General Traveling Policies
Specific rules can be found in the Traveling section.
Contact: General Accounting, (205) 934-9330
UAB is prohibited by state law from making travel advances to individuals.
If an employee borrows money from a third party for travel expenses or if a third party pays travel expenses on behalf of the employee, UAB is expected to make the travel reimbursement only to the employee for his/her own trip. However, see exceptions for shared taxis, group meals, and shared hotel rooms. A traveler should never be reimbursed by UAB and another organization for the same travel expenditure.
The fact that UAB is sponsoring or hosting a conference/seminar/meeting does not change the expectation that UAB employees attending the conference would handle their own travel, just as if UAB were not hosting it.
Travel costs incurred by UAB faculty or staff while on leave from UAB are not normally allowable UAB costs. However, if the activity to which the travel relates is clearly an activity which is otherwise an official UAB business activity, an exception might be warranted. For example, a faculty member might take sabbatical leave specifically to work on a sponsored grant awarded to UAB, and to the extent that the travel was directly related to that grant, the travel should be treated as normal UAB employee business travel.
Travel costs incurred by or on behalf of an individual traveling on UAB business as a UAB employee are subject to UAB's accountable plan for employee travel expenses. If properly handled, such costs are normally excluded from the individual's taxable income (except for in state per diem taxable meal allowances, reimbursements after 60 days, etc).
An Employee Intra-State Travel or an Employee Out-of-State Travel Reimbursement Request should be filed by the traveler for each UAB employee business trip. The purpose of the travel form is to document the full cost of the employee business trip, to identify that portion which is not being funded by UAB, and to request only the remaining amount due from UAB. Travel reimbursement requests are done online using the Oracle Payment Request (using the UAB FN Document Entry/Approval responsibility or the UAB Requisition Input responsibility).
Employee Travel Reimbursement Request forms should never be used for independent contractor travel, prospective employee travel, trainee travel, or other non-employee travel.
Under any of the accountable travel plans, the travel reimbursement request must be filed timely, be accurate, be reasonable, and cover only UAB costs actually incurred by the traveler. Travel reimbursement requests are usually not filed until after the trip; however, in the case of exceptionally lengthy trips, interim filings may be permitted (and in some cases may be required per IRS regulations). For an accountable travel plan, the IRS defines timely as within 60 days of the date that the expenses were incurred. Travel reimbursement requests beyond the 60 day period will be denied, unless:
- The documentation includes special approval by the applicable Dean (if it is going to be paid by either a school), Hospital Finance (if it is going to be paid by the Hospital), or the applicable Executive (if not being paid by either a school or the Hospital) authorizing special payment to the employee even though the 60 day deadline has passed; and
- Payment will be made as W2 reportable employee compensation paid via nonrecurring element on an Oracle ACT document.
The traveler must sign the "Signature of Traveler" line of the travel reimbursement request certifying the conditions and terms of reimbursement. Another individual may not sign on behalf of the traveler. Employee travelers should be careful, because even if someone else assists the traveler with completion of the form, the traveler is still personally responsible for the truth and accuracy of the information reflected on the form.
The UAB Purchasing Card (P-Card) program is designed to be a flexible form of payment that permits UAB employees to place orders for allowable purchases. The P-Card is an efficient method to pay for transportation, lodging, meals, and other allowable travel related expenses. To learn more about the P Card program and related policies and procedures please visit the Financial Affairs P-Card page.
Only UAB business phone calls can be paid for by UAB. UAB business phone calls should be specifically noted on the travel reimbursement form as being for UAB business purposes. Personal calls made from out-of-town to home are not normally reimbursable, so if personal calls are included on a hotel bill, they should not be included on the travel reimbursement request. Personal business calls (for example, applicable to private consulting activities) are not reimbursable, so if personal business calls are included on a hotel bill, they should not be included on the travel reimbursement form.
Additional cost of internet access (in hotels, airports, etc.) for UAB business purposes can be reimbursed when the traveler is in official UAB travel status. UAB business internet charges should be specifically noted on the travel reimbursement request as being for UAB business purposes.
Gratuities for waiters/waitresses, baggage handlers, taxi drivers, and/or room maids may be reimbursed when deemed reasonable and necessary. Tips should be consistent with levels generally accepted taking into account geographic location, type of service provided, and any special circumstances. Tips for meals and public ground transportation ranging from 10% to 25% will be deemed acceptable, but tips will not be reimbursed over 25%.
Personal vs Business Travel
Generally speaking, if the travel is scheduled or interrupted for personal convenience or through the taking of official leave, the reimbursement travel costs or allowances may not exceed the costs which would have been incurred for authorized uninterrupted travel.