March 22, 2016

Based on your feedback, we're clarifying the university's travel policies in order to standardize how we process travel reimbursements. Understanding what's expected will help ensure a quick and easy reimbursement experience.

Policy clarifications: What is allowable?
In response to questions about what is allowable and what isn't when incurring travel expenses, we've expanded the list of Frequently Asked Questions and updated the Policy in a Nutshell page on the travel website. When getting ready for a business trip, we encourage you to review these pages before you go.

The list below highlights some of the recent travel policy clarifications.

  • Ancillary fees are allowed: Ancillary airline fees (e.g., checked baggage, seat assignment, etc.) that are typically considered an ordinary cost when flying will be reimbursed. For efficient reimbursement, be sure the fee is reasonable and justified.
  • Fees to change flights may be paid: If you need to change a flight, then include a notation on the reimbursement request explaining why the itinerary change was needed for business purposes.
  • All economy class airline seats are allowed: To standardize the reimbursement review, any airline seat class labeled "economy" or "coach" will be considered acceptable. No special documentation or approval will be needed. Tickets for first or business class will continue to require compliance with policy allowances. 
  • Emerging services are permitted: Services such as Uber or AirBnB are permitted as long as the costs are reasonable and not out of line with ordinary and customary comparable services.

It's important to remember that reimbursement for any expense requires the appropriate approvals in your division or department. For an overview of what you need to know and do as a traveler, check out the Traveler Responsibilities page on the travel website.

Change in the time allowed to submit reimbursement
Per UC Policy, expense reports should be submitted within 45 days after the end of the trip, or quarterly for trips lasting more than 90 days. This change to 45 days from 60 days is meant to benefit the traveler as well as the university, in order to improve the reimbursement turnaround time.

The T&E Team
travel.berkeley.edu