- 1 Policy Statement
- 2 Procedures
- 2.1 Approval
- 2.2 Financial assistance
- 2.3 Booking procedures
- 2.4 University travel provider
- 2.5 Air travel
- 2.6 Surface travel
- 2.7 Accommodation
- 2.8 Meals and incidentals
- 2.9 Travel diaries
- 2.10 Unused tickets
- 2.11 Hospitality
- 2.12 Accompanying relatives
- 2.13 Airport lounge membership and frequent flyer schemes
- 2.14 False claims
- 2.15 Insurance
- 2.16 Accountable advances – International travel
- 2.17 Passports and visas
- 2.18 Immunisations and other health/medical considerations
- 2.19 Reporting
- 3 Other Policy Information
The University may pay reasonable expenses for travel associated with professional development such as conferences, seminars, workshops, and other similar activities which are not part of directed duties.
(Approved by Council December, 1998)
USQ employees seeking approval and/or contribution toward payment of expenses associated with assisted travel must apply through the Office of Corporate Travel using the University Assisted Travel Request Form available from the Corporate Travel Office. The Corporate Travel Office is to maintain all approved forms for record keeping purposes.
All travel (including conference registration where applicable) must be approved by the relevant delegate prior to being booked or undertaken.
USQ employees seeking approval and/or contribution toward payment of expenses associated with assisted travel must apply using the University Assisted Travel Request Form* which will be issued by the Corporate Travel Office and will contain the following details:
The name of the employee, faculty/section and employee identification number;
The purpose of the travel, including locations to be visited. A brochure or similar document, if one is available, is to be attached;
The departure and return dates, and the dates of arrival at and departure from the places to be visited;
The total days absent from the University and the total working days absent.
The details of personal involvement in the activity (eg presentation of paper, chair of session, member of organising committee etc);
Outcomes and expected benefits to USQ of the travel;
The estimated total cost of the travel excluding salary and related costs, and the amount of each form of assistance requested. This estimate requires a quotation from USQ's travel services provider (obtained by the Office of Corporate Travel) and should be a reasonable indication of the total costs that USQ will incur (including airfares/surface travel, accommodation, registration fees and other associated costs), including, if applicable, an evaluation of any Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) implications of the travel calculated by Financial Services;
A complete and detailed proposed itinerary for each day of absence including exact location (ie. accommodation/hotel name and address), contact telephone number, proposed activity and duration (using the Travel Itinerary template available from the Office of Corporate Travel);
A statement indicating the known existence of any relevant health/medical conditions which may impact the travel; and
For overseas travel, a current travel advisory (available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) relating to the destination country.
* University Assisted Travel Request Form may also include University 1 Day Travel Request Form.
Employees must forward the completed forms to their supervisor for their assessment and recommendation to the relevant delegate. The relevant delegate, after thorough assessment of the assisted travel application and benefit(s) to the University, will provide:
A declaration of support or otherwise for the travel.
A declaration of the type and amount of assistance to be provided if approved (refer 2.2); and
A declaration that funds to meet the costs are available within budget limits.
are responsible for assessment and approval of assisted domestic travel applications within local/regional areas, with the exception of the travel circumstances relating to externally funded grants below. ‘Local/regional' areas include all travel undertaken within a 600 kilometre radius of the USQ campus.
are responsible for assessment and approval of all assisted domestic travel applications within Australia (beyond local/regional areas), and all assisted international travel applications, with the exception of the travel circumstances relating to externally funded grants below.
Category 3 Delegates and above are not required to obtain approval of their completed University Assisted Travel Request form for assisted domestic travel in instances where funds for such travel are to be expensed against the faculty/section's own budget. However, such employees are expected to provide advice of the travel to their relevant delegate at least one week prior to departure for purposes of communication and efficient practice.
In assessing the travel, the relevant delegate must ensure that the travel contributes to the objectives of efficient, effective and economical university operations within funding limitations and criteria set within individual Faculties and Sections, and that estimated costs indicated comply with USQ's approved travel allowances.
In assessing the travel, the relevant delegate must also give due consideration to the potential health and safety risks which may be incurred by the employee through undertaking the travel.
USQ will not approve an application for an employee to undertake assisted travel in an overseas country which is subject to an official Level 5 warning 'NOT TO TRAVEL' issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (prior to departure)
Where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued an official Level 4 warning to ‘RECONSIDER THE NEED TO TRAVEL' to an overseas location, USQ will not normally approve an application for an employee to undertake assisted travel in this region. However, in exceptional circumstances only, essential travel to such a location may be assessed and approved on a case by case basis by the Vice-Chancellor.
For academic employees attending technical conferences or relevant academic meetings/fora where the funds for such travel are to be expensed wholly against an externally funded grant for which the academic is a Chief Investigator (ie the recipient who ‘won' the grant):
The Director, Office of Research and Higher Degrees is responsible for assessment of the University Assisted Travel Request Form to confirm that sufficient funds remain and that the conditions of the grant allow the proposed expenditure;
The relevant delegate* from the employee's faculty/section assesses and approves absence for other work and time commitment purposes; and
No other approval is required regardless of whether the travel is domestic or international.
*For Research Only staff, approval should be given by the Centre Director for centre staff, and Head of Discipline/Department for non-centre staff as the Dean determines.
All faculties/sections of USQ are encouraged to constrain the levels of funding provided for this form of travel. Eligibility criteria and funding limits are established within each individual Faculty or Section. Faculties/sections are required to develop and disseminate to employees within their area, their own procedures for allocation of funds for applications for conference and assisted travel.
The relevant delegate must take into consideration the relevance of the travel to the employee's employment, and the level of involvement in activities such as presentation of conference papers in determining the amount of assistance given.
The level of financial assistance is determined in accordance with the funding limits and criteria set within the individual Faculty/Section. However, the relevant delegate will not approve assistance to individual employees in any one instance which exceeds:
financial assistance for air or surface travel up to the cost of the most economical airfare (obtained by the Office of Corporate Travel from the USQ travel services provider);
financial assistance up to the full registration costs of the conference (including accommodation and meals where these are included in the conference registration costs); and
The relevant delegate may elect to approve any one part or all of the forms of assistance in 2.2, or may approve ‘absence only' and not provide any form of financial assistance.
With prior approval of the relevant delegate, an employee may include an element of private travel with their assisted travel. The Office of Corporate Travel will not normally re-arrange destinations to accommodate the private portion of travel. USQ must not incur any additional costs associated with the inclusion of this element of private travel. If an element of private travel results in additional costs to USQ, the employee must repay to USQ an amount equal to the private element, inclusive of GST, to ensure that no Fringe Benefits Tax liability arises. This repayment must be made prior to the travel being undertaken.
The element of private travel must be supported by a completed absence request in Employee Self Service (ESS) in accordance with USQ Human Resource Policy and or Faculty/Department Policy.
Where the relevant delegate has approved the inclusion of an element of private travel, the Office of Corporate Travel will obtain an evaluation of the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) implications from Financial Services prior to approval of financial assistance. In assessing the FBT implications the entire proposed itinerary including the primary purpose of the trip will be evaluated. If the business, education or training benefits to the University are considered to be merely incidental to the element of private travel, only those expenses directly related to the business portion of the travel will be allowable. In such circumstances, the cost of airfares and similar expenses will need to be apportioned based on the percentage of business travel to private travel. Each travel will be assessed on a case by case basis, however the apportionment will normally be the number of days of business activities over total numbers of days absent, excluding commencing and concluding travelling days.
In exceptional circumstances (ie where actual travel itineraries differ substantially from the original proposed itinerary), the employee may be required to reimburse USQ an additional amount upon return from travel due to FBT implications. The outstanding amount may be recovered from the recipient's:
acquittal of expenses; or
fourth pay after the completion of the travel; whichever is the earlier.
The employee will contact the Office of Corporate Travel to coordinate and confirm the details of the travel arrangements.
The Office of Corporate Travel will arrange the required bookings through USQ's travel services provider and will supply an itinerary, and if necessary, tickets to the person travelling.
Employees must use USQ's nominated travel provider (currently World Travel Professionals).
The use of USQ's appointed travel services provider is mandatory for arranging all travel services required in accordance with this policy. These services include airline and coach, airport transfer services, train, hire vehicle and accommodation bookings from suppliers external to USQ.
The only exception to this requirement is if a quotation provided by USQ's appointed travel services provider is less favourable than a non-commissionable tariff available when a direct booking charged to Amex may be made (eg a conference and accommodation package).
USQ encourages the use of credit cards sponsored by the University of Southern Queensland.
The normal mode of travel will be discounted Economy Class airfares. As these fares usually involve advance purchase, it is essential that travel arrangements be made as early as practicable after the identification of the need for the travel.
Members of the University's Vice-Chancellor's Committee may travel Premium Economy Class, or where this class of travel is not available, may travel Business Class on conference and other assisted international travel. Travellers may request this class of travel at their discretion after a thorough consideration of costs, travel times and work commitments with the aim of ensuring that the class of travel contributes to the objectives of efficient, effective and economical university operations within budget limitations.
The Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor may travel Business Class at all times.
The Category 3 Delegate or above may, in exceptional circumstances, authorise Business Class air travel for assisted international travel for employees other than those covered above. Business Class travel may be approved if the total journey by the most direct route, including connections, involves 12 hours of travel or more (from the time of departure from Australia) and the employee is required to represent USQ on official business or deliver a conference paper within 24 hours of the completion of that journey.
USQ encourages employees to use scheduled transport services whenever these are available and practicable. These include coaches and airport transfer services. Where such scheduled transport services are available, but are not utilised by the employee, employees may be paid a taxable allowance only to the equivalent cost of such services. This payment will be subject to PAYG taxation instalment deductions and the University will report these payments on the employee's Payment Summary.
The relevant delegate may approve the use of a USQ vehicle or other mode of transport (eg hire vehicle or taxi) if it is impracticable to use a scheduled transport service.
USQ employees may only seek approval to use a private vehicle for assisted travel in exceptional cases where:
Scheduled public transport is not available, or the relevant delegate deems scheduled public transport to be unsuitable or inappropriate;
A USQ vehicle is not available, or the relevant delegate deems a USQ vehicle to be unsuitable or inappropriate; and
A hire vehicle or taxi is not available, or the approving delegate deems a hire vehicle or taxi to be unsuitable or inappropriate.
If the relevant delegate approves travel by a privately owned vehicle, a statement in writing must be provided by the employee detailing the circumstances necessitating the use of the private vehicle. This statement must be made on the University Assisted Travel Request Form, or alternatively, as an email attached to the request form. Where an employee seeks approval to use a private vehicle, evidence of comprehensive insurance, current registration and driver's licence will be required to be produced and details recorded on the University Assisted Travel Request form before approval is given by the relevant delegate.
Employees who use their private vehicles are responsible for any damage whatsoever that might occur to the vehicle during this use. USQ employees should be aware that if their private vehicles are used, the vehicles will not be covered under USQ insurance, and that their compulsory third party or comprehensive insurance insurances may not cover the use of their vehicles for business purposes. Employees are advised to check with their insurance company. In many cases insurance companies will issue cover notes for such purposes at no extra cost.
Subject to the limitations in point one of 2.6, USQ employees may claim reimbursement for travel by private vehicle in the form of a mileage allowance not exceeding the rates stated in Schedule 1, but may be a lesser amount determined by the delegate. These payments will be subject to PAYG taxation instalment deductions. The University will report these payments on the employee's Payment Summary.
If two or more USQ employees travel in the same vehicle only one may claim the allowance.
USQ will normally pay directly for all accommodation. The Corporate Travel Office will book all accommodation through USQ's travel services provider, if possible, or failing this directly with the accommodation provider.
USQ does not pay accommodation allowances.
Employees must use USQ's preferred suppliers of accommodation and other travel related services where these have been identified by the University. In choosing accommodation its location with respect to the business activity venue, the cost of transport between these locations, travelling times involved, and employee safety and security issues must be considered.
In assessing the cost of accommodation for domestic travel, the relevant delegate must take into account the rates considered reasonable by the Australian Taxation Office (at the first salary level) and listed in Schedule 1, and will approve tariffs exceeding those listed in exceptional circumstances only.
For overseas travel, the University will pay for actual expenses incurred for overseas accommodation. The amount to be paid must not be excessive. Factors that need to be considered by the Category 3 Delegate or above in assessing the cost of accommodation for overseas travel include:
Nature of the country/city;
Advantageous network opportunities that are obtained from staying in a particular hotel/motel;
Employee safety and security considerations;
Convenience of location; and
Foreign exchange movements.
Employees who stay with friends or family at no cost are not entitled to any financial assistance towards accommodation.
USQ does not pay meal and incidental allowances nor provide reimbursement of expenses for meals and incidentals for employees undertaking assisted travel, with the exception of the travel circumstances relating to externally funded grants in 2.1.1.
Where an employee is undertaking travel in accordance with the circumstances in 2.1.1, the provisions of the Directed Travel Policy, sections 2.1.7 and 2.1.17 apply for domestic assisted travel, and sections 2.2.7 and 2.2.18 apply for international assisted travel in relation to meal and incidental allowances.
A Travel Diary is a diary or similar document in which an employee records detail of each business activity engaged in while undertaking travel. Diary entries must contain sufficient details to give a reasonable guide as to the extent to which the trip was undertaken for business purposes and must give enough detail to relate that activity to the employee's job.
An employee must properly complete a Travel Diary where financial assistance is given towards any travel for USQ purposes for:
all international travel,
all domestic travel that involves being away from home for more than five (5) consecutive nights; or
all domestic travel that includes an element of private travel.
The employee must make the record at the time of, or as soon as reasonably practicable after the conclusion of the activity and must detail particulars of:
the date the entry was made;
the place where the activity was undertaken;
the date and approximate time when the activity commenced;
the duration of the activity;
the nature of the activity; and
the employee's signature.
A properly completed Travel Diary must be authorised by the relevant delegate and submitted to the Corporate Travel Office. When a Travel Diary has not been completed, or the Diary contains insufficient detail (per ATO guidelines), then an FBT charge will be calculated and posted to the relevant cost centre. This may result in a reportable benefit for the employee on their Annual Payment Summary.
A person who fails to use an issued ticket must return it to the Corporate Travel Office so that the University may pursue a refund, an insurance claim, or other appropriate action.
USQ rules on entertaining detailed in section 21.5 of the Financial Management Practice Manual apply whilst persons are travelling on University business.
An accompanying ‘relative' as defined by the Tax Act includes the spouse of the person (either legal or defacto status), the parents, the aunts and uncles and their partners, the siblings and their partners and children, the children and grandchildren (both adopted and natural) and their partners.
Where a relative of the employee accompanies an employee on assisted travel, all costs incurred by that relative will be the responsibility of the relative or employee. This includes the costs of meals and refreshment and any additional accommodation costs incurred by having an additional person stay with the employee.
USQ will pay for memberships of the airport lounge of a domestic airline for the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, and Contracted Executive employees. When USQ has a preferred domestic carrier the membership will be with that airline. The following conditions apply to these memberships:
Membership of the frequent flier program option must be elected; and
An employee may redeem benefits accrued as a result of expenditure incurred on USQ business only for USQ business purposes. Subject to approval by the relevant delegate, payment of the airport lounge membership annual fee or for a seat upgrade for business travel is an appropriate USQ business purpose for the use of these benefits.
The Category 3 Delegate may approve the initial application for an airport lounge membership of another person subject to the above conditions if the delegate concludes that this will result in a net benefit to USQ, and the employee's travel profile warrants the expenditure.
USQ Corporate Airport Lounge Membership is renewable every 12 months. The Category 3 Delegate may approve the renewal of an airport lounge membership of another person subject to the above conditions if the delegate concludes that this will continue to result in a net benefit to USQ, and the employee's travel profile continues to warrant the expenditure.
If a person chooses to join a frequent flier program privately, at no cost to USQ, the University has no interest in any benefits that, for any reason, might accrue.
A claimant is personally responsible for the accuracy of the information provided as the basis for the claim.
There are serious consequences for making claims based on false information. These include disciplinary action by USQ, referral to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, and the Police.
The employee must seek advice from the Office of Corporate Travel regarding travel insurance coverage. Where employees intend to include a period of annual or other leave related to private activities with the assisted travel, and the private portion exceeds more than 60% of the total travel in its entirety, the employee is advised to obtain their own private travel insurance. Normally, this must be with the same travel insurance provider as the University.
The University's travel insurance does not provide cover for any accompanying relatives travelling with a USQ employee on assisted travel. Accompanying relatives are advised to obtain their own private travel insurance, normally with the same travel insurance provider as the University.
Travel insurance is complementary to, not a substitute for, WorkCover insurance. In every circumstance that may involve loss of time from work, the possibility of a permanent disability or the incurring of medical expenses within Australia the employee must submit a WorkCover claim in accordance with workplace health and safety procedure . Travel insurers are prevented by law from paying any medical expenses incurred in Australia.
Employees should direct inquiries about possible claims to the Corporate Travel Office. Employees will need to provide relevant proof to verify the claim.
Where an employee is undertaking international travel in accordance with the circumstances in section 2.1.1, an accountable advance may be applied for in accordance with the provisions of section 2.2.15 of the Directed Travel Policy.
Passports are personal documents and the individual employee will bear the cost of acquisition and/or renewal.
Whilst visa expenses are normally considered a private expense and the responsibility of the individual employee, the relevant delegate may approve financial assistance for these expenses in accordance with individual Faculty or Section policies, provided that funds are available.
Where an employee indicates on the Assisted Travel Request Form that they are aware of an existing health/medical condition which may impact their travel, a medical clearance will be required prior to approval being granted to undertake the travel. If a satisfactory medical clearance is not obtained, the employee will not be permitted to undertake travel. Medical clearances will be retained on the employee's personal file held within Human Resources.
The Corporate Travel Office will arrange the required appointment to obtain the medical clearance through USQ's medical travel services provider and will arrange payment directly with the provider for the consultation fee using normal USQ purchasing procedures. The cost of the consultation fee will be met by the faculty/section.
In exceptional circumstances and with the prior approval of the relevant delegate, the employee may consult their own medical practitioner to obtain a medical clearance, however the delegate should be aware that this may attract a Fringe Benefit Tax payable by the faculty/section. In this instance, the cost of the consultation fee will be met by the faculty/section, along with any FBT payable.
Employees travelling to overseas destinations on assisted travel are advised to visit the Medical Director at USQ Health Services to obtain advice on recommended immunisations identified by the World Health Organisation, Centre for Disease Control and the Australian NHMRC.
Immunisations for assisted travel are normally considered a private expense and the responsibility of the individual employee, however the relevant delegate may approve financial assistance for these expenses in accordance with individual Faculty or Section policies, provides that funds are available.
An employee will not be expected to attend the USQ campus on the day of return flight from assisted international travel (irrespective of the time of the flight), nor be expected to commence work overseas on the day of their arrival (except where Business Class travel has been undertaken in accordance with section 2.5). Such time will be recorded as a normal working day.
For periods of assisted international travel in excess of five days, the employee should be provided with a rest day during the period overseas. Alternatively, and with the approval of the relevant delegate, the employee may request time off duty prior to or after travel rather than take rest breaks whilst overseas, in order to shorten the period of time away from Australia.
USQ is required to report all overseas travel annually to the Queensland Parliament through the Minister for Education. Therefore, employees who travel on international visits are required to submit a comprehensive report on the overseas travel to the approving delegate within thirty (30) days of return to work. The following elements should be included in the report:
The name and position of the employee, and their faculty/section;
The purpose/objectives of the trip;
Dates of travel and countries visited;
Benefits to the University of the trip; and
Any recommendations and/or action plans arising from the trip.
A travel report template is available from the Corporate Travel Office.
The relevant delegate is required to provide a report quarterly to the Vice-Chancellor's Office regarding details of all international travel undertaken by employees in their faculty/section. This information will be used for inclusion in the USQ Annual Report.
The Corporate Travel Office is required to maintain a register of employees undertaking domestic and international travel and their locations at all times, to enable the University to promptly and efficiently locate employees.
Peak Approval Authority:
Related Legislation / guidelines:
Strategic Plan/Goal & Objectives:
Supporting documents, forms:
Associated USQ policies:
Next Review Date*:
Expiry Date of Policy*:
Level of Delegation
Vice-Chancellor or Chief Operating Officer
Category 3 Delegate or above
Assessment and approval of all domestic conference and other assisted travel beyond local/regional areas
Assessment and approval of all international conference and other assisted travel
Category 4 Delegate or above
Assessment and approval of all domestic conference and other assisted travel in local/regional* areas
*’Local/regional’ areas includes all travel undertaken within a 600 kilometre radius of the USQ campus
Relevant Financial Delegate
Approval of financial arrangements
Next Review Date*: