant, if necessary for the person with a disability to travel) are required to travel.
For more specific contract information go to the GA web site at www.ga.wa.gov/pca/travel/indes.html and select Travel Agencies Contract.
Business class (Premium-class other than first-class) airline accommodations may be approved when travel is direct between authorized origin and destination points, including connecting points, and either the origin or destination point is outside the continental United States, and the scheduled one-way flight time (not including domestic layover time) is in excess of 14 hours, provided all of the following conditions have been met:
- The authorized designee approves the business class airline accommodations in advance and
- The traveler has exhausted all State business frequent flyer miles available for an upgrade, and
- A qualified travel provider, consolidator and/or the airline (s) have been contacted to determine if a business class fare can be obtained at a cost that is less than the tourist class (coach) contract fare.
8. Criteria and limitations for airport selection
Use of the local airport is assumed to result in travel expenses that are most economical to the College. Travelers are expected to use their local airport when traveling by regularly scheduled air service on College business. A "Local Airport" is the airport that offers regularly scheduled air service that is closest to the point from which travel begins. In most situations it would be the airport closest to the traveler's residence. For out-of-state destinations, the closest airport that provides direct out-of-state flights may be considered the local airport. The traveler is to provide documentation to support a decision to use an airport other than the local airport. If the traveler chooses another airport for reasons other than those specified, the traveler must bear any costs in excess of the most economical costs.
9. Limitations on reimbursement for non-air common carrier costs
Normally, the maximum reimbursement for transportation expenses via non-air common carriers is the lowest applicable fare not to exceed the lowest class fare. This reimbursement limitation may be exceeded if necessary for the Health and Safety of the traveler, and when persons with a disability (and a personal care attendant, if necessary for the person with a disability to travel) are required to travel. For more specific contract information, contact GA, OSP.
10. How changes in itinerary affect reimbursement
If there is an authorized change in a traveler's itinerary while on travel status to conduct official College business, the traveler, whenever possible, is to pay the added cost through a State Charge Card System. If a State charge card receipt is issued, the traveler is to attach the receipt for the added cost to the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20). If the traveler does not have access to a State Charge Card System, the traveler may pay for the added cost from personal financial resources. In all cases where a traveler is billed individually and is seeking reimbursement for purchase of air carrier services, original receipts are to be attached to the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20) by the traveler.
11. Purchasing airfare from personal financial resources
A traveler may only use personal financial resources to purchase airfare in emergency situations when the State Charge Card System is not accessible. It will be up to the College's management to authorize reimbursement of charges made with personal financial resources.
When a traveler is billed individually and seeks reimbursement for purchase of airfare, the traveler must attach receipts to the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20).
F. Miscellaneous Travel Expenses
1. Types of miscellaneous travel costs that are reimbursable
Miscellaneous travel expenses essential to the transaction of official College business are reimbursable to the traveler. Reimbursable expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Taxi, shuttle, or limousine fares (including a customary tip or gratuity), motor vehicle rentals, parking fees, and ferry and bridge tolls.
- Registration fees required in connection with attendance at approved conventions, conferences, and official meetings.
- Rental of room in a hotel or other place that is used to transact official College business. The room rental is reimbursable as a separate item from lodging when authorized by the authorized designee.
- Charges for necessary facsimile (fax) services.
- Charges for necessary stenographic or typing services in connection with the preparation of reports and/or correspondence, when authorized by the authorized designee.
- The actual cost of laundry and/or dry cleaning expenses, as evidenced by a receipt, is authorized for travelers in continuous travel status for five (5) or more days in the continental U.S.A. An allowance is already included in the meals and incidental rates for travel outside CONUS. Use of a coin-operated Laundromat is allowable. If a receipt for a coin-operated Laundromat is not available, the traveler may claim actual expenses up to $50 on the "Detail of Other Expenses" portion of the Travel Expense Voucher (Form A20-).
- Mandatory fees charged by lodging facilities for items such as room safes.
- Business telephone calls are allowable if the purpose of the call directly relates to official College business. These calls should be brief, necessary, and directly related to the business travel of the employee. Telephone calls to the office or home to acknowledge arrival at the business location, a change in the business itinerary, or in case of an emergency related to the business travel of the employee, are considered to be business telephone calls.
2. Bill expenses greater than $50 to the College whenever possible
Whenever possible, the traveler should not pay for motor vehicle rentals, registration fees, rental of rooms for official College business, and other miscellaneous travel expenses in excess of $50. The traveler should request the vendor of the services to bill the College in accordance with prescribed purchasing requirements.
3. Costs for personal care attendant services may be reimbursed
The cost of personal care attendant services required by travelers with a disability in order for them to travel will be allowed as a miscellaneous travel expense. Such costs may include fees and travel expenses of the attendant. The authorized designee sets the maximum reimbursement for such costs.
G. Board of Trustees
1. Meal and lodging reimbursement for members of Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees members should be reimbursed for lodging and meal expenses at the daily maximum allowable per diem rate each day or portion thereof spent to conduct official College business. Members attending meetings and performing other official business are considered to be in travel status and the three-hour rule and official station rule do not apply.
2. Submitting claims for reimbursement
Individuals should submit claims for reimbursement on a Travel Expense Voucher designed for members of the board after the travel has occurred.
3. Taxation of payments
Travel expense reimbursement for above mentioned per diem does not meet the requirements of an accountable plan as defined by the Internal Revenue Service and is subject to federal employment taxes.
4. Exceptions to the meal reimbursement rate
Members of the board who receive per diem (lodging and meals) reimbursement allowances are expected to pay the cost of any meals provided with meetings, etc. When the meal has been purchased by the College, the cost will be deducted on the Travel Expense Voucher.
5. Travel expenses other than meals and lodging
Except as otherwise provided by law, those persons serving on the Board of Trustees are to be reimbursed transportation and other travel expenses in the same manner as College employees.
H. Travel Expense Claims, Payments, Reimbursements and Advances
1. Purpose of Blanket Travel Authority form
The Blanket Travel Authority form is used to document all travel within in the State of Washington and travel to counties/cities in the states of Oregon and Idaho that are contiguous to the border between Washington-Idaho or Washington-Oregon, covering the entire fiscal year. Blanket Travel Authorities expire each June 30th.
2. Purpose of Travel Authority form
The Travel Authority form is used to document the authorization for all travel.
3. Purpose of the Travel Expense Voucher
The Travel Expense Voucher (form A-20) is used to document the approval of travel related expenses for all travel.
4. Traveler's responsibility in completing the Travel Expense Voucher
The traveler has the following responsibilities for completing the Travel Expense Voucher and certifying travel expenses:
- Prepare the Travel Expense Voucher, providing the level of detail requested on the form.
- In the "PURPOSE OF TRIP" column, describe the purpose of accomplishments of the trip in enough detail to document that the travel was essential to carry out the necessary work of the College.
- Attach original receipts and documentation required.
- Submit the travel voucher to the person authorized to approve travel.
- College responsibilities in reviewing and paying the Travel Expense Voucher costs The authorized designee reviews and approves the voucher. The Travel Office in Business Services processes the payment to the employee no later than ten working days after receipt of the properly completed Travel Expense Voucher.
- Receipts and documentation required in support of Travel Expense Vouchers
Original receipts for the following items are required to accompany the Travel Expense Voucher.
- Lodging at a commercial facility. (Except for daily per diem payments made to members of Boards, Commissions, or Committees)
- The actual cost of laundry and/or dry cleaning expenses for travelers in continuous travel status for five or more days. Use of a coin operated Laundromat is allowable. If a receipt for a coin operated Laundromat is not available, the traveler may claim actual expenses up to $50 on the "Detail of Other Expenses" portion of the Travel Expense Voucher.
- Allowable miscellaneous expenditures for amounts in excess of $50, per item per day, plus any applicable tax. However, the following items do not require receipts, regardless of the amount (if receipt is available it should be attached to Travel Expense Voucher):
- Day parking fees.
- Transit fares, ferry fares, bridge and road tolls.
- Taxi, shuttle, and limousine fares when necessary and on official College business.
- Telephone calls where it is necessary to use a coin box telephone or where the telephone call cannot be charged to the traveler's office telephone extension.
The following documentation should be completed on the Travel Expense Voucher where applicable:
- When lodging or meals are being reimbursed, the exact time, including A.M. or P.M. designation of departure and return.
- When two or more travelers are traveling together in one motor vehicle, the traveler is to indicate this fact by identifying, on the expense voucher, the person(s) accompanying the traveler and the travel destination of each.
7. Miscellaneous supplies exceeding $50
The expense voucher is not to include expenses for supplies exceeding $50, plus applicable tax. Such items are to be purchased in accordance with prescribed College purchasing requirements and taken along on the trip.
8. Paying vendors directly for travel costs Pursuant to RCW 43.03.065:
Approval of the authorized designee via a Purchase Order must be obtained prior to authorizing direct billing of the traveler's meal and lodging expenses to the College and direct payment to the vendor by the College. Payments to vendors for travel expenses are not to result in a cost to the College in excess of what would be payable by way of reimbursement to the individuals involved.
9. Travel expense advances
The College may make a travel expense advance to defray some costs the traveler may incur while traveling on official College business away from the official station or residence.
Limitations and requirements:
- RCW 43.03.150 limits travel advances to officers and employees.
- The advance is to cover a period not to exceed 90 days.
- The traveler receives the advance no more than 30 days before the start of travel.
- The officer or employee must expend the travel advance only to defray necessary reimbursable costs while performing official duties.
- No travel advance shall be considered for any purpose as a loan to an officer or employee, and any unauthorized disbursement of a travel advance is to be considered as a misappropriation of State monies by the officer or employee.
Travel advances are prohibited:
- For use of privately owned vehicles.
- For the purchase of commercial air fares.
10. How to Obtain Travel Expense Advances
The traveler is to submit a Travel Authorization form to the supervisor. The supervisor is to review and approve the proposed travel, and forward the Travel Authorization form to the authorized designee. Upon approval of the advance, the Travel Office is to process the document for payment and a check will be available for the traveler at the College's Cashier's Office or can be mailed.
11. Submitting and Accounting for Travel Advances
The traveler shall submit a fully itemized Travel Expense Voucher on or before the tenth day following each month in which a travel advance was furnished to a traveler. The traveler must fully justify the expenditure of any portion of the advance for legally reimbursable items on behalf of the College.
The traveler shall return any portion of the travel advance not expended to the College at the close of the authorized travel period to the Cashier's Office. The traveler is to submit the payment with a properly completed Travel Expense Voucher, which goes to the Travel Office.
If the travel advance is less than or equal to the travel expenses incurred, the traveler is to submit a properly completed Travel Expense Voucher on or before the tenth day following the month in which the authorized travel period ended. The expense voucher is to contain an itemization of expenditures and is to indicate the net amount, if any, due the traveler. The College is to process the expense voucher and reimburse the traveler for any additional amount due.
12. Default on Repayment of the Advance by the Traveler
When a traveler defaults in accounting for or repaying an advance, the full unpaid amount shall become immediately due and payable with interest of ten percent per annum from date of default until paid.
To protect the College from any losses on account of travel advances made, the College has a prior lien against and shall withhold any and all amounts payable or to become payable by the College to such officer or employee up to the amount of such travel advance and interest at a rate of ten percent per annum, until such time as repayment or justification has been made.
13. Internal Revenue Service regulations affecting travel expenses and travel advances
The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has implemented rules affecting travel advances. The IRS requires travelers receiving travel advances to substantiate their travel expenses and to return to their employer any unspent portions of the travel advance within a reasonable time period. If the traveler does not substantiate the travel expenses or does not return any unspent portion of a travel advance within a reasonable time period, the traveler's employer is required to report the amount of the travel advance as income in Box 1 of Form W-2. This payment is subject to applicable payroll withholding taxes.
For purposes of the College travel regulations, if a traveler substantiates a travel expense in accordance with State travel regulations on a Travel Expense Voucher within sixty days after it is incurred, the traveler will have met the reasonable time period requirement. Further, the travel expenses the traveler incurred will not be considered income. Likewise, if a traveler returns to the employer any unspent portion of a travel advance within 120 days after incurring a travel expense related to the travel advance, the traveler will have met the reasonable time period requirement. When this occurs, the unspent portion of the travel advance will not be considered income.
When a traveler fails to meet either of the timeliness criteria stated above, the College is required to consider the unsubstantiated travel expense and the unspent portion of the travel advance as income and deduct the applicable payroll withholding taxes from the traveler's next semi-monthly earnings.
I. Travel Rates
1. Reimbursement Rates
This section provides lodging, subsistence, and mileage rates for College employees traveling on official College business. OFM revises this section periodically based upon changes to source documents produced by three separate agencies of the federal government as well as changes required by the State Legislature. View it at Travel Rates.
2. High Cost Lodging and Subsistence Rates for the Continental US
Per Diem Allowances for High Cost Locations in the Continental USA are periodically revised by the General Services Administration and can be accessed on the Internet at the following address:
- For locations within Washington State, refer to the Administrative and Accounting Resources site at Administrative Accounting Resources for the State of Washington Per Diem Rates Map.
- For locations outside of Washington State, refer to the U.S. General Services Administration web site. Select U.S. Per Diem Rates by Location (Continental USA) to view rates for the contiguous states. Taxes may be added to the lodging rates shown in these tables.
- If the travel location is not listed (city or county), use lodging and subsistence rates for non high-cost areas. For cities in the U.S. where the counties are not known, the following Internet address can be used: http://www.naco.org/counties/queries/city_srch.cfm.
3. Lodging and Subsistence Rates for the Non Continental USA and Foreign Locations
Per Diem allowances for foreign locations, Alaska, Hawaii, and US Possessions are revised monthly and can be accessed on the Internet at the following address: http://www.state.gov/m/a/als/prdm/(U.S. Department of State - Foreign Per Diem Rates.) Rates for Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. possessions follow the foreign rates. Most of the lodging rates in these tables include all taxes. However, taxes on lodging are separately reimbursable for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Possessions.
J. Non-College reimbursement of College travel
1. Responsibility of College
College personnel are responsible for approving, documenting, and accounting for official College related travel supported by third parties. The College is required to establish and maintain a positive system of control over all College related travel, including travel supported by third parties. (SAAM 10.20.60)
A third party is an entity or individual other than TESC. Third-party travel for purposes of this policy includes travel that meets the following requirements:
- The traveler is traveling in his or her official College capacity on official College business,
- The traveler's authorized designee agrees that the travel is official College travel. The authorized designee approves a Travel Authority that sets forth the travel arrangements indicating the respective portions of the travel supported by the third party and the College.
NOTE: Official travel supported by sponsored accounts managed through the College accounting system is not considered third-party travel for purposes of this policy.
3. Double Payment
A traveler may not receive and keep payments or reimbursement from both the College and a third party for the same travel expense. Likewise, a traveler may not receive and keep reimbursement payment for a travel expense previously paid by the College.
4. Reimbursement Limits
For travel supported by third parties, travelers are not to be reimbursed for more than the actual expenses of travel except for meals which can be reimbursed on an allowance basis.
Official College travel paid for in part or in whole by a third party must be approved in advance with a Travel Authority. Indicate all travel payment arrangements on the TA. Indicate exactly which costs are to be supported by the third party. Indicate the name of the third party.
6. Accounting for travel
Whenever a third party pays for all or part of travel expenses, the traveler must complete and submit a Travel Expense Voucher to account for all portions of the travel. The traveler indicates payment arrangements, (i.e., how paid, name of third party, and the payment amount).
When permitted by practices and regulations of the third party, the third party should directly pay the vendor or directly reimburse the College for travel expenses incurred by a College traveler. Direct reimbursement to the traveler is acceptable if the third party's practices do not provide for direct payment to vendors or the College. If the third party pays the vendor directly, the traveler indicates the payment arrangement on the approving Travel Authority. The payment arrangement is also to be indicated on the Travel Expense Voucher. If there is no direct reimbursement to the College or the traveler, the traveler submits a Travel Expense Voucher with minimal information. If the third party reimburses the College for the travel, the traveler submits a Travel Expense Voucher to request reimbursement from a College organization. The department deposits the check from the third party with the Cashier's Office. The Cashier's Office deposits the amount as a recovery of the original expenditure. If the third party reimburses the traveler directly, the traveler submits a copy of the check or remittance advice from the third party with the Travel Expense Voucher.
If the third-party payment exceeds travel expenses, the department or the traveler must repay the overpayment amount to the third party.
K. Glossary of Travel Terms
Authorized Travel Period
That period of time when the traveler is authorized travel status away from the official station and official residence. Refer to OFFICIAL STATION, OFFICIAL RESIDENCE, and TRAVELER.
Central Travel Account
Terminology used by the credit card company for a "ghost billing account."
Comercial Lodging Facility
A business, non-profit, or governmental entity that provides lodging accommodations for a fee.
Travel between the official residence and other domicile of a College officer or employee and their official station or other place of work.
A breakfast generally consists of juice, bread, and a hot beverage (typically coffee or tea). Fruit is sometimes included as part of the price or as a priced option.
As used in this policy, all areas in the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia.
Travel in all areas of the world outside of the United States of America and its possessions.
Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses, and other for personal service performed. This is not a miscellaneous expense. An allowance for incidental expenses is included within the daily subsistence rates for the area of travel.
Travel within the State of Washington. However, with respect to the requirement for prior authorization of out-of-state travel, travel to counties and/or cities in the states of Idaho and Oregon that are contiguous to the border between Washington-Idaho or Washington-Oregon shall not be considered out-of-state.
The airport that offers commercial air service that is closest to the point from which travel begins. In most situations it would be the airport closest to the travelers' residence. For out-of-state destinations, the closest airport that provides direct out-of-state flights may be considered the local airport for this purpose.
To qualify for meal reimbursements, the traveler must be in travel status from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for breakfast, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch, and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for dinner.
As used in this policy, all areas in Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and all areas in possession of the United States of America throughout the world.
Normal Return Night
That night of travel on which it was anticipated prior to the trip, that the traveler would return either to the official duty station or official residence after the completion of official College business.
The city, town, or other location where a College official or employee maintains a residence which is used as their primary domicile. Determinations by the authorized designee regarding an employee's official residence are to be based on items such as voter registration, ownership, or long-term rental of a personal residence and the permanent address carried in the College official or employee's personnel or other file.
Official College Business
Activities performed by a College official or employee, authorized volunteer, or contractor, work experience program participant, student or employee of another governmental jurisdiction as directed by his or her supervisor in order to accomplish College programs or as required by the duties of his or her position or office.
The city, town, or other location where the College official or employee's office is located, or the city, town, or location where the College official or employee's work is performed on a permanent basis. For the purposes of these travel regulations, Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey are considered to be the same official station. A College official or employee's official station is to be designated the College. It is to be determined by the needs of the College and not assigned because it is the home of preferred living area of a College official or employee.
Travel anywhere outside the boundaries of the State of Washington is to be coded as out-of-state-travel. However, with respect to the requirement for prior authorization of out-of-state travel, travel to counties and/or cities in the states of Idaho and Oregon that are contiguous to the border between Washington-Idaho or Washington-Oregon shall not be considered out-of-state.
Per Diem Expenses
Daily travel costs covering both lodging expenses and subsistence expenses while in travel status.
Qualified Travel Provider
An internet travel provider, qualified travel agent, or other vendor under contract with the State to provide travel services to State employees.
Regularly Scheduled Work Day
For the purposes of this policy, the regularly scheduled work day is generally defined as between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., weekdays, not including Saturdays and Sundays. However, employees having other work schedules will be governed by their normal work periods.
The location where a College employee or College official normally performs his/her work (excludes meeting and conference rooms).
Daily travel expenses covering meals, taxes, tips for meals, and incidental expenses.
Temproary Duty Station
A fixed location where a College official or employee has been temporarily assigned to work for a specific period of time which is less than one year.
Those costs covering a)travel by commercial carriers such as bus, train, ship, and airplane; b)travel by privately owned motor vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, vans, or trucks; c)travel by rental motor vehicle; d)or some combination of a), b), and/or c).
Travel Expense Voucher (A-20)
Form A-20 is used by the College to substantiate and authorize payment of travel costs for College employees. In the absence of a vendor relationship, this form can also be used to substantiate and authorize payment of travel costs for non-state employees such as prospective employees; individuals who serve on boards, commissions, councils, committees, and task forces; volunteers and other individuals who are authorized to receive travel expense reimbursement. When a vendor relationship exists and the A-20 is used by non-College employees to substantiate travel costs, it must be attached to an Invoice Voucher (A-19) to authorize payment. Form A-20 is used only for reimbursing travel expenses of commission members who are reimbursed on a per diem basis.
Those costs covering per diem expenses; transportation expenses, meals, and miscellaneous business expenses related to official College travel.
The official status of a traveler when the traveler is away from both the official residence and the official station, exclusive of commuting between the traveler's official station and official residence, on College-related business. Note: WAC 356-15-040 defines when travel time is to be considered as work time.
A person in travel status who is on official College business.