This guide prescribes regulations for reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenditures to individuals traveling on official business of the Commonwealth. According to State Travel Rplanning and paying for travel; economy, prudence and necessity are of primary concern. The use of State funds to accommodate personal comfort, convenience, and taste is not permitted. Travelers and travel planners must seek ways to reduce the cost of essential travel.”
It is therefore important that we exercise prudent judgment when making travel arrangements and incurring travel expenses. Travel expenses are open to the public and should be able to sustain the test of public review. It is Commonwealth policy to limit travel cost to only those expenses that are necessary for providing essential services to Commonwealth citizens.
In meeting this requirement, Virginia Highlands Community College requires and encourages prudent use of State Vehicle seating capacity and the sharing of lodging accommodations, where practical, especially when there are multiple travelers traveling to the same destination. The traveler’s Supervisor and/or Department Head will determine if shared transportations and/or lodging are not practical.
Employees need to prepare an estimate of the total cost of any proposed overnight travel on the Travel Estimate Worksheet form. This form is required prior to reservation of airline tickets and the prepayment of direct billed registration fees. Total cost includes lodging, meals, mileage, conference registration and any other travel costs or course fees. Travel Estimate Worksheet Forms are available in the Business Office and are to be submitted with the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher for processing. TRANSPORTATION Personal vehicle mileage expenses incurred by State employees or others when traveling on official State business are reimbursable at the current IRS rate (http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/article/0,,id=178004,00.html) per mile when a State vehicle is not available, Enterprise Rental cost is greater than Personal automobile cost at .505 cent per mile or a personal vehicle is cost beneficial (Trips that are less than 100 miles), .246 per mile when a State vehicle is available or not requested. Employees traveling on official business who elect to take along family members or other non-state employees must use a personal vehicle or Enterprise Rental vehicle. Employee will be reimbursed at .246 cent per mile fleet rate when choosing to use personal vehicle.
Enterprise Rental insurance should be declined and is not reimbursable. The Department of General Services, Division of Risk Management, provides a Statewide Self-Insured Vehicle plan for State employees. The Traveler may Insure anyone traveling with him/her at their own cost. Travelers must ensure that the rental vehicle is refueled before returning the vehicle to the rental contractor.
Parking and Toll expenses are reimbursable. If the reimbursement claim exceeds 10, a receipt is required.
Public transportation rates must not exceed those for tourist class accommodations. Receipts for public transportation expenses are to be retained for submission with the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher.
Weekend and holiday mileage incurred when the individual is required to work on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday that is not a scheduled work day may be reimbursed. Prior approval from the employee’s supervisor or budget manager is required.
Lodging may be reimbursed when an employee is traveling on official business outside his/her official station (the area within a 25 mile radius of an employee’s base point or residence, whichever is closest to the travel destination) up to the applicable maximum guideline. Please request government rates at the time reservations are made and during check in. Refer to the M&IE Per Diems and Lodging Guidelines Table for selected city lodging rates. The standard guideline applies to any location not listed. The In State and Out of State lodging rate guidelines exclude taxes and surcharges (lodging taxes and surcharges are reimbursable). The President is authorized to approve reimbursement in advance for lodging up to 150% of the guideline amount. Exceptions above 150% of the guidelines for lodging may be granted only by the DOA Manager of Disbursements and Fixed Assets prior to travel. Original hotel bills obtained at time of checkout and other supporting receipts for lodging expenses need to be submitted with the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher and any unusual charges fully explained.
Number of Persons in a Hotel Room
When two or more people are traveling on official state business and staying in the same hotel room, the allowable lodging rate will be the lodging rate specified for the area, plus the cost charged by the hotel for any additional persons in the room. Documentation from the hotel listing additional charges for each person, per room must be provided.
Meal and certain other incidental travel expenses are reimbursable for overnight official business travel outside the traveler’s official station. Reimbursement for such expenses shall be made to the traveler based on a fixed allowance. The fixed allowance is referred to as the meals and incidental expense (M&IE) per diem. Direct agency billing of meal expenses incurred during overnight travel, including charging meals to direct billed hotel rooms, is not permitted. The M&IE per diem used shall correspond to the location of the related overnight lodging.
Prorating the per diem
The following occasions require prorating of per diem amounts:
INCIDENTAL TRAVEL EXPENSES COVERED BY THE M&IE PER DIEM
Service Fees or Tips
All service fees or tips (including but not limited to bellhops, skycaps, maids, waiters/waitresses, taxi and limousine drivers) laundry expense, personal telephone calls, and transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken are reimbursed through the incidental expense portion of the M&IE per diem. Actual expenses incurred during overnight travel for these categories are not permitted.
Telephone calls / Internet Access made or obtain on official business and paid for by the traveler may be claimed on the travel voucher. In the case of toll charges and Internet access the points and parties between which the calls were made or access obtain must be stated on the voucher with the reason they were made or obtained. A receipt is required for reimbursement. Personal telephone calls are reimbursed through the incidental expense portion of the M&IE per diem. State phone cards are available for employees who travel frequently and need to make a number of long distance phone calls (business related) while in travel status. Contact the Business Manager if a card is needed.
TRAVEL CHARGE CARD
An employee who travels at least twice per year may request a Travel Charge Card for reimbursable travel expenses while conducting State business. The employee has the option of securing this Travel Charge Card or utilizing his/her personal credit card to cover travel expenses. Contact the Business Manager if a card is desired.
TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT
All claims from an individual for reimbursement of travel expenses incurred on official business of the Commonwealth are to be made on the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher, Form DA-02-041. Download the automated State Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher
The travel voucher is to be signed and dated by the traveler and the traveler's immediate supervisor. In the case of a non-state employee, the President is designated to approve the voucher. Responsibility for the legitimacy and presentation of supporting documentation of the voucher rests with the traveler. The Travel Regulations state that the voucher should be presented for payment by the employee to the supervisor within (30) working days after completion of the trip, where overnight travel is involved, or in case of continuous travel, within (30) working days of the last day of travel for which reimbursement is requested. The traveler's supervisor is to forward the approved voucher to the Business Office within three (3) working days of receipt from the employee. If travel reimbursements are not submitted within the prescribed schedule, the State Comptroller's Office may require an explanation for the delay.
TRAVEL VOUCHER PREPARATION & SUBMISSION
Detailed instructions for the preparation and submission of the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher are available on the Business Office website and your Cost Center Liaison’s office.
A VHCC original Travel Estimate Worksheet is to be submitted with Form DA-02-041, Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher, along with all necessary receipts and documentation. Please contact the Business Office for assistance in your travel planning.