Assistance from Business Services during COVID-19 - University Travel Freeze

The current freeze on university travel has been extended through August 31, 2020. All university sponsored travel that was previously booked and scheduled to occur in July or August 2020 should be canceled. Future university sponsored travel cannot be booked regardless of the dates of travel. Accordingly, the Concur website has been disabled for travel booking but can still be used for canceling travel originally booked through Concur.  Travel not booked in Concur can be canceled by contacting an Agent at Travel Incorporated at 877-811-9898. 

For any travel-related questions, please contact UWL's Travel Manager, Kristin Trussoni.

Travel

I am an employee who is traveling outside of La Crosse for personal travel. What should I do? expanding section
 
La Crosse County is under a COVID-19 Severe Risk Category. The Health Department recommends against any travel for leisure. A 14 day quarantine is recommended after any leisure travel outside of our county. Please contact your supervisor before returning to campus

Last modified: 06/19/2020

I am a college student living in La Crosse, should I travel home to see my family? expanding section

At this time, we urge everyone to remain where they are. Travel between your primary residence and a family member's residence should be avoided. Refrain from any non-essential travel at this time. Source: La Crosse County Health Department.

Last modified: 04/04/2020

Our institution is only allowing essential travel, who determines what is essential? expanding section

This will vary by campus, please refer to your institution’s guidelines.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

How is essential travel defined? expanding section

For purposes of the interim guidance, essential travel is defined as supporting activities that are absolutely necessary, cannot be rescheduled, and must be done in person. Each institution has appointed institutional leadership that can approve essential and necessary travel.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

I recently cancelled my trip to Washington due to increased number of Coronavirus cases; what happens to my ticket and can I still be reimbursed? expanding section

Your ticket will remain on file for future use with Fox, and you can still be reimbursed for the purchase of the ticket.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Is the exchange fee reimbursable when I decide to travel later? expanding section

Yes, as with all travel, you should discuss travel plans with your supervisor since travel is dependent upon department/institutional funding and approval.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

I called Fox World travel and was told my ticket was not refundable, is that true? expanding section

Yes, all University tickets are non refundable (our policy does not allow the purchase of refundable tickets). Some airlines are cancelling routes (routes to China were the among the first to be cancelled) and if an airline decides to cancel a route, and not rebook you, they often will refund the ticket (that was non refundable) since the airline is no longer able to meet the obligation of the service that was purchased.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

My conference hasn’t been cancelled but many speakers/vendors that I was planning on seeing are no longer attending due to Coronavirus concerns. I no longer think it’s worth my time to attend. If I cancel, can I still be reimbursed? expanding section

Yes, you can be reimbursed. Some airlines are providing waivers due to the Coronavirus, so once you are ready to reuse, work with a Fox agent to determine if there might be any waivers in place.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

I want to schedule future travel for fall of 2020 but our institution is restricting travel due to the Coronavirus impact. Should I book now to get a lower fare or wait until the last minute and pay a higher price? expanding section

We recommend waiting. This is a very rapidly changing situation and each institution will likely be updating guidance as we better understand the longer-term impacts and how to best use the institutions unused airline tickets on file.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Are all unused tickets resulting from Coronavirus concerns being tracked? expanding section

Yes, Fox World Travel is helping us manage our unused tickets (tickets on file for future use) and we will continue to monitor balances over the upcoming weeks. This is a benefit to the UW System’s managed travel program.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Is there a fee to cancel my airline ticket with Fox? expanding section

It depends. If you booked online and cancel online, there is no additional fee. If you booked online and call an agent to cancel, there is a $10 fee. There is no fee if you booked with an agent and call an agent to cancel.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Is there an additional fee to rebook my airline ticket with Fox? expanding section

Yes, normal Fox agency ticketing fees apply.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Can I be reimbursed for trip insurance? expanding section

No, except for the travel health insurance purchased through the UWS contract with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), which includes some travel insurance. Most trip insurance, including insurance purchased through CISI, does not cover epidemic/pandemic situations or "cancel for any reason.”

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Change fees for flights are up to $400. Does the traveler/department/program/university bear the expense for all employee expenses? expanding section

Yes, however Fox is working with our preferred airline carriers to waive fees when possible and is also tracking all of the current change fee waivers that are issued by airlines (and changing daily).

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Can the change fees and airline tickets for my family be reimbursed by the University since I was planning a work trip and the University has restricted travel? expanding section

Unfortunately no, per IRS guidelines and our Accountable Plan, only University/business related travel can be paid (or reimbursed) with University funds

Last modified: 03/13/2020

Are there emergency funds available to students to help pay for trips that are cancelled? expanding section

Your campus’ Dean of Student office would be the best point of contact to determine if institutional funds are available.

Last modified: 03/13/2020

I am a student who just returned from overseas travel or from a distant location within the U.S. – what should I do? expanding section

We are sensitive to the fact that a good number of students have been in locations exposed to the virus. We strongly recommend that, upon their return home, students comply with public health directives to prevent potentially exposing others to the virus, which may include self-quarantine for 14 days (please see https://www.uwlax.edu/info/covid-19/ for more information). 

Last modified: 03/14/2020

What about research travel grants? expanding section

Our offices will work with individual grant recipients to work through the details of each situation. 

Last modified: 03/19/2020

Coronavirus Related Travel Changes/Cancellations - FAQs

Please view our interim guidance FAQs for coronavirus related travel changes/cancellations.

Coronavirus Travel Impact

On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and elevated the travel advisory level for travel to China to Level 4, recommending that citizens do not travel to this region. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.
 
Please click here for the most up-to-date information on this travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State.
 
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Top Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Travel

  1. Airline reservations for University sponsored travel are required to be made with Fox World Travel, either within Concur, the online self-booking tool, or with a Fox World Travel agent.  Use of online brokers or search sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, etc. are prohibited and will not be reimbursed by the University. 
    1. Travelers are strongly encouraged to register for Trip-Alert! by ALTITUDE, an automated flight disruption notification service for email or text message of any  flight delays, cancellations and more - Register Here
    2. Click here to opt out of this service.
  2. All non-conference site lodging reservations, including local, are to be made through Concur.  Use of online brokers or search sites such as hotels.com, Airbnb, etc. are prohibited and will not be reimbursed by the University. 
    1. Prior to reserving conference site lodging, search Concur for the conference site hotel to determine if there is a lower rate available. If so, make your reservation within Concur. 
    2. Concur displays available room types and rates directly from hotel suppliers.  Room types and rates available are not specific to UW System and may be above what UW policy allows. Travelers must adhere to the location rate maximums and only reserve single/standard rooms.
    3. To find the location rate maximums use the Lodging/Meal and Incidental Calculator
    4. Please consult the UW System Hotel Directory for a complete list of contracted properties by location.     
  3. Please keep in mind the following tips regarding Meals and Incidentals:
    1. Receipts are not required for Meals and Incidentals Expenses.
    2. If the trip does not include an overnight stay, the traveler is limited to a $15 tax reportable day trip meal allowance.  If any meal is provided during the day trip, no reimbursement can be claimed.
  4. Hosted Meals must stay within meal maximums (breakfast $12, lunch $18, dinner $30 for in-state meals), require itemized receipts, and an approved Food Expense Approval Form.
  5. Rental vehicles are required to be reserved through Enterprise or National using the UWSA contract. Local reservations can be made directly with Enterprise (La Crosse Downtown 608-785-7400 prompt 4 or La Crosse Airport 608-781-5094) or National (La Crosse Airport 608-781-5678).  However, out-of-state rentals must be made through Concur.  When Enterprise or National do not serve the location of travel or if vehicles are not available, Hertz may be used under the State of Wisconsin (WSCA) contract.
    1. Eligible renters are classified as all University authorized drivers age 18 and over. Authorized drivers 18-20 are restricted to domestic rentals only. Rentals are limited to compact/standard/intermediate vehicle classes unless there are business needs that require larger classes of vehicles. Claims for reimbursement beyond standard/intermediate vehicle classes (i.e. trucks, vans, etc.) for reasons such as transporting extra passengers, carrying cargo or bulky equipment, etc., must be explained on the expense report.
    2. Any person (employee, student, volunteer) who will be driving a vehicle (personally owned or rented) on University business must be authorized to drive. To become an authorized driver, review the Driver Authorization Policy and complete a Vehicle Use Agreement (VUA). Employees and students must complete an electronic VUA by logging into the Wisconsin Department of Administration VUA Sign-up Portal. Volunteers must complete a paper VUA and submit it to Business Services. Drivers with out‐of‐state driver licenses must attach the Notarized Statement of Driving Record form to their VUA.
    3. Drivers are responsible for refueling vehicles prior to return with same level of fuel that they received at time of rental.  The University will not reimburse vendor refueling or prepay fuel packages. Receipts are required for reimbursement of fuel purchased.
    4. Enterprise, National, and Hertz for domestic rentals include Collision (CWD) and Liability (LDW) in their contract rates. Extra types of insurance are not reimbursable.
  6. When driving your personal vehicle for University sponsored business, you will be reimbursed for mileage. MapQuest or Google Maps are the official tools for determining the most direct route. The following rates apply:
    1. Less than 100 miles roundtrip - Standard Rate
      1. On/after 1/1/19: $0.58 per mile
      2. Prior to 1/1/19: $0.545 per mile
    2. More than 100 miles roundtrip - Turndown Rate
      1. On/after 1/1/19: $0.375 per mile
      2. Prior to 1/1/19: $0.352 per mile
    3. Any Non-Employee - Standard Rate
      1. On/after 1/1/19: $0.58 per mile
      2. Prior to 1/1/19: $0.545 per mile
  7. All purchases over $25 must be substantiated with an itemized receipt.   
  8. University purchases are generally exempt from Wisconsin Sales and Use Tax.  Travelers are expected to request and receive Wisconsin sales tax exemption for travel related purchases.  The University also has sales tax exemption in other states.  Travelers should make a reasonable attempt to obtain sales tax exemption according to the tax authority's requirements.
  9. Travelers who requested a cash advance must return any unused cash upon returning to campus after their trip and must complete an e-Reimbursement within 30 days after the trip completion date.
  10. All travel related expenses for a trip must be submitted on one e-Reimbursement within 90 days after the trip completion date or will not be reimbursed by the University.

At the following link, you will find:

  • User guides
  • Self booking tutorials and videos
  • e-Reimbursement how-to guides

https://uw.foxworldtravel.com/user-guides/

Faculty & Staff

University employees, while on business travel, are expected to exercise good judgment when incurring travel costs.  An employee may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary travel expenses actually incurred in the performance and conduct of UW business.  An employee shall not seek reimbursement for goods or services provided free of charge, not personally incurred, reimbursed by another source, or which will be paid or reimbursed from another source.  Faculty and staff traveling together pay their own way and complete their own Expense Report (ER).

For UW travel policies, best business practices and process standards, please refer to UW TravelWIse.

TRAVEL TIPS

Meals:

  • Meals and incidentals are reimbursed based on per deim allowances.  Per diems are calculated based upon location, first/last day of travel, and provided meals adjustments.
  • For trip planning and rate determination, M&IE rates can be determined using the Lodging/Meal & Incidental Calculator available in the UW TravelWIse portal
  • If an employee is buying a meal for someone else, the UW Sponsored Event policy and Hosted Meal Rates apply. The following must be included:
    • An itemized receipt
    • A roster or list of individuals who attended
    • An approved Food Approval Form
Airfare:
  • Fox World Travel is the University's contracted travel provider. 
  • All airline reservations must be made with Fox World Travel, either with an agent or within the Concur self-booking tool. 
  • Purchased airfare must be the lowest appropriate fare, which is defined as non-refundable, coach/economy class.
  • The use of online brokers or search sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, etc. are prohibited and will not be reimbursed by the University.  
Lodging:
Domestic Lodging Rate Maximums can be determined by using the Lodging & Meal Per Diem Calculator.
  • All individual non-conference site lodging reservations must be made within the Concur self-booking tool or by contacting Fox World Travel.
  • Conference site lodging reservations can be made directly with the conference or host site; however, travelers are strongly encouraged to check Concur as often times a lower rate can be obtained.  A conference or host site is defined as a lodging facility identified by the sponsor and must be included on the conference brochure, program or registration information provided.
  • The use of lodging brokers, like Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Airbnb, Priceline, etc. are prohibited and will not be reimbursed by the University.   
  • Employees can use a University/Prepaid Purchasing Card (PCard) to pay for lodging that is within the per diem allowance or for conference site lodging. 
  • If sharing a room with another employee, one employee may pick up the entire room cost, but both must indicate this on their respective e-Reimbursements.
Vehicles:
  • Employees are expected to use rental vehicles when vehicle transportation is determined to be the most appropriate mode of transportation.  Vehicle transportation is generally most appropriate for round trips less than 400 miles.  
  • All out-of-state vehicle reservations must be made through Concur utilizing the Big Ten contract with Enterprise and National.  Hertz is also available within Concur when Enterprise and National do not have necessary availability.  Utilizing Concur for reservations enables the contract booking ID to automatically apply ensuring that all reservations are under contract and appropriately insured.  
  • All employees and students who are required to drive on University sponsored business must be authorized to drive in accordance with Risk Management’s Drivers Authorization.
  • If an employee chooses to use their personal vehicles, reimbursement will be made based on the following:
    • Less than 100 miles roundtrip - Standard Rate
      1. On/after 1/1/19: $0.58 per mile
      2. Prior to 1/1/19: $0.545 per mile
    • More than 100 miles roundtrip - Turndown Rate
      1. On/after 1/1/19: $0.375 per mile
      2. Prior to 1/1/19: $0.352 per mile
    •  

SAME DAY TRAVEL

Travel that does not include an overnight stay will be limited to a tax reportable day trip meal allowance of $15.00 per day when the traveler expects to incur meal expenses.  No day trip meal allowance will be paid when the traveler receives a provided meal, regardless of amount. 

Groups

Please contact Fox World Travel for all your Group travel air, car, rail, and hotel needs.

Group air is classified as 10+ travelers, traveling the same destination.

Fox World Travel

Toll-Free: 866-230-8787 (option 4)

Fox World Travel is the University's contract travel management company and must be used for all University funded airline ticket purchases. They also will assist when you would like to combine lodging, ground transport, or other group accommodations.

PURCHASING PROCESS 

Travelers will utilize the University Group Reservation Request Form when using Fox for group reservations. When you are ready, go to UWTravelWIse group procedures. A member of the Fox team will contact you within one (1) business day to confirm the request and discuss any open questions.

Fox will work with the travel coordinator until all the reservations have been booked. A confirmation email will be sent out to the coordinator. Please contact Business Services regarding payment of group travel.

For questions related to group travel, please contact Kristin Trussoni.

International - MEAL AND LODGING MAXIMUMS

Faculty Led Program Training

Daily meal and incidental expense per diems for all foreign locations (including all related taxes and tips) can be found using the Lodging/Meal and Incidental Calculator. If the location of travel is not listed, the 'Other' rate will apply.

Any meals provided by international hosts, conferences, or others cannot be claimed for reimbursement and should be noted as such within your e-Reimbursement Meals & Incidentals Per Diem expenses.

For foreign travel, the incidental portion of the per diem varies by location.  The incidental portion includes the following expenses:

  • Fees and tips given to services staff - such as restaurant wait staff, porters, baggage handlers, hotel housekeeping or other service staff, valet, train, etc.
  • Transportation between places of lodging or business to obtain meals when not obtainable within the immediate vicinity
  • Phone calls
  • Laundry, dry cleaning, etc.
  • Bottled water

 


INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT RESERVATIONS & FLY AMERICA RULE/OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT

Make your reservations through our contract with Fox World Travel and take full advantage of expert international reservation services.

Before you purchase tickets for international travel, be aware that the Fly America Act/Open Skies Agreement requires that Americans (University travelers) who fly internationally using funds from the federal government (federal funds = grants) utilize a U.S. flag carrier, with few exceptions.

Exceptions:

  • When there is no nonstop or direct service offered by a U.S. carrier
  • When travel solely outside the U.S. increases the number of aircraft changes en route to more than two
  • When the passenger’s travel time is extended by at least 6 hours
  • When the connecting time is 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point

Additional information on the Fly America Act and Open Skies Agreement can be found here and at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Information regarding passports, travel visas, immunization requirements, foreign currency, and insurances may be found on UW TravelWIse under International Medical, Travel, & Security Insurance - CISI.

Interview candidates

Potential candidates, although not state employees, are welcomed to campus for the purpose of interviewing for a potential position with UW-La Crosse.  Candidates are subject to same UW travel policies, best business practices and process standards as employees.  Listed below are some guidelines when inviting potential candidates to campus for interviewing purposes.  

Guidelines - Interview Candidate & Employee/Host

Interview Candidate

How to Arrange and Pay for Interview Candidate Travel

How to Set-Up and Pay a Non-Employee

  • Interview candidates are considered non-employees
  • Once completed, the employee contact can enter an e-Reimbursement on behalf of the non-employee/interview candidate
  • Necessary information to complete the form:
    • Non-employee full legal name and mailing address
    • University funding string
    • Date of first purchase for which reimbursement will be requested

Employee/Host

How to Create an e-Reimbursement for Hosted Meals with Interview Candidates

  • The employee serving as host for the meal coordinates and renders payment on behalf of interview candidate and others attending the meal
  • Meal expenses are limited to Hosted Meal Rates
  • The purchase of alcoholic beverages with University administered funds is prohibited

Resources

Direct Billing at La Crosse Area Restaurants

Employee Relocation

The University may reimburse relocation and/or temporary lodging expenses for new and presently employed personnel assigned to new locations by transfer or promotion.  Approval to reimburse employee relocation expenditures must be obtained from the Dean or appropriate Division head.  Details and limitations for relocation expenses are outlined in the appointment agreement initiated by Human Resources. In accordance with IRS regulations, effective January 1, 2018, the reimbursement or payment of any relocation costs under this policy are considered taxable income and subject to applicable income and employment taxes.

Additional information on Moving and Relocation costs is available on the UW System  Administration policy webpage and on the UWL Business Services Policies & Procedures webpage.

COMMERCIAL CARRIERS - Contracted Vendors

UW System Financial Administration Contract Moving Vendors

  • Piepho Moving & Storage
  • Armstrong/Mayflower/United Van Lines

If you choose not to use a contracted vendor, you then must obtain three (3) quotes from vendors of your choice.  Reimbursement would then be allowed up to the lowest bid amount.

SELF MOVES - Relocating without a Commercial Carrier

Should the employee elect to relocate himself or herself, reimbursement for such a relocation is limited to the actual, reasonable, and necessary costs for any hired labor in loading and unloading the household goods and for the rental of trucks, trailers, containers, moving equipment, or other expenses directly related to the relocation. Neither the employee nor the employee’s spouse or dependents may be reimbursed for their labor. The reimbursement claim must be supported by original receipts. Estimates are not required from commercial carriers to support self moves.

Reimbursable & Non-Reimbursable Moving Costs

Reimbursable Moving Expenses Non-Reimbursable Moving Expenses 

Household Goods and Personal Effects such as:

*The stipend may be used to offset these expenses.

— Furniture

— Property for resale

— Cabinet/Closet contents

— Property not owned by the family

— Clothing

— Farm equipment

— Musical instruments

— Livestock

— Household appliances

— Trailers

— Food

— Boats over 14 feet

Direct Costs Associated with the Relocation of Household Goods (additional fees charged by the moving company on the bill of lading):

— Mileage or hauling/towing of additional vehicles (motorcycles, trucks, recreational vehicles and automobiles)

— Line Haul

— Building materials

— Fuel/Insurance Surcharge

— Items used in a personal business

— Seasonal Rate Adjustment

— Items that may be found in a household, but which the carrier cannot or will not allow to be placed in the moving van (i.e. pets, flammable items, caustic aerosols, spoilable items, plants, jewelry, frozen foods, etc.)

— Long Carry

— Swing sets, jungle gyms and other similar outdoor items

— Stairs

— Exclusive Use/Space Reservation/Expedited Service Charges

— Elevator

— Valuation/Additional insurance

— Piano/Organ Moving

— Extra pickup and/or delivery of household goods

— Extra Labor

— Warehouse handling

— Purchase of containers/packing materials

— Travel costs en route (meals, lodging, tolls, etc.)

— Ferry charges/Tolls

— Overtime loading/unloading as required by the customer

— Packing/Unpacking

— Weight and bulky article charges

 

— Third party services

 

— Storage for the convenience of the employee

 

— Other costs associated with the move, which could include pre-start visits and house-hunting costs

Students & non-employees

Travel arrangements for UWL students and non-employees can be coordinated through either a department Travel Coordinator or by utilizing UW onsite services.  Student and non-employee travel arrangements are subject to same UW travel policies, best business practices, and process standards as University employees.

Department Travel Coordinator

A department Travel Coordinator is a role in the online self-booking tool which allows the user to book travel on behalf of a student or non-employee.  

UW Agent Dedicated Team

To utilize our UW Agent dedicated team, the host department must first complete the Non-Employee Travel Request Form found on the UW TravelWIse site under Reservations - Onsite Services - Non-Employee Travel Request Form. The traveler will be contacted within 24 business hours by an agent for the UW Agent dedicated team.

Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Contact phone: 866-230-8787

Driving Personal Vehicle

Students who are required to drive on University sponsored business must be authorized to drive in accordance with UWSA Policy 615-Vehicle Use and Driver Authorization and follow university guidelines prior to using personal vehicles, rental vehicles, or fleet services. 

Note: In addition to receiving driver authorization, successful completion and certification of Van Training is required prior to renting 12-15 passenger vans.  Certification is required to be presented when renting a 12-15 passenger van.

Business mileage will be reimbursed at the IRS authorized mileage rate in effect on date of travel using the most direct route. 

Standard Rate

  • On/after 1/1/19: $0.58 per mile
  • Prior to 1/1/19: $0.545 per mile

Resources

How to Set-Up and Pay a Non-Employee

Travel authorization

How to Create Travel Authorizations in the Expense Module

Travel Authorizations may be used to obtain departmental pre-trip approval, according to current policies. Travel Authorization requests include estimated expenses such as airfare, lodging, meals, etc. For Meals and Incidentals, use the Lodging/Meal and Incidental Calculator for estimates. In the Travel Authorization, use expense type "Travel Miscellaneous" and enter the description "Meals & Incidentals." Then, enter the amount from the calculator.

Real ID

Real ID is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative in which new regulations have been placed upon states to ensure that IDs, such as drivers licenses, are federally certified.

What does it mean?

All Wisconsin ID holders who plan to use their ID for domestic airline travel are required to have a certified Wisconsin Real ID effective October 1, 2021.

Travelers can visit their local DMV and request their ID be Real ID certified either upon license renewal or by obtaining a duplicate ID prior to that meets Real ID standards.

Not a Wisconsin ID holder? Make sure you check the compliance status of your state. If your state is not yet compliant, prepare now for an alternative approved ID to travel domestically in the event your state does not receive an extension or become compliant.

Real ID UW System Updates

Real ID FAQs from the DHS website

Travel Restrictions

Fund 102 and Fund 131 resources cannot be used for any travel occurring during Fiscal Year 2021 due to UWL’s current financial uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

New Travel Agency Providers

As of July 1, 2020 the University of Wisconsin System has moved from a single travel agency service provider to three vendors, based upon the type of service required. Travel Incorporated will now be providing services for all individual employee travel. Please visit TravelWise for more detailed information on this change.

Travel Policy Changes

Effective July 1, 2020, these changes to the existing travel policies have been approved:

  • Lodging Policy now allows for usage of Airbnb, and full prepayment on lodging. Third Party Bookings are still restricted (such as Expedia and Orbitz). VRBO and Home Away are also not allowed.
  • Reimbursement is allowed for Passports (must have business purpose). Reimbursement for Real IDs is not an allowable expense.
  • Day trip meal allowance continues to be at $15/day, however if meal is provided, employees are now still eligible to claim the day trip allowance (to account for many travelers who have more than one meal during a “day trip” scenario).
  • Any expenses that fall outside the 90 day rules will be considered taxable income. This rule applies if employees do not submit or resubmit after 90 days.
  • Employees must resubmit an expense report that has been returned to them within 90 days of the return date.
  • Vehicle Rental Policy now allows up to “mid-size SUV” to be rented without approval or further explanation.

Meal & incidental expense per diem allowance

What is a Meal & Incidental Expense (M&IE) per diem allowance and how do I qualify to receive this? expanding section

Individual University business travelers are eligible to receive a meal & incidental expense (M&IE) per diem allowance whenever travel requires an overnight stay. The M&IE per diem allowance covers individual, out-of-pocket meals and defined incidental expenses.

What does the M&IE per diem allowance include? expanding section

The M&IE per diem allowance includes all meals as well as incidental expenses defined as:

  • Fees and tips given to restaurant wait staff, bell hops, porters, baggage handlers, hotel housekeeping, valet, service staff on trains or ships.
  • Transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken.
  • Laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing of clothing
  • Mailing and other expenses associated with filing expense reports
  • Bottled water (for international travel needs)
What if I’m only gone a portion of the day, do I get an M&IE per diem allowance? expanding section

Day trip travel without an overnight stay does not qualify for the M&IE per diem allowance.  If your day travel requires you to spend money for a meal(s), the approving authority may authorize a $15 day trip meal allowance.  This allowance is tax reportable to you.  If you receive any provided meals for a day trip you will not receive any day trip meal allowance.

Do I need to provide receipts for my M&IE per diem allowance? expanding section

The M&IE per diem allowance does not require receipts for payment.  Do not submit receipts to the University for M&IE per diem.  The I.R.S. does recommend that all business travelers retain receipts for any business travel expenses incurred for personal tax filing purposes.

Can I authorize less that the M&IE per diem allowance for the location? expanding section

No.  The reimbursement plan has been designed to fairly compensate all travelers. While the rate maximums apply to all, the supervisor or approving authority may limit a travelers overall trip budget.

I give my students meal money and have them sign a sheet, do I now pay them a M&IE per diem? expanding section

No.  A M&IE per diem allowance is only allowed for individual travelers that incur meal and incidentals expenses as a result of over-night travel, pay out-of-pocket and file for their own reimbursement.  If a student traveler does the above, they would file for their own M&IE per diem reimbursement.  If you continue to provide this for the student, they cannot.

When a University group leader provides money to students (or members of a team) for purchase of their own meal the expense limits fall under the same limit structure as Headquarter City and UW Sponsored Events.  The amount of meal money given should be reasonable and in keeping to the type of student activity/travel and meals being provided.

All meal expenses must be supported by itemized receipts.  In cases where meal money is given to students to purchase a meal on their own, the standard signature form, signed by the student to acknowledge the receipt of meal money, will be used in lieu of the restaurant receipt.

The maximum rates, including gratuity and tax, by location and meal expense type are:

Expense

Within Wisconsin

 Outside Wisconsin

Breakfast

$12

$15

Lunch

$18

$23

Dinner

$30

$37

Refreshments/Break

$10

$10

What if I’m hosting a meal for a guest, job interview candidate, student, or recruit? expanding section

An individual traveler’s personal meal & incidental expense (M&IE) per diem allowance cannot be used to pay for items related to University Sponsored Events or any other related business entertainment activity that includes meals, food or beverages whether the expense is incurred in travel status or at the headquarter location.

Meal limits, receipt requirements and other documentation for hosting expenses is part of the UW Headquarter City & Sponsored Events policy.  Please review the requirements.

Do we pay a M&IE per diem allowance to student or non-employees traveling for the University? expanding section

Yes, the M&IE per diem allowance is applicable to all individuals that travel for University purposes.

Headquarter city & UW sponsored events

I have a small food and beverage budget for a conference that I’m arranging do I have to use the new rate maximums? expanding section

No.  When making food and beverage arrangements you do not have to spend the maximum amount per meal. Let the food and beverage staff know what your budget is and request food and beverage options that align with your budget.  If you are accustomed to using a hotel’s “state rate menu” to stay within your budget, you can continue to request that.

If I take two students out for a meal how do I get reimbursed for this cost? expanding section

These type of meal expenditures are considered “hosted meals”.  Meal maximums and policy requirements for hosting a meal are the same as what is contained within the Headquarter City and UW Sponsored Events Policy.

All hosted meal expenses must be supported by a business purpose, itemized receipts and a list of attendees. The meal purchase(s) should be reasonable, need not be at the maximum amount, and in keeping with the type of student activity/travel and meals being provided.

The maximum rates, including gratuity and tax, by location and meal expense type are:

Expense

Within Wisconsin

 Outside Wisconsin

Breakfast

$12

$15

Lunch

$18

$23

Dinner

$30

$37

Refreshments/Break

$10

$10

University travel program changes

Do I have to use Concur to make lodging reservations? expanding section

Yes, effective February 1, 2017 all lodging reservations, local and otherwise, should be made within Concur.  Using Concur for reservations allows for discounts and amenities not offered when working directly with the hotel or lodging property.

Policy does not allow the use of online brokers or search sites like Hotels.com, Expedia, Kayak, Trivago, AirBnB, etc.  Travelers will not be reimbursed when using these third party sites.

What if I can find cheaper tickets on my own? expanding section

The University and contract travel management company, Fox World Travel, stand by the pricing received in the Concur and with Fox World Travel agents, ensuring the lowest possible price for your flight. University travelers have access to all travel supplier pricing in one application, making it efficient in selecting the lowest available fares that meet your business travel schedule.  Concur utilizes the same live pricing and availability offered by the airlines and that full-service travel agents use. University discounts are automatically applied to each reservation.

By contrast other internet booking sites do not use live data or update availability regularly, instead using cached, outdated information or tease fares that do not reflect the numerous changes to airfare or other travel supplier pricing and availability.  Access to live data is important as both pricing and availability change numerous times per day.

As the University’s travel management company partner, Fox World Travel is committed to assisting the University traveler in finding the lowest fares available that best meet the business needs.  To assure that the University is obtaining the lowest pricing from air carriers, including the University contract carrier partners, Fox routinely audits a random sampling of domestic and international reservations to compare the following:

  1. Rate and itinerary booked by users of Concur.
  2. Rate and itinerary booked by Fox agents.
  3. That all reservations were processed through Fox’s quality control process.

Compared with:

  1. Fares on the airline’s website.
  2. Fares on three public sites.

Based on these audits, Fox is confident in the ability to offer the lowest price tickets for their client base.  Fox stands behind this by offering the University a low fare guarantee process for individual ticket purchases.  Learn more about that process under procedures.

With over $45 Million in annual air spend, the University must make every effort to protect travel dollars from ever-escalating airline costs. The most effective way to do this is to consolidate volume to leverage University spend with the airlines to increase discounts as the program moves forward.  Effective July 1, 2015 travelers will not be reimbursed the cost of airline tickets purchased outside of the University’s program.

Travel Policy

I prefer to drive rather than fly, can I get paid mileage? expanding section

The university will pay for the most economical form of transportation to reach your business destination and return. That will often be by air for out of state business. If you elect to travel by car, that’s a personal choice and your reimbursement will be limited to the lowest cost. You will have to provide a cost comparison which includes airfare and all related air expenses (airport parking, taxi from airport to hotel and back, and mileage from home to airport and return), and car mileage and related costs (including additional work hours for travel time) for the travel to the destination and return. This cost comparison, including the additional work hours for travel time, must be discussed and approved by your supervisor prior to travel.

Note: The comparisons will need to be attached to your expense report to support the elective to drive vs. fly and expedite your reimbursement.

For more information see the process guidelines: Determining the Appropriate Mode of Transportation and 1201 Purchase & Payment of Business Air Travel

I need to drive my vehicle for business because I will be transporting equipment needed at my destination, how do I determine what I will be reimbursed? expanding section

There are a number of things to consider in this situation, for instance, can you pay to ship the equipment and travel by the lowest cost transportation option? Is it less costly to drive your personal vehicle and carry the equipment with you? Can you rent a car for less than the mileage cost for driving your own vehicle? The university will pay for the most economical form of transportation to reach your business destination and return, including the need to transport the equipment.

You will need to prepare a comparison of the various possible methods of transportation that will meet the need in determining lowest cost. You should then discuss options and cost with your supervisor as the approving authority has responsibility for determining the most appropriate mode of transportation.

For more information see the procedure: Determining the Appropriate Mode of Transportation