Travel Policy


Purpose


To ensure that:

  • travel costs are effectively monitored and authorised
  • travel risks are identified and managed

Application


This policy applies to:

  • all University members organising, undertaking or approving University travel and
  • all University student activity travel, unless indicated otherwise 

Note - Grants received by the University from external parties are considered to be University funds and must be administered in accordance with this policy except where a grant has specific terms and conditions or compliance requirements that are stricter than this policy, in which case those terms and conditions or compliance requirements may supersede this policy.

Introduction


For the purpose of this policy, University travel refers to travel by all University members (including staff members and students) that has been approved as being for University purpose and is funded by the University or a third party.

University student activity travel refers to self-funded international travel for any student activity:

  • undertaken to fulfil a requirement for academic progress at the University, or
  • organised by the University, or
  • endorsed by the Approving Manager and directly related to the student’s professional/academic development

University student activity travel does not include activities organised solely by a student or group of students unless they otherwise meet the above definition of University student activities.

All the supporting materials to help interpret and implement this policy are contained in the:

Travel Expenses and Booking Procedures

University Student Activity Travel Procedures

Funded Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions

Via TRM Student Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions

Traveller checklist for University student activity travel

Traveller Checklist for Funded University Travel

 

POLICY


Authorising travel

1.    Prior to booking travel, the traveller or travel organiser must:

  • obtain approval from the traveller’s approving manager and, where University funds are being used, a person with delegated financial authority to approve expenditure on the cost centre that the travel is being charged to
  • obtain approval through the Performance and Risk Office for travel to high risk destinations (see points 9-11) 

Organising and booking travel

2.    The Travel Management Company (TMC) must be used to coordinate all travel requirements including airfares, accommodation and rental vehicles unless one of the following exceptions apply:

  • conference accommodation may be purchased directly from an alternative supplier as part of a special conference package (conference registration and accommodation)
  • the travel was purchased directly by an external organisation without use of University funds, or directly by a student in the case of self-funded University student activity travel
  • an alternate rental car or accommodation provider demonstrates a significant cost difference of comparable standards 

3.    Before all travel, the traveller must:

  • research and be aware of the risks involved with the planned trips
  • ensure they are prepared for travel including the necessary vaccinations
  • provide to the University any travel itineraries not booked through the TMC 

4.    Additionally, before international travel, the traveller must:

  • register the traveller’s details on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Safe Travel website or other nationality equivalent
  • confirm they have appropriate travel insurance for international travel (see points 7-9) and has contact details for emergency assistance 

5.    For University travel, all air travel must be economy class unless a higher class of travel is approved by a Senior Leadership Team member as per the guidelines below;

  • scheduled flying time by the most direct route is for over 5 hours duration and the traveller is on a tight work schedule or traveling to multiple destinations within a short period of time
  • health and safety concerns
  • higher class of travel has been approved as part of a successful Distinguished Visitors/Travelling Award application 

International travel insurance

6.    The University provides international travel insurance in the following situations:

7.    All international University travel, eligible University student activity travel registered on Via TRM and personal travel in conjunction with such travel, must be insured by the University insurer for the entire duration of the journey.

8.    To qualify for University provided travel insurance, the travel organiser and the traveller must adhere to this policy and the Funded Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions and/or the Via TRM Student Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions.

Note - The Funded Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions and the Via TRM Student Travel Insurance Terms & Conditions outline the eligibility requirements for University provided travel insurance including:

  • length of cover
  • key exclusions
  • requirements to disclose certain pre-existing medical conditions

Students traveling on 360 International Semester Exchange are not covered by university travel insurance. Students not eligible for university international travel insurance must purchase their own appropriate travel insurance for the duration of their travel. 

High risk destinations

9.    The traveller or travel organiser must review the current risk status of the destination including transit location(s) through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Safe Travel website.

10.    All travellers to a destination, including transit location(s), which has an “Avoid non-essential travel” or ”Do not travel” status must complete the High Risk Travel Authorisation Form and receive approval through the Performance & Risk Office prior to booking  travel.

11.    The University has the right to:

  • prohibit travel or recall travellers if travel to the destination is deemed inadvisable by the Performance & Risk Office
  • extend the high risk status to destinations based on information from the Insurer and other risk rating agencies 

Adhering to official risk advice while travelling

12.    Travellers are to conduct themselves in a safe manner while travelling and follow official travel risk advice issued by MFAT.

13.    Should an incident happen in the vicinity of the traveller, travellers are to confirm their safety and wellbeing to their line manager or trip organiser, and respond to any messages sent by the University’s emergency assistance providers. 

University travel expenses 

14.    Expenses incurred in undertaking University travel will be paid directly or reimbursed by the University subject to the following conditions:

  • the expenses must be appropriately approved
  • expenses must have a clear business purpose and be directly attributable to the University's benefit
  • travel expenditure must be cost effective and efficient, having regard to the purpose, distance, time, urgency, and personal health, security and safety considerations
  • incurring travel expenses must not provide a personal financial benefit to the traveller or an accompanying person
  • reimbursement must be made on the basis of evidence of actual and reasonable expenditure
  • reimbursements will only be made where it is not possible for the University to make payments directly
  • expenses must be adequately supported by receipt or tax invoice 

Note – for detailed information refer to the University Travel Expenses and Booking Procedures. 

Consequences of Non-Compliance

15.    Failure to fully comply with this policy may amount to misconduct or serious misconduct which may result in the University taking disciplinary action.

16.    Where a breach of policy has been identified, the University could:

  • Seek reimbursement of costs directly from the traveller;
  • Refuse reimbursement claim

Definitions


The following definitions apply to this document:

360 International is the service division within the International Office that supports the University’s outbound student mobility objectives, including the management of the exchange/study abroad arrangements and the Via TRM system.

Alternative supplier means a supplier other than the travel management company (TMC).

Approving manager is the traveller’s line manager or a manager higher in the approval hierarchy with the appropriate financial delegated authority or travelling student’s supervisor, Via TRM programme manager, travel plan approver or the 360 International office.

Economy class does not include premium economy class or equivalent.

Entire duration is the total length of the trip from the date of departure to the date of return to the traveller’s place/city of departure.

High risk destination is an area of a country that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and (or) the Insurer have identified as having a ”avoid non-essential” travel or “do not travel” status.

Insurer is the University’s travel insurer, Allianz Insurance Limited, via the University’s broker Marsh Ltd.

Performance and Risk Office is the organisational unit which coordinates risk management at the University.

Personal travel is travel for non-University purpose either in conjunction with or wholly separate from University travel.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full, casual or part-time basis.


Travel organiser
is the member of staff arranging, requiring or supporting the trip or activity, as recognised by the approving manager. 

Travel Management Company (TMC) means Orbit World Travel, the travel agency contracted by the University to supply travel management services.

University means the University of Auckland including all subsidiaries.

University’s insurance policy refers to the insurance policy with Allianz Insurance Limited.

University members refers to those persons who make up the University as set out in section 3(2) of University of Auckland Act 1961 and includes University staff members, students, Council committee members, contractors, sub-contractors and invitees. 

University student activity travel refers to self-funded international travel for any student activity:

  • undertaken to fulfil a requirement for academic progress at the University or
  • organised by the University or
  • endorsed by the Approving Manager and directly related to the to the student’s professional/academic development
  • University student activity travel does not include activities organised solely by a student or group of students unless they otherwise meet the above definition of University student activities.

University travel is travel that has been approved as being for University purpose and is funded by the University or third party.

Via TRM is the University’s online platform to track and promote outbound international opportunities for students.

Document management and control


Policy owner:         Chief Financial Officer

Content manager:  Financial Services

Approved by:          Vice-Chancellor

Date approved:      31 January 2019 

Review date:          31 January 2022