Travel

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Travel Policy

Before the Trip

Procedures and responsibilities for all participants when requesting travel authorization, approving and arranging travel.

After The Trip

Procedures and responsibilities for all participants when preparing expense reports, requesting travel reimbursement and approving expenses.

Definitions

Terminology related to Institute travel.

Flowcharts

Travel Forms

Who to Contact?

Preferred Travel Agencies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Trip Procedures

Purpose: To provide procedures in alignment with the Institute Travel Policy for all participants when requesting travel authorization, approving and arranging travel.

Participants: All Institute Travelers, Lab Administrators, Dept/Lab Administrative Assistants, Dept/Lab Approval Authorities, the Grants Office and the Business Office.

Process Overview: The following flowchart illustrates the basic steps involved in the travel process before the trip.

Steps:

  1. Authorization to Travel
  2. Required Approval
  3. TA Number
  4. Travel Arrangements

STEP 1. Authorization to Travel: Authorization to travel is obtained through the approval of a Travel Authorization Form by the approval authority within the lab or department. Institute travelers are required to complete a Travel Authorization form when:

Preparation of a Travel Authorization Form: Fill out the form completely including the following the information:

Several of the fields on this form are self-explanatory; those needing explanation are addressed below:
    1. Travel arrangements required and estimated expenses: indicate the type of arrangements that will be required for the trip (i.e., transportation, hotel, meals, registration fee, etc.) and the estimated cost associated with those arrangements.
     
    1. Cash advance request (payment to the traveler): Prepare a Check Request Form (Refer to Payment Request for Non-PO Disbursements Procedures) and attach it to the Travel Authorization form. Both forms must have the required approvals (as defined in STEP 2), and an assigned TA Number (as defined in STEP 3). Check Request forms must be in the Accounts Payable office at least 10 business days prior to the date payment is needed.

    Note: All cash advances are subject to the following conditions:

      • There is a maximum cash advance limit of $250.
      • Cash advances will be issued to the traveler not sooner than 7 business days before the day of travel, upon receipt of approved Travel Authorization and Check Request forms.
      • Travel cash advances must be settled within 10 business days after the completion of the trip through a Travel Expense Report (Refer to After the Trip Procedures).
      • Per IRS regulations, cash advances must be accounted for within 60 days of receiving the check and any excess monies must be returned to the Institute within 120 days. If not returned within this deadline, the Institute must treat excess monies as income to the traveler and withhold all appropriate taxes.
      • Request for cash advances will be only accepted if all previous travel advances have been cleared with expense reports.
      • Each traveler is responsible to repay any lost or unused amounts.

       

    1. Expense pre-payment request:
      1. Payment for registration fees, airline tickets and hotel deposits (payment to a third party) - same procedures for requesting cash advance (as defined above in b) apply. In this case, fill out the "payable to" section on the Check Request form to the vendor including its mailing address.

      Note: Local Seminar Registration - a Travel Authorization Form is not required if you are requesting registration payment for seminars/conferences in the Boston area. Please submit your prepayment request through a Check Request Form.

      1. Payment for air tickets through the Institute Charge Account - air tickets can be purchased with the Institute charge account when air reservations are made through Whitehead's preferred travel agency, Colpitts World Travel. If the traveler requests to purchase the air ticket with the Institute charge account, do not complete a Check Request form but indicate this request on the Travel Authorization form.

      Note: Colpitts World Travel will require a TA Number (refer to STEP 3) to charge air tickets to the Institute charge account. This condition applies to all Institute travel regardless of the source of funds.

      1. Payment for air tickets charged to the traveler's credit card (payment to the traveler)- in some cases, travelers prefer to use their credit cards to purchase air tickets and request reimbursement for related charges after travel has occurred. However, when advance purchase is required, and the traveler's card is due for the charge, travelers may request reimbursement before travel has occurred. In this case, follow the cash advance procedures as defined above in b. When completing the Travel Authorization form, provide an explanation for requesting an earlier reimbursement and the date when the traveler expects to submit the Travel Expense Report. Include also the traveler credit card statement showing the charge and a copy of the travel agency itinerary indicating the dates of departure and arrival.
     
    1. Exceptions to the policy and any other travel circumstances that require prior approval: Include proper documentation to explain or justify any of the following requirements:
        • Use of other than economy/coach travel on commercial airlines, trains, etc. .
        • Extended Stays or personal time will be taken.
        • Foreign airline required.
        • Travel for unusual travelers (companion/spouse, prospective employee, consultants, and speakers).
        • Lodging charges in excess of established policy limits .
        • Use of private, chartered, rented aircraft.
       
    1. Available funds to pay for the trip: Indicate the funding source (i.e., grants, Institute, and/or a third party) that will cover the trip expenses. For most labs, the assigned Lab Administrator is the one responsible for coding travel expenses to the proper funding activities and account categories. Procedures for coding expenses to the right funding sources are:
        • Assign an activity based on where traveler has effort.
        • Check activity to make sure funds are available to cover trip requirements.
        • Reassign activity with effort if no money available.
        • For travel expenses that will be charged to Whitehead accounts funds must be available at the time of the trip.
        • When applicable, indicate funding by a third party by including on the Travel Authorization form the name of the institution and amount covered.

         

    2. Traveler's Signature: Do not submit any form for approval without the traveler's signature. This signature indicates that:
        • the information provided is correct.
        • proper documentation is included.
        • traveler understands the Institute policy and procedures and agrees to settle any advance. received after the completion/cancellation of the trip.
    Note: Regardless of who prepares the Travel Authorization form, each traveler should review the forms for accuracy and is responsible for the information submitted.

STEP 2. Required Approval: Once completed, submit the Travel Authorization form, and when applicable the attached Check Request Form, to the following authorities for approval:

    1. Department/Lab Approval Authority: All travel forms must be approved by the person responsible for the budget within the lab or department. Signature by the approval authority indicates that:
      • travel has been authorized
      • adequate funding is available, and
      • any exceptions to the travel policy travel have been approved.

       

STEP 3. TA Number: The TA Number is obtained upon approval of the Travel Authorization form and is required to process any request for cash advances and/or expense pre-payment. This number is obtained as follows:

    1. Non-sponsored travel: Upon approval, the Business Office staff responsible for processing travel will assign a TA Number to the Travel Authorization form and, when applicable, to the attached Check Request form before forwarding it to Accounts Payable for payment processing.

     

    1. Sponsored program travel: Upon approval, the Grant Assistant responsible for processing travel will assign a TA Number to the Travel Authorization form and, when applicable, to the attached Check Request form before forwarding it to Accounts Payable for payment processing.

Notes:

  • Once assigned, the TA Number will be notified via email to the traveler or dept/lab Administrative Assistant by either the Grants Assistant or the Business Office staff responsible for processing travel
  • Traveler or Administrative Assistant should write the assigned TA Number on the copy of the Travel Authorization form kept for records. This number will be required to settle cash advances and process reimbursement through the Travel Expense Report
  • Travel arrangements should not be made before getting a TA Number
  • Any payment requested through the Check Request form will be issued within 10 working days of receipt of a properly prepared form by the Accounts Payable Office.

STEP 4. Travel Arrangements: Travelers or dept/lab Administrative Assistants are responsible for making all travel arrangements. When reservations are arranged by the dept/lab Administrative Assistant, travelers should complete a Travel Reservation Worksheet to provide the Administrative Assistant with the required travel information.

    1. Reservations: Can be arranged through the preferred travel agency, Colpitts World Travel. This agency is authorized by the Institute to purchase airline tickets with the Institute Charge Account upon receipt of a TA Number. Colpitts will send airline tickets to the traveler or to the dept/lab Administrative Assistant by courier, or in case of e-ticket, will fax/e-mail the related information.

      Air Reservation - If you have purchased or are purchasing non-refundable tickets, please read and be aware of any restrictions on them, especially if you need to make any changes. According to the New Non-refundable Ticket Rules (effective Oct 1/ 02), the six major airlines (American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways) have all changed their rules to a "use it or lose it" policy on most non-refundable tickets. While restrictions vary from airline to airline, most non-refundable tickets will have no exchange value after the ticketed departure time of each flight segment. Some of these airlines are also charging as much as $100 for standby on alternate flights on ticketed day of departure.

    1. Cancellations: In case of cancellations, travelers must return to the Institute any cash advances and/or prepaid expenses paid for by the Institute through a Travel Expense Report.
      1. Cash advances - must be repaid to the Institute within 10 days from the date of travel cancellation. Attach the advance check received, or a personal check for the amount of the advance, to the Travel Expense Report. Follow Travel Expense Report procedures .

       

      1. Registration fee and other payment made to a third party- request refund from the vendor and upon receipt, return the credit amount to the Institute through a Travel Expense Report. Follow Travel Expense Report procedures.
      Note: Normally, the credit will take more than 10 days, so please notify either the Business Office or the Grant Office that payment will be received.
      1. Airline ticket purchased with the Institute Charge Account - notify the preferred travel agency that issued the ticket about the trip cancellation and return the ticket to the travel agency. Request an email (or fax) confirmation of the cancellation and upon receipt attach the confirmation to the Travel Expense Report. Follow Travel Expense Report procedures.
        • If non-refundable, indicate non-refundable on the cancellation confirmation. Provide an explanation for the trip cancellation and process the Travel Expense Report normally.
     
    1. Airline ticket paid for by the traveler and reimbursed by the Institute- return the airline ticket to the agency/airline carrier and request credit. Upon receipt, return credit to the Institute through the Travel Expense Report.
      • If non-refundable, attach the airline ticket to the Travel Expense Report and indicate non-refundable. Provide and explanation for the trip cancellation and process the Travel Expense Report normally.

    2. Airline ticket paid for by the traveler and not yet reimbursed by the Institute - if not reimbursable by the airline, the traveler has the option to claim reimbursement from the Institute. In this case, submit the airline ticket to the Institute for reimbursement through the Travel Expense Report and indicate non-refundable. Provide an explanation for the trip cancellation.
     
    1. TA Number - will be cancelled by the Grants Office or the Business Office upon receipt of a cancellation notification.

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