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Travel Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to prescribe the circumstances under which travel is organised and undertaken by University travellers. The Policy applies to all travel arrangements of University travellers on approved University business regardless of the source of the funds, the duration of the travel, or the purpose of travel.

(2) Travellers are required to exercise prudent business judgement regarding expenses covered by this Policy. Travellers are expected neither to gain nor lose financially when travelling on University business. Travellers are also expected to minimise as far as reasonable the financial cost to the University while taking into account the welfare of the staff member.

(3) As part of the commitment by the University to being sustainable and reducing its carbon footprint, staff should look at alternative options to avoid the need for travel including audio, central and desktop videoconference facilities available at the University.

Scope

(4) This Policy applies to all persons travelling on behalf of the University where travel is funded, either in part or in full, by Charles Sturt University and its controlled entities. This includes staff, students and guests of the University.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(5) In this Policy:

  1. Authorising officer - means the officer with the authority under the Delegations and Authorisations Policy to provide approval.
  2. Clients - mean a person or organisation with whom you are conducting business.
  3. Contracted supplier - means the University's sole contracted Travel Management Company (TMC). The University's current TMC is listed on the Travel website.
  4. Delegations and Authorisations Policy - means the delegations of authority given to University staff and bodies for the approval of expenditure and travel in accordance with the relevant sections of:
    1. section 20 of the Charles Sturt University Act 1989,
    2. section 12 of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983
    3. the Delegations and Authorisations Policy, in particular the Finance Schedule
  5. High-risk country - means any country to which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued a travel advisory level 4 and warn travellers to "reconsider your need to travel" or "do not travel".
  6. Lowest logical best fare - means the lowest available fare on the day of booking that offers the traveller the convenience and flexibility he/she requires to complete the business purpose effectively.
  7. Out of pocket expenses - means any expense that has been made by a direct outlay of cash that may or may not be reimbursed.
  8. Partially funded travel - is where the University does not fully meet the travel expenses. Examples of when this may apply are:
    1. attendance at conferences;
    2. absence on research field work;
    3. absence on special training courses/live in courses;
      1. in these cases the total amount of University funds approved for travel expenses should be stipulated as part of the travel approval.
  9. Restricted area - means any area with a DFAT travel advisory level of 3.
  10. Online-booking tool (OBT) - means web-based software that enables users to perform the domestic travel booking process themselves.
  11. Travel Management Company (TMC) - means Travel Management Company.
  12. Travel booker/travel arranger - means the person organising travel on behalf of the University traveller.
  13. Domestic travel - means travel within Australia and New Zealand
  14. University business - means work undertaken on behalf of the University for purposes directly associated with the functions of the University, including but not limited to:
    1. official duties;
    2. conference, research, consultancy, administration and academic duties;
    3. outside studies programs (i.e. Special Study Program), and
    4. interviewing of candidates and new appointments.
  15. University corporate travel card - means the University sponsored credit card.
  16. University traveller - means anyone who travels on behalf of Charles Sturt University, on pre-approved University business, booked or arranged by the University, including but not limited to:
    1. staff - including casuals;
    2. persons who are accompanying staff who are representing or engaged in University business;
    3. members of Council;
    4. consultants and contractors;
    5. students;
    6. other persons and/or visitors whose travel is associated with and paid by the University.
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Section 3 - Policy

Part A - University Corporate Travel Card

(6) University staff who travel domestically or internationally are required to hold a University corporate travel card. The liability for this card is held by Charles Sturt University, not the cardholder. It is a requirement that all eligible staff hold a travel card to allow for the card to be used as payment for:

  1. accommodation;
  2. airfares;
  3. conference registrations;
  4. taxi/car rental; and
  5. any other approved travel related expenses.

(7) If a University corporate travel card is used, it is important that a tax invoice/receipt is obtained and attached to the Online Expense Management System by the cardholder for each purchase where the amount exceeds $82.50 to facilitate the reconciliation of the University corporate travel card and allow the University to reclaim any GST applicable to the purchase.

(8) All transactions must be reconciled using the University's Online Expense Management System. For expenses that relate to an Online Travel Plan, these must be allocated against the relevant plan. They must also be matched to the relevant expense category, e.g. airfare to air leg etc. All relevant tax invoices and receipts must be attached to the Travel Plan.

(9) It will be the responsibility of the cardholder to retain these receipts for auditing purposes. Receipts must be retained as per Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requirements. Audits will be conducted by the University finance staff on a random basis.

(10) Expenses incurred on your University corporate travel card that are less than $82.50 (including GST) must still be processed via the Online Expense Management System, but are exempt from the requirement to attach a copy of the tax Invoice or travel order.

Part B - Approval to Travel

(11) University staff must gain approval by an authorised officer as per the Delegations and Authorisations Policy prior to travelling domestically or internationally. This is regardless of the source of funding.Travel not meeting the requirements of this Policy may be considered to be personal travel at the traveller's own expense. In seeking or granting approval, the traveller or authorising officer must ensure that:

  1. the travel is not to a restricted area;
  2. the absence is convenient to the department/unit;
  3. the travel is for official University business;
  4. the cost to the University is minimised;
  5. the travel is booked through the University's Travel Office or Travel Management Company (TMC), except in the relocation of new staff and their families; and
  6. all relevant costs associated with domestic/international travel are fully captured on the travel forms or the Online Travel Planner.

Part C - Replacement Arrangements

(12) University staff who are requesting travel approval should discuss with their supervisor/manager that arrangements are made to cover their duties during the approved period of travel.

Part D - Air Travel

Preferred Travel Supplier

(13) The University has negotiated rates with a number of airlines that are only available through the on-line booking tool, Travel Office or preferred Travel Management Company (TMC).

Best Fare of the Day

(14) The lowest logical airfare should be chosen at all times. This decision must not be influenced by the traveller's membership of a frequent flyer program. Should the traveller choose a more expensive option; e.g. due to an alliance to an airline for which they receive a personal benefit, they must pay the difference between this fare and the "best fare of the day".

Booking Domestic Air Travel

(15) All domestic air travel, including travel to New Zealand, is to be booked through the online-booking tool, (OBT) or through the University's Travel Management Company (TMC). The University does not support bookings made directly with airlines and/ or their associated websites. Any reservations made outside of policy may either not be reimbursed or, if charged to the University's corporate travel card, will be invoiced back to the traveller.

Booking International Air Travel

(16) When utilising funding from an account held by the University, all airline reservations must be made through the University Travel Office and/or the University's TMC. In certain circumstances, such as where funding is limited or when funding is being provided by a third party, the Travel Office may allow a traveller to make their own arrangements. In such cases, permission must be sought from the Travel Office in advance. The University will not support bookings made outside of policy. Any reservations made outside of policy may either not be reimbursed, or, if charged to the University's corporate travel card, may be invoiced back to the traveller.

Class of Travel

Staff Overseas Travel Domestic Travel (including New Zealand)
Vice-Chancellor Business Class Economy/Business Class
Deputy Vice-Chancellors Business Class Economy Class
Executive appointments at Senior Executive Level 1 and other staff as per employment contracts Business Class Economy Class
Other Staff Economy Class Economy Class

(17) In exceptional circumstances, and on the recommendation of the Executive Dean/Executive Director, a Deputy Vice-Chancellor may grant a staff member approval to travel Business Class. The approval may be granted on the basis that the staff member is required to accompany an Executive who is travelling Business Class.

Stopovers

(18) When travelling on official business any voluntary stopovers (i.e. stopovers chosen by the traveller to break the journey) will not be financially supported by the University. Any costs incurred during a voluntary stopover will be a personal expense. If a stopover is requested for medical reasons a Medical Certificate must be provided to substantiate this expense.

Recovery time at your destination

(19) University staff are entitled to recovery time on arrival at their international destination for the purposes of rest and recuperation of up to one full day, subject to approval from their Delegated Approver. This recuperation time cannot be transferred to another day and must be take upon arrival at the destination point. Staff are still considered to be on duty at this time, and as such, are not required to apply for annual leave.

Ontario Campus - Domestic Canada/USA Travel

(20) Staff who are approved to travel domestically within Canada or the USA must complete a Travel Authority/Order Form and have this approved in accord with the Policy on Delegations and Authorisations prior to the commencement of the travel. All travel arrangements for domestic flights and rail should be reserved on an online booking tool such as EXPEDIA and charged to a credit card. Should a personal credit card be used reimbursement for the cost should be requested following the completion of the travel. The reimbursement claim must include an acceptable tax invoice or receipt.

Ontario Campus - International Travel

(21) Staff who are approved to travel to an overseas destination (excluding the USA) must in the first instance contact the University Travel Office - travel@csu.edu.au, to allow costs and requirements to be evaluated. The travel will be required to be approved in accordance with the Delegations and Authorisations Policy on the International Approval Form.

Part E - Accommodation

(22) The authorised standard of accommodation on University business is, in most circumstances, 3-4 stars. It should provide a safe and secure environment, be convenient to the place of work, and be moderately priced with the aim of minimising the University's overall travel costs.

(23) The University does have preferred accommodation agreements. These are referred to as "CSU Rates". However the University is also eligible for "Government Rates" for accommodation in various hotel and motel chains within Australia.

(24) When travelling on University business, staff members should not be expected to share a room with other staff unless both travellers have agreed to this arrangement.

(25) Accommodation costs must be supported by a tax invoice/receipt and is limited to the amounts listed on the University's website.

(26) Wherever possible, all costs should be charged to the University's corporate travel card.

Domestic Accommodation

(27) Acceptable upper limits for business travel accommodation are available at Accommodation @ CSU.

(28) Accommodation at a conference venue may be utilised if no alternatives are nearby and/or the staff member is making a presentation. This accommodation may be over the recommended upper limits and are required to be approved in the normal manner, prior to travel.

(29) If the University traveller is travelling with family members, the University will fund only the cost applicable to a single room.

International Accommodation

(30) For International accommodation, it is recognised that hotel facilities may be less developed in some countries and some areas will require a higher standard of accommodation. Wherever possible, accommodation should be at a "reasonable" cost for a 3-4 star hotel.

(31) If the University traveller is travelling with family members, the University will fund only the cost applicable to a single room.

Staying With Friends and Family

(32) The University recognises that there are times when staying with family or friends is a preferred option for travellers on University business. This is acceptable and is encouraged by the University, provided that overall work performance is not affected by any discomfort or inconvenience created by the home visit. This accommodation cost must be at "no cost to the University".

(33) It is also acceptable in these circumstances to take hosts to dinner provided the amount claimed is within the total of the traveller's overall meal allowance approved for this trip and destination.

(34) Staff should ensure that for duty of care reasons, the administration in their area is advised of their accommodation details.

Part F - Ground Transportation

University Vehicles

(35) The University currently operates a pool of motor vehicles for use in a number of campus locations. Rates are reviewed annually. Current rates are available at Cars @ CSU.

(36) Use of a University pool vehicle requires the completion of an Online Travel Plan or a Travel Authority/Order form.

(37) Staff and Research and Higher Degree students travelling on official University business who require a motor vehicle must take a University vehicle as their first preference. Only when a suitable University vehicle is not available will other vehicle options be considered.

(38) University vehicles can be booked by University staff and Council members, Research and Higher Degree students and staff. All drivers must have a current drivers licence. Staff who have a permanent resident status should apply for an Australian drivers licence after three months of arrival in Australia. Staff who are in Australia on a 401/402/403/457 visa must have a valid licence from the country where you are a registered citizen.

(39) All vehicles include a log book. Drivers are required to maintain the log book and accurately record all travel.

(40) All fuel purchases should be made using the fuel cards located in the various vehicles.

(41) Fuel should only be charged to the University corporate travel card when the provided fuel card is unavailable or not accepted in the location where obtaining fuel.

Use of Private Vehicles

(42) Where a University vehicle is not available (or the available vehicles are not suited to the work related journey, e.g. requests for particular vehicle specifications such as 4WD, minimum available seats, etc.), staff and Research and Higher Degree student's may apply for approval to use their private vehicle for official travel. It is a condition of any approval that the vehicle specified remains registered and covered by comprehensive or third party motor vehicle insurance during the period for which this approval is made. The University will not be responsible for any costs or losses associated with any damages regardless of how they are sustained to the vehicle during the travel specified on the Travel Authority/Order form or the Online Travel Planner.

(43) Note on motorcycles:

  1. NSW Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) vehicle crash statistics routinely show crashes involving motorcycles to be on average twice as likely to result in fatality or injury when compared with crash statistics involving cars (source: RTA Annual Statistical Statements). Motorcycle use for work related travel is therefore considered an unacceptable risk when considering both likelihood and consequence of incidents (crashes) involving motorcycles. The University could not maintain its "very low" risk appetite in the category of Health, Safety and Environment (Risk Management Policy) were motorcycle use to be permitted. Approval to use a motorcycle will therefore not be granted for workplace health and safety reasons.

(44) The Online Travel Planner should be used to request the Use of a Private Vehicle on official travel.

(45) Additionally the Online Travel Planner can be utilised to seek a reimbursement for kilometres once the plan has been approved and completed.

(46) Alternatively the Approval for Private Vehicle Use declaration (on the paper Travel Authority/Order) must be completed by the applicant and approved per the Delegations and Authorisations Policy. The Travel Authority/Order form, should be emailed to the University Travel Office at least two days in advance of the journey to arrange for approval.

(47) Reimbursement is at a set rate and may be claimed on completion of the journey only. Any claim for additional costs, e.g. as a result of a car accident, will not be met by the University. This includes any loss of no claim bonus, excess charge or any other penalties on an insurance policy or traffic infringements.

(48) The requisite travel authority should be forwarded to the Travel Office once travel has been completed for any kilometre reimbursement.

Novated Lease Vehicles

(49) The University has engaged a partner to manage vehicles under the fully maintained Novated Lease Program. These vehicles are private vehicles and all the conditions in this Policy relating to the use of private vehicles apply.

Car/Vehicle Rental

(50) Car hire reservations may be made directly with the car rental company quoting the University's special booking number, through the University's Travel Management Company (TMC) referring again to the University's unique number or using the University's Online Booking Tool.

(51) Please refer to Cars @ CSU for the car hire booking numbers.

(52) Payment should be made using the University corporate travel card including any fuel costs associated with the car rental. These must be reconciled using the Expense Type "Travel Domestic" or "Car Hire" for both the rental and any associated fuel costs. These expenses should be matched to the relevant Online Travel Plan.

(53) Travellers should generally book an Intermediate sedan, unless:

  1. cars in that category are unavailable; and/or
  2. there is a business related reason not to do so; and/or
  3. there are last minute specials or free upgrades available.

Driving Hours Policy

(54) University staff on official business travel that includes driving to/from their destination should be aware of the Driving Hours Policy.

Car Insurance

Domestic Travel

(55) The University insurance policy does not provide cover for damage or loss of rental vehicle. Travellers are therefore responsible for ensuring adequate insurance against damage and third party liability at the time of vehicle rental. It is acceptable to include in the car hire cost the additional insurance charge to reduce the excess of the vehicle to a reasonable level. Misuse of the vehicle or use outside the terms and conditions of the rental agreement may result in personal liability to the traveller.

International Travel

(56) The University's international travel insurance policy will cover the rental vehicle excess (Collision Damage and Theft Waiver) that the Insured Person is liable for, up to AU$5,000. Therefore there is no requirement at the time of hiring to purchase extra cover in order to lower the amount of the Collision Damage and Theft Waiver.

Taxi

(57) Prudent business judgement is to be applied when using taxis. The University encourages staff to share the cost of taxis with other staff members, where appropriate.

(58) Travellers should use the University corporate travel card, wherever possible, to pay for taxis. When reconciling these expenses if the expense is less than $82.50 there is no requirement to attach a tax invoice or Travel Authority/ Order. Where applicable, these expenses should be matched to the relevant Online Travel Plan.

Rail Travel

(59) University travellers may travel first class on domestic rail travel.

(60) University travellers should generally travel economy class on international rail - except in a developing country where they have obtained clearance from their Executive Dean/Executive Director to travel first class on the basis of safety concerns.

Part G - Meal Allowances

(61) Meal allowance is a predetermined amount to cover an estimated expense and takes into account the dislocation factor of staff travelling on University business and any incidental costs that may arise. It may be paid as maximum allowance based upon the purpose of the proposed travel and/or available funding.

(62) The domestic and international meal allowance rates reflect the maximum allowance payable for official travel and can be found on the Travel Allowance Rates webpage.

Single Day Travel

(63) Staff members are eligible to claim a Single Day Meal Allowance for travel exceeding 10 hours.

(64) This allowance can be pre-paid once travel has been approved, or can be claimed after completion of travel taking into account any meals provided.

Domestic and New Zealand Overnight Travel

(65) Where travel includes an overnight stay, travellers may claim a meal allowance in accordance with the approved meal allowance rate. These rates are reviewed annually and are available on the Travel: Allowance Rates webpage.

(66) Meal allowances should be included in your Online Travel Plan.

(67) The meal allowance also covers the cost of any gratuities or tips.

(68) Any meals included in the airfare, accommodation rate or conference registration should not be claimed as part of the allowance.

(69) Where travellers return home earlier than expected they will be required to reimburse the University for the unused meal allowance.

International Meal Allowance

(70) International meal allowance is calculated from the start of the traveller's official business related activities at their destination to the first available flight on the conclusion of the official business related activities. i.e. time of arrival to time of departure.

(71) The meal allowance also covers the cost of any gratuities/tips.

(72) Any meals included in the accommodation rate or conference registration should not be claimed as part of the allowance.

(73) No meal allowance is payable while in-flight. For low cost airlines where a meal option is payable, this cost will be included in your airfare at the time of reservation or, if not, may be paid using the University corporate travel card. If this is not accepted then it must be paid from personal funds and a reimbursement sought upon completion of travel and upon presentation of a relevant receipt. Request for reimbursement should be made through the Travel Office.

(74) Where travellers return to Australia earlier than expected, they will be required to reimburse the University for the days that they have claimed a meal allowance.

(75) For University staff on official business where travel exceeds 35 days, the meal allowance rate that can be claimed for each additional day is 50 % of the maximum daily allowance rate.

(76) International meal allowances are calculated and processed by the Travel Office prior to your departure and cannot be withdrawn from your University corporate travel card. International meal allowances can be viewed on the Travel: Allowance Rates web page.

(77) No meal allowance is payable when transit time at an airport is under four (4) hours. To claim any meal costs associated with transits after 4 hours the actual meal cost may be claimed with a receipt submitted to the Travel Office on your return for review or charged to the University corporate travel card.

Ontario Domestic Meal Allowances

(78) Staff who travel may be eligible for meal and incidental allowances when travelling domestically in Canada or the USA at a rate of CAD$85.00 per day. Any meal costs included in seminars or conferences will reduce any claim. A meal allowance is not payable for same day travel or for practical experience visit

Incidental and Out of Pocket Expenses

(79) Incidental expenses will be reimbursed when they are directly related to official travel. These include reasonable work-related expenses incurred during travel and not normally incurred in the normal course of the working day. The traveller can claim an EFT reimbursement, provided legible receipts/tax invoices are provided. Examples of applicable incidentals are: laundry, work-related telephone calls, work-related internet access, excess baggage, parking (if related to business requirements). This does not include in-house movies etc.

(80) Wherever possible, incidentals should be charged to your corporate travel card or included as part of the overall hotel account. An allowance for incidentals may be included as part of the 'Estimated Expenses' when completing the travel plan. If receipts are unavailable, the traveller needs to provide a daily log outlining the travel and expenses incurred.

(81) Items from hotel mini bars may be purchased as part of the meal allowance. No further allowance would be payable.

(82) For Out of Pocket Expenses, such as taxis, that were unable to be charged to the corporate travel card, or any other expenses of a similar nature, these must be claimed via the Online Expense Management system by attaching a receipt/tax invoice. They should be matched to the relevant Online Travel Plan.

Payment of Travel Expenses

(83) The University utilises a corporate travel card to pay for travel and travel related expenses. Where possible, payment and acquittal for all travel services are to be made via the corporate travel card and reconciled through the Online Expense Management system.

(84) It is the responsibility of each employee who is issued a corporate travel card to manage their own account. The reconciliation of expenses should be processed by the 10th of each month. Failure to do so may result in the suspension of your card or eventual cancellation.

(85) The reconciliation of expenses may be authorised to be carried out by another staff member.

(86) In certain circumstances a 'Corporate Travelex Visa Debit Card' can be issued to a visitor or student with a preloaded value in lieu of an EFT reimbursement. This would allow the holder to access the funds via an ATM or use the card at merchants for purchases. Alternatively the card can also be taken overseas and funds accessed in local currency via an ATM. Proof of identity will be required before these can be issued in the form of a passport or drivers licence along with the cardholder's mother's maiden name, home address and telephone contact.

(87) An application for a Travelex card should be made through the Travel Office.

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

(88) A reimbursement is a payment to compensate a business related expense already incurred.

(89) Any requests for travel related reimbursements should be submitted in the same calendar year as the expense was incurred. Requests for reimbursements submitted outside of this time frame may not be accepted.

(90) In the first instance all "Out of Pocket Expense Claims" should be processed via the Online Expense Management system. This is available to all permanent staff members. For claims for casual staff, students and visitors to the University, an approved Travel Authority/Order or International Payment Request Form and tax invoice receipts must be sent to the Travel Office for processing. All forms must be completed in full.

(91) The following items are considered as additional claims, which are subject to a separate reimbursement and must be substantiated by original receipt/tax invoices:

  1. accommodation;
  2. incidental charges for work related phone, internet and facsimiles;
  3. taxis, trains etc.; and
  4. any other approved travel related expenses.

Part H - Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) Implications on Travel

(92) Some elements of employee travel have a personal component that is either incidental or not incidental to the business travel. Where travel is considered not incidental, the University will incur additional taxation in the form of Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT). Briefly described, FBT is the provision of non-cash benefits to employees and is administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) under Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act (1986).

(93) The University applied for a private ruling from the ATO received June 2012 to clarify its position with regard to FBT and our travel policy. A copy of this ruling may be obtained from the Division of Finance if required.

(94) As a guide, if the private travel component represents more than 50 % of the total travel time, or if the business component of the travel is only part funded, or if all of the travel is undertaken while you are on leave, then an FBT liability may apply.

(95) In the event that a benefit is assessed as being received by the employee in accordance with this policy, the employee will be required to reimburse the University the assessed private costs. A decision flowchart which assesses incidental versus non incidental personal travel components is available on the Travel web page.

(96) The onus of responsibility remains with the employee when making declarations to the Travel Office. Any subsequent ATO audit or findings whereby the University is assessed for additional taxation based upon the employees incorrect representations will result in the employee being required to repay any additional taxes, fines, and/or penalties incurred.

Private Travel and FBT

(97) Where the travel has only University business travel components then there is no FBT liability.

(98) Where the travel has both business and private components and where the private travel is incidental to the University business travel then there is no FBT liability.

(99) Where the travel has both business and private components and where the private travel (i.e. period of annual leave or long service leave) is combined with University business travel and it is considered to be more than incidental to the business travel, the return airfare component may incur FBT.

(100) All expenses for private travel whilst on University business travel will be met by the employee.

(101) If the predominant purpose of travel is for personal pursuits, then all costs with the exception of University business expenses will be payable by the employee. This will include all airfares, accommodation, food, and any other travel related expenses whatsoever.

(102) Where private travel is considered more than incidental and the predominant purpose of travel is University business, the travel will be considered to have a dual purpose (business and private) and FBT is applicable on 50% of the return airfare in all cases. The employee will be required to personally pay to the University 50% of the return airfare to reduce the FBT liability to zero. Funds administered by the University cannot be used by the traveller to pay any applicable FBT liability.

(103) In all cases the final interpretation of travel intentions will remain the interpretation of the Travel Office.

Travel Diaries

(104) A travel diary must be completed for all overseas travel taken for University business, research or field work.

(105) A travel diary must also be completed for all travel within Australia where the trip involves the employee being away from their home for more than five consecutive nights.

(106) Where the employee does not provide a travel diary, all expenses will be deemed personal travel and the employee will be required to reimburse all expenses to the University.

(107) As a minimum a travel diary must show for each business activity:

  1. the place where the activity was taken;
  2. the date and approximate time when the activity commenced;
  3. the duration of the activity; and
  4. the nature of the activity.

(108) A detailed travel diary is available for domestic travel as part of the Online Travel Planner within the Online Expense Management system. For international travel, the travel diary is included as part of the International Travel Approval form, available from the Travel Office.

(109) The International Travel Approval Form will not be accepted without a completed Travel Diary.

Part I - Travel Advance

(110) In limited circumstances the University will provide University travellers, a cash advance prior to travel. A travel advance may be used for expenses including: accommodation, land travel, field trip costs etc. This is to be acquitted within 14 days of your return and is closely managed by the Travel Office and is rarely provided for domestic travel.

(111) Travel advances will only be provided in the following circumstances:

  1. if the University traveller's expenses exceed the minimum advance of $500.00;
  2. where the University traveller has obtained pre-approval to travel and does not have a University corporate travel card; and
  3. where the University traveller provides adequate justification that:
    1. the University corporate travel card cannot be used for some travel expenses;
    2. the total of those expenses is such that using the reimbursement and acquittal of travel expenses process would cause financial hardship.

(112) All cash advances are processed and dispensed through the Travel Office.

(113) For most advances a 'Corporate Travelex Debit Card' will be issued to a traveller with a preloaded value in lieu of an EFT payment. This would allow the holder to access the funds via an ATM or use the card at merchants for purchases. Alternatively the card can also be taken overseas and funds accessed in local currency via an ATM. Proof of identity will be required before these can be issued in the form of a Passport or Drivers License along with the cardholder's mother's maiden name, home address and telephone contact.

(114) Where a Travelex card is not appropriate the advance will be made by an EFT payment.

(115) Any unused funds must be returned to the appropriate account codes by contacting the Travel Office and requesting the balance be processed back to the codes.

Acquittal of Travel Advances

(116) All travel advances paid through the University Travel Office must be acquitted against the 'exact' amount of expenses actually incurred. Staff must provide original supporting tax invoices/receipts for any expenditure necessarily incurred during the travel indicating the relevance of the expenditure to the travel. This includes the Corporate Travelex Cards.

(117) Expenses incurred on a personal credit card, as part of a cash advance, must be substantiated.

(118) Where actual receipts are not provided or made available for international travel, the traveller must ensure the expense is substantiated by making a travel diary notation or travel declaration.

(119) Refer to the International Payment Request Form, available via the Travel Forms web page.

Part J - Dependent Care Expenses Whilst Travelling

(120) It is the policy of the University that staff who undertake work related travel are entitled to claim up to forty dollars ($40.00) per day (not per child) for care that is over and above their normal dependent care arrangements. This applies for dependants up to the age of 16 years, or where the dependant is in receipt of a disability support. This applies to both single day and overnight travel and is not subject to accommodation and meal allowance limits.

Claiming Dependent Care Expenses

(121) This may be included as part of an Online Travel Plan. The expense can then be claimed once your travel has been completed and matched to the Online Travel Plan.

(122) For staff claiming on a Travel Authority/Order, all dependent care expense claims must be included as a separate amount on the staff member's travel authority/order and approved by the appropriate Delegated Approver.

(123) The expense should be claimed on completion of travel by submitting your approved Travel Authority/Order to the Travel Office.

Part K - Entertainment and Hospitality

(124) University travellers who have approval from their appropriate manager, to incur entertainment and hospitality expenses, are expected to exercise due economy when providing hospitality and entertainment for guests and visitors. Hospitality and/or entertainment must, at all times, have a clear University business purpose.

(125) Entertainment and hospitality costs are subject to available funds. These expenses are subject to Fringe Benefits Taxes (FBT).

(126) If these expenses have been charged against the corporate travel card the expenses must be reconciled via the Online Expense Management system using the Expense Type "Entertainment". Cardholders who attend these functions should ensure that they are clearly identified as "Local Employees" to capture any FBT liability. Staff are not required to list all attendees as long as the number of 'Local', 'Guest' and 'Employees Travelling' are clearly identified. This is to ensure the correct reporting of FBT and GST. They should be matched to the relevant Online Travel Plan.

Part L - Traveller Health and Safety and Duty of Care

(127) The University's primary responsibility is to protect the safety and wellbeing of all persons travelling on University business. It is the University traveller's responsibility while travelling to be mindful of potential risks in the local area and to act in a manner that will minimise harm to the traveller.

(128) The University has a duty to ensure that it is aware of the whereabouts of its travelling staff and students so that it can contact and provide assistance to such staff in the event of an emergency or other incident. Use of the University's Travel Office and approved Travel Management Company (TMC) facilitates this.

Overseas Travel by Staff and Students to High Risk Areas

(129) The University recognises that it is frequently necessary for staff members and students to travel overseas to undertake research, teaching or for other University business. However, travel to some destinations may be at significant risk. Such risks must be managed in accordance with the University's duty of care obligations to staff and students under Work Health and Safety legislation, and with reference to travel advice issued by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Similarly, staff members and students are obliged to do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that their acts or omissions do not create or increase a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.

Travel Advice and Authorisation to Travel Overseas

(130) Overseas travel must be approved in advance by the appropriate delegate as per the Delegations and Authorisations Policy and Schedule 6 (Travel Delegations) and, should be based on current travel advice provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

(131) DFAT's four levels of travel advice are as follows:

Risk Category DFAT Warning University Policy
Category 1 Be alert to your own security Delegates must ensure that staff and students take due note of DFAT warning and prepare an appropriate risk management strategy. Staff and students should register their details with "Smartraveller" through the University Travel web page. Travel must be approved by the relevant Executive Dean, Executive Director and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development and Industry).
Category 2 Exercise a high degree of caution
Category 3 Reconsider your need to travel Executive Dean, Executive Director, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic, Administration or Research) should reassess the need to travel and advise accordingly. Travel must be approved by the relevant Executive Dean, Executive Director and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development and Industry).
Category 4 Do not travel In exceptional circumstances only will staff and students be permitted to travel to, or remain in, these countries for work or study with the approval of the respective Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team member, where appropriate risk management strategies must be in place. Any case for travel under this category must be made to the respective Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team member, who will then make a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor.

 

Decision to Travel

(132) Students and staff members must carefully consider the need to travel overseas when DFAT has advised against such travel, that is, where a DFAT Category 3 or 4 warning applies to the country to which travel is intended.

(133) The University reserves the right to deny travel where it considers the risk too great.

(134) No student or staff member can be compelled to travel to a country, which DFAT has advised Australians not to visit.

(135) University employees and students who are foreign nationals should also consider safety warnings issued by their own government before deciding to apply to travel overseas.

(136) Where a decision not to travel may affect/be affected by particular research grants, advice should be sought from the University's Research Office if necessary and further approval sought from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research, Development and Industry).

International SOS travel advice

(137) The University has contracted International SOS (ISOS) to provide vital information on health and safety issues worldwide. International travellers are strongly encouraged to use the services of ISOS before and during international travel. Travellers, who book directly with the University's TMC or the CSU Travel Office, or register their details on the Personal Travel Locator, will automatically receive travel advice by email before departure. These advisories provide medical, security, cultural and other relevant information for the countries shown on the traveller's itinerary.

(138) All travellers must register for alerts prior to departure. Access to ISOS is available via the Charles Sturt University Global Assistance Program website.

(139) The ISOS website is available to all University staff and students. The website provides comprehensive details for all counties as well as warnings regarding disease outbreaks, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, labour disputes etc.

(140) If travelling to a destination DFAT has issued warnings about, or to any other destination that is unfamiliar to the traveller then ISOS can provide a 'Journey Management Plan' which will not only provide the traveller with vital information but also assist the Approver responsible for reviewing the travel.

Emergency Card

(141) Travellers may call ISOS at any time before or during international travel to receive information, medical assistance, emergency evacuation assistance, translation services, and help to replace lost documents (e.g. passport) or help with any other travel related enquiries.

(142) Travellers should obtain an ISOS emergency card prior to departure in the event ISOS services are required before or during travel. A card may be obtained by contacting the Travel Office.

Health Requirements

(143) It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they have had the required inoculations prior to travel. Costs related to immunisation required for University travel will be paid for by the University, after the traveller has sought any deductions from Medicare or private health cover. Receipts will need to be provided to the Travel Office. General health information is available on the ISOS website, by selecting the country or countries being visited.

Part M - Travel Insurance

International Travel Insurance Cover

(144) Overseas travel insurance is available for University travellers, students and any other persons on official travel on behalf of the University and whose cost of travel is paid by the University either in whole or in part and whether by reimbursement or otherwise. When the University is funding the travel expenses for visitors, they will also be covered by University travel insurance.

(145) The travel insurance policy is currently administered by CHUBB Insurance Company of Australia.

(146) This travel insurance policy does not cover a Person who is over eighty-five (85) years of age.

(147) Full details of the travel insurance policy as well as a list of key benefits are available from the Travel Office or the Travel webpage.

(148) All travel insurance is null and void if University travellers are using tickets issued in someone else's name. University travellers should not fly on any ticket other than the one issued in their correct name as it appears in their passport.

Domestic Travel Insurance Cover

(149) Staff on approved domestic travel may be covered for work related accidents/incidents under workers compensation, personal accident/injury and motor vehicle insurance where applicable.

Insurance Cover for Partners

(150) The University's overseas travel insurance will only be made available to accompanying spouses and partners where known, approved in advance of the travel and when they are travelling on the exact same itinerary as the University traveller.

(151) University travel insurance will be available to accompanying spouses, partners and dependants when they are travelling on SSP overseas or secondment to Ontario. All travellers must be travelling on the same itinerary as the University traveller, whose cost of travel is paid by the University either in whole or in part and whether by reimbursement or otherwise.

Part N - Private Travel

(152) Insurance cover is currently also provided by the University's insurance policy for private international travel in conjunction with official University business, where the private travel is up to 50% of the total time of the journey (up to a maximum of seven days). If the private portion of the travel is greater than 50% (or seven days)m a personal policy must be purchased. No portion of this private policy will be reimbursed to the traveller by the University.

Part O - Associated Personal / Private Travel

(153) Personal or private travel (non-University business) may be permitted in conjunction with pre-approved University business travel provided:

  1. the purpose of the travel is properly documented prior to travel;
  2. the University is acknowledged as only responsible for the business portion of the trip; and
  3. the absence is convenient to the organisational unit.

(154) University staff members must use some form of leave: annual, long service or leave without pay, to cover periods of absence that are not specifically required to conduct University business. This does not apply to periods between authorised travel, when it is impractical to return to normal duties.

(155) Employees wishing to take annual or other leave at the commencement, during, or at the conclusion of business travel, must obtain the appropriate permission from the relevant authority before making arrangements. If permission is granted, any additional costs (possible FBT liability) are at the traveller's own expense and any University funding cannot be used to offset the costs for this personal travel. If a traveller has a weekend between official business appointments and wishes to travel to a different destination for personal reasons they shall not be eligible for any University funding for this portion of the trip. Travellers must pay separately for the personal / private travel component of a trip and its associated costs. These costs must not under any circumstances be charged to the University.

(156) In determining whether a particular day is business related or private, travellers should consider the following question: "If I were travelling solely for University business, when would I leave and when would I return?" Days outside this timeframe should be seen as personal travel.

(157) Staff members may utilise the Travel Management Company (TMC) for booking the personal travel portion of their trip in conjunction with pre-approved business travel. If choosing to include personal travel, the staff member will pay for this using a personal (i.e. non-University) credit card.

(158) Employees need to be aware that where personal or private travel changes the dominant purpose of the travel from University business to personal or private travel then Fringe Benefits tax may be payable to the Australian Tax Office. Staff members will be required to reimburse the University for any Fringe Benefits Tax payable to the Australian Tax Office.

(159) If changes are required to the travel arrangements for the personal portion of travel then the University staff member may incur higher change fees and will need to deal directly with the Travel Management Company (TMC) (Travel Management Company).

Part P - Accompanying Spouse, Partner and Dependent Travel

(160) Where a spouse, partner or dependent accompanies a University staff member on official University travel, the traveller must:

  1. notify their authorising officer prior to travel; and
  2. ensure that the business of the University is not compromised.

(161) The University will not fund any cost incurred for an accompanying spouse, partner, or dependent unless specific to an SSP Grant.

(162) In special circumstances (e.g. secondment travel to the University's Ontario campus) the University will fund travel for a spouse, partner and dependents if:

  1. it is approved in writing; and
  2. it is appropriate in terms of policy at the time.

Part Q - Charter/Private Aircraft Use

(163) When chartering an aircraft is the only logical method of travel to and from regional and/or remote locations, travellers must in first instance contact the Travel Office.

(164) When using a charter aircraft company, travellers must ensure the company holds a current Airworthy certificate and sufficient public liability insurance. A copy of the certificate and insurance conformation should be sent to the Manager, Procurement and Travel.

Part R - Airline Lounge Membership

(165) Airline Lounge memberships are available to the following staff of the University without any further approval:

  1. Chancellor;
  2. Vice-Chancellor;
  3. Deputy Vice-Chancellors; and
  4. Senior Executive Level 1.

(166) For other staff members who are travelling frequently on University business and wish to request that their Lounge Membership be funded from a University account should, in the first instance, seek by email the approval of their relevant Band 8 officer.

(167) To be eligible to use University funding as payment for lounge membership, University staff must complete a minimum of ten domestic trips (return) annually and/or a minimum of three return international trips annually.

(168) If the traveller is funding the lounge membership personally, at no cost to the University, the traveller may apply for a corporate membership rate by contacting the Travel Office to request a membership form. To be eligible for a lounge membership you must be a permanent member of staff. Should your employment status change during your membership you are required to advise this change to the Travel Office.

Part S - Frequent Flyer and Other Types of Memberships

(169) The University will not fund Frequent Flyer memberships.

(170) Frequent Flyer points that accrue as a result of official travel should be used for further official travel. Staff are encouraged to use these points and /or benefits for official travel and/or professional development and/or upgrade from economy to business class on international flights.

(171) When redeeming frequent flyer flights it is also possible to offset your Carbon Emissions by using further points, this is encouraged as part of the University's commitment to sustainability.

(172) It is the responsibility of the University traveller to request upgrades and redeem points direct with the relevant airline. The University Travel Office and its appointed Travel Management Company (TMC) are not available to assist with the redemption of frequent flyer points.

(173) Flights and hotels should be selected on the basis of the lowest pricing available and not on air/hotel frequent flyer or guest memberships.

Part T - Passport/Visa Requirements

(174) It is the responsibility of University travellers to ensure that they possess a valid passport (minimum validity of six months is preferred at all times) and appropriate visas, and that they comply with any other relevant immigration requirements, before embarking on international University business. More information can be found on the Travel Web Page.

(175) The University will not meet the cost of University traveller passport application or renewal fees. All travellers must advise the Travel Office of their passport details either by way of a Traveller Profile or email before they travel overseas.

(176) The University will meet the cost of University traveller visa fees and associated photographs where they are required for University business purposes. The University Travel Office can assist with the application for business related visas. In some instances, fees may apply for the processing of these visas if a specialist Visa Processing Company is utilised. These costs will be detailed by the Travel Office. The University will not meet the cost of any 'Returning Resident Visa' for Australia.

Part U - Traveller Profile Form

(177) All University staff who require flight bookings to be made on their behalf by the Travel Office or Travel Management Company (TMC) must have a completed a traveller profile form, available via the Travel Forms webpage.

Part V - Non-Compliance

(178) Travel Office staff, will in the first instance, if they suspect any policy breaches:

  1. approach the University Traveller concerned to clarify the occurrence; and
  2. initiate training or education material to the University Traveller concerned so that they become aware of and are conversant with the Policy and/or associated Procedures.

(179) Travel Office staff, will in the second instance, if they suspect further policy breaches by a University Traveller refer the matter to the Executive Director, Finance for proceedings under the University's misconduct policy and Code of Conduct.

Public Authority

(180) At any time if any staff suspect an alleged breach of policy that may involve corrupt conduct, maladministration or serious waste by staff they can inform the University General Counsel or University Secretary who may then initiate an internal or external investigation under the Public Interest Disclosure Act that results in the matters being reported to the Corruption and Crime Commission or the Police (all investigations are monitored by the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee).

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Section 4 - Procedures

(181) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(182) Nil.