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Travel Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Policy establishes the University's requirements for travel on University business.

Policy Declaration

(2) Travel conducted for the University should achieve its intended outcomes and be cost effective.  The University funds travel and associated expenses which are work-related, reasonable and duly approved, subject to the conditions of this Policy and associated Procedures.

(3) The University supports Travellers to remain safe and healthy while travelling.

Scope

(4) This Policy applies to those travelling on University business, including:

  1. University employees, adjuncts, visiting and conjoint appointees;
  2. Students;
  3. University Council members and other University committee members;
  4. Volunteers or representatives who contribute to or act on behalf of the University; and
  5. Job applicants.
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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) Traveller: a person travelling on University Business.

(6) Travel Management Company: the University's preferred supplier of travel management services.

(7) Travel Services:  the University's work unit that functions as a centralised travel fulfilment office.

(8) University Business: activity of a business, educational or professional nature sanctioned by the University.

(9) University Funds: all funds controlled by the University, including grant money, consultancy earnings, including academic pursuit funds, research grant monies, earnings from entrepreneurial ventures and New Colombo Plan program funding.

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Section 3 - Travel Approval

(10) All travel, regardless of the funding source, must be approved via a Travel Request and in accordance with the Travel Procedures.

(11) Travel approval authorities are set out in Schedule A - Travel Approval Authorities.

(12) With reference to the Travel Approval Checklist, travel approvers will ensure that Travellers are fit to travel, that travel plans are sufficiently safe and that the travel they approve is not unreasonably or unnecessarily risky.  If unsure, they will seek additional information from the Traveller, request the completion by the Traveller of a Risk Assessment, or seek advice from the Manager, Workplace Health and Safety, Manager, Insurance and Risk and/or International SOS.

(13) Travel approvers will consider the International SOS risk information when approving travel requests and require a Risk Assessment be conducted and explicit confirmation of insurance coverage, for destinations deemed 'High' or 'Extreme' risk.

(14) A Risk Assessment must be conducted for all international student group travel. 

(15) If a Traveller wishes to change the trip purpose, dates of approved travel or the travel funding source, Travel Services will seek a further approval from the delegated authority before proceeding to amend the booking. 

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Section 4 - Travel Services

(16) To ensure that Travellers are provided with expert travel advice and appropriate risk management services, all University funded travel (with the exception of pool cars) must be booked through Travel Services.

(17) University-funded student travel (individuals and groups) must be booked through Travel Services.

(18) In rare instances when Travel Services are unable to book the particular requirements, Travel Services may recommend a Travel Provider.

Traveller Health, Safety and Emergency Support

(19) The University takes its duty of care to Travellers seriously and proactively manages  risks associated with travel. Possible risks arise in relation to the Traveller's health and fitness to travel, the location of the travel, and the activity being undertaken while travelling.

(20) The University engages International SOS, a specialised travel medical and security services provider for expert support and advice to international Travellers.  

(21) International SOS rate all locations by risk on a five tier scale. Insignificant - Low - Medium - High - Extreme.  Additional risk management measures, a higher level of approval and explicit confirmation of insurance coverage is required for destinations deemed High or Extreme.

(22) Travellers must ensure that they have access to communications.  This is particularly important when travelling to remote areas where specialised, communication equipment may be required.

(23) International Travellers are provided with:

  1. Pre-travel information and advice regarding the medical and security risks in the locations they are travelling to.
  2. Access to a pre-travel confidential consultation if they have a higher risk profile due to their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
  3. Real time alerts regarding incidents that could threaten their health or safety while overseas. 
  4. Proactive outreach via email, SMS and automated phone calls following a major incident in the vicinity of a Traveller to confirm their status.
  5. Access to medical and security support, 24/7, regardless of the Traveller's location.
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Section 5 - Insurance Coverage

(24) The University provides travel insurance for those travelling on University business.

(25) Travellers are responsible for confirming that any specific activities they plan to undertake are covered. Additional coverage may be required for high-risk activities, such as adventure sports.

(26) Private travel (other than that described in clause 30) is not covered by University travel insurance. Travellers must acquire their own insurance for private travel.

(27) Travel to high risk locations (High or Extreme Risk by International SOS) may not be covered by the University's insurance policy.  Travellers must confirm additional insurance coverage is arranged prior to booking.

(28) The University will not reimburse Travellers for personal items lost whilst travelling on business beyond the coverage provided by the airlines and the University's insurance.

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Section 6 - Private Travel

(29) Travellers may undertake occasional private travel in conjunction with travel on official University business. If the travel is considered 'Merely Incidental' then the University covers travel and usual insurance costs and international Travellers are able to access International SOS services.

(30) Private travel may be considered 'Merely Incidental' to the business purpose if the private travel component is as follows.

Duration of Trip (total days away, including weekends):

Private days considered 'Merely Incidental' if equal to

or less than:

Between 1 to 14 days
No more than a 50% private component
Between 15 to 30 days
No more than 7 days in total
31 days or more
20% of total days away

(31) Days in transit or unavoidable private days between business activities such as weekends, public holidays and scheduling issues are not considered private days.

(32) Unavoidable private days are excluded from the private component if:

  1. It was essential that the business activity on either side of the delay be undertaken during the travel; and
  2. The business activity was unable to be scheduled to minimise the number of private days between business activities.

Private Travel exceeding ‘Merely Incidental’

(33) If the private component of the trip is more than 'Merely Incidental' then the costs between business and private will be apportioned and the Traveller will pay the private component.

(34) Only direct costs (eg accommodation, meals, airfares) relating to the business portion of the trip will be paid for by the University. Costs incurred by the University relating to both private and business purposes (such as airfares) are apportioned on a 'fair and reasonable' basis.

(35) Travellers are responsible for their insurance coverage for the specific activities they intend to undertake while on private travel.

(36) International SOS services are not available to Travellers who exceed the ‘Merely Incidental’ private day component of their travel.

(37) Any Fringe Benefit Tax liability is to be met by the employee.  Travellers are responsible for their own taxation liabilities and should seek independent advice regarding any taxation implications.

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Section 7 - Air Travel

(38) The following restrictions apply to air travel:

  1. Travellers must choose the lowest non-stop fare of the day that is fit for purpose, or provide a justification for not doing so.
  2. Travellers must not use frequent flyers rewards as a justification for choosing a higher cost flight.
  3. First class travel is prohibited unless authorised by the employee's contract of employment.
  4. Business class travel is prohibited except for Council Members, Executive Members and Heads of Campus who may travel business class for international travel (except to and from New Zealand) and for domestic flights exceeding four hours.

Non-scheduled air travel (charter flights)

(39) To ensure that appropriate insurance coverage is in place, the Insurance Office requires three weeks' notice of any non-scheduled air travel bookings.

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Section 8 - Ground Transport

(40) The University provides pool vehicles as a means of transport for business purposes. Where these are available they should be used ahead of hire cars or other ground transport options.

(41) Travellers must use the most cost-effective mode of ground transport that is sufficiently safe:

  1. Travellers must not use any form of two or three wheel transport (such as motor cycles, scooters or tuk tuks) or quadbikes or all-terrain vehicles.
  2. Travellers must not use any form of transport that does not have a functioning seat belt or airbag.
  3. Established ride share services, such as Uber and Grab, are acceptable where they meet the criteria set out in (b) above.
  4. Public transport and shuttle services should be considered where they are safe.

(42) Travellers must refer to and comply with the Motor Vehicle Policy and Driving Safety Policy if they plan to self-drive. In addition:

  1. Travellers must not self-drive in locations where they do not have sufficient experience or skills to safely navigate the environment.
  2. If driving off-road is required, Travellers must have previous four wheel drive experience or have completed a four wheel drive training course.
  3. Travellers must have the appropriate licence for the location, including an international driver's licence where required.

Hire Cars

(43) Hire car bookings must be made via Travel Services and are only allowed when:

  1. A University pool vehicle is not available; or
  2. It is more convenient than airline, bus or rail travel; or
  3. Airline, bus or rail travel is unsafe; or
  4. It is necessary to transport large or bulky material; or
  5. It is less expensive than other transportation modes such as taxis, trains and airport shuttles.

(44) Standard or smaller sedan must be booked, unless:

  1. Cars in the standard category are not available;
  2. Additional space is required for transporting materials;
  3. A four wheel drive or other type of vehicle is required for safety reasons;
  4. The car can be upgraded at no extra cost to the University.

(45) When hiring a vehicle, Travellers must accept all comprehensive motor vehicle insurance options, including excess or deductible coverage offered by the rental organisation, whether discretionary or mandatory, against loss or damage to the rental vehicle during the rental period. Travellers must comply with the requirements of the rental company under the hiring agreement and of the insurer under the insurance policy.

(46) Incidental personal use of a hire car during a business trip is permitted. However, Travellers who choose to extend a business trip for personal reasons, either before or after business is conducted, must pay for additional days, fuel, or other usage charges.

Accidents

(47) If a hire car accident occurs, Travellers must submit a written accident report as soon as possible to the rental company, local authorities and submit an Incident/Hazard Report and follow normal University Work Health Safety Procedures.

Use of Private Vehicles

(48) Travellers are required to use a University pool vehicle or hire car for travel for business purposes.

(49) Travellers are permitted to use a private vehicle for business purposes, where it is roadworthy and has valid compulsory third party insurances, in the following circumstances:

  1. No University pool vehicle or hire car is available; or
  2. The Traveller resides more than 20 kilometres from either a University campus or hire car collection point and the intended travel is in the opposite direction.

(50) Travellers will be reimbursed for approved travel using the kilometre rates set by the University in accordance with the Australian Taxation Office.

(51) If an accident occurs while a Traveller is using a private vehicle on University business, any insurance claim must be made under the Traveller's personal insurance policy.

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Section 9 - Maritime Transport

(52) Travellers must ensure that any maritime component of travel is conducted on a vessel with:

  1. Life jackets for all passengers;
  2. Life-boats for all passengers;
  3. Access to communications equipment (maritime radio);
  4. A distress beacon/EPIRB; and
  5. Fire extinguishers.

(53) Travellers are prohibited from using jet-skis.

(54) Travellers who intend to drive a boat, must have an appropriate, valid boat or personal watercraft licence.

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Section 10 - Accommodation

(55) AirBnB is permitted only in Insignificant and Low security risk countries and Medium risk countries where the Traveller is fluent in the local language.

(56) A hotel room upgrade at the University's expense is not permitted.

(57) Where a Traveller elects to stay with family or friends when travelling on University business, accommodation allowances are not paid. The University will not reimburse travellers for contributions or gifts for their host.

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Section 11 - Reimbursable Travel Costs

(58) Meals, incidental and other travel related costs are reimbursed on the basis of actual costs which must be reasonable. The following Guides should be used:

  1. Council Members and Executive: Executive Domestic Travel Rates;
  2. Council Members and Executive: Executive Overseas Travel Rates;
  3. Other Travellers: Non-executive Domestic Travel Rates; and
  4. Other Travellers: Non-executive Overseas Travel Rates.

Meals

(59) Meals will be reimbursed as follows:

  1. Breakfast: when travel commences before 6 am
  2. Lunch: only when a Traveller is put to unavoidable additional expense. Lunch is not reimbursed for same day travel;
  3. Dinner: when work or travel is required after 6.30 pm.

(60) Where a meal is provided, for example as part of conference, during air travel, or by a host, no amount will be paid for that meal.

Incidental Expenses

(61) Travellers will not be reimbursed incidental expenses for same day travel.

(62) Travellers may claim reasonable actual incidental expenses for the following:

  1. Laundry or dry cleaning services;
  2. Toiletry items;
  3. Miscellaneous hotel charges;
  4. Any excess payable under a medical insurance claim;
  5. Mail redirection fees associated with long term travel; and
  6. ATM fees on cash withdrawals and own bank fees on foreign currency cash conversions.

(63) When travelling overseas, tips will only be reimbursed if this is the practice in the country visited and the amount is not excessive.

(64) Expenses incurred during an overseas trip will be reimbursed based on the exchange rate at the date of the transaction.

Telephone Use

(65) Travellers will be reimbursed for business calls that are reasonable and necessary for conducting business.  Evidence of costs incurred must be attached to the expense claim.

Non-reimbursable Expenses

(66) Travellers will not be reimbursed the following:

  1. Optional travel or baggage insurance;
  2. Parking tickets or traffic violations;
  3. Rental car upgrades;
  4. Interest charges on credit cards;
  5. Passport fees, except the Vice President (Global);
  6. Tips (within Australia).
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Section 12 - Rest Periods

(67) Where a period of business is 5 consecutive days or more in duration, Travellers are entitled to a rest break of 24 hours which may include an overnight stay in the destination.

(68) Travellers are entitled to a rest break following a period of travel to an international location (other than New Zealand) prior to commencing work as follows:

  1. The minimum rest break is 10 hours and the maximum is 24 hours which includes an overnight stay;
  2. Where the flight time is greater than 12 hours (including transit stops), a variation to a maximum of 2 nights may be negotiated with the relevant delegation (see Delegations Register). Approval will depend on flight arrival times and distance travelled;
  3. Rest breaks while overseas must be taken at the time of travel.

(69) Return travel should begin no later than the day immediately following completion of business, subject to suitable travel being available.

(70) On return to place of residence Travellers will be entitled to a rest break which includes 1 night. A variation to 2 nights may be negotiated with relevant approving authority depending on flight arrival times and distance travelled.

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Section 13 - Frequent Flyer and other Membership Programs

(71) All bookings must be made without consideration of frequent flyer programs, memberships or other loyalty programs.

(72) The University makes no claims of ownership of frequent flyer points.

(73) Airline lounge memberships may be reimbursed with the approval of both Head of Work Unit and relevant Executive Member.

(74) University-funded airline lounge memberships are restricted to one for each staff member, except for Vice President (Global).

(75) Staff may be eligible to apply to salary sacrifice airport lounge memberships and should seek further information from HR Services.

(76) Membership fees associated with joining accommodation loyalty programs will not be reimbursed.

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Section 14 - Breach of Policy

(77) Breaches of this Policy will be reported to the relevant Executive Member.

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Section 15 - Associated Documents

(78) This Policy is supported by:

  1. Travel Procedures
  2. Schedule A – Travel Approval Authorities
  3. Travel Approval CheckList
  4. Executive domestic travel rates
  5. Non-executive domestic travel rates
  6. Executive overseas travel rates
  7. Non-executive overseas travel rates

(79) This Policy should be read in conjunction with:

  1. Work Health Safety Policy
  2. Driving Safety Policy
  3. Code of Conduct
  4. Motor Vehicle Policy
  5. Special Studies Program Policy
  6. Outdoor Fieldwork Safety Policy
  7. Corporate Credit Card Policy