Finance / Audit and Property
TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY
Need for Policy:
Specific Ministry of Children and Youth Services policy directives restrict expenditures to their directives and require that agency policy comply with OPS (Ontario Public Service) standards. Agency policy therefore reflects and complies with these directives.
Employees and Board Members are entitled to reimbursement for travel and miscellaneous expenses incurred in the course of their work on behalf of the Agency.
The following principles will govern travel expense reimbursement practice at the Agency.
Expenses must be:
• agency related
• modest and appropriate
• strike a balance between economy, health and safety and efficiency of operations
The Agency assumes no obligation to reimburse expenses which do not comply with this policy. In the event of an overpayment of expense claims, such overpayment will be recovered promptly from the payee. Employees are obliged to familiarize themselves with this policy and to seek clarification from their managers if required. Managers are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and for taking remedial action if required.
Non-Reimbursable Items:• recreational purposes (e.g. video rentals, mini-bars)
• personal items
• traffic/parking violations
• alcoholic drinks
• expenses incurred on behalf of friends/family
Procedure and Policy Guide:
Original receipts (not photocopies) must be submitted with expense claims. Credit and debit card slips by themselves are not sufficient to support a claim for reimbursement.
Original receipts plus credit card slips, if applicable, obtained via the use of Agency credit cards must in all cases be submitted to accounting for reconciliation to the credit card statement.
Travel expense claims records will be retained in the same format and for the same time period as all agency accounts payable claims.
Time Limit for Claims
The Agency assumes no obligation to pay expenses submitted more than ninety (90) days after the date they are incurred. Exceptions will only be at the discretion of a Director or Executive Director.
Managers having responsibility for approving expense claims are responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy. Expense approval limits are as defined in the Agency’s designated signing authority policy.
Guidance on Exceptions
Requests for reimbursement should not be rejected solely because they arose from mistakes or misinterpretations of the requirements of this policy. Decisions whether to approve exceptional reimbursement must be reviewed on a case by case basis and approved by an employee’s Director or Executive Director. A decision to make an exception to a claim will be guided by the following principles:
• trust – use discretion and latitude to act in a fair and reasonable manner
• flexibility – management decisions respect the duty to accommodate, respond to persons’ needs and interests and to consider unforeseen circumstances
• stewardship – to ensure consistent, fair and equitable application of this policy giving consideration to all circumstances while maintaining the shared responsibility of wise and prudent use of Agency resources.
Where a Director decided to exercise discretion in making an exception and in order to ensure a proper record for audit purposes, the rationale for the exception must be documented and accompany the expense claim.
In general, the Agency does not extend travel advances. Where travel is expected to be of a longer duration (more than two days) a cash advance may be provided at the discretion of the Director of Finance and IT Services. Travel advances from petty cash or in amounts lower than $100.00 will not be provided. Exceptions may be made from time to time (agency to specify as needed).
Staff may participate in loyalty programs (i.e. frequent traveler programs) provided they select the most cost effective means of travel.
Approval of the Travel• Normal travel related to a direct service or other Agency business and within the Agency’s area of jurisdiction does not require prior approval – such claims are approved after incurrence. Normal Agency expense guidelines will govern reimbursement claims. This applies to travel within the Agency’s “geographical jurisdiction”.
• Travel outside of the Agency’s jurisdiction requires prior approval from an employee’s immediate supervisor. Normal Agency expense guidelines will govern reimbursement claims.
• Travel outside of Ontario (including locations defined by individual agencies under “geographical jurisdiction” requires prior approval from a Director or Executive Director. Normal agency expense guidelines will govern reimbursement claims.
• Travel outside of Canada (excluding locations defined by individual agencies under “geographical jurisdiction”, such as bordering U.S. locations requires prior approval from the Executive Director. A detailed proposed cost of travel will be inherent in the approval process but in no circumstances will expenses of a personal nature be reimbursed by the Agency.
A proposal for travel outside of Ontario and Canada must include a written rationale to demonstrate that the travel is critical to the organization’s priorities and documentation to demonstrate that the requested travel arrangements (i.e. transportation mode, accommodation, etc.) are cost effective, including a detailed itemization of all expenses that will need to be incurred.
Employees will not be reimbursed for the cost of privately arranged medical/health insurance for travel since coverage in the event of illness, injury or death is provided through the agency health insurance plan.
Only employees with valid drivers’ licenses are authorized to drive their own or other vehicles in the course of Agency business.
Personal vehicles used for Agency business must be insured at the vehicle owner’s expense for personal motor vehicle liability. Coverage should be equal to or greater than the minimum liability specified in the Insurance Act. Drivers must satisfy themselves whether their motor vehicle insurance coverage should include business use of their vehicles. The agency does not reimburse costs of business use coverage or collision and liability coverage.
The Agency assumes no financial responsibility for privately owned vehicles other than paying the kilometric rate when used for Agency business. The Agency is not responsible for reimbursing deductible amounts related to insurance coverage. Those driving a personal vehicle on Agency business cannot make claim to the Agency for damages as a result of a collision.
Accidents must be reported immediately to local law enforcement authorities, the rental care agency (if applicable), the automobile company (if using a personal vehicle) and the person’s immediate supervisor.
The size of the rental car is not to exceed a mid-size car. Upgrades to full-size cars are permitted if the rate charged does not exceed mid-size car rental rates. Exceptions are to be documented and approved in writing. In no case will luxury or sports car rentals be reimbursed.
The rental car must be refueled before returning it in order to avoid higher gasoline charges imposed by the rental care agency.
Employees may choose to use the 407 ETR route. ETR mileage rates will be reimbursed by the Agency either to the rental car company or to the employee provided appropriate documentation accompanies the expense claim.
Employees are to use the most economical means of travel. Example for any single day trip where the round trip distance is to exceed 240 kms employees must rent a vehicle. Failure to do so will result in personal assumption of cost for unpaid mileage. If the employee chooses to use their own vehicle when it is more economical to rent a vehicle the employee will receive an amount equivalent to the daily rental rate plus cost of fuel. Rental cars are to be arranged through the Agency’s preferred vendor.
Kilometre Reimbursements Rates for Personal Vehicle Use
Rates of reimbursement are pursuant to the Agency’s collective agreement for all staff, including non-bargaining unit.
Expense claims are to be submitted on the Agency’s approved form and must include the following:• case name/number or Purpose of Expense
• starting address
• ending address (or institution name)
• Km’s travelled
• date of travel
Staff may claim travel expenses from the employee’s permanent office location to the designated location of Agency staff planning day. In all cases, travel is reimbursed from the employee’s permanent location to their destination. Travel from home to location of work is only reimbursable if the result is a reduction in total km’s claimed (i.e. your home is closer to your destination then your permanent office location). In no case is travel from home to the employee’s permanent office location covered.
Where practical, local public transit/hotel shuttles must be used.
Where other means of travel are not available or practical, taxi travel will be reimbursed only with receipts.
Travel by rail (coach class) is permitted when this is the most practical and economical way to travel.
Travel by air is permitted when this is the most practical and economical way to travel. The standard is economy class. Travel in fare classes above economy will only be reimbursed at the economy class rate.
Other Travel Expenses
Reimbursement for hotel accommodation in the Agency’s geographiscal area will not normally be made. Exceptional or emergency situations may arise where personnel who reside out of town are required to remain the Agency’s jurisdiction overnight – for example, extended collective bargaining, large IT projects, etc. and these may be approved at the Manager’s discretion.
For any overnight accommodation, manager approval must be secured prior to the expenditure.
Reimbursement will be made for the equivalent of single accommodation in a standard room. Staff who use suites, executive floors or concierge levels will be reimbursed for the equivalent cost of single room accommodation at the same location.
For extended stays out of town at a single location, long term accommodation must be approved by a Director or Executive Director to take advantage of lower weekly or monthly rates. This may include the rental of a housekeeping facility.
Other Out of Pocket Expenses
Gratuities for meals, hotel room services and taxies will be reimbursed to a maximum of 15%, any amount above that is the personal responsibility of the employee. Likewise, reasonable expenses related to parking meters, bus tickets and subway token will be reimbursed.
Calls to Home
Reimbursement will be made for reasonable costs for necessary personal calls home for each night away. Whenever possible, cell phones should be used to minimize cost.
Additional Business Expenses
While travelling on Agency business, additional business expenses may be incurred not otherwise specifically contemplated in this policy. Such reasonable expenses such as business calls, air/rail phones, computer access charges, photocopying, fax expenses will be reimbursed with receipts.
Reasonable and appropriate meal expenses will be reimbursed subject to an employee’s Manager or Director approval, when employees are required to be away from his or her work location over a normal meal period.
Examples:• if a worker spends an entire day (9:00 a.m. to 4:p.m.) away from the office, the worker may claim the amount spent on lunch.
• if a worker is away for two days including travel, lunch and dinner on day one and breakfast and lunch on day two would be allowable.
Original, itemized receipts must be provided. Reimbursement must not exceed the amount actually spent (including taxes and gratituties) as validated by receipt.
Reimbursement of actual meal expenses that exceed the rates set out in this policy may be approved by managers if the reimbursement is consistent with the policy statement on page one of this document. Every claim for reimbursement must be accompanied by an original receipt and a written explanation with sufficient detail when the meal rate is exceeded.
No reimbursement will be made for meals consumed at home prior to departure or on return or for meals included in the cost of transportation, accommodation, seminars and/or conferences.
For a full day of meal claims (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner) employees have the discretion to allocate the daily total meal rate of $75.00 among meals with a suggested cap of $30.00 for any single meal.
Meal Expenses – Clients
We believe it is not wise to encourage the expectation that workers will always take a client (child or adult) out for a meal/snack when visiting and we do not encourage the practice. However, we recognize that there are circumstances where workers may purchase meals/coffee for clients. In cases where this is authorized by a Manager, these expenses will be reimbursed within the same limits as Meal Expenses, above. If a worker has a doubt about whether an expense is appropriate, they should consult their Manager prior to making the expenditures.
In every case where a worker takes a client to lunch, the claim for expense must be substantiated with a detailed receipt, client’s name (or case number) and rationale for the purpose.
Credit card purchases must be substantiated by detailed receipts provided to accounting for reconciliation of the credit care statement. A credit card slip is not deemed sufficient detail.
Refer to Credit Card Policy for more details.
Hospitality is the provision of food, beverages, accommodation, transportation or other amenities at Agency expense to persons who are not engaged in work for the Agency, except if for incentive and appreciation. Hospitality should be extended in an economical, consistent and appropriate way when it will facilitate Agency business or is considered desirable as a matter of courtesy. Hospitality expenditures should be consistent with the status of the guest(s), the number of persons attending and the business purpose to be achieved.
Where hospitality events are extended by the Agency and where guests include vendors or prospective vendors to the Agency, managers are responsible for obtaining prior approval to ensure that the hospitality provided does not give or is not perceived to give preferential treatment to any vendor.
Acceptance of hospitality from vendors, current or prospective, may constitute a conflict of interest and may therefore be disallowed. Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees are aware of their conflict of interest obligations.
Hosts must ensure that hospitality expense records indicate:
• the circumstances of the event (business purpose)
• the form of hospitality
• cost supported by receipts
• name and location of establishment
• names, titles and companies of attendees
• approvals by appropriate individuals in the Agency
Recipients of Hospitality
Gifts of appreciation may be accepted if token in nature, valued at up to $30.00. Gifts valued above $30.00 must be justified and approved by the Manager or Director of the recipient. In all cases where hospitality is provided to agency staff or board members, conflict of interest guidelines will prevail in determining whether such hospitality should be reasonably accepted. If in doubt, a worker should consult with his/her manager.
Responsibility of Claimants
In arranging travel, all claims must:
• consider alternatives to travel such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing and obtain approvals from appropriate authorities
• use service providers designated by the Agency where appropriate
• request and accept lowest common fare
• supply an itinerary to and notify their manager of any changes so that travelers may be contacted in an emergency
• cancel hotel bookings prior to 6:00 p.m. to avoid no-show charges
• submit all expense claims on a timely basis – expenses filed later that 90 days post incurrence will no longer be the Agency’s responsibility
• provide explanations for unusual expenses
• provide original receipts for all expense claims
• provide descriptions for all expenses claimed
Responsibility of Approvers• ensure that expenses are consistent with this policy
• determine and authorize when business travel is necessary
• ensure that travel arrangements are consistent with this policy
• consult with the employee to ensure travel arrangements accommodate both their needs and interests and the Agency’s travel policies
• ensure that appropriate receipts are provided to support expense claims
• ensure that unusual items are appropriately explained or proof is given for prior approval
• ensure the rationale for an exception is documented and accompanies the expense claim
• ensure that all workers are aware of conflict of interest guidelines.
August 19, 2009
Approved by the Board December 3, 2009