Reimbursement of Expenses (Procedure)

Legislative History:

Approved by UEC: 1996/02/12; Approved by BPC: 1995/03/05; Board of Governors Finance & Property Committee: 1996/02/12; Date Effective: 1996/02/12. Amended: 2007/05/01; 2012/07/01; 2017/10/06.

Approval Authority: Vice-President Finance and Administration

Signature: Trudy Pound-Curtis


 

Description: Applies to all expense reimbursements to employees; has associated Policy.


APPLICABILITY

This Procedure applies in respect of expenditures incurred by individuals who are to be reimbursed from University operating, capital, ancillary, special purpose or research funds.

Expenditures charged to research grants or contracts shall comply with this Procedure, unless the terms and conditions of the grant or contract impose greater restrictions.

Expenditures charged to Professional Expense Reimbursements shall comply with this Procedure, unless the Professional Expense Reimbursement guidelines impose greater restrictions.

This Procedure applies to all petty cash reimbursements and other forms of payment.

PROCEDURE

Form of Claim

  1. Claims for reimbursement shall:
  • be submitted, wherever possible, electronically using the University’s electronic expense reporting system or, where the individual does not have access to the electronic system, on the appropriate York University expense claim form;
  • be expressed in a common currency at the rate of exchange in effect at the date of conversion;
  • be accompanied by original receipts, invoices, vouchers, or travel ticket stubs;
  • be itemized by individual transaction;
  • be clearly identified by date, type of expense, and purpose;
  • be signed by the claimant and any other persons specified herein or by any special terms of the contract authorizing the funds;
  • be reduced by the amount of any outstanding accountable advance.

Authorization

  1. Claims and accountable advances shall be approved in accordance with the table below:

Funding Source

 Approver
(For All Claims)

Operating, special purpose, ancillary, endowment, or capital fund Person to whom the claimant reports or higher
Research grant (externally or internally funded): Claims submitted by Principal Investigator Department Chair or higher
(i.e., Dean or designated Associate Dean, Associate Vice-President, Vice-President)
Research grant (externally or internally funded): Claims submitted by external individuals (collaborators, co-investigators, visiting scholars, etc.) Department Chair or higher
(i.e., Dean or designated Associate Dean, Associate Vice-President, Vice-President)
- and –
Principal Investigator
Research grant (externally or internally funded): Claims submitted by York students and research staff Principal Investigator
Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER)  One of the following individuals:

  • Department Chair or Department Head;
  • Dean or designated Associate Dean;
  • Principal or designated Associate Principal;
  • University Librarian or designated Associate University Librarian; or
  • Vice-President Academic
Professional Expense Reimbursement for Vice-President President
Professional Expense Reimbursement for Senior Scholar Office of Comptroller
  1. In all cases, where the claimant is listed as a Primary Approver, then approval shall be obtained from the person to whom the claimant reports.
  2. Claims and advances shall be authorized by a signing authority on the cost centre(s) to be charged.
  3. All claims shall be reviewed by the Office of the Comptroller (or a delegate) to ensure compliance with this procedure.

Responsibility of Claimant

  1. The individual seeking reimbursement shall ensure the expenses being claimed are valid, necessary and appropriate; have been incurred in compliance with University policies and guidelines; are allowable under granting agency policies, guidelines, and agreements, if applicable; have been adequately documented in accordance with the Documentation Standards stated in this Procedure; have been preapproved by the cost centre manager; and that sufficient funding is available to cover the expenditures.

Responsibility of Approval Authority

  1. The person responsible for approving claims shall determine whether the expenses being claimed are valid; have been incurred in the course of conducting University operating or research activities; have been preapproved by the cost centre manager; and that sufficient funds remain in the cost centre to fund the expenditures.

Incomplete Claims

  1. Claims which have not been properly prepared, authorized or supported by documentation shall be returned to the claimant by the Approval Authority or the Office of the Comptroller, Finance Department, with reasons given for not processing the claim.

Travel Card and Travel Services

  1. Full time employees traveling on University business, or otherwise incurring expenses on the University's behalf, may request a travel card approved by York University to pay for such expenses and eliminate the requirement to use personal credit to pay for such expenses. Employees who are issued a travel card shall comply with the travel card guidelines established by the University.
  2. Employees traveling on University business or otherwise incurring expenses on the University's behalf are strongly encouraged to:
  1. make payment by use of the Travel Card approved by York University to reduce associated insurance costs, including travel accident, hotel/motel burglary, flight and baggage delay, and car rental theft and damage; and
  2. book airfare, accommodation and car rental with facilities and agencies which are arranged and made available to employees of the University through York’s preferred travel agency and York’s affiliation with the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) – see Appendix C for details.

Accountable Advances

  1. The University strongly encourages the use of the travel card when paying for expenses incurred on its behalf. Where the travel card or a personal credit card cannot reasonably be used and an advance of funds may be required to cover travel expenditures in excess of $500, a request for an accountable advance may be made. Only one accountable advance may be outstanding at any time, unless approved by the Office of the Comptroller, Finance Department.
  2. A request for an accountable advance shall be, wherever possible, submitted electronically to the Finance Department using the electronic expense reporting system, a minimum of 10 business days prior to the date when the funds are needed. Where the individual does not have access to the electronic system, a request for an accountable advance may be submitted on the appropriate York University advance form, a minimum of 15 business days prior to the date when the funds are needed.;
  3. A request for an accountable advance shall be approved by an Executive Officer, Dean, or higher.
  4. An accountable advance may only be issued to full-time faculty and staff.
  5. Employees are expected to settle an accountable advance within 30 days following the use for which it was requested (e.g., completion of travel, conclusion of an event, etc.). An accountable advance shall be settled by offsetting claims for reimbursement and/or by cash repayment.
  6. An accountable advance remaining outstanding after 60 days may be deducted from the employee’s next salary payment.
  7. Employees who fail to settle an accountable advance within 90 days following the use for which it was requested will no longer be eligible to receive an accountable advance.
  8. At the conclusion of the employment of an employee, the University shall deduct from any monies payable to the employee any accountable advances outstanding at the last date of employment.

Deadlines for Submission of Expenses

  1. All claims shall be submitted on a timely basis from the date the expense was incurred, in accordance with the deadlines noted in the table below:

Funding Source

Deadline

Operating, special purpose, ancillary, endowment, or capital fund 6 months*
Research grant (internally funded) 6 months*
Research grant (externally funded) 15 months*
Professional Expense Reimbursement (PER) 15 months*
Professional Expense Reimbursement for Senior Scholar 15 months*

* In cases where a faculty member or librarian is on an approved leave or has exceptional circumstances meriting an extension of the deadline, requests for reimbursement shall be submitted within 18 months of the expenditure with an accompanying explanation detailing the request for the time extension.

  1. Requests for reimbursement from externally funded grant monies are subject to the deadlines set by the granting agency, and where such deadlines require shorter timelines for reimbursement than those set out above, the deadlines set by the granting agency take precedence.

Processing of Claims

  1. Claims made hereunder shall be submitted to the Office of the Comptroller, Finance Department.
  2. Claims should be submitted electronically using the University’s electronic expense reporting system. Claims submitted in paper form will require additional processing time.
  3. Reimbursement to the employee shall be by direct deposit. Where banking information has not been provided to the Finance Department, reimbursement shall be made to the bank account provided to the Payroll Office, Department of Human Resources.
  4. All expense claims and accountable advances are subject to subsequent audit.
  5. Ineligible expenses identified through an audit shall be reimbursed to the University by the claimant.

Expense Guidelines

  1. Guidelines to be Followed:

While the University will reimburse reasonable expenses incurred by employees while on University business, it has also established Expense Guidelines as to what will be considered reasonable in most cases.
For additional information and guidance, please see Appendix D - Standard University Practices, which will be updated from time to time by the University Comptroller.

  1. Deviation from Expense Procedure:

Any deviation from this Procedure requires advance written approval from a Dean, Assistant or Associate Vice-President, or higher and shall be supported by a written, detailed justification.

The individual approving the deviation will acknowledge, in writing, that the expenditure does not comply with this procedure and provide approval for the deviation.

  1. Limitations on Reimbursable Expenses:

The University will not reimburse the following expenses:

  • expenses which are being claimed by an employee as a tax deduction;
  • expenses which are recoverable from a third party;
  • payments which would be taxable income in the hands of the claimant or other recipients, including claims for stipends or other forms of remuneration of any sort (these must be processed through the Payroll Office, Department of Human Resources);
  • passport costs;
  • credit card annual fees;
  • late payment fees or interest on credit cards (or through any other means) or overdraft interest;
  • parking, traffic or other fines and penalties;
  •  toll transponders and local toll charges;
  • furniture and furnishings;
  • insurance coverage available through the University’s credit card or institutional insurance policies;
  • reimbursements for the value of travel reward points;
  • expenses not incurred for business purposes;
  • expenses related to travel companions;
  • childcare expenses(except on external research funds, where allowed by the granting agency); and
  • gift purchases for employees (see University’s Procedure on Hospitality).
  1. Procurement of Goods and Services:

The expense claim process is intended to reimburse employees for travel-related expenses incurred while on University business. All purchases of goods and services shall comply with the University’s Policy and Procedure on the Procurement of Goods and Services, shall utilize Vendors of Record where possible, and shall be directly billed to and paid by the University’s Accounts Payable office. Accordingly, the University will only reimburse employees (via a claim for reimbursement) for nominal purchases of goods where the merchant is unable to directly bill the University.

  1. Eligible Expense Criteria:

1. Travel

1.1    Employees shall be reimbursed for the most direct and economical mode of travel available, considering all of the circumstances.

1.2    Business class transportation will be reimbursed in exceptional circumstances, shall be supported by a detailed explanation (such as for medical reasons), and requires the following

i. written pre-approval by a Vice-President (or where the claimant is a Vice-President or a President, by the person to whom the claimant reports)*;
ii. when required for medical reasons, the claimant to have on file with the University's Wellness Office, Department of Human Resources, a doctor's note* confirming that a medical accommodation is necessary; and
iii. when claiming on external research funds, written pre-approval by the granting agency*, if required.

* Pre-approval from the Vice-President (or higher) and the granting agency (if applicable) must be attached to the expense claim. Medical notes should not be attached to the expense claim.

1.3    Employees shall not be reimbursed for additional costs incurred for indirect routes or stopovers taken for personal reasons.

1.4    Personal automobile use for business travel will be reimbursed only by way of an all-inclusive mileage allowance at a rate to be established by the University (see Appendix A). This allowance is designed to reimburse the claimant for all costs, including fuel, insurance, repairs, maintenance, and local toll charges. See Vehicle Allowance, Appendix A.

1.5    Travel agency booking fees are eligible for reimbursement.

1.6     Trip cancellation insurance will be reimbursed.

1.7     Out-of-country medical insurance is an eligible expenditure only if the employee is not otherwise covered under the University's employee benefits plan. Employees are advised to consult with the Pension & Benefits Office, Department of Human Resources, before purchasing such insurance.

2. Accommodation

2.1     Employees shall be reimbursed for reasonable accommodation expenses, considering all of the circumstances.

2.2    Where accommodation is provided privately (e.g. in a private residence), the University will reimburse a gratuitous amount per night in accordance with per diem rates in effect (see Appendix A).

2.3    In cases where an employee is required to spend in excess of one continuous month of travel at one location, the employee shall obtain appropriate approvals in order to make reasonable living arrangements. Wherever possible, board and lodging should be obtained on a weekly or monthly basis and accommodation arranged prior to the start of travel.

3. Meals

3.1    Employees shall be reimbursed for reasonable and appropriate meal charges actually incurred while on University business and shall be guided by the per diem rate. Claims for meals shall be evidenced by original receipts only in limited circumstances where required by a granting agency.

3.2     Claims that exceed the maximum shall be supported by (i) a written justification, (ii) written approval by a Dean, Assistant or Associate Vice-President, or higher and (iii) original receipts supporting the amount claimed.

4. Hospitality

4.1      Hospitality expenses are eligible to the extent they comply with the University’s Policy and Procedure on Hospitality.

5.     Multiple Employee Claim

5.1    When a claim is submitted for expenses incurred by more than one employee from the same Faculty, department of operating unit (e.g., a meal or travel expenses for a group event where more than one employee is involved), the employee who holds the most senior position shall normally arrange payment and submit the claim for reimbursement.

5.2    Where a multiple employee claim includes expenses incurred by the signing authority or department head, the claim shall be signed by the person to whom that individual reports (per Authorization, paragraph in the Procedure above).

6. Telecommunication

6.1    Employees shall be reimbursed for long distance business calls made from their home or while on a business trip.

6.2    Long distance calls incurred for personal reasons while traveling on business are to be reimbursed via the Allowance for Incidental Expenses – see Appendix A.

6.3     Monthly fixed charges pertaining to a home telephone will not be reimbursed.

6.4     Cellular/data service shall be arranged through UIT Telecom Services where possible.

6.5     The purchase of a cellular device is eligible provided the device is for business use and has been approved by a department head or higher.

6.6    Cellular/data service fees are eligible if incurred for business use. The fair  value of personal usage shall be excluded when making a claim, using a reasonable proration between business and personal use. No proration for personal use is necessary when all three conditions are met:
  • the plan's cost is reasonable;
  • the plan is a basic plan with a fixed cost; and
  • the employee’s personal use of the service does not result in additional charges over the basic plan cost.

7. Internet

7.1    Home internet access is similar to home phone usage, in that most households have internet service. However, there may be cases, where internet usage is used primarily for academic/research purposes. Monthly fixed charges pertaining to home internet will only be reimbursed in the following two situations:

i.   Where the employee’s job requires him/her to monitor information systems overnight and such responsibilities would require significant internet access. In such cases, the employee is responsible for prorating internet fees between business and personal use and claiming only the business use. The maximum business use that may be claimed is 50%. The approver is responsible for reviewing the appropriateness of the proration.

ii. Effective January 1, 2017, home internet charges will be eligible to be reimbursed from Professional Expense Reimbursement accounts where home internet access is used primarily by the faculty member to carry out professional responsibilities in the areas of research, teaching and service at York (“professional responsibilities”) . The faculty member is responsible for prorating in a reasonable manner the internet fees attributable to professional responsibilities and personal use and may only claim the portion attributable to professional responsibilities. The maximum that may be claimed for professional responsibilities is 50% of the monthly home internet charges, inclusive of all taxes.

8. Documentation Standards

8.1 The following information should be provided:

  • purpose of trip or expenditure, including a statement linking the expenditure
  • travel dates and destinations;
  • to the funded research, if applicable;
  • daily itineraries (including details of research activities and meetings);
  • conference agendas or programs;
  • details of daily expenditures during the trip;
  • travel arrangements; and
  • details of any vehicle used.

8.2     Claims for expense reimbursement shall be accompanied by original receipts, invoices, vouchers,  and other original evidence of travel.

8.3     Claims for hospitality reimbursement shall be accompanied by original receipts and shall clearly state the business purpose and identify the parties involved (and their affiliation).

8.4    Claims for mileage shall be itemized by trip and include the following for each trip: the business purpose of the trip, date, starting point, ending point, and number of kilometres.

8.5     Claims for cellular and data services shall be accompanied by an explanation of how the business portion is determined.

8.6     Where receipts are denominated in a different currency, documentation shall be provided as follows:

i. For electronic claims, documentation is required to support the exchange rate only when prompted by the system.

ii. For paper claims, documentation is required to support the exchange rate for all receipts denominated in a different currency.

8.7     Where a claimant incurs incremental costs for personal reasons, the claimant is responsible for determining the pure cost associated with conducting York business. Only the portion incurred for York business is eligible for reimbursement. The claimant shall obtain, at the time of booking, and include with the expense claim, comparable quotes without the stopover, extension, or other incremental item, and the lower amount should be claimed.

8.8     If on a rare occasion an original receipt is lost or one is not issued (e.g., in a foreign country), an Attestation Form (see Appendix B) shall be completed and attached to the expense reimbursement claim. The Attestation Form shall be approved according to the Authorization section of this Procedure.

RELATED POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES

Refer also to the Finance Department Website:

APPENDICES

OTHER RESOURCES

Refer also to the Finance Department website: