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Staff Travel, Expenses and Credit Card Policy

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Policy ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References

1. Purpose

1.1 The Staff Travel, Expenses and Credit Card Policy (the policy) outlines the requirements for:

  • staff undertaking university travel
  • the management of staff expenses, and
  • the use and management of the UTS corporate credit card.

1.2 This policy should be read in conjunction with the Staff Travel, Expenses and Credit Card Procedures (the procedures) (available at Travel and Expense Policy and Procedures (Staff Connect)).

2. Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all staff, affiliates and others (hereafter staff):

  • undertaking university travel (see definitions)
  • claiming the reimbursement of expenses from the university, and/or
  • using, managing, administering or possessing a UTS corporate credit card.

2.2 This policy does not apply to students undertaking university travel (covered by the Student Travel and Expenses Policy).

3. Principles

3.1 UTS will seek to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff undertaking university travel and will develop procedures to help manage known associated risks. The university reserves the right to decline high risk travel requests.

3.2 All university travel must be managed in line with this policy and the procedures. Travel undertaken outside of this policy’s requirements is not recognised as university travel and falls outside the university’s responsibility and support.

3.3 UTS will manage university travel and expenses in a cost effective manner that allows UTS to meet its financial obligations.

3.4 Staff must exercise prudence in the use of public sector funds, whether for travel or transaction. Corporate credit card management, travel and reimbursement practices must be appropriately documented and effectively executed.

3.5 All university travel, expense management and use of corporate credit card must follow the provisions outlined in this policy, irrespective of the source of funding.

3.6 Transactions on UTS corporate credit cards must be made for legitimate university business and managed in line with this policy and the procedures.

3.7 Approvals and authorisations must be fair and transparent and in line with the Delegations, this policy and the procedures. No person may approve their own expenses.

3.8 Authorisation to operate a UTS corporate credit card does not of itself confer on a staff member a delegation to commit or expend funds. Refer to the Delegations for guidance on expenditure of funds.

4. Policy statements

University travel

4.1 Faculty/division/unit travel budgets must be prepared and approved as part of the corporate planning and budgeting process. Travel for graduation ceremonies should be coordinated with the office of the Vice-Chancellor.

4.2 Externally funded university travel must be managed in line with this policy and the procedures.

4.3 The following university travel expenses will normally be funded on a fair and reasonable basis:

  • transport (air and ground)
  • accommodation
  • travel insurance (covered by UTS's corporate travel insurance)
  • meals
  • incidentals
  • out-of-pocket expenses.

4.4 All domestic, trans-Tasman and international travel (including transport and accommodation) is recorded via the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect) in line with the procedures.

4.5 It is preferable that university travel expenses be paid for by a UTS corporate credit card. Staff who undertake university travel on a regular basis may apply for a UTS corporate credit card.

4.6 For staff who do not have a corporate credit card, reimbursement for travel expenses incurred while on university travel must be receipted, acquitted and reported via the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect).

4.7 UTS uses preferred providers for booking university travel. In approved circumstances travel companies other than UTS preferred providers may be used as guided by the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect) and outlined in the procedures.

4.8 Staff undertaking university travel will be offered an appropriate, safe and comfortable standard of accommodation in line with the procedures.

4.9 Staff are responsible for ensuring they have all required vaccinations prior to travel. Costs related to additional immunisation required for university travel will be paid by UTS. General travel health information is available from International SOS (select the relevant country or countries being visited).

4.10 Travel must only be approved by those authorised in the Delegations.

Personal or private travel

4.11 Personal or private travel is permitted in conjunction with university travel. A partner or family member may accompany a staff member only where:

  • the university travel is not compromised or negatively impacted, and
  • their travel costs and expenses are not paid for by UTS.

4.12 The university is only responsible for the travelling staff member and only during the UTS travel portion of the trip. Leave for additional personal travel must be requested and approved through the normal leave approval processes.

4.13 Staff and travel approvers should be aware of the circumstances of travel where fringe benefit tax must be paid. This is outlined in the procedures and relates to some instances of personal travel.

UTS corporate credit card

4.14 UTS corporate credit cards are intended for use while undertaking university travel, for business entertainment and for relevant university purchases under the agreed limit.

4.15 All transactions must be made within relevant approved budgets, in accordance with this policy and its procedures, the Procurement Policy, the Delegations and the Code of Conduct.

4.16 A preferred provider must be used for the purchase of goods and services that are covered by a UTS preferred supplier agreement. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved by an authorised delegate. Credit cards may be used to make purchases from preferred suppliers within normal financial limits.

4.17 The expenditure limit for a UTS corporate credit card must be within the guidelines issued by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Financial Services Unit (FSU).

4.18 The cardholder is responsible for all charges placed on the UTS corporate credit card. All refunds for goods and/or services must be credited against the UTS corporate credit card.

4.19 Expenditure of a personal or private nature must not be incurred on a UTS corporate credit card and is considered a breach of this policy. Combined business and personal purchases must be managed in line with the procedures. Any genuine mistakes should be identified and rectified as soon as possible.

UTS corporate credit card eligibility, approvals and cancellation

4.20 Nominators may recommend to the CFO that a UTS corporate credit card be issued to a continuing, fixed-term staff member in line with the procedures. Honorary title holders and contractors are not eligible for a UTS corporate credit card.

4.21 The eligibility of all cardholders will be subject to regular review by FSU. UTS corporate credit cards may be withdrawn or cancelled at any time in line with the procedures.

4.22 UTS corporate credit card purchases are not confidential and are subject to scrutiny, audit and regular reporting. Breaches are managed in line with this policy and the procedures.

Expenses and reimbursements

4.23 Genuine travel expenses are covered by UTS for university travel in line with the procedures. It is the responsibility of both the traveller and the travel approver to consider the nature and reasonableness of the travel expense and if it is consistent with the proposed or approved university travel.

4.24 Staff are expected to use a UTS corporate credit card, AirPlus centralised billing card or pay via purchase order as the preferred means of purchasing goods or services for legitimate university business in line with the preferred payment methods outlined in the procedures.

4.25 Where staff use their own cash or other resources as a last resort to purchase goods and services for legitimate university business, they may be reimbursed through the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect) in line with the requirements and limitations of the policy and the procedures.

4.26 A cash advance is only available in exceptional circumstances where the use of a UTS corporate credit card or personal credit card is not possible. The cash advance limit is set at AUD$80 a day for both domestic and international travel.

4.27 No person is permitted to approve their own expense claims.

Recordkeeping and privacy

4.28 Records relating to travel and expense claims will be held and managed in the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect), managed by FSU. This is managed in line with the Records Management Policy, the Privacy Policy, related procedures and the Concur privacy notice within the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect).

4.29 Faculties, units and staff may destroy the original documents, including any paper documents, that have been attached to travel and expense claims once these are available for review in the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect) or any related apps.

Goods and services tax (GST) and fringe benefit tax (FBT)

4.30 A tax invoice that is inclusive of GST should be kept for all transactions (staff reimbursements or UTS corporate credit card).

4.31 UTS will reimburse transactions under AUD$20 without tax receipts as managed within the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect). A purpose of expense field must be completed within the system to fulfil Australian Taxation Office: Fringe benefits tax obligations.

4.32 UTS is liable to pay GST and, in many instances, is eligible to claim a GST input-tax credit. In all applicable cases, sufficient records must be kept for tax credits to be claimed.

4.33 Where a tax invoice is not obtained, UTS cannot claim input tax credits for the transaction. The nominated organisational unit or faculty will consequently be charged the gross amount (total amount inclusive of GST). A missing receipt declaration must be completed and attached to the expense report via the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect) for transactions above AUD$20.

4.34 Staff who make purchases with a UTS corporate credit card or seek reimbursement should familiarise themselves with the types of fringe benefits that may arise with certain types of expenditure. FBT liability is outlined in the procedures and will be determined by the university via the travel and expense management system (Staff Connect).

Managing travel and expenses risks

4.35 Staff undertaking university travel must:

  • follow the safety requirements outlined in the procedures
  • be mindful of potential risks in the local area and act in a manner that will minimise harm. In doing so, staff must seek and follow the travel advice provided by the International SOS, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) smartraveller, this policy and the requirements for traveller health, safety and security outlined in the procedures
  • follow any travel bans outlined in the procedures and imposed by either the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) (for professional staff) or the Provost (for academic staff) noting that travel bans may require the immediate return of staff undertaking university travel
  • read and understand the provisions of the corporate travel insurance policy, and any exemptions or limits to cover, noting that insurance cover and terms and conditions may change from time to time.

4.36 The university is prohibited from importing certain goods under the Customs Act 1901 (Cwlth). When acquiring goods from an external supplier, if this involves or could potentially involve the importation of goods, the staff member or UTS corporate credit card holder must check whether these goods are prohibited or restricted under this Act (see Department of Home Affairs).

4.37 Staff purchasing goods on a UTS corporate credit card are responsible for ensuring that the supplier or merchant is not listed on the DFAT Consolidated List. If the supplier or merchant is listed on this website, contact UTS Legal Services prior to making the transaction.

Policy breaches

4.38 All suspected breaches of policy statements in relation to university travel must, in the first instance, be reported to the relevant dean/director who is responsible for managing or escalating the breach and, where appropriate, complete and submit a travel and expense policy exemption form (available at Travel and Expense Forms (Staff Connect)) in line with the procedures.

4.39 Substantial variation from approved travel and/or expenses agreements is considered a breach of this policy.

4.40 All suspected breaches of policy statements in relation to the use of a UTS corporate credit card, or the management and acquittal of expenses, must, in the first instance, be reported to the relevant dean/director or a member of the Senior Executive with band 1 to 4 financial delegation, who may then escalate the matter to the CFO.

4.41 Breaches will be managed in line with the Code of Conduct as a failure to comply with the code and/or the relevant Enterprise Agreement.

4.42 Improper use or issuance of a UTS corporate credit card is a breach of this policy and may render the cardholder and/or approver liable to disciplinary action, legal action or criminal prosecution in line with this policy and the procedures.

4.43 Suspected breaches of a serious nature may be reported directly to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services).

5. Policy ownership and support

5.1 Policy owner

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) is responsible for:

  • policy enforcement and compliance, ensuring that its principles and statements are observed
  • the UTS travel and expense management system
  • the approval of any associated university level procedures
  • the management of policy breaches, and
  • reporting any fraudulent activities to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services).

5.2 Policy contact

The Chief Financial Officer, FSU is responsible for:

  • implementing this policy and delegating responsibility for management within FSU
  • assessing and approving requests for the issue of UTS corporate credit cards
  • approving extended credit limits above AUD$2000.

5.3 Others

  • The Head of Shared Services, FSU is the primary point of contact for this policy.
  • The Provost has responsibilities as outlined in this policy and its procedures in relation to academic staff.
  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) has responsibilities as outlined in this policy and its procedures in relation to professional staff.
  • Deans and directors with band 1 to 4 financial delegation may approve travel in line with this policy, its procedures and the Delegations.
  • The Expense Management Officer, FSU is responsible for credit card administration activates in line with this policy and its procedures.
  • Cardholders must act in a responsible manner and in line with this policy and its procedures.
  • Nominators must act in a responsible manner and in line with this policy and its procedures.
  • All staff must act in line with this policy and its procedures.

6. Definitions

The following definitions apply for this policy and all associated procedures. These are in addition to the definitions outlined in Schedule 1, Student Rules.

Acquittal means the preparation of an expense report for transactions undertaken by staff for processing by FSU in line with this policy and the procedures.

Affiliate is defined in the Code of Conduct.

Cardholder means the UTS staff member whose name appears on a UTS corporate credit card.

Domestic travel means travel more than 50 kilometres (one way) from UTS and within the borders of the Commonwealth of Australia. See also trans-Tasman travel.

Expense report means a report generated from the travel and expense management system that details the expenses incurred by a UTS staff member for a specified period. An expense report may include UTS corporate credit card transactions, central billing card transactions and/or out-of-pocket expense claims.

Fringe benefits means benefits paid to an employee (or associate) in respect of employment, such as a car, car parking, entertainment and payments of private expenses.

Fringe benefit tax is the tax payable on these fringe benefits. This is defined by the Australian Taxation Office: Fringe benefits tax.

Goods and services tax (GST) means a value-added tax of 10 per cent levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption.

International travel means travel outside the borders of the Commonwealth of Australia.

International SOS means the university’s preferred provider for medical, health and security services for staff and students undertaking international travel.

Limit means the maximum amount that may be expended on a UTS corporate credit card in a single month.

Nominator means a staff member with a general expenditure financial delegation in bands 1 to 4 who may recommend a staff member for a UTS corporate credit card in line with this policy.

Preferred provider means those suppliers or service providers with whom UTS has a preferred supplier agreement.

Reimbursement means the repayment of monies to UTS staff members for the purchase of goods and/or services for university business or university travel using their own funds.

Tax invoice means a document issued by a supplier or service provider that complies with the following points, as required by the Australian Taxation Office in A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cwlth):

  • is issued by the supplier
  • is dated
  • contains the supplier's identity and Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • contains a brief description of the good/service provided and the price
  • includes the amount of GST (if any) payable for each sale.

Travel and expense management system means the software package and associated procedures and documentation used by UTS to manage university travel and expenses.

Trans-Tasman travel means travel to and from New Zealand. For the purposes of booking flights, trans-Tasman travel is treated as domestic travel.

UTS corporate credit card means a credit card issued through the university to a staff member for the purposes of procuring goods and/or services in the course of university business.

University business means any official, approved business activities of UTS including any strategic, teaching, learning, research and other related university activities.

University travel means university approved domestic and international travel undertaken by a UTS staff member (or other UTS authorised person) for the purposes of conducting university activities or furthering the interests of the university.

Approval information

Policy contact Chief Financial Officer, Financial Services Unit
Approval authority Vice-Chancellor
Review date 2023
File number UR20/51
Superseded documents Travel Policy (for Concur) 2017 (UR17/3016)
UTS Corporate Credit Card and Staff Reimbursements Vice-Chancellor’s Directive (for Concur) 2017 (UR13/1326)
UTS Corporate Credit Card and Staff Reimbursements Vice-Chancellor's Directive 2013 (UR 13/1326)

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Vice-Chancellor 23/12/2019 24/02/2020 New policy

PDF version

Staff Travel, Expenses and Credit Card Policy (PDF)

References

Code of Conduct

Delegations

Privacy Policy

Procurement Policy

Records Management Policy

Staff Travel, Expenses and Credit Card Procedures (available at Travel and Expense Policy and Procedures (Staff Connect))

Student Travel and Expenses Policy and Procedures

Travel and expense management system (Staff Connect)

Travel and expense policy exemption form (available at Travel and Expense Forms (Staff Connect))

UTS corporate travel insurance

External links

Australian Taxation Office

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: smartraveller

International SOS

Legislation

A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (Cwlth)

Customs Act 1901 (Cwlth)