Travel Policy and Procedures
Travel Guide Use
This guide is intended to be used by operations managers, project directors, Research Foundation (RF) personnel administering travel, and travelers.
These guidelines apply to all travel undertaken on the SUNY Fredonia Campus in connection with the performance of operational or administrative RF functions and for sponsored programs administered by the Research Foundation. In general, travel costs are allowable when they are directly attributable to specific work on a sponsored project. Travel should be by the most efficient and cost-effective method of transportation available. Employees should schedule all travel assignments effectively to minimize expenses whenever possible.
In general, Research Foundation travel policy takes precedence over a sponsor's regulation unless the sponsor's regulations are more restrictive or the sponsor has set forth explicit, less restrictive requirements in the Research Foundation approved award document.
NYS Tax Exempt Status
Research Foundation expense related to New York State are exempt from State and local sales and use tax. When traveling within New York State travelers should use the Exempt Organization Certificate which lists the Central Office's Albany address and Research Foundation Treasurer's signature. This form is available from the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Fly America Act
In compliance with the Fly America Act, all air travel on federally funded projects must be on a US Flag carrier.
Travel expenses must be documented with a Research Foundation Travel Authorization Form (form in Excel) and with a Research Foundation Travel Payment Request Form. Travelers should not use SUNY travel forms.
The IRS requires receipts to document any travel expenditures over $75.
Methods of Travel
Reasonable and accurately-recorded personal car mileage used for local travel and out-of-town travel is reimbursable at the allowable mileage rate established by the IRS. The current mileage rate can be obtained from the Office of Sponsored Programs. Personal car mileage can include travel from the traveler's residence or place of work to local transportation terminals or local business sites provided that the mileage is above and beyond mileage from the traveler's home to their place of work. Mileage from the traveler's home to an official place of work is not reimbursable. Please keep in mind that mileage reimbursement covers, but is not limited to, gas, oil, depreciation, insurance costs of operating a vehicle, and repairs for any damages to the automobile.
Reasonable toll costs and necessary parking fees are reimbursable for both local and out-of-town travel.
The Research Foundation has established a master service agreement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, based upon the New York State Contract #72001, PS61890 for passenger vehicle rentals within New York State and the United States. This master agreement provides the RF with a corporate profile to ensure that RF employees are obtaining the appropriate rental vehicle insurance coverage and to ensure that the state contract rates are reserved. However, each campus should set up a separate billing account using the RF master agreement as a basis, and obtain a specifically assigned agency corporate code to facilitate campus billing requirements.
Vehicles should be rented in the name of the Research Foundation. This ensures that both the RF and the employee (driver) are properly covered.
If a personal credit card is used to rent the vehicle, the rental documents should clearly show that the vehicle is rented on behalf of the Research Foundation. This will eliminate any confusion regarding liability for coverage in the event of an insurance claim. The preferred method of payment is a RF issued Purchase Order. Any gasoline purchases, as well as any other direct costs associated with the vehicle will be reimbursed.
Use of a rental car requires formal explanation, most often in the form of a memo signed by the Principal Investigator. Reasons for using a rental car may be that public transportation is not available or that a rental car is cheaper than alternative transportation.
Please refer to Insurance Guidelines for Rental Vehicles on the RF website or visit the Sponsored Programs Office for more information.
Taxi and Public Transportation
Costs incurred for the use of taxicabs are reimbursable with receipts. Without receipts, the total maximum reimbursement is $75 each way. Tips are included in the maximum. In addition, the cost of necessary bus or subway trips is reimbursable. Original receipts for expenditures over $75 must be attached to the Travel Payment Request Form, which is located in the Forms section of this website.
Train or Bus Transportation
Travel by train or bus should be by coach if the one-way distance is 200 miles or less. Rail travel in excess of 200 miles one way may be first class. The cost of the train or bus ticket is reimbursable. The cost of tolls, parking, and mileage related to train or bus travel is also reimbursable.
Ticket stubs to support reimbursement of each expenditure over $75 must be attached to the Travel Payment Request Form, located in the Forms section. Original receipts for additional costs, such as tolls, parking or mileage, must be attached to the form for each expenditure over $75.
Travelers are expected to use the lowest-priced available, appropriate, coach-class airfare. In compliance with the Fly America Act, all travel on federally funded projects must be on a US flag air carrier.
The cost of airplane tickets, tolls, parking, and mileage related to airplane travel is reimbursable.
Currently, RF sponsored air travel may be facilitated through the use of Travel Leaders. Their address and contact numbers are 30 Corporate Drive, Clifton Park, NY 12065, tel. (800) 774-0655 (800) 774-0655, fax (518) 292-9090.
If an employee were to purchase airfare with a personal credit card, The RF cannot make payment to the traveler until the travel has been completed.
General air travel procedures are summarized as follows:
Utilization of a state vehicle may be considered for RF sponsored travel. Guidelines for the use of state vehicles, as well as the state vehicle request form may be downloaded from the services website at http://www.fredonia.edu/facilities/.
The state vehicle request form must be completed in full, including the account number to be charged. Research Foundation Project-Task-Award numbers cannot be used for this purpose. When in doubt, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs, ext. 3528, for an appropriate account number.
It is recommended that the form be completed on line and then printed out to obtain the proper signatures. The completed form should then be forwarded to the Office of Facilities Management, Services Complex. An approved request will be returned to you on yellow paper with the guidelines on the back of the form.
Each vehicle contains an Exxon/Mobil credit card in the glove compartment to be used for fuel and/or oil purchases specifically for that vehicle. To use the card, you must input your five-digit business pin (The pin code you use to make business long distance calls or business photocopies.) If the pump requires six digits, please enter a 0 before the pin number. An odometer reading of the vehicle you are using must be entered when prompted at the pump. The Exxon/Mobil credit card receipt should be turned in with the vehicle keys and yellow request form. You will need to sign the form and write in the ending odometer reading. If you are not able to go to an Exxon/Mobil station, you may purchase fuel and/or oil at any station using your own credit card or cash. To be reimbursed for the purchase you must turn in your receipt with your travel payment request form. The vehicle also carries a PPH card for emergency roadside service as well as well as an automobile insurance service card with instructions and procedures to follow in case of an accident.
If you plan to leave your personal vehicle on campus while you are traveling, it must be parked in the designated overnight parking area located to the west of the Services Complex. Also, the Office of Facilities Management must be notified ahead of time in order to issue you an overnight hang tag for your vehicle.
If you will be returning the state vehicle later than scheduled, you must contact the Office of Facilities Management (7 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Friday) or the Central Heating Plant.
Lodging and Meal Expenses
In order to be reimbursed for both meals and lodging, a traveler must be in official travel status, i.e. at a distance greater than 35 miles from both the traveler's official place of work and place of residence. Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging and meals on weekends and holidays while in travel status.
Methods of Reimbursement
There are two methods to reimburse travelers for the cost of overnight meals and lodging.
Only breakfast and dinner are reimbursable meals. Lunch is not a reimbursable expense. Per diem rates are established by the federal government. Rates are identified by county, and the traveler must indicate the county as well as the city on the Travel Payment Request Form. A full per diem is considered to be dinner the first day, lodging, and breakfast the following day. Incidental expenses such as tips to bellmen, porters, hotel maids, etc. are included in the per diem. Per diem rates for domestic and foreign travel may be found at the following website: http://www.gsa.gov.
Eligibility for an allowance or reimbursement for breakfast and/or dinner is determined by the time of departure from the traveler's official work station or home, whichever is beneficial to the project, and the time of return to the traveler's official station or home.
For travel in NYS, employees should use the Tax Exemption Certificate (ST-129) for lodging. For out of state travel, taxes are not included in the maximum lodging amount, and may be reimbursed.
For breakfast on the first day or dinner on the last day of an overnight trip, travelers may claim the federal per diem allowance for the place of lodging, provided that breakfast and dinner are not provided as part of a conference or meeting and not provided by the hotel.
When the traveler is in travel status for less than a full day and incurs no lodging expenses, reimbursement for breakfast and dinner will be made in accordance with the eligibility for meal requirements as described under the Meals section, above. For non-overnight travel, an employee may claim the unreceipted meal allowance, (the rate now in effect is $5.00 for breakfast and $12.00 for dinner) or actual expenses up to the federal maximum meal allowances with a receipt. However, under most circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service considers this reimbursement taxable income.
When claiming a meal allowance payment or reimbursement for non-overnight travel, use the Taxable Meal Payment Request and Authorization Form available in the Forms section of this website.
It is Research Foundation at SUNY Fredonia campus policy to prohibit advances made to travelers. Travel expenses that must be paid before the travel date may be charged to the traveler's personal credit card, or the traveler has the option of utilizing other personal funds, a Research Foundation purchase order, or using a Research Foundation Travel Card. Personally-funded travel expenses must be documented on the Travel Payment Request Form upon completion of the trip and reconciled in a timely fashion.
Reimbursement will be made when the expected travel has been completed and fully documented with all appropriate authorizations and receipts accompanying the Travel Payment Request Form. Research Foundation travel policies, as well as the policies of the sponsors, must be adhered to in order to receive reimbursement.
Any person employed by, representing or acting on behalf of the Research Foundation (RF) must follow the RF's policies for travel outside the United States and for reimbursement of expenses specific to foreign/international travel. These policies are in addition to domestic travel policies, procedures and responsibilities. The RF has established foreign/international travel policies to respond to complex and ever-changing travel regulations.
Travelers should review sponsor regulations, award terms and conditions before traveling outside the United States. Many sponsors have different requirements for foreign travel, and some have certain programs that award funds for international research and/or training. These programs may have special requirements in addition to those imposed by the sponsor and the general award terms and conditions.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs decides, based on relevant information, to issue travel warnings to U.S. citizens, recommending that Americans avoid travel to certain counties. The countries and dates the travel warnings were issued are listed on the current Travel Warnings Web site.
Travelers going to any country indicated by the U.S. Department of State with a travel warning must have advance written approval from the SUNY Fredonia campus operations manager and campus president, with written notice to the RF's central office ( email address RFInternationalTravel@rfsuny.org), before traveling.
It is the responsibility of the traveler to check the Current Travel Warnings list before traveling, to obtain the necessary authorization, and to read and abide by the information contained in the travel warning. Travelers should also read the Department of State's "Travel Tips".
Documentation Requirements for Travelers
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 requires that by January 1, 2008, travelers to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada have a passport or other secure, accepted document to enter or re-enter the U.S. by:
International Travel Assistance
The RF's board of directors authorized the RF to provide international travel assistance coverage for all persons traveling overseas on official RF business. Further information on this assistance is provided on the RF website.
For foreign travel, travelers should contact the Office of Sponsored Programs to assure compliance with sponsor guidelines.
All air travel on federally funded projects must comply with the Fly America Act, which is explained under the General Information Section, above.
If a traveler plans to rent a vehicle while in a foreign territory, the Office of General Counsel and Secretary should be notified beforehand. Please refer to the Foreign Travel Policy on the RF Website for further information.
Meals, Lodging and Incidental Expenses
Travel costs must comply with A-21 requirements, specific sponsor regulations, and must be in accordance with all export control regulations and RF travel policies.
Payment for foreign travel is calculated using Method I. No receipts are required for lodging or meals. The rates are per diem allowances including meals, lodging, and incidental expenses.
Some sponsors consider Canadian travel to be domestic travel while others consider it foreign travel. Travelers should check sponsor guidelines to determine how their sponsor classifies Canadian travel and categorize it accordingly for payment purposes. Even when travel to Canada is considered domestic by the sponsor, travelers should claim foreign rates for payment unless the award instrument or sponsor regulation provides otherwise.