Table of Contents
The following travel rules, regulations, and procedures are applicable to all colleges, departments, offices, employees, and official guests of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) and are in agreement with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Travel Regulations.
1. Responsibility and Accountability for Travel Authorizations and Disbursement
State law assigns the approval for travel to the administrative head of the university. The chancellor has been authorized to designate individuals within the university to act as agents in performing these duties.
Prior approval on a Request for Authorization of Travel Expenses (TA) form from the employee’s departmental budget head and travel administrator is necessary prior to all travel. The employee will NOT be covered by the university’s travel insurance without an approved TA on file prior to the trip.
The employee is responsible for completing travel documents, including the TA, TR-1, W-9 from the conference for prepayment of registration fees, if applicable, required supporting documentation, and written justification for travel exceptions. The employee is also responsible for securing required signatures for travel and reimbursement approval.
Travel administrators (deans or vice chancellors) are responsible for approving travel for official business by approving the TA. The travel administrator must be aware of the actual cost for employees to attend seminars, meetings, and training institutes. They should be familiar with reasonable travel costs, state regulations, and the university’s travel policy. They should also be aware of meals or other expenses that are included in the registration fee. In addition, the travel administrator is responsible for ensuring that the employee is duly licensed in accordance with the requirements of all applicable state laws and has completed the required forms authorizing the operation of a state vehicle and the release to obtain his or her traffic violation record.
The travel supervisor in Procurement Services is the individual responsible for approving and processing the TA as well as verifying that the TA is in compliance with state regulations and university travel policies.
The travel supervisor in Accounts Payable is the individual responsible for approving and processing the Travel Expense Reimbursement/Reconciliation (TR-1) form, verifying that all payments to the employee are in compliance with state regulations and university travel policies, and that required receipts and documentation are furnished.
2. Standard Reimbursement for UA Little Rock Employees
University employees may be paid travel expenses when required to travel away from their official station on state business. Official station is the geographic location or address where the employee normally reports for duty and/or spends the majority of his or her productive time and must be designated as such in writing by the employer. (See Policy 309.2 – Travel and Employee Work Location – Official Station) An employee’s residence shall be the city or town in which the individual has an adobe or dwelling place. An employee whose resident city is a location other than his or her official station shall not be allowed mileage to travel between them except as provided for in section 3, Special Travel Authorizations, below.
All employee travel reimbursement claims must be completed for payment to the individual employee. One employee may not include on his travel payment request the expenses of another employee.
No expenses for meals will be allowed within the city or town of the employee’s official station unless special authorization is given by the department head or vice chancellor. Under no circumstances should the maximum daily federal per diem rates for meals be exceeded. The travel administrator may give written approval for all other travel related requests. The special authorization must show a benefit to the state, not a convenience for the employee.
Limits for Meals and Lodging
Travel reimbursement is NOT a per diem, and is to be claimed for ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR MEALS AND LODGING NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE RATES. The sales tax amount must be stated on TR-1 forms for lodging. The maximum allowance for meals INCLUDES taxes and up to 15% tip reimbursement as provided by Arkansas law. Lodging rates EXCLUDE room tax and should be exceeded only by the room tax amount unless special authorization is given in writing by the travel administrator justifying the need to exceed the standard reimbursement rate. Requests to reimburse for meals without an overnight stay must be pursuant to section 3, Special Travel Authorizations, below.
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) sets federal per diem rates for meals and lodging. Visit gsa.gov for all rates pertinent to travel.
Meal reimbursement is allowed only in connection with overnight travel, whether in state or out of state, unless special authorization is given pursuant to section 3 below. Special authorization should be limited to those rare occasions where, for example, an employee is asked to perform unanticipated duties outside of his or her normal work schedule that are official in nature. Travel, whether in state or out of state, should never be the only consideration when justifying the need for special authorization. The justification for special authorization must show the benefit to the state. The maximum full day meal allowance, including sales tax and up to 15% gratuity, cannot exceed the federal per diem rate depending on the destination location.
The employee is only eligible for 75% of the daily allowance for meals on the first and last day of travel. If travel covers a two day period, then meal reimbursement is up to 75% of the daily allowance for each day. For partial days, meals must be charged in proportion to the time in travel status. Under no circumstances may the total of meals exceed 75% for the first and last days of travel. Meals may not exceed the maximum for applicable meals per GSA federal guidelines (meals and incidental expenses).
Meals Included in Conference Registration
Meal reimbursement requests must be reduced for meals provided as part of the conference registration by deducting the appropriate amount as shown under the Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) breakdown at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877.
Allowances may be made in writing to allow the traveler to claim meal reimbursement if any of the conditions below are met:
- The traveler is unable to consume the meal provided because of medical requirements or religious beliefs.
- The traveler purchased substitute meal(s) in order to satisfy their medical requirements or religious beliefs.
- The traveler was unable to take part in the provided meal due to the conflict of official business.
Meals provided by a common carrier or a complementary meal provided by a hotel/motel does not affect the maximum meal allowance per the Federal Travel Directory.
Reimbursement for lodging is limited to the single room rate. If a room is occupied by more than one person, the single room rate must be noted on the receipt. The maximum daily allowance will be limited to the federal per diem rate depending on the location for both in state and out of state travel. Room taxes are not included in the federal per diem rate and may be claimed for reimbursement.
The maximum reimbursement allowance for lodging may be exceeded only if the employee provides justification in the special authorization section of the TA form and signed by the appropriate travel administrator. The reasons for exceeding the maximum lodging rate must be clearly stated in the special authorization section. For example, if a conference is held at a hotel where a block of rooms are offered to conference attendees for either a reduced group rate or government rate in excess of the maximum lodging per diem for that city/area, the travel administrator may authorize payment with written justification as to the benefit of the state.
Travel may be achieved by plane, train, bus, taxi, private vehicle/aircraft, rented or state-owned automobile; whichever method serves the requirements of the state most economically and advantageously.
Reimbursement for out-of-state travel will be the lesser of coach class airfare or the established rate of private care mileage, based on map mileage (whether paper-based or electronic) when driven. Mileage is measured from the official station to the destination, or the distance from the residence to the destination, whichever is less. Allowable mileage is determined by consulting randmcnally.com. Employees may also contact Accounts Payable (501.569.3318) to obtain the maximum map mileage.
Employees by commercial air shall utilize coach accommodations, except in those instances where first class accommodations would be more economical for the state. Instances where first class fare is utilized will require detailed justification and must be approved by the travel administrator. Commercial airline tickets should be purchased at least 14 days prior to travel, if possible. Airline tickets purchased with less than a 14-day advance shall be explained in writing to the department head or vice chancellor and approved by him or her in writing prior to purchase.
Changes to flight schedules that result in ticket change fees must be for a business reason and receive prior approval of the employee’s immediate supervisor. Unauthorized ticket change fees incurred for the convenience of the employee are the personal responsibility of the employee and will not be reimbursed.
The university will pay or reimburse the employee for checked baggage fees for the first bag only. Fees for additional bags and all other optional services (preferred seating, early bird check-in, extra baggage fees, etc.) must be paid by the employee and are not eligible for reimbursement.
The minimum miles traveled per day to be eligible to collect a night’s lodging is 400 miles. The requirement to travel a minimum of 400 miles daily has no effect on in-state travel nor does it affect travel outside the state where the destination is less than 400 miles from the employee’s official station. It addresses the period of time the employee spends en-route or in travel status reaching the destination.
Reimbursement for Use of Privately Owned Vehicle
Private vehicle mileage shall be reimbursed and computed, using map mileage (whether paper-based or electronic), between the travel site destination and the employee’s official station or residence, if leaving directly from the residence, whichever is less. Mileage reimbursement for official use of a private motor vehicle may be claimed, listed separately on the TR-1, within the vicinity of any locale.
When privately owned motor vehicles are used for travel on official business, the employee may claim reimbursement at the rate per mile established by the Office of State Procurement in effect during the time the travel occurred. The shortest major highway route (map mileage whether paper-based or electronic), will determine the maximum mileage allowed.
The university will reimburse for official miles driven only. The university assumes no responsibility for any maintenance, insurance, operational costs, accidents, or fines incurred by the operator of the vehicle while on official business for the university.
When a privately owned aircraft is used for travel on university business, the rate of reimbursement will be in nautical miles at the rate as established by the chief fiscal officer of the state, during the time the travel occurred.
Use of Travel Agencies
Travel agencies may be used to obtain transportation, lodging, and related travel expenses. Contact Procurement Services at 501.569.3144 for a list of approved travel agencies.
Incidentals are specifically defined and provided for and must be listed separately and explained on the TR-1 form. Only one personal baggage fee is allowed to be reimbursed. Transportation or storage for articles used in presentations or official business of the university and standards for handling baggage (other than personal baggage) are allowable expense items if identified as such. Parking fees for parking a state-owned, leased, or privately-owned vehicle are reimbursable on the TR-1. Valet parking may be reimbursed only if the employee provides written justification that valet parking was the only option available. Telephone calls for official university business while in travel status are reimbursable. Finally, taxi fee reimbursement shall be limited to official business only. Original receipts are required for all incidental expenses and must be attached to the TR-1.
Miscellaneous expenses, whether or not directly connected with travel (such as postage, small emergency supplies, etc.) may be allowed with adequate justification when necessary to the performance of official duties. Original receipts are required.
Items Not Reimbursable
Expenses for personal entertainment, flowers, laundry, alcoholic beverages, cleaning, movies, or other similar services are not reimbursable. Communication expenses shall be allowed only when necessary for the transaction of official business and properly receipted.
Tips are only for wait staff at full service food establishments; tips to delivery drivers and taxi or shuttle operators are not allowed.
Expenses for rental of space, decorations, entertainment, or other arrangements in connection with banquets held solely for the benefit of employees are not reimbursable.
Petty cash funds cannot be used to make travel advances or reimbursements. If a department has a petty cash fund, incidental expenses incurred by the employee such as postage and procurement of minor supplies essential to the performance of state business may be reimbursed from petty cash funds upon presentation of proper receipts. If the agency has no petty cash funds, such items may be reimbursed using the TR-1 form with proper and sufficient documentation.
3. Special Travel Authorizations
Occasionally it may become necessary for an employee to perform unanticipated duties outside the normal work schedule. In the event that such duties require the employee to commute from his or her residence to the place of performance of the duties and back via privately owned vehicle, the employee may be paid mileage reimbursement. A written statement signed by the employee’s supervisor shall be retained in the file, attached to the applicable TR-1 form, stating that the time worked was authorized, and the reasons the time worked and travel authorized, and the consequences had the duty not been performed is required.
In accordance with Arkansas law, the cost of meals, lodging, mileage, and incidental expenses of state employees who are designated by his or her supervisor to attend official or special board meetings or other functions recognized as being in the performance of their official duties, regardless of the location of such functions in relationship to the official station, may be paid either as reimbursement to the employee or on direct billing, subject to approval of the department head or travel administrator, depending on the travel expense. A written justification showing the benefit to the state must be provided in those instances. Examples of situations in which written justification would be necessary are when reimbursement for meals without overnight travel and/or hotel reimbursement are requested by the employee. The justification memo should be included in the documentation (attached to the TR-1 form) kept on file for the reimbursement or payment of such expenses.
4. Expenses for Non-State Employees
Volunteers, Non-State Employees, and Official Guests
A volunteer, non-state employee, or an official guest of the state, whose activities or services benefit the state, may be allowed reimbursement for actual expenses for meals, lodging, transportation and incidental expenses when submitted on a TR-1. Travel reimbursement for these individuals may be approved with a written explanation of the activities by the department head or associate vice chancellor. It is the responsibility of the travel administrator to ensure these individuals are not being reimbursed from any other source for their travel expenses.
Under Arkansas law, state agencies or institutions utilizing the services of volunteer workers, who perform duties similar to state employees, are authorized to enforce internal travel policies that are more restrictive than those established by the chief fiscal officer of the state. Volunteers may utilize agency vehicles in the performance of their duties provided they are duly licensed in accordance with the requirements of all applicable state laws and have completed the required forms authorizing the operation of a state vehicle and the release to obtain his or her traffic violation record.
A department head or designee may be reimbursed for his or her expenses for the purchase of meals for official guests. If no travel is involved, the department head or designee may be reimbursed for the purchase of meals for official guests and other employee attendees, if applicable, by submitting an approved Special Meeting Form and Reimbursement Claim Form to Procurement Services. When seeking reimbursement on a Reimbursement Claim Form, the meal for the official guest must be itemized separately from state employees, as federal per diem rates do not apply to guests. The expenses(s) may be claimed as an incidental expense, and a letter of explanation must be attached to the TR-1 stating how the person for whom the expenditure was made benefited the university in his or her visit.
Expenses of Students and Student Group Travel
In accordance with Arkansas law, state supported institutions of higher education may provide travel expenses for a group or number of students who, when accompanied by those who instruct the students in the fundamentals of a competitive sport and direct team strategy, must travel and be recognized as a cohesive unit representing not only their institution, but exemplifying the State of Arkansas in their behavior, attitudes, interests, presentation, and conduct. In these circumstances the payment of group travel expenses, including those of students and employees, may be authorized as follows:
Meals and lodging, transportation, entertainment, within reasonable limits, to ease the pressure on students of their objectives; costs of group activities, including gratuities, laundry, cleaning, and favors; and other personal expenses to be paid from auxiliary funds not inconsistent with standards, rules, regulations, or prohibitions established by recognized national or state governing associations pertaining to the respective students and employees and the institutions they are representing.
If a UA Little Rock employee will be responsible for expenses of the student group travel, two (2) TAs must be completed (and two TR-1s for reimbursement), one for the supervising UA Little Rock employee and one for the students. Both TAs (and TR-1s) will be in the name of the employee; however, a list of students participating must be attached to the “student TA.” When cash is distributed to the students in the group, the supervising UA Little Rock employee must provide a list of the students’ names, signatures, and the amounts of the cash advance. Student travel expenses for transportation and lodging may be direct billed using a travel card.
Contact Procurement Services at 501.569.3144 for additional procedures regarding group travel, prior to the trip.
5. Direct Billing of Expenses
Travel expenses for lodging, commercial transportation (airfare, bus, rail, rental vehicles, and taxi/shuttle), baggage fees (limited to one personal bag), parking charges, and conference registration may be direct billed to the university using the Central Travel Service Account (CTS) or Travel Card (T-Card).
Meals are not a qualified expense allowed on any travel credit card issued by the State of Arkansas for an individual employee. Exemptions to the policy are granted in special circumstances prior to travel and require a letter of justification. Meal expenses and exemptions to the policy for group student travel must also be pre-approved through Procurement Services.
When expenses are direct billed to the university, the employee shall obtain and attach to the TR-1 receipts which detail the expense charged (airline ticket; itemized hotel bill; vehicle rental documentation; registration confirmation; and parking, baggage fee, or shuttle/taxi receipts), whether or not the employee paid (out-of-pocket) some of the expenses for the trip. Valet parking may be reimbursed only if the employee provides written justification that valet parking was the only option available.
6. Rental Vehicles
Car rental shall be limited to official business only and shall be allowed only for those when this mode of travel is more economical than taxi, airport shuttle, etc. Special authorization must be obtained on the TA with an explanation of why the rental car is more economical. Further, the employee must use the statewide vehicle rental contract, if one is in force. If a statewide contract is not in force when travel occurs, the employee must rent a vehicle from a company with the lowest available rates. Click HERE for additional car rental information.
Reimbursement for a rental car shall only be if it was used on official business. Any portion of car rental expense that is determined to be personal in nature will be the responsibility of the employee and the university will not reimburse the employee for such expenses.
The travel administrator must provide justification and sign the Request for Special Authorization box on the TA before reimbursement for a rental car will be made.
7. Travel by University Vehicle – Motor Pool
The university maintains a fleet of vehicles for use by faculty and staff traveling on official business. Requests for a university vehicle should be made to Facilities Management at 501.569.3390. See UA Little Rock Policy 304.1 – University Vehicles for procedures on renting a vehicle from the motor pool. Additional motor pool information is available HERE.
8. Travel Advance
A travel advance is a convenience for the employee and not a requirement of the university. Departments are encouraged to apply for a travel card. An employee may not obtain a travel advance for expenses that could have been prepaid or charged on a travel card.
Travel advances may be made in amounts not to exceed 50% of the total anticipated eligible travel expenses, not including those expenses that are direct billed to the agency or charged on a university travel card. The minimum travel advance is $100.
Travel advances for student/client/group activities as defined by A.C.A. §19-4-904(d) may be made for 90% of the anticipated eligible expenses that are not to be direct billed to the university, with approval by the associate vice chancellor for finance.
A travel advance is obtained by completing a TA and checking “yes” for a cash advance. Please submit the TA to Procurement Services at least ten (10) days in advance of the trip so they have time to process it and return an approved copy to the employee. It is the responsibility of the employee to submit a copy of the approved TA to the Cashier’s Office three (3) working days prior to travel, to allow adequate time for the travel advance to be prepared. The employee will be notified when the travel advance check is available for pickup. He or she must personally pick up the check from the Cashier’s Office and sign a Travel Advance Agreement.
Within five (5) working days after the employee returns to his or her official station, the employee must complete a TR-1 and submit it to Accounts Payable. The employee will be reimbursed for the total amount claimed and approved less the travel advance. In the event the employee owes any portion of the advance back to the university, it must be paid within five (5) working days after return from the trip.
Failure to submit the TR-1 in a timely manner may result in the employee being permanently barred from receiving a travel advance. Further, the university reserves the right to withhold any unpaid travel advance from the employee’s salary if the advance balance is not cleared within five (5) working days after return from the trip. If the employee is no longer employed by the university and the travel advance has not been repaid by the borrower, the debt will be subject to collections by an outside agency.
Information regarding travel advances is also located on the Bursar’s website, HERE.
9. Travel Reimbursements (TR-1)
Employee requesting a travel reimbursement must complete a TR-1 form. All forms must be prepared electronically, typewritten, or in ink, and submitted to Accounts Payable with original, itemized receipts attached. Primary responsibility for authenticating travel reimbursement claims rests with the administrative head of the department, dean, or vice chancellor.
The following shall apply to requests for travel reimbursement:
- Payment will be made only to the employee. An employee may not include on his or her TR-1 the expenses of another employee traveling in his or her company.
- Reimbursement is not “per diem” and is to be claimed for actual expenses for meals and lodging only, not to exceed the maximum allowable rates. The maximum allowance for meals includes taxes and up to a 15% tip reimbursement.
- If there is no special travel authorization, travel allowances prescribed by the State of Arkansas will be observed, without waiver, for both in- and out-of-state travel.
- Reimbursement may not be claimed for meals, lodging, or any items provided free of charge for individuals or organizations.
- Meals included in a registration fee payment are not reimbursable as a part of the per diem rate.
- Reimbursement may not be made for lodging in a private home.
- No expenses for meals or lodging may be allowed within the city or town of the employee’s official station except where allowed in these rules, regulations, and procedures.
- Original, itemized receipts are required for lodging, registration fees, rental cards, parking, phone calls, taxis, shuttles, and commercial travel. This includes all expenses that were not paid by the employee that were paid by travel card, direct billed, or prepaid.
- Original, itemized receipts must be submitted for all miscellaneous expense items.
- In no case will handwritten receipts be accepted as an official receipt. A Missing Document Affidavit must be submitted for all missing receipts in order to be considered for reimbursement. In addition, if an original receipt is not available and a copy is being submitted, it must be submitted with a Missing Document Affidavit.
10. Official Functions
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has adopted policy 205.1 Official Functions, which defines official functions and their appropriate expenditures for qualified events. The expenditure of funds for official functions must follow state accounting procedures, state purchasing laws, and the UA Little Rock travel policy. Procedures that should be followed to receive payment or reimbursement for expenses for official functions are located HERE.