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Travel on Otago Polytechnic Business

Section
Management
Approval Date
1 June 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Responsibility
Deputy Chief Executive: Business Services
Baldrige Criteria
Workforce focus
PURPOSE

To provide guidelines and procedures to ensure that expenses for and related to Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) domestic and international business travel, and associated activities are funded appropriately and consistently.

Travel and accommodation expenditure should be economical and efficient, having regard to purpose, distance, time, urgency, personal health, security and safety considerations. The principles of a justified business purpose, and moderate and conservative expenditure, are particularly relevant.

COMPLIANCE

Where a provision in this policy is inconsistent with the provisions in an employment agreement, the employment agreement will apply.

POLICY
  1. Otago Polytechnic Ltd will meet approved actual and reasonable costs of approved business related travel and related activities for staff, contractors, secondees, consultants and Board members.
  2. Travel costs are considered sensitive expenditure. All travel costs must meet standards of probity and financial prudence to reflect public sector norms and be in line with the Otago Polytechnic Ltd Sensitive Expenditure Policy.
  3. The purpose for travel is to be business related, however business trips may be extended for personal reasons as long as any difference in costs (airfare and accommodation) is reimbursed by the staff member.
  4. Otago Polytechnic Ltd only pays for alcohol in limited circumstances (e.g., when hosting outside guests or at a staff function in line with the functions policy). Staff must pay personally for their own alcoholic drinks when travelling on Otago Polytechnic Ltd business.
  5. For the purposes of this policy travel to Australia is regarded as domestic, with the exception of Perth and Darwin.
  6. Wherever possible staff should participate in meetings, which would require long distance road travel or air travel, by electronic means such as video conference, Skype, Microsoft Teams or equivalent. As a guide, electronic participation is expected for:
    • routine consultation meetings with central agencies or with sector colleagues.
    • meetings which are of short duration (less than half a day).
    • meetings which do not have compelling reasons for face-to-face engagement.
  7. Otago Polytechnic Ltd will not require travel to destinations where the health and/or safety of staff is likely to be put at risk. Travel on Otago Polytechnic Business PURPOSE COMPLIANCE POLICY 2
  8. Booking Travel
    • 8.1 Travel bookings including flights, accommodation and rental cars should be made through Otago Polytechnic’s Travel Management Company unless an emergency situation arises. Alterations to travel bookings should also be made through Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s Travel Management Company.
    • 8.2 Bookings should be made at the earliest possible opportunity to achieve the cheapest fares possible.
    • 8.3 Otago Polytechnic Ltd has an ‘open skies’ policy. This means that all travel for Otago Polytechnic Ltd business must be booked on the airline offering the cheapest fare available at the best time on the day. There will be no preferences for one airline over another.
    • 8.4 Travel by economy airfare is the default. Other classes of travel, including premium economy, require approval by the relevant manager. For domestic travel class of travel is at the discretion of the traveller, however flexi fares should only be booked where there is a likelihood that the travel will change. In most situations seat or seat and bag fares will be appropriate.
    • 8.5 When the itinerary is emailed through, it is the traveller’s responsibility to check that the details are accurate.
  9. Accommodation
    • 9.1 Accommodation bookings are to be at a moderate standard. The norm will include a standard room with bathroom facilities.
    • 9.2 Other than in exceptional circumstances such as replacement for a meal if the restaurant is closed, mini bar facilities are not allowable Otago Polytechnic Ltd expenses and if used must be paid for by the employee.
    • 9.3 The number of nights’ accommodation booked should be the minimum required for the staff member to do their job. For example, if the travel is to an all-day meeting, accommodation may be booked for the night prior to avoid the very early morning flight and ensure the staff member is rested for the day. The preference is for staff members to return on an evening flight rather than staying an extra night.
    • 9.4 Otago Polytechnic Ltd does not pay staff who host visitors in their own homes.
    • 9.5 If staff choose to stay privately thereby saving the cost of a hotel, Otago Polytechnic Ltd will reimburse up to $50 per night for a pressie card or gift to be passed on to the hosts.
  10. Vehicle Transport Rented Vehicles, Taxis and Use of Private Vehicles
    • 10.1 The lowest cost option that meets practical needs should be used for vehicle transport (fleet vehicle, bus, shuttle, taxi, mileage, and airport parking, etc).
    • 10.2 Where possible an Otago Polytechnic Ltd fleet vehicle should be booked and used in preference to a personal vehicle or rental vehicle.
    • 10.3 All Otago Polytechnic Ltd business-related driving must occur in accordance with policy Driving and Vehicle Safety.
    • 10.4 Otago Polytechnic Ltd accepts no responsibility for misdemeanours or traffic offences committed by staff while driving any vehicle. This includes parking or speeding fines.
    • 10.5 Rental Vehicles
      • 10.5.1 All vehicle rentals should be for the most economical type and size of car – consistent with the requirements of the journey.
      • 10.5.2 Domestic vehicle rentals are covered under Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s commercial motor vehicle insurance for any staff who are driving on business authorised by the polytechnic, therefore rental company insurance should not be taken.
      • 10.5.3 For overseas rented vehicles, full insurance cover must be included as part of the rental agreement.
      • 10.5.4 Otago Polytechnic Ltd staff should re-fuel rented vehicles before returning to the agent.
    • 10.6 Taxis
      • 10.6.1 Taxi charges should be paid using a Taxicharge card. These cards can be obtained from the travel coordinator in your area.
    • 10.7 Use of private vehicles
      • 10.7.1 Use of a private vehicle should be approved by the manager prior to the commencement of the travel or reimbursement may not be paid. The following reimbursement can be claimed and includes the cost of fuel. Whichever is the lesser of: a) Current Inland Revenue Department (IRD) approved non-taxable rates per km, noting that these rates are at a higher rate for the first 3,500kms in one calendar year, and a lower rate after 3,500kms. Rates also vary depending on the type of vehicle (e.g., petrol or diesel vehicles, petrol hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles). OR 3 (a) A maximum for one round trip of $180* *Exceptions may be made, and approved by the manager prior to travel, if the staff member lives, and normally works, in a location where they do not have ready access to a fleet vehicle. In such cases the staff member will be reimbursed using the current IRD rates.
  11. Conference Attendance
    • 11.1 Any travel (including registration, travel, and accommodation) that is required as part of an Individual Development Plan or Research Plan must be prior approved and budgeted for as part of those planning processes.
    • 11.2 Staff should only be approved to attend conferences where attendance at the conference has demonstrable benefits to Otago Polytechnic Ltd.
    • 11.3 If presenting a paper, the staff member, either prior to or after the conference should present their paper, preferably in an open lecture organised through the College or Research Office.
    • 11.4 The staff member should specifically present, to their own school, programme area, or service area feedback on their impressions of and major themes of the conference.
    • 11.5 Persons travelling overseas should maximise and take advantage of all opportunities to present their research interest, consult with colleagues involved in like programmes and/or formally visit other relevant organisations in the locality.
  12. Meals and other travel related incidental costs.
    • 12.1 Otago Polytechnic Ltd will meet travellers’ actual and reasonable costs including gifts, taxis, parking charges, meals, business centre charges, business telephone calls, visas, airport taxes, preventative inoculations, and travel medications. They may be appropriately charged or reimbursed (on the production of receipts)
    • 12.2 Otago Polytechnic Ltd will cover additional costs due to the staff member being out of town. This includes meals; however, the expectation is that meal costs are not incurred where they are included in conference registration or it is possible to eat at koru club for example.
    • 12.3 Domestic and international travel incidental costs may be charged to an Otago Polytechnic Ltd credit card or reimbursed. This will be on an actual and reasonable basis and receipts are required.
    • 12.4 A cash advance may be approved for international travel. This is to cover incidental costs that must be paid in cash (for example tips). The advance must be approved in advance by the appropriate authorising manager, it should be kept to the minimum practical amount and any surplus must be returned to the Business Services team. 12.3 As a guide daily meal expenses should be no more than $80 including GST per 24-hour period
    • 12.5 Excess baggage charges will not be covered by Otago Polytechnic Ltd unless they are business related.
    • 12.6 Otago Polytechnic Ltd employees are responsible for making their own travel reimbursement claims. Full explanatory documentation in the form of a receipt is required to accompany claims – EFTPOS slips in most cases do not contain sufficient evidence of expenditure.
  13. Approvals
    • 13.1 Other than the exceptions noted below in the table, where retrospective approval is allowed, prior delegated approval is required for travel bookings.
    • 13.2 Wherever possible, approvals should be made via the automated travel system. Where not possible approvals may be by e-mail.
    • 13.3 Retrospective approval is on a monthly basis. An automated travel report is supplied by e-mail to the formal leader. Receipt of the automated report constitutes approval.

       

      International Travel For

      Approved By

      Board Chairperson

      Finance and Audit Chairperson

      Board Members

      Board Chairperson

      Chief Executive

      Board Chairperson (retrospective)

      Executive Leadership Team Member

      Chief Executive

      All other staff

      Executive Leadership Team Member

       

      Domestic Travel For

      Approved By

      Board Chairperson

      Finance and Audit Chairperson (retrospective)

      Board Members

      Board Chairperson (retrospective)

      Chief Executive

      Board Chairperson (retrospective)

      Executive Leadership Team Member

      Chief Executive (retrospective)

      Directors

      Executive Leadership Team Member (retrospective)

      Head of College

      Executive Leadership Team Member (retrospective)

      All other staff

      Formal Leader, ELT, Head of College, Programme Head,  Director, Finance Manager, Senior Financial Analyst, EA

      Travel to be on-charged to OPAIC

      COO / DCE Business Services / Finance Manager

       

  14. International Travel Insurance
    • 14.1 Staff travelling on Otago Polytechnic Ltd business must ensure travel insurance is arranged for international travel. Staff eligible for travel insurance through Otago Polytechnic Ltd include:
      • (a) Staff travelling on Otago Polytechnic Ltd business (insurance will be covered and paid for by Otago Polytechnic Ltd)
      • (b) Tenured staff and their families travelling for personal reasons (paid for by the staff member and an administration fee applies).
    • 14.2 The Travel Coordinator or traveller must complete the travel insurance request form and notify the Contracts Office in advance of the dates of travel, so it can be officially documented for our insurer.
  15. Airline Lounge Memberships / Loyalty Points
    • 15.1 Otago Polytechnic Ltd staff may be entitled to an Airline Lounge Membership as a business expense if they travel at least 12 domestic / international return trips per annum, on a yearly basis.
    • 15.2 Airline Lounge membership payments require an Executive Leadership Team member signoff for staff, or Chief Executive sign-off for Executive Leadership Team members and are to be reviewed annually against planned travel.
    • 15.3 Otago Polytechnic Ltd staff who travel semi-regularly for business, but less than 12 trips per year may apply to the DCE: Business Services to have an Airline Lounge Membership subsidised at 50% (the remaining 50% to be paid personally). Formal leader support will need to be supplied with the application.
    • 15.4 Otago Polytechnic Ltd staff who generally don’t travel for business, are able to apply to the Otago Polytechnic Ltd Contacts Office for an Airline Lounge Membership (Koru Club) at the Otago Polytechnic Ltd discounted rate. The membership fee will need to be paid personally by the staff member and there will be an administration fee charged by the Contracts Office.
    • 15.5 Airline loyalty points that are earned for travel that has been funded by Otago Polytechnic Ltd are able to be retained and used personally by the person travelling.
  16. Private Travel (Non Otago Polytechnic Ltd Business Related) Otago Polytechnic Ltd rates and benefits are available to staff who pay and travel privately. Staff should identify themselves to Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s contracted Travel Management Company to receive recognition
REFERENCES
  • Delegations from the Board to the Chief Executive and Authorities and Sub-Delegations from Chief Executive
  • Sensitive Expenditure
  • Driving and Vehicle Safety
APPROVED BY

Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive
01/02/2021