Accounts Payable

Updated 09/02/08

Procedure Statement 3: Policies Governing Travel & Expense Allowances, continued

III. Subsistence

  1. Overnight Travel

    Rate of allowance: The rate is $97.75 for a twenty-four-hour period when traveling in state and $111.75 for a twenty-four-hour period when traveling out of state.

    1. Lodging: Maximum allowances are $63.75 when traveling in state and $75.50 when traveling out of state. Daily hotel allowances are to be reported as incurred on the date on which the night's lodging begins. Travelers are required to obtain an itemized receipt indicating the address of the commercial lodging establishment. When the subsistence (lodging) is less than the established rate, the maximum amount reimbursable will be the actual paid amount charged. Lodging expenses are not reimbursable in an employee's home town or city.In cases where two university travelers are sharing a room, both travelers should obtain separate billing statements for their travel expense.

    2. Excess lodging: Excess lodging authorization for in state, out-of-state, and out-of-country travel must be obtained in advance from the department head. Excess lodging is allowed when the employee is in a high cost area and unable to secure lodging within the current allowance, or when the employee submits in writing an opinion that his/her personal safety or security is unattainable with the current allowance. Excess lodging authorization is not allowed for reason of convenience or personal preference for the employee. The employee may exceed the part of the ceiling allocated for lodging without approval from department head provided that the total lodging and food reimbursement does not exceed the maximum daily subsistence.

    3. Meals: Reimbursement for meals shall not exceed $34.00 for three meals when traveling in state and shall not exceed $36.25 for three meals when traveling out of state. The following is a table of rates for reimbursement:

      Employees receive allowances for meals and lodging for full days of travel and for partial days (less than a twenty-four-hour period) when the partial day is the day of departure or the day of return and involves an overnight stay. To be eligible for specified meals on partial travel days, the employee must

      1. Breakfast
        1. Depart duty station prior to 6:00 a.m.
      2. Lunch
        1. Depart duty station prior to 12:00 a.m. (Day of departure)
        2. Return to duty station after 2:00 p.m. (Day of return)
      3. Dinner
        1. Depart from duty station prior to 5:00 p.m.
        2. Return to duty station after 8:00 p.m

        • IN-STATE
  2. Daily Travel

    If an employee is not involved in overnight travel, there will normally be no reimbursement for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals. If, however, unusual circumstances require an employee to leave his or her duty station before 6:00 a.m. and/or return after 8:00 p.m., the cost for morning and/or evening meals incurred may be reimbursed if justifiable.

    Lunch is never allowed on a one-day trip, except when it is preplanned as part of the meeting. State employees may not be reimbursed for lunch unless they are involved in overnight travel or the lunch is included as part of a registration.

    To be eligible for allowances for the breakfast and evening meals, employees must comply with the following criteria:

    1. Breakfast: Depart duty station prior to 6:00 a.m. and extend the normal workday by two hours.
    2. Dinner (evening): Return to duty station after 8:00 p.m. and extend the normal workday by three hours.
    3. To be eligible for both meal allowances, the employee must have worked five (5) hours longer than the normal workday.
    4. The travel must involve a travel destination located at least thirty-five miles from the employee's regularly assigned duty station (vicinity).

    No subsistence expense is reimbursable if it is incurred within thirty-five miles of the employee's duty station unless specifically authorized in advance by the department head. This thirty-five-mile limitation is defined as a thirty-five-mile radius from the city limits or boundaries of a town or village, or home, whichever is less.

    When an employee stays or has meals in a state-operated facility, and the subsistence (meals and/or lodging) charge is less than the established rate, the maximum amount reimbursable will be the amount charged. The no-lunch provision is applicable here, also.

    Each meal reimbursement rate must be listed on the reimbursement request. Each employee is responsible for his or her own request for reimbursement.

IV. Registration Fees

Registration fees are charged to Banner account #73551, #73552, #73553, or #73554 and must be approved on the (TRA) Travel Reimbursement Authorization. Please supply all available information regarding the fee when submitting paperwork.
Payment for registration fees may be processed on the university Pro-Card when accepted by the vendor. If vendor will not accept the Pro-Card please submit payment on the Direct Payment form. Send the original registration form plus one copy to the Department of Accounts Payable. Registrations are not usually paid more than thirty days in advance, unless the university receives a substantial savings or the registration materials request an earlier payment.
Meals that are a part of a registration fee must be excluded from the subsistence expense on the travel reimbursement, even if the traveler did not participate

V. Other Reimbursable Expenses

  1. Telephone Calls
    1. Official business phone calls are reimbursable. Long-distance calls that are to be paid by the state are those made pursuant to the employee conducting official state business.
    2. Allowable personal calls: An employee who is in travel status for two or more consecutive days in a week is allowed one personal long-distance telephone call for each 2 nights. Reimbursement to the employee may not exceed $3 for in-state calls or $5 for out-of-state calls for each call.
    3. Emergency calls: Employees may be reimbursed for personal long-distance phone call(s) if a situation of an emergency nature makes such call(s) necessary. An example would be a call made by an employee to inform someone that the travel period has been extended beyond original plans due to unforeseen circumstances. Accountable officers should review claims to establish compliance with the "emergency nature" criterion. Employees are not allowed to charge long distance phone calls for a personal nature.
    4. Individual calls over $3 must be identified as to point of origin and destination.
    5. Personal and business calls are to be listed under "other expenses" on the travel reimbursement form and identified accordingly.
    6. Use of Telephone with Computer Hook-ups: Employees traveling on state business who need to transmit data electronically (including email) or use of Internet for state business purposes should use the most cost-efficient manner available. Written justification should be included in travel reimbursement package for this type of expense.

  2. Baggage Handling
  3. Baggage handling for porters at terminals and hotels may be claimed as "other expenses." Maximum baggage tip allowed is $2 per bag with a 2 bag maximum. This would allow $4 each day of arrival and departure for a total of $8.

  4. Passports

    Reimbursement for costs incurred in obtaining or renewing a passport may be made to an employee who, in the regular course of his or her 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. Prior written approval from the department head is required for reimbursement.

VI. Reimbursable Travel for Non-state Employees

  1. Non-state Employees

    Persons who are not East Carolina University (ECU) employees who are traveling on official ECU business whose expenses are paid or reimbursed by ECU are subject to these regulations, including statutory subsistence allowances, to the same extent as are other ECU employees. Travel expenses for members of a non-employee’s family are not eligible to be paid by the state appropriated funds. Travel expenses for a non-employee spouse can be paid if funding is available from institutional trust funds or foundation funds. No travel advances will be made to persons who are not ECU employees, regardless of funding source (see student exception).

  2. Prospective Professional Employees

    A department head or his or her designee is authorized to approve reimbursement of transportation expenses of prospective professional employees visiting ECU departments for employment interviews. These expenses are limited to transportation and subsistence for three days (5 days if one is a Saturday) at the in-state rate plus any required taxes. The department head or his or her designee may approve excess lodging expenses.

  3. Students

    Students at state institutions who travel on official state business and 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. Travel by students for the purpose of participating in athletic contests and activities of student organizations must be paid from funds supporting the particular organization or activity, not state funds.

    Student travel for academically required projects, papers, theses, or dissertations is not considerred offical state business. However, if the student is traveling for the purpose of presenting at a conference or meeting and is officially representing the university during the travel, the university may choose to reimburse the student's travel and subsistence costs from institutional trust funds only. Approval must be signed by the student's department head and by the Chancellor.

    * Use of State Funds to Pay for Student's Food and Beverage
    The purchase of food and beverage for students at higher education institutions is not allowable unless a grant, donation, or other nonstate funding sourse has been specified for this purpose.

  4. Attendants
  5. State policy does not permit the payment of salaries for attendants for handicapped employees. Payment of travel and subsistence expenses (motel and meals costs) for attendants may be reimbursed if advance approval is obtained from the department head.

VII. Conferences

  1. External Conferences
    1. 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 the fee must not consist exclusively of meal charges, or it will not be allowable unless it meets overnight travel criteria
    2. Conferences sponsored or cosponsored by a state department are authorized when they meet the following limitations/requirements:
      1. The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.
      2. There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events, the social activities (if any), and a detailed cost schedule.
      3. Whenever feasible, assemblies should be held in state facilities. When necessary, non-state facilities may be rented and the cost charged to "Rental of Conference Rooms" without allocation to participants daily subsistence allowances.
      4. Registration fees exceeding $30, the statutory rate, may be charged by the sponsoring department to participants for costs of external conferences. Approval of the department head of the sponsoring department is required for excess registration. Registration fees may not include costs of entertainment, alcoholic beverages, setups, or flowers. Registration fees collected and not used to defray expenses of the particular conferences may not be used for other programs and must revert to the general or highway fund as applicable.
      5. Sponsoring departments may provide refreshments for coffee breaks provided there are twenty or more participants and costs do not exceed $4.50 per participant per day.
      6. 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. The authorization must provide the following:
        • the purpose and duration of the conference
        • the number of persons expected to attend
        • 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.
      7. 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.
  2. Internal Conferences

    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.

    1. The conference is planned in detail in advance, with a formal agenda or curriculum.
    2. There is a written invitation to participants, setting forth the calendar of events and a detailed cost schedule.
    3. 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.
    4. Sponsoring departments may provide refreshments for coffee breaks provided there are twenty or more participants and costs do not exceed $4.50 per participant per day.

  3. Management Retreats

    A management retreat is a meeting or series of meetings consisting of a department or division head and their top assistants and coworkers. Retreats are sometimes held at a site other than the usual workplace and are held no more than once a year. Only the chancellor may authorize an annual management retreat. Expenditures are permissible in a manner as if it were an internal conference.

  4. Informal Meetings with Guests of Department Heads
    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 North Carolina Memorial Hospital, the controller of the State Board of Education, and the president of the Community College System, or their designee, 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. Department heads may be authorized to pay an honorarium to non-state employees for expenses. (Cost of meals and other expenses for family members of the above referenced state officials are not reimbursable.)

  5. " "
    Go to ECU home page Questions about this policy should be directed to the specific department. Questions about the ECU Business Manual publication may be directed to:

    Business Services Marketing
    Division of Administration and Finance
    (252) 737-1310
    Go Back to the Business Manual Home Page