Travel, Transportation, Per Diem - Regulations and Rates

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Policy Code: 
4110
Approval Authority: 
Chancellor
Policy Type: 
University Policy
Policy Owner: 
Administration and Finance
Responsible Office: 
Administration and Finance - 828.251.6742

I. Purpose of Policies and Procedures

A. Budget Manual    5.0-5.11 (www.osbm.state.nc.us) sets forth travel policies and regulations relative to securing authorization and reimbursement of expenditures for official State travel.  The administration and control of travel is in accordance with the provisions of G. S. 138.5, 138.6 and 138.7. (www.ncga.State.nc.us)

B. State officers, State employees, members of State boards, commissions and committees may have their actual travel expenses reimbursed by the State, subject to the limitations contained in these policies.  An employee traveling on official state business is expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business and expending personal funds.  Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodation and services unnecessary, unjustified, or for the convenience or personal preference of the employee in the performance of official state business are prohibited.  Requests for reimbursement shall be filed within 30 days after the travel period ends for which the reimbursement is being requested.  (State policy 5.0.2) Under no circumstances may duplicate reimbursement be made for that portion of an employee's expenses paid or reimbursed by a Non-State source.

C. All travel reimbursements are contingent upon the proper approvals and authorizations and the availability of funds in the proper budget code.

D. These regulations are to be followed in the disbursement of funds from the Financial Affairs Office for both State funds and Non-State funds.

II. Definition of Terms    

A. For purposes of these policies, the following definitions apply

1. Agency: Any State agency, department, institution, commission or other organization operating from funds deposited with the State Treasurer.
2. Conference/Convention:  A formal gathering for the purpose of conducting business and exchanging information. 
3. Common Carrier:  Commercial scheduled airplane, rail and bus.
4. Curriculum-Related Travel:  Travel for which an authorized faculty member has an accredited course of study and is participating with a student group in a pre-approved activity requiring off-campus related travel expenses.
5. Duty Station:  The job location to which assigned.
6. In-State:  Within the borders of North Carolina.
7. Institute:  A formal gathering for the purpose of training and instruction.
8. Non-State Employee:

(a)     A consultant whose compensation will be paid from a general expense subhead rather than from a payroll.
(b)     An employee of another governmental jurisdiction - local or federal - in whose travel the State may have a business interest.
(c)     A prospective teacher or other prospective State employee.
(d)     A student in a State, public college, or university.
9.  Official State Business:  All activities involving expenses for transportation, subsistence or registration which are authorized to be paid from State or Non-State funds or which involve State vehicles for transportation.  Official State business occurs when the State employee is traveling to attend approved job related training and/or work on behalf of, officially represent, or provide a State service upon the State’s request.  Travel that would not directly benefit the State will not be reimbursable.
10. Out-of-Country:  Anywhere not covered by the two definitions for In-State and Out-of-State.
11. Out-of-State:  All of the continental United States except North Carolina.  Out-of-State travel status begins when the employee leaves the State and remains in effect until the employee returns to the State.
12. State Employee:  Any employee, whether temporary, permanent, trust or State funded, who is paid on a State agency payroll with either State funds or Non-State funds.
13. State Funds:  Any funds derived from State appropriations.  (Any fund beginning with number 2).
14. Subsistence Rates: Allowance related to lodging and meal costs.  For the purposes of determining eligibility for allowances, travel status means being away from the employee’s normal duty station or home while acting in his/her official capacity as required by his/her work activities. (State policy 5.1.2).
15. Travel Officer:  Employee within the Financial Affairs Office who is designated to audit and approve travel reimbursements. 
 

III. Statutory Provisions Governing Travel and Expense Allowances

A. Transportation Allowances for State Officers and Employees

Expenses for travel on official business by employees of State departments, institutions and agencies which operate from State or Non-State funds deposited with the State Treasurer, shall be reimbursed at the rates as set forth by legislation enacted by the General Assembly.

1.  Transportation by Personal Vehicle

Actual mileage is reimbursable.  Mileage is measured from the closer of duty station or point of departure to destination (and return).    

(a) The State Employee should go to the University-Department of Public Safety website to see if a university vehicle is available.  Based on the approximate round-trip mileage, you will be able to tell whether a State vehicle or a rental car would be more cost efficient.

(b) If a State Employee chooses to use their personal vehicle even though a university vehicle is available, they will be reimbursed at the lower rate as set by the State for mileage. To see the current mileage rate, go to:  https://finance.unca.edu/travel

(c)  If a university vehicle is not available, the employee will be reimbursed at the business standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service. To see the current mileage rate, go to:  https://finance.unca.edu/travel                                                               

2. Transportation by Common Carrier

Reimbursement for air, rail, or bus fare is limited to actual coach fare, substantiated by a receipt.

3. Taxi, Shuttles and Rental Cars

See Transportation Section V.H. for Taxi and Shuttles; and V.K. for Rental Cars

B. Subsistence Allowance for State Officers and Employees

1. Meal Subsistence

Travel on official State business by the officers and employees of State departments, institutions and agencies, which operate from funds deposited with the State Treasurer, shall be reimbursed at the State subsistence rate. Tips for meals are included in the subsistence allowance. (State policy 5.1.11).  The current subsistence rates for meals can be found at: https://finance.unca.edu/travel

Reimbursement for individual meals can be below the subsistence rate but cannot exceed the rate.  No receipts for individual meals are necessaryAn employee may request reimbursement for actual expenses if they are less than the allowable rates.  If expenses are greater than the allowable subsistence rate, the reimbursement to the employee is limited to the subsistence amount.

Departure and arrival times must be listed on the reimbursement request to determine what meals will be allowed.

The costs of meals included in other related activities (conferences) may not be duplicated in reimbursement requests.  An employee may be reimbursed for breakfast even if their lodging establishment offers a free continental breakfast.  (State policy 5.1.11). 

  • Breakfast:  to claim breakfast, the employee must depart their duty station prior to 6:00 am.
  • Lunch: to claim lunch, the employee must depart their duty station prior to Noon (day of departure), and it has to be an over-night trip.  When returning from a trip, employee must return to duty station after 2:00 pm in order to claim lunch.
  • Dinner: to claim dinner, the employee must depart duty station prior to 5:00 pm (day of departure) or return to duty station after 8:00 pm (day of return).

Employees may be reimbursed subsistence for meals for partial days of travel when in overnight travel status and the partial day is the day of departure or the day of return. 

Travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the employee’s regularly assigned duty station or home, whichever is less. 

Requests for reimbursement shall be filed within 30 days after the travel period ends for which the reimbursement is being requested. 

One-day trips do not allow for lunch reimbursements.  However, employees can be eligible for allowances for breakfast if they leave before 6:00 am and dinner if they return after 8:00 pm.

A State employee may be reimbursed for meals, including lunches, when the employee’s job requires his attendance at the meeting of a board, commission, committee, or council in his official capacity and the meal is preplanned as part of the meeting for the entire group.  Such meetings must include persons other than the employees of a single State department, institution, or agency.

2. Lodging Subsistence

Lodging is reimbursed at the State subsistence rate.  Paid receipts are required. The current subsistence rates can be found at:  https://finance.unca.edu/travel

The payment of sales tax, local tax, or lodging tax applied to the cost of lodging is allowed in addition to the lodging subsistence rate and is to be paid as a lodging expense. (G.S. 138-6(a)(32)).        

Supervisory individuals certifying the reimbursement requests as necessary must require documentation from the employee to substantiate that overnight lodging was necessary and accomplished.  For this purpose, UNC at Asheville's policy requires that specific dates of lodging be listed on the reimbursement request form and substantiated by a zero-balance receipt from the commercial lodging establishment.

Excess lodging authorization for in-State, out-of-State, and out-of-country travel must be obtained in advance from the department head or their designee.  Excess lodging is allowed for one of the following reasons. (State Policy 5.1.7).

  • The employee will be in a high-cost area and unable to secure lodging within the current allowance.  To achieve a better level of control, the Travel Officer will review reimbursements for hotel expenditures exceeding the State subsistence rates and for State compliance.
  • The employee feels that their personal safety or security is unattainable within the current allowance.  If claiming for this reason, the employee must submit in writing a statement expressing this concern.

Excess lodging authorization is not allowed for reason of convenience or personal preference for the employee.

Travel must involve a travel destination located at least 35 miles from the Employee’s regularly assigned duty station or home, whichever is less. (State policy 5.1.5).

Requests for reimbursement shall be filed within 30 days after the travel period ends for which the reimbursement is being requested. (State policy 5.1.6). 

The employee may exceed the part of the ceiling allocated for lodging without approval for over-expenditure provided that the total lodging and food reimbursement that the employee is entitled to for that day does not exceed the maximum allowed daily subsistence (G.S. 138-6(a)(3).

C.  General Statements

1. Tips and Gratuities: Reasonable tips are reimbursable. Reimbursement for gratuity or tips must be considered reasonable for items that are not already covered under subsistence.  Excessive tips will not be reimbursed. A reasonable tip would be one that a prudent person would give if traveling or conducting personal business and expending personal funds.  (State Policy 5.1.3).

For example:

  • $1-$2 per bag for luggage service at hotel or airport
  • $1-$2 for valet parking, when valet parking is the only option
  • $1-$2 per bag for shuttle drivers
  • $1-$2 plus 15% of fare for taxi drivers
  • There will be no reimbursing of tips for room service.

Gratuities are to be charged to the “miscellaneous” account.

2. Telephone Calls:  An employee who is in travel status for two or more consecutive nights in a week is allowed one personal long-distance telephone call for each two nights of travel.  The reimbursement may not exceed $3.00 for each in-State call or $5.00 for each out-of-State call. Personal long distance calls that are of an emergency nature as determined by the department are an allowable reimbursement.  An example is a call made when an employee calls home to inform someone that the travel period has been extended beyond original plans due to unforeseen reasons. Official phone calls are reimbursable.  Individual calls over $5.00 must be identified as to point of origin and destination. (State policy 5.10.4). Telephone calls are to be charged to the “miscellaneous” account code.

3. Public Transportation, Tolls, Taxi, Shuttle: The actual cost of taxi, tolls and shuttle fares is reimbursable with a receipt when required for travel on State business. Use of Public Transportation (city bus or subway) can be reimbursed without receipt if under $5 for each one-way trip, or the cost of a weekly subway or bus pass when turning in the pass. These expenses are to be charged to the “Transportation/Ground” account code.

4. Passport: Reimbursement for the cost incurred in obtaining or renewing a passport may be made to an employee who in the regular course of his duties, is required to travel overseas in the furtherance of official State business. Passport expenses are chargeable to the same fund that supports the employee’s trip and to the “miscellaneous” account code.

5. Parking: Parking expenses are reimbursable while in the course of conducting official State business as long as such expenses are determined reasonable and clearly show that there was care taken to keep the costs to the State as low as possible.  Any parking rates considered excessive and only for the convenience of the employee will not be reimbursable. (State policy 5.1.37). Parking expenses will be paid with a receipt and are to be charged to the “miscellaneous” account code.

6. Internet Hook-up Fees:  Employees traveling on State business who need to transmit data electronically (including email) or use the Internet for State business purposes should use the most cost-efficient manner available.  These expenses are to be charged to the “miscellaneous” account code.                                                   

7. Convention, Conference, Institute Registration:  State law allows reimbursement for the actual amount of convention, conference, or institute registration fees as shown by a valid paid receipt or invoice. These expenses are to be charged to “registration fees” account code.

Note: If the traveler has entered into a prearranged agreement with a conference, other institution, or any other entity to pay for all or a portion of their travel, (i.e. registration or lodging fees), that agreement is between those two entities.  The University will require the employee to work directly with the payor for any cost associated with this agreement. The University will not temporarily fund these types of agreements between employee and payor/sponsor. Prior to departure, the employee should contact the payor to confirm the details of the arrangement (i.e. whether the employee will be reimbursed by the payor after the event or if the payor is pre-paying the hotel, conference registration, etc.) 

8.      Reimbursements Prior to Travel:  We pay reimbursements to the employee after their return from the trip—never before. If you need the conference event or hotel paid prior to travel, you may request that the University pre-pay an organization before the event.  Obtain the invoicing information, attach to a Check Request along with the fully signed copy of the Travel Authorization and send to the Accounts Payable Department.  The University will then pay directly to the conference event, hotel.  See IV-D for Prepayment exceptions.

IV. Procedures Regarding Travel

A. Authorization Procedure

1. Written approval with appropriate approving signatures must be obtained prior to all travel by UNC Asheville Employees. The “Authorization to Travel” form is to be used and can be found on the UNC Asheville website.  If the employee is only claiming mileage, the “Authorization to Travel” form is not necessary. 

In addition, further written authorization must be secured from the department head and their designee for the following:

(a)       Excess Lodging Expenses: (See section III. Statutory Provisions, B. 2. Lodging During Travel)

(b)       When the Travel Authorization expense amount are insufficient to cover the actual expenses.

2. Blanket Travel Authorizations are normally given to designated individuals from Senior Staff, Athletics, Admissions, and Development offices.  Any other Blanket Travel Authorizations will be approved on a case-to-case basis.  Blanket Travel Authorization extends for a year and is renewed at the beginning of each fiscal year. 

B. Action to Be Taken Before a Trip

When planning to travel by automobile, the employee should go to the University, Department of Public Safety web site to see if a university vehicle is available.

Necessary approvals as shown in Section IV-A must be obtained prior to travel.

C. Travel Advances

The University allows advances to State Employees for the following: 

  • Athletics Department Team Travel and Recruiting
  • Admissions Recruiting
  • Curriculum-Related Travel (see definition)
  • University Advancement

A travel advance may not be issued more than five (5) working days prior to the date of departure.  Travel advances are not to exceed one month duration and must be paid back within 30 days of the end of travel.  At fiscal year end, advances must be paid back during the month of June if derived from STATE FUNDS. (See II. Definition of Terms).  No advances will be given to a Non-State Employee.  If the trip is canceled or the traveler’s employment is terminated, the advance should be returned immediately. (State policy 5.1.40). 

D. Prepayments

Generally, when using state funds or trust funds that follow state rules and regulations, goods and service must be received prior to payment being made.  However, prepayments will be allowed when paying directly to the vendor, i.e. conference for registration or directly to the hotel for lodging.  Supporting documentation will be required. 

Prepayments are also allowed for airfare reimbursements for both agency transactions and personal on-line bookings. In certain cases, prepayments will be allowed where the price of the conference is required to be paid by credit card, or to obtain significant price reductions.  Supporting documentation will be required.

E. Action to Be Taken Upon Return From a Trip

Upon return from travel, the employee should complete a “Travel Reimbursement” form. This form should be signed by both the employee and the appropriate approving signature(s).  The individual should then forward the “Travel Reimbursement” form with the “Authorization to Travel” form and all receipts to the Travel Officer in the Financial Affairs Office for final review.  Original receipts for lodging bills, registration fees, and travel ticket stubs must be attached to the form; other receipts as may be conveniently obtained should also be attached. Requests for reimbursement shall be filed within 30 days after the travel period ends for which the reimbursement is being requested. (State Policy 5.0.2).  

The above mentioned forms may be obtained on the UNC Asheville web site under “Faculty and Staff”; “Financial Affairs Office” “Travel.”

The proper account codes must be used on the “Travel Reimbursement” form to break down the travel expense into the following:

Account Code
In-State
Account Code
Out-of-State
Account Code
Out-of-Country
Account Code
Non-Employee
731110 Transportation/Air 731210 Transportation/Air   731310 Transportation/Air 731410 All Transportation
731120 Transportation/Ground  31220 Transportation/Ground 731320 Transportation/Ground 731440 Meals & Lodging
7731130 Transportation/Other 731230 Transportation/Other   731330 Transportation/Other 749260 Miscellaneous
731140 Subsistence/Lodging 731240 Subsistence/Lodging 731340 Subsistence/Lodging  
731150 Subsistence/Meals 731250 Subsistence/Meals 731350 Subsistence/Meals  
731160 Other Travel Expenses 731260 Other Travel Expenses   731360 Other Travel Expenses  
731190 Registration Fees  731290 Registration Fees 731390 Registration Fees   

V. Transportation

A. General Policy

Authorization of the mode of travel is to be made by the department head or their designee and is subject to these regulations.

B. State Cars

When travel by car is determined to be feasible, a State car, if available, may be used instead of a private car.

1. State-owned cars shall be used for official State business only (G. S. 14-247). Private use of publicly owned vehicle is unlawful for any officer, agent or employee of the State of North Carolina, or of any county or of any institution or agency of the State, to use for any private purpose whatsoever any motor vehicle of any type or description whatsoever belonging to the State, or to any county, or to any institution or agency of the State.

2. Drivers shall observe all local and State ordinances pertaining to the operation of motor vehicles. Any fines imposed for any violation which was under the control of the driver shall be the responsibility of the driver.

3. "G. S. 58-31-50.  Liability insurance required for State-owned vehicles---Every department, agency or institution of the State shall acquire motor vehicle liability insurance on all State owned motor vehicles under its control."  To achieve economy in providing insurance coverage for State-owned vehicles, blanket policies have been obtained, the premiums for which are paid by State agencies on a pro rata basis.  Any liability above the State limit is the responsibility of the employee under their personal automobile liability insurance policy.
 
4. Hitchhikers are not permitted to ride in State-owned vehicles.
 
5. Non-state employees may accompany state employees in state-owned vehicles when they have a business interest in the purpose of the trip and their presence is related to state business. Students of state universities, colleges, and institutions may be passengers in state-owned vehicles to attend athletic events and other activities officially sanctioned by the institution, provided the proper account is reimbursed at the standard mileage cost rate by the student activity fund involved. Spouses and children of state employees may accompany them in state-owned vehicles, if space is available and all travel is strictly for official state business [G.S. 143-341(8)(i)(7) grants Department of Administration rule-making authority in this area]. (State policy 5.1.31).
 
6. When a State-owned car is used for official travel, parking and storage fees, tolls and required repairs are legitimate charges to the State, provided necessary receipts are obtained.
 
7. At the employee's destination, State cars may be used prudently for travel to obtain meals, but not for private purposes or for entertainment while off duty. No common carrier or public transportation fares are reimbursable on a trip on which an employee uses a State car, unless it is shown that such transportation was more economical in a particular situation.
 

C. Private Cars

1. If a State car is available, but the State Employee wishes to use their private car for personal convenience, the rate allowed is the lower rate as shown on the attached link.  To see the current rates, go to: https://finance.unca.edu/travel
2. Reimbursement of costs incurred through use of a private car should be for direct mileage between points on the employee's itinerary.
 
3. Reimbursement may not be made for commuting between an employee's home and his duty station. (State policy 5.1.33).
 
4. Reimbursement for mileage and parking charges resulting from use of an employee's private car for transportation to and from airline terminals and employee’s duty station and/or home whichever is closer may be made on the basis of a maximum of two round trips with no parking charge, or for one round trip with parking charges. Receipts are required for airport parking claims.  (State policy 5.1.35).
 
5. Reimbursement of expense for airport parking for both private and State-owned cars is reimbursable while in the course of conducting official State business as long as such expenses are determined reasonable and clearly show that there was care taken to keep the costs to the State as low as possible.  Any parking rates considered excessive and only for the convenience of the employee will not be reimbursable.   (State policy 5.1.37).  Parking expenses will be paid with a receipt and are to be charged to the “miscellaneous” account code.
 

D. Commercial Airlines

Tickets for commercial air travel may be purchased by the employee and claimed on their expense account or charged to the agency.  Air coach or tourist service shall be used when available.  A receipt is required for reimbursement.  Flight insurance is not reimbursable.

Use of Aircraft Owned by a State Employee:

Reimbursement for costs incurred in the use of aircraft, owned by a state employee, on official state business may be approved by the department head or his or her designee, provided the following is substantiated and put in writing:

  • The use of the aircraft owned by a state employee is necessary because of unusual travel circumstances and is not for the sole convenience of the employee who owns the plane.
  • The use of the aircraft, owned by a state employee, at the rates published below is cheaper than any other method of air travel.
  • The allowable reimbursement rate for aircraft owned by a state employee is $0.68 per mile per passenger. (State policy 5.1.30)

E. Baggage Fees

Travelers are encouraged to keep baggage fees to a minimum by traveling within the standard guidelines used by airlines.  A receipt is required for reimbursement of all baggage fees.

F. Non-Commercial Air Travel

Requests for travel out-of-State as passengers on non-commercial aircraft are made and approved in the same manner as transportation by other means.

G. Scheduled Bus and Train Service

The actual cost of coach fare for rail and bus service on State business is reimbursable when overnight trips are required.  These expenses are to be charged to the “Transportation-Ground” account code.

H. Taxis and Shuttles -- Public Transportation

The actual cost of taxi and shuttle fares is reimbursable with a receipt when required for travel on State business. Use of Public Transportation can be reimbursed without receipt if under $5 for each one-way trip or the cost of a weekly subway or bus pass when turning in the pass. These expenses are to be charged to the “Transportation-Ground” account code.

If the employee traveling chooses to use a taxi to get to the air terminal from home (and back), they will be required to turn in the receipts and will be reimbursed the amount of the receipt up to $40.00 for round trip and $20 for one-way trip.

I. Fees and Service Charges

With sufficient justification and documentation and with approval of the department head or their designee, state employees can be reimbursed for usual, customary and reasonable fee and service charges imposed by travel agents for assistance in making travel arrangements. (State Policy 5.1.24).    

J. Penalties and Charges Resulting from Cancellations

Penalties and charges resulting from the cancellation of travel reservations (including airline, hotel, or other travel reservations and conference registration) shall be the department’s obligation if the employee’s travel has been approved in advance and the cancellation or change is made at the direction of and/or for the convenience of the department.  If the cancellation or change is made for the personal benefit of the employee, it shall be the employee’s obligation to pay the penalties and charges.  However, in the event of accidents, serious illness, or death within the employee’s immediate family or other critical circumstances beyond the control of the employee, the department may pay the penalties and charges. (State Policy 5.1.9).  

K. Rental Cars

1. If proven cost effective, with a comparison of the University’s Motor Fleet rates and the Enterprise State contract rate, a rental car may be used.  Rental vehicles are not to be used solely for the convenience or personal preference of the employee.  A receipt is necessary for reimbursement.  No reimbursement will be made for rental insurance purchased because State Employees are covered under the State’s auto insurance program.  However, reimbursement for automobile rental insurance will be permitted for individuals engaged in State business during travel to international destinations. (State policy 5.1.27). Gas purchased when using a rental car is reimbursable with receipts.

2. Reimbursement shall not exceed the most inexpensive rate available for a standard automobile at the time the car was rented.

3. Gas receipts are not to be used in lieu of mileage.  The only time gas receipts are an allowable expense, is when a rental vehicle is used, (indicate this on receipt.) In rare occasions, gas can be reimbursed with prior approval from the travel office.  Note: facility vehicles have a State gas card for use.          

L. Out-of-Country Travel

Anyone traveling outside of the boundaries of the continental United States is considered in Out-of-Country Travel Mode.  Receipts for overseas travel must be converted to American Dollars using the current conversion rate.  If receipts are in a foreign language, translate before turning in for reimbursement.  A helpful on-line tool in figuring conversion rates can be found at www.oanda.com.  Clink under currency tools on FXConverter—please include a printed copy from FXConverter showing the conversion rate you are using.       

VI. Non-State Employees

For the purposes of this section, non-state employees are those on official state business whose expenses are paid by the State and subject to state regulations, such as prospective professional employees, public school and community college employees, students on official state business, and attendants of state employees with documented disabilities traveling on official state business (provided advance approval is obtained from department head or designee). (State policy 5.7.1).

Non-State Employees traveling on State business whose expenses are paid or reimbursed by the State of North Carolina are subject to these regulations, including statutory subsistence allowances, to the same extent as are State Employees.  No travel expenses of members of a Non-State Employee's family are reimbursable. No travel advances will be made to non-state employees. (State policy 5.7.1).

A. Prospective Professional Employees

A department head or their designee is authorized to approve reimbursement of transportation expenses for prospective professional employees visiting State departments for employment interviews.  These expenses are limited to transportation and subsistence for 3 days (5 days if one is a Saturday) at the in-State rate.  The department head or their designee may approve excess lodging expenses. (State policy 5.7.2).

B. Post-Secondary Students

1. Student Employee Travel for University:  Student travel expenses while working as an employee of the State are considered official state business when traveling on behalf of their position and shall be paid from the same source of funds from which the employee is paid. They are subject to the same regulations, including statutory subsistence allowances, to the same extent as are State Employees. (State policy 5.7.3).

2. Non-Employee Students: Non-employee students at state institutions who travel on official state business are reimbursed from the General Fund consistent with payments for state employees. (State policy 5.7.3). 

3. All other student related travel must be paid from non-General funds supporting that particular organization or activity.  Funds specifically appropriated or legally directed for student travel are authorized to be used for student travel expenses. (State policy 5.7.3).

Approval for non-employee General Fund student travel (defined as travel directly related and required for a course/thesis) must be signed by the student’s department head.  To substantiate and account for services related to non-employee General Fund student travel, the student and department head should enter into an agreement to document the required official State business and the travel reimbursement commitment.  This agreement shall be signed by the department head and shall be a part of the department’s prior approval documentation required for overnight travel. (State policy 5.7.3)  This can be done on the Authorization to Travel form.

The purchase of food or beverage for students at higher education institutions is not allowable unless the student is in travel status.  However, non-General Funds may be used for these purposes if such funds have been established and authorized for such purposes. 

C. Attendants

Payment of travel and subsistence expenses (hotel and meal costs) for attendants for employees with documented disabilities while traveling on official State business may be reimbursed to the same extent as are State Employees if advance approval is obtained from the department head or their designee. (State policy 5.7.4).

VII. Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, Training and Retreats

A. External Conference Definition

External conferences are those that involve the attendance of persons other than the employees of a single State department, institution or agency. Payment for meals is allowable if included in the registration fee, but such fee must not consist exclusively of meals or it will not be allowable unless meeting overnight travel criteria. The registration fee is typically made for defraying the cost of speakers, building (room) use, handout materials, breaks and lunches at conferences and conventions. These fees are charged to the account for "Registration Fees." The agency may require itemization and/or documentation of expenses. Conferences sponsored or co-sponsored by a State department are authorized when they meet the limitations and requirements listed below.  (State policy 5.8.1).

Exception Regarding Conference Meals:

Pursuant to G.S. 138-6(a)(3), a university or State agency cannot use funds to pay for conference meals for state employees at which a conference fee was not charged, unless the following conditions are met:

  • Federal grants, other grants, state, or institutional trust funds (as defined in G.S. 116-36.1) may be used for meals if the conditions attached to those funds allow for the provision of meals for a conference.
  • The university or agency must have documentation of the conditions. If this is the case, then meals may be provided to state employees even if a registration fee was not charged. The employee may not request reimbursement for the meal. (State policy 5.8.2).

Requirements and Limitations for External Conferences:

  • The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.
  • There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events, the social activities, if any, and the detailed schedule of costs.
  • Assemblies should be held in State facilities; however, non-state facilities can be rented and the cost charged to a State agency without allocation to participants' daily subsistence allowances.
  • The sponsoring department may charge registration fees to participants for costs of external conferences.

Registration fees may not include costs of entertainment, alcoholic beverages, setups, or flowers and/or promotional (gift) items. Registration fees collected and not used to defray expenses of the particular conference may not be used for other programs and must revert to the general or highway fund as applicable (G.S. 138-6(a)(4)).

Sponsoring departments may provide refreshments for “coffee breaks” provided there are twenty or more participants and the costs do not exceed four dollars and fifty cents ($4.50) per participant per day.

When assemblies are to be held under the sponsorship of a State department in which the funding for all participants is budgeted, lump-sum payments to a conference center or an organization may be made upon written authorization from the department head or his or her designee. The authorization must provide the following:
 
  • The number of persons expected to attend;
  • The purpose and duration of the conference;
  • The specific meals to be served at the conference (law prohibits lunches being provided to state employees unless registration fees are charged to all attendees);
  • The approximate daily subsistence cost per person;
  • The name of the conference center, hotel, caterer, or other organization providing the service.

It is the responsibility of the departments to ensure that reimbursement for meals included in the lump-sum payment is not also included in reimbursement payments made to state employees who are conference participants. (State policy 5.8.3).

B. Internal Conference Definition

Internal conferences are those that involve the attendance of employees within that particular department, institution or agency only. No payment for meals is allowable unless overnight travel criteria are met. A routine staff meeting is not an internal conference. (State policy 5.8.4).

Requirements and Limitations for Internal Conferences:

  • The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.
  • There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events and the detailed schedule of costs.
  • No excess travel subsistence may be granted for internal departmental meetings, conferences, seminars, etc., and such meetings must be held in state facilities when available. No registration fee may be charged.
  • Sponsoring departments may provide refreshments for "coffee breaks" provided there are twenty or more participants and costs do not exceed four dollars and fifty cents ($4.50) per participant per day.
  • A department cannot use State funds to provide promotional or gift items to be distributed at the conference.
  • A department cannot use State funds to support or underwrite a rally, celebration, reception, employee appreciation activity, or similar function.
  • A department cannot use State funds to support or underwrite a meeting, assembly, conference, seminar, or similar function by whatever name called that promotes any cause or purpose other than the mission and objective of the department. (State policy 5.8.5).

C. Training Session Definition

Employee training involves courses that further develop an employee’s knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the duties of his/her present job, such as courses on computer usage or management skills development. These courses generally have a set fee, are of relatively short duration, and are not part of a curriculum the employee is participating in leading to an educational degree. (State policy 5.8.6).

Requirements and Limitations for Training Sessions:

  • Fees for training courses that provide training in specific areas are charged in the ac-counting system to “Employee Training” under “Other Services.”
  • Departments sponsoring training sessions may provide refreshments for “coffee breaks” provided there are twenty or more participants and costs do not exceed four dollars and fifty cents ($4.50) per participant per day.
  • Departments may reimburse employees for training books and materials related to training sessions, provided those books are required to participate in the training sessions. These books are considered property of the department and not the personal property of the employee. (State policy 5.8.7).

D. Management Retreat Definition

A management retreat is a meeting or series of meetings consisting of a department or division head and his or her top assistants and coworkers. Retreats are sometimes held at a site other that the usual workplace and are held no greater than once a year. (State policy 5.8.8).

Requirements and Limitations for Management Retreats:

State employees who are elected by a vote of the people or appointed by the governor, the president of The University of North Carolina, the chancellors of the constituent institutions of the university, the executive director of University of North Carolina Hospitals at Chapel Hill, chairman of the State Board of Education, and the president of the Community College System may authorize an annual management retreat. Expenditures are permissible in a manner as if it were an internal conference. (State policy 5.8.9).

E. Informal Meeting Definition

An informal meeting is a meeting consisting of a department head or his/her designee and non-state employees during which official State business is discussed for the majority of the meeting. Informal meetings are one-time occurrences and are not held on a recurring or routine basis. (State policy 5.9.1).

Requirements and Limitations for informal meetings:

State employees who are elected by a vote of the people or appointed by the governor, the president of The University of North Carolina, the chancellors of the constituent institutions of the university, the executive director of University of North Carolina Hospitals at Chapel Hill, chairman of the State Board of Education, and the President of the Community College System or their designees, when given prior written approval by the department head for a specific event, may be reimbursed from State funds for actual costs of meals for themselves and individuals who are not state employees who are their guests, when accompanying them in the course of conducting official State business. Cost of meals and other expenses for family members of the above referenced State officials are not reimbursable. (State policy 5.9.2).

VIII. Travel Policies for State Officials   

A. Political Functions

State officials, both elected and appointed, sometimes attend political functions or meetings. The following policies are intended to be guidelines for the payment from state funds for travel and subsistence costs surrounding the attendance of state public officials at political functions or meetings. (State policy 5.2.1).

Travel Related to a Political Function:

No state funds may be used to pay travel and/or subsistence costs for a state official while attending a political function or meeting. In the event a state-owned aircraft is used, the reimbursement rate will be the actual operating cost rate per flight hour. If a state-owned vehicle is used, the reimbursement rate to the State will be the motor pool rate. (State policy 5.2.2).

Travel Related to Official State Business that Includes Political Functions:

If a trip includes both official state business and political functions or meetings, state funds may be used to pay up to one-half of the travel and/or subsistence costs. In the event that a state-owned aircraft is used, the cost to the State will be charged at the regular rate per flight hour and the charge to a non-state source will be at the actual operating cost rate per flight hour. If a state-owned vehicle is used, the reimbursement rate to the State will be the motor pool rate. (State policy 5.2.3).

All Other Travel:

Travel reimbursement policies and regulations for all other travel for state officials is the same as for state employees. (State policy 5.2.4).

IX.Travel Policies for Members of State Boards, Commission, Committees, and Councils (Other than Licensing Boards and Member of the General Assembly)

A. Per Diem Compensation

Pursuant to G.S. 138-5(a)(1), non-state employees who are members of state boards, commissions, committees, and councils shall receive $15 per day of official service. State employees and members of all state boards, commissions, and councils whose salaries or any portion of whose salaries are paid from state funds shall receive no per diem compensation from state funds for their services. It is the responsibility of the fiscal officer of the Board, Commission, Committee, or Council to insure that such per diem compensation is not paid to state employees. (State policy 5.3.1).

Subsistence:

Subsistence for non-state employee members of state boards, councils, commissions, or committees is a daily, lump-sum allowance payable per day of official service, provided that meals are not furnished. Meals and lodging are to be reimbursed as follows: (State policy 5.3.2).

In-State Travel:

  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees (less subsistence rate for any meal furnished). No overnight stay is required.
  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees for lodging documented by a receipt of actual lodging expenses for a commercial lodging establishment.

Out-of-State Travel:

  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees for meals (less subsistence rate for any meal furnished). No overnight stay is required.
  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees for lodging documented by a receipt of actual lodging expenses for a commercial lodging establishment.

Excess Subsistence:

Authorization for excess expenses for in-state or out-of-state travel may be granted by the department head or the board chairperson or his/her designee when such costs are included in registration fees and/or there are predetermined charges. (State policy 5.3.3).

Authorization for Out-of-state travel:

Expenses for out-of-state travel on official business shall be reimbursed only upon authorization obtained in the manner prescribed by regulations governing out-of-state travel for state employees. (State policy 5.3.4).

Transportation:

Transportation policies and regulations are the same as for those for state employees, except that a mileage reimbursement rate set by any other law through reference to G. S. 138-6(a)(1) is established at 25 cents per mile, not the IRS rate.  (State policy 5.3.5).

Subsistence of State Employees Serving as Board Members:

As allowed under G.S. 138-6, a state employee who is a member of a state board, commission, committee or council that operates from funds deposited with the State Treasurer may be reimbursed for the actual cost of any meal (including lunch) eaten while on official state business if the meal is preplanned as part of the meeting for the entire board, commission, committee, or council. However, when an overnight stay is required, the State employee is limited to a daily standard subsistence rate used for State Employees. (State policy 5.3.6).

In-State Travel:

  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees (less subsistence rate for any meal furnished). No overnight stay is required.
  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees for lodging documented by a receipt of actual lodging expenses for a commercial lodging establishment.

Out-of-State Travel:

  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees for meals (less subsistence rate for any meal furnished). No overnight stay is required.
  • Standard subsistence rate used for State Employees for lodging documented by a receipt of actual lodging expenses for a commercial lodging establishment.

No Overnight Stay:

When an overnight stay is not required, the State employee is allowed the actual cost of any meal (including lunch) eaten while on official state business if the meal is preplanned as part of the meeting for the entire board, commission, committee or council. (State policy 5.3.7).

Other Meals:

If the employee is eligible for reimbursement for any other meal, that reimbursement is limited by the same reimbursement amounts and regulations as those allowed for in-state and out-of-state travel by a state employee who is not a member of a state board, commission, committee, or council.  (State policy 5.3.8).

Meetings:

Refreshments (i.e., coffee, soft drinks, cookies, doughnuts) may be served at official board meetings. Reimbursement may be paid from state funds for the actual cost not to exceed $4.50 per member and required staff, per meeting per day. "Required Staff" shall be defined as an employee who, in the regular course of his duties, is expected to attend the meeting and any other employee whose presence is necessary to accomplish a purpose of the meeting. (State policy 5.3.9).

X. Travel Policies for Agency Committees Not Established by G.S. 143B-10(d)

An employee of any department, institution, or agency that operates from funds deposited with the State Treasurer, who is appointed to an agency committee not established by G.S. 143B-10(d), is subject to subsistence policies and regulations that apply to state employees.

Non-state employees who are members of agency committees not established by G.S. 143B-10(d) shall follow the travel policy for Non-State Employees. (State policy 5.4).

XI. Travel Policies for Licensing Boards (Other than State Employees)

Per Diem Compensation

Pursuant to G.S. 93B-5, non-state employee members of licensing boards shall receive $100.00 per day of official service. State employees and members of all licensing boards whose salaries or any portion of whose salaries are paid from state funds shall receive no per diem compensation from state funds for their services. It is the responsibility of the budget officer of the licensing board to insure that such per diem compensation is not paid to state employees.  (State policy 5.5.1).

Subsistence

Subsistence policies and regulations are the same as those for state employees. (State policy 5.5.2).

Convention Registration

Convention registration policies and regulations are the same as those for state employees. (State policy 5.5.3).

Transportation

Transportation policies and regulations are the same as those for state employees, except that a mileage reimbursement rate set by any other law through reference to G. S. 138-6(a)(1) is established at 25 cents per mile, not the IRS rate. (State policy 5.5.4).

Meetings

Refreshments (i.e., coffee, soft drinks, cookies, doughnuts) may be served at official board meetings. Reimbursement may be paid from state funds for the actual cost not to exceed $4.50 per member and required staff, per meeting per day. "Required Staff" shall be defined as an employee who, in the regular course of his duties, is expected to attend the meeting and any other employee whose presence is necessary to accomplish a purpose of the meeting. (State policy 5.5.5).

XII. Travel Policies for Members of the General Assembly Serving on State Boards, Commissions, Committees, and Councils

Per Diem Compensation

Pursuant to G.S. 120-3.1, per diem compensation is not applicable. (State policy 5.6.1).

Subsistence

A member of the General Assembly shall receive a subsistence allowance for meals and lodging at a daily rate (which is currently $104) equal to the maximum per diem rate for federal employees traveling to Raleigh, N.C., as set out at 58 Federal Register 67959 (December 22, 1993), while the General Assembly remains in session, and, except as otherwise provided in this subsection when, with the approval of the Speaker of the House in the case of Representatives or the President Pro Tempore of the Senate in case of Senators, the member is:

  • Traveling as a representative of the General Assembly or of its committees or commissions;
  • Otherwise in the service of the State.

(State policy 5.6.2).

Excess Subsistence

A member who is authorized to travel, whether in or out of session, within the United States but outside of North Carolina may elect to receive, in lieu of the amount provided in the preceding paragraph, a subsistence allowance of twenty-six dollars ($26.00) a day for meals, plus actual expenses for lodging when evidenced by a receipt satisfactory to the Legislative Services Officer, not to exceed the maximum per diem rate for federal employees traveling to the same place, as set out at 58 Federal Register 67950-67964 (December 22, 1993) and at 59 Federal Register 23702-23709 (May 6, 1996) (GS 120-3.1(a)(3)b). (State policy 5.6.3).

Transportation

A member will receive a travel allowance at the rate equal to the business standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service whenever the member travels, whether in or out of session, as a representative of the General Assembly or of its committees or commissions, with the approval of the Legislative Services Commission. (State policy 5.6.4).

Convention Registration

Convention registration policies and regulations are the same as those for state employees. (State policy 5.6.5).