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Employee Handbook TRAVEL POLICY

Following is the new Employee Handbook Travel & Business Expense Reimbursement Policy. This manual contains additional guidance and revised limits for all travel & entertainment. Among the changes is the establishment of a travel assistant and a new Expense Report. As such, please take some time to review the policy as these changes (and others) are effective immediately. Also, please complete the Traveler Profile Form and return it to your assigned travel assistant.

While we all hope that our experiences conducting business on behalf of Employee Handbook are pleasurable and gratifying, we also must be reasonable. This policy will reflect our collective responsibility to conduct business in a fiscally responsible manner.

Downloads:
Traveler Profile Form
Travel Authorization Form
Expense Report
Sample copy of the Expense Report Template

TABLE OF CONTENTS

General Guidelines     Reporting Guidelines     Travel Authorization     Logging Your Expenses

Authorization Process     Tips For the New Expense Reporting Template

 

General Guidelines

These policies and procedures are designed to act as a guideline for business travel and entertainment expense and miscellaneous expense reimbursements. They are based on practices employed by most organizations of our size and take into consideration what is considered reasonable and customary. While this handbook does contain suggested expense limits, we challenge all employees to use professional judgment when incurring expenses on behalf of the Company. Employee Handbook recognizes that, in some isolated cases, business related expenses might need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; however, this primarily applies if the expense in question was not discussed in this policy.

All APPROVED EXPENSES INCURRED MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR INDIVIDUAL DEPARTMENTAL BUDGET. IF YOU ARE UNCLEAR AS TO YOUR EXPENSE BUDGET, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DEPARTMENT HEAD OR FINANCE PRIOR TO INCURRING ANY EXPENSES.

This policy is designed to accomplish the following key points:

  • Ensure all employees have a clear and consistent understanding of policies and procedures for business travel and expenses.
  • Ensure employees are reimbursed for legitimate business travel and entertainment expenses.
  • Provide employees who must travel with a reasonable level of service and comfort at the lowest possible cost.
  • Maximize the company’s ability to negotiate discounted rates with preferred suppliers and reduce travel expenses.
  • Provide the appropriate level of accounting & business controls for the company to ensure that expenses are reviewed & approved by the appropriate person.

Responsibility
The traveler is responsible for complying with Employee Handbook Travel Policies. The manager who approves and signs expense reports is responsible for accurately reviewing expense reports for compliance. Employee Handbook will reimburse employees for all reasonable and necessary expenses while traveling on authorized company business or entertaining business clients. Employee Handbook assumes no obligation to reimburse employees for expenses that are not in compliance with this policy. Employee Handbook’s Controller must approve any deviation from this policy.

Enforcement
Employees who do not comply with this policy may be subject to delay or withholding of reimbursement and/or, disciplinary action.

Alcoholic Beverages
Employee Handbook’s policy is to refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages during business functions. However, in the event an employee chooses to consume alcoholic beverages in connection with a business function, the Company expects that employees will act responsibly and avoid excess. If an employee has any concerns that he/she is not capable of safely driving after such events, the Company will reimburse the cost of alternative transportation to ensure that the employee does not place themselves or others in danger. An employee, who is arrested and convicted for Driving Under the Influence while in the performance of company business, or when returning from a business function, is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.     top



 

REPORTING GUIDELINES
Employees must file expense reports no later than 30 days following the completion of the trip or of incurring the expense. All expense reports submitted by the 10th of the month will be reimbursed in their mid-month paycheck. Expenses reports submitted by the 25th of the month will be reimbursed in their end of the month paycheck. Expenses must be submitted for reimbursement within 3 months of being incurred, or they will not be reimbursed.

Documentation Requirements

Employees must provide the following information in order to be reimbursed for any business related meals or entertainment expenditures:

  • Names of individuals present, their titles and company name
  • Name and location of where the meal or event took place
  • Exact amount and date of the expense
  • Receipts for all expenditures in excess of $25.00.
  • Receipts for meals, in excess of $5.00.

Employees must submit the following documentation with their Expense Report:

  • Air/Rail – original passenger receipt.
  • Hotel – hotel folio plus credit card receipt or other proof of payment.
  • Car Rental – credit card receipt or rental agency invoice.
  • Entertainment – credit card receipt or register receipt for all expenses.
  • Meals – credit card receipt or register receipts for meal expenses over $5.00.

Please note: restaurant chits and credit card statements (i.e. Amex tear out receipts included in a monthly statement) are not considered an acceptable form of receipt.
Receipts must be affixed to a piece of paper with like items (e.g. cabs) together. An explanation of the business expense and a list of the individuals/company affiliations entertained (in the case of meal/entertainment receipts) must be documented next to the original receipt.
If like items have been summed to arrive at a single figure for entry to a single cell on the expense report, please indicate which items are being totaled on the paper where the receipts are affixed. Expense reports containing entries that cannot easily be supported by receipts will be returned to the person submitting the expense report.
When a receipt is not available, a full explanation of the expense and the reason for the missing receipt is required. Actual bills/receipts must be submitted whenever possible; photocopies will be acceptable only with a detailed explanation as to why the original is unavailable. Receipts must include the name of the vendor, location, date and dollar amount. All expenses must be reported, regardless of how they were paid. The following receipts are acceptable:

  • Original receipt completed by the vendor
  • Customer’s copy of credit card slip
  • Credit card billing statement, only in the unusual case where it is not possible to obtain the actual receipt
  • Original phone bill
  • IRS-approved electronic ticket receipt

Incorrect or Incomplete Expense Reports
Expense reports that are incorrect, incomplete or include disorganized receipts:

  • Will be returned to the approver for completion.
  • May result in delay or non-reimbursement of specific items.

Disregard for company policy or altering of receipts can result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.     top

 

 

TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION
Employees must complete the Employee Handbook Travel Authorization Form in advance of travel to obtain approval to spend travel dollars in advance of the trip. This form is located on the employee intranet or can be obtained by contacting David Janse.     top

 

 

LOGGING YOUR EXPENSES
Effective immediately, employees must complete the new Employee Handbook Expense Report for reimbursement of expenses.

Air/Rail Travel

Air travel reservations should be made in such a manner as to secure the best available fare. Available resources include, but are not limited to: travel agents, online resources or directly with the airline. (Please see the Tips For the New Expense Report section below for additional information.) ALL AIR TRAVEL MUST BE IN COACH CLASS.

When traveling by air:

  • Employees are expected to use the lowest logical airfare available.
  • Employees should consider Saturday night stays and stays exceeding 3 days
  • Employees are expected to reserve 7-day advance notice purchases.
  • Employees are expected to use non-direct flights when the savings are substantial.
  • Obtain CEO/CFO approval for all trips over $2,000 (using Travel Authorization Form).
  • Obtain CEO/CFO approval for all International travel (using Travel Authorization Form).

Upgrades for Air Travel
Upgrades for air travel are not reimbursable. If an employee wishes to upgrade, it is done at the employee’s expense.

Cancellations

When a trip is cancelled after the ticket has been issued, the traveler should inquire about using the same ticket for future travel. Employees should reuse airline tickets if: a) they are traveling on the same route, or b) airfare eligibility requirements (verified with travel agent) are met.

Unused/Voided Airline Tickets

Unused airline tickets or flight coupons must never be discarded or destroyed as these documents may have a cash value.
To expedite refunds, unused or partially used airline tickets must be returned immediately to the issuing authority. Employees must NOT include unused tickets with their expense reports. Employees with an electronic ticket simply need to call the travel agent/issuing authority to initiate a refund.

Lost or Stolen Airline Tickets
Immediately upon discovery of a lost/stolen ticket, the traveler must:

  • Report the loss to the travel agent/issuing authority who will file the lost ticket application
  • Fill out a lost ticket application at the airline ticket counter.

Airport and Train Station Parking
When parking at an airport or train station is part of business travel, it is expected that employees will utilize Long Term parking lots. Short Term parking fees will not be reimbursed.

 

Auto Travel: Car Rental
Employees may rent a car to get to their destination when driving is more cost effective than airline or rail travel. Employees may rent a car at their destination when it is less expensive than other transportation modes such as taxis, airport limousines and airport shuttles or when entertaining customers. Whenever multiple employees are traveling together, every effort to rideshare or carpool must be made.
Employees must reserve a car in the compact rental car category. When picking up a rental car, check with the rental car agent for any promotional rates, last-minutes specials or free upgrades. At the time of rental, inspect the car and be sure that any damage found is noted on the contract before the vehicle is accepted.
When plans change, employees are responsible for working with their Travel Assistant to cancel rental car reservations.
Employees may book a car rental class of service one level higher when:

  • The traveler can be upgraded at no extra cost
  • Two or more company employees are traveling together
  • Entertaining customers
  • Cars in the authorized category are not available
  • Transporting excess baggage such as booth displays.

Domestic travelers should always accept the collision insurance offered by rental agencies but should decline all other offered insurances. International travelers should accept all insurances offered. Additionally, whenever possible, the prepaid gas option should be declined.

Rental cars must be returned as follows:

  • To the original rental city unless approved for a one-way rental
  • Intact (i.e. no bumps, scratches, or mechanical failures)
  • On time, to avoid additional hourly changes
  • With a full tank of gas.

Should a rental car accident occur, employees should immediately contact the rental Car Company, local authorities (as required), and the Human Resources Department.

Rental Car Gas
Gasoline for use in rental cars is reimbursable with proper documentation. Make sure to log this expense as AUTO RENTAL & GAS.

Cell Phone Use While Driving

Use of a cell phone while driving is not recommended in any situation and employees are expected to refrain from using their phone while driving. Employees are strongly encouraged to pull off to the side of the road and safely stop the vehicle before placing or accepting a call. If acceptance of a call is unavoidable and pulling over is not an option, employees are expected to keep the call short. Employee Handbook strictly prohibits employees from using a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving.

Taxi / Shuttle / Parking Fees
The use of airport shuttles and taxis upon arrival at the employee’s destination is the preferred mode of transportation. Make sure to ask for a receipt if one is not offered. This documentation aids in the expense-tracking process.

Business Use of Personal Vehicle
Employees may use their personal vehicle for business purposes if it is less expensive than renting a car, taking a taxi, or using alternate transportation. Personal vehicles may also be used when transporting company goods for delivery or entertaining clients.
It is the personal responsibility of the vehicle owner to carry adequate insurance coverage for their protection and for the protection of any passengers. Employee Handbook requires that employees who regularly use their personal vehicle for Company business maintain minimum of $100,000/$300,000 bodily injury coverage and $50,000 property damage coverage on their vehicles.
Mileage is reimbursed at the rate established by the IRS ($.365/mile for 2002). This mileage allowance is in lieu of actual expenses for gasoline, oil, repairs, tags, insurance, and depreciation. Therefore, actual expenses for those items will not be reimbursed when your personal vehicle is used for business.
To be reimbursed for the use of your personal vehicle for business, employees must list on the expense report:

  • Date and purpose of the trip
  • Locations traveled to and from
  • Mileage

Lodging / Hotel
Hotel reservations should be made in such a manner as to secure the best available rate and must be booked through the assistance of a Travel Assistant. Employees are required, whenever possible, to use properties in the Moderate category.
In case of cancellation:

  • Employees are responsible for working with their Travel Assistant to cancel the reservation.
  • Employees will be held responsible and will not be reimbursed for "no-show" charges unless there is sufficient proof that the billing is in error or circumstances were beyond the traveler’s control.
  • Employees should request and record the cancellation number in case of billing disputes.
  • Employees should note that cancellation deadlines are based on the local time of the property.

Meals
Personal meals are defined as meal expenses incurred by the traveler when dining alone on an out-of-town business trip. Approximate meal expense guidelines are as follows:

  • $12/day for breakfast and lunch combined
  • $30/day for dinner.

Business Meals Taken With Other Employees
Employees will be reimbursed for business-related meals taken with other employees only in the following circumstances:

  • When a client is present
  • When at least one company employee is from out of town
  • When, for confidentiality reasons, business must be conducted off company premises

The following documentation is required by the IRS, and must be recorded on the expense report:

  • Names of individuals present, their titles and company name,
  • Name and location of where the meal or event took place,
  • Exact amount and date of the expense.

Please note that employees will not be reimbursed for entertaining other employees unless there is a direct reporting relationship between them.

Weekend and Late Night Meals

If a manager approves working late into the evening or on weekends, employees can be reimbursed for meal receipts, dinner up to $15 and lunch up to $10. Employees must submit actual receipts for reimbursement on the expense report.


Telephone Expenses:
Business Phone Calls

Employees will be reimbursed when using their personal cellular telephone, calling cards or home phone for business related phone calls:

  • Which are reasonable and necessary for conducting business
  • With an original copy of the bill attached to the expense report form.

Personal Phone Calls While Traveling
Employees will be reimbursed for personal telephone calls while traveling on business:

  • Not to exceed $20.00/day for domestic travel
  • Not to exceed $50.00/day for international travel.

In all cases, employees are responsible for securing and utilizing the most reasonable long-distance calling option available.


Air-phone Usage
Employees are strongly discouraged from using air-phones due to its high cost. Employees may use an air-phone only if an emergency or critical business issue is involved.

Hotel Telephone Usage
When staying at a hotel, employees should find out the property’s local and long distance phone rates. Employees should avoid making phone calls that have an added surcharge. To avoid substantial charges added by hotels to telephone bills, employees can:

  • Use a charge/credit card, calling card, public phone or call collect whenever possible
  • Press the # key after each call and wait for the tone, then dial the next phone number when making several long distance calls
  • Use an 800 number for business calls whenever possible
  • Phone from local company offices whenever possible
  • Use a local access number for Internet connections.

Miscellaneous Expenses
The Miscellaneous column is designated for expenses that do not fit into the previous categories, yet are directly business related and therefore reimbursable. ONLY the following items can be considered as reimbursable business expenses:

  • Office services (i.e. faxes, copies, overnight delivery / postage)
  • Currency conversion fees
  • Business gifts of reasonable value with prior management approval
  • Laundry / Dry Cleaning / Suit Pressing for trips exceeding 3 days
  • Seminar fees / training classes with prior approval
  • Subscriptions with prior approval

Be sure to note that the following items are NOT reimbursable under this policy:

  • Airline club / Country club membership dues
  • Parking tickets or other fines
  • Delinquency fees / Finance charges for personal credit cards
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Expenses for travel incurred by companions / family members
  • Expenses related to vacation or personal days while on a business trip
  • Loss / Theft of personal funds or property / Lost baggage
  • Avoidable "No-Show" charges for hotel or car service
  • Non-Compulsory insurance coverage
  • Rental car upgrades
  • Repairs due to accidents
  • Excessive mini-bar charges

Never assume that an item will be covered under the "Miscellaneous" category. Be sure to check with your manager if an item you need is not outlined specifically in this policy.


Entertainment Expenses: Entertaining Customers
Entertainment expenses include events such as nightclubs, theatre and sporting events, whereby a business discussion takes place during, immediately before, or immediately after the event.
Approval for reimbursement of entertainment expenses can only be granted by department heads and will only be granted if:

  • Person entertained has a potential or actual business relationship with Employee Handbook
  • Expenditure directly precedes, includes or follows a business discussion that would benefit the company.

When entertainment expenses are expected to exceed $200 for one event, prior approval from one of the following Employee Handbook employees is required to receive reimbursement:

  • CEO
  • CFO
  • Editor
  • Publisher

Be sure to note that the following will not be reimbursed under any circumstances:

  • Gentlemen’s Club membership dues or "expenses"
  • Escort services (neither men nor women)
  • Gambling expenses

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APPROVAL/AUTHORIZATION PROCESS
The employee’s manager must approve all expense reports. No employee is authorized to approve his/her own, a peer’s, or a manager’s travel expense report. The manager is responsible for verifying:

  • Business purpose
  • Correct totals
  • Supporting documentation and receipts
  • Policy compliance.

In addition, the person in attendance with the most senior title must put the expense on his/her expense report to facilitate review by a more senior person not in attendance.
Remember:

  • Traveler is responsible for complying with the Employee Handbook’s Travel & Business Expense Policy
  • Manager who approves and signs the expense report is responsible for reviewing the report for compliance.

Once approval has been obtained, be sure to make a copy of the signed report along with copies of your receipts to keep for your own records.

 

In Closing
Employee Handbook Travel & Business Expense Policy Guidelines are designed to facilitate successful and cost effective travel. Please check with Accounting or HR regarding questions and/or feedback. Bon voyage.     top

 

Tips For the New Expense Reporting Template
The "new" Expense Report template was created in order to simplify the reporting process for Employee Handbook employees and to allow the Employee Handbook accounting department to efficiently process expense reimbursements.
Please note the following:

  • An electronic version of the template must be completed, printed out, signed, and approved in order to obtain a reimbursement for your expenses. Expense reports forwarded to Accounting with handwritten entries will be returned to the person submitting the template.
  • Yellow highlighted areas are data entry areas.
  • Grey highlighted areas are protected and will not allow data entry.
  • A purchase order number must be entered
  • The Division-Location-Department codes must be filled in so that accounting can allocate the expenses correctly.
  • The template will automatically calculate the mileage reimbursement (Item 3) for business use of your personal vehicle based on the business miles entered in the template.
  • Miscellaneous Travel Expense (Item 11) and Other Reimbursable Expense (Item 16) amounts must be entered on their appropriate lines and also detailed in the bottom left corner of the template. The total shown in the detailed section must agree to the addition of Item 11 and Item 16. The template will automatically check to make sure everything agrees. If everything does agree, an "OK" will appear next to the detailed total. Please check to make sure that the "OK" appears before you submit your expense report. If the expense report is submitted with "ERROR" showing, it will be returned to the person submitting the template. Please download and review the Expense Report  template.     top
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