Employee Travel Policy Example

Table of Contents

    What is travel policy? 

    A travel policy is a set of rules and guidelines laid down by a company to manage an employee’s official travel from booking to reimbursement. It primarily covers expense management which is handled by HR or a dedicated travel manager. The travel policy for employees is designed to serve as a guide as it lists down the procedures for bookings, reimbursement of travel expenses, authorization, travel, conveyance, etc. The expenses incurred by an employee during his business travel will be reimbursed according to the company’s travel reimbursement policy, considering that the expenses are business-related. 

    A company travel policy for employees contains the following information: 

    • The approval processes for any travel reservations, accommodations, and business trips. 
    • Transportation and accommodation fees  
    • Fees related to meals, entertainment, and phone calls 
    • Security of the person and the work materials 
    • Process for reimbursement of travel expenses  
    • Expenses that will be afforded by the company  

    Overall, a travel policy for employees mostly covers expenses and manages travel arrangements and lodging. It must be designed in ways that should meet the needs of the business and employees. 

    Why should organizations have a travel policy for employees? 

    A company travel policy for employees in India outlines the business trips that are considered expenses that will be reimbursed by the company. Organizations must have a travel policy for employees to make employees aware of the guidelines about eligibility, expense claims, approval procedures, travel reimbursement policy, etc. A company travel policy for employees in India will: 

    • Lay down the rules and guidelines for all employees working under the company’s contract. 
    • Provide clarity on expense claims and reimbursements  
    • Ensure employees adhere to the travel policy and guidelines 
    • Outline various aspects of business travel, planning, and approvals 
    • Streamline the travel arrangement processes from bookings to reimbursements 

    Purpose and Scope of Travel Policy 

    Purpose 

    A travel policy’s main purpose is to ensure employees follow the guidelines and rules when official travel is involved. It applies to both domestic and international travel. The purpose of a company travel policy is: 

    • Outline the travel costs to be covered by the company and those that will be afforded by the employee 
    • List the agreements with set airlines or accommodation suppliers for travel arrangements 
    • A company travel insurance policy that covers an individual’s trip 
    • Overview of the limit of cost of bookings and lodging 
    • Outline expenses that are reimbursable and non-reimbursable  
    • Procedures for the travel arrangement process 

    Scope 

    The company travel policy for employees in India is applicable to all employees who are authorized to travel for business purposes under contract at [company name]. It applies to part-time/full-time employees, contractors, and paid interns. This policy oversees travel arrangements for trips that are [number of hours] away from the office, whether domestic or international. 

     

    Company Approved Travel Agent and Procedure 

    A company-approved travel agent is a travel agency or a booking service that has been authorized by the company for travel arrangements. Such travel agents help employees with bookings, compliance, and procedures.  

    Travel 

    1. By car 

    Employees renting a car or using the company car for business travel are required to obtain approval from the appropriate supervisor. This may require the employee to submit a travel request form either online or offline. He is also required to document all the expenses incurred while on his trip to facilitate reimbursement of travel expenses, and such a document can be referred to as a travel expense form. Additionally, he may need to submit a report to the representative concerned about the damage/incidents that occurred. Based on the travel expense form submitted, the organization may decide to reimburse the expenses according to the company travel policy. 

    2. By bus 

    According to the company’s travel policy, employees might be prohibited from booking luxury or premium class seats and instead opt for the most economical seat. And there may be additional restrictions on the luggage, travel time, and the number of employees traveling. Individuals will have to contact the travel coordinator online for bookings. Regarding cancellation of reservations, employees have to follow specific guidelines to notify and cancel within a certain timeframe. Similar to car booking, traveling by bus requires travel expense forms for reimbursement. 

    3. By flight 

    To book flights, employees are required to book through the company-approved agency or online booking so that the company receives the best available fare. Depending on the business trip, an employee is required to either book only the lowest-cost airfare or book luxury seats. Last-minute changes to flights will not be entertained as this can result in additional costs for the organization and if any changes are necessary, they are to be approved by the respective manager. Travel expense forms are commonly required. 

    Lodging 

    Lodging can be referred to as temporary living, usually by renting the space. In the context of travel policy, a company has a list of pre-approved lodging options. Lodging arrangements are mostly used by team leads or specific designations. A few procedures to keep in mind are: 

    • Booking company-approved hotels at reasonable rates and avoid luxury accommodations 
    • Standard rooms unless necessary 
    • Booking lodging that is located near the business or event 
    • Additional lodging expenses require approval by the supervisor 
    • Adherence to hotel policies and procedures 

    Meal 

    Expenses related to meals are incurred by the company from the time of departure. Alcohol expenses and other expenses incurred for the employee’s companion will not be reimbursed by the company or may require pre-approval. Employees are required to collect receipts for all meal expenses to reimburse. 

    • Meal expenses are reimbursable when an employee must travel for (x) miles or be away from the location of business for (x) hours 
    • For overnight stays, the meal expenses are reimbursed – considering they fall under the allowable amount per day 
    • Meal expenses are reimbursed until the day of return 
    • For international travels, meals will be reimbursed according on the time zone 
    • Documentation for any emergency expenses or circumstances must be provided 

    Business expenses 

    According to the company travel policy for employees, employees are required to gain approval from concerned supervisor/representative for business expenses not covered under this policy. Such business expenses may include fees for seminars, conferences, vehicles for business travel, etc. Employees must properly document such expenses and submit a travel expense form if required. 

    Phone calls 

    Phone calls made for business purposes are reimbursed by the business. Employees are required to provide receipts for all the phone call expenses made. Most businesses don’t reimburse personal phone calls or internet usage. They are expected to use their own cell phones. 

    Visa and passport fees 

    Visa and passport fees made for business traveling purposes are reimbursed by the business. Similarly, they require receipts. A travel policy may have restrictions when it comes to such expenses. For example, they may expect reasonable costs and any additional costs incurred are the responsibility of the employee. However, they may be reimbursed if approved. 

    Authorization and Responsibility

    Authorization under employee travel refers to the approval required by an appropriate supervisor or manager for business travel. An employee is responsible for obtaining the necessary approvals and ensuring that the travel arrangements are reasonable for business purposes. He is also required to adhere to the travel reimbursement policy. There are a few expenses that require pre-approval: 

    • Business class airfare 
    • Luxury/high-end hotel accommodations  
    • Lodging expenses 
    • Conferences, seminars, and other business expenses 
    • Visa or passport fees  
    • International travel expenses  
    • Other  

    A company travel policy for employees also outlines the need to submit travel expense reports including all travel expenses like incidental expenses, transportation, meals, lodging, etc., along with receipts and documentation to support the expenses claimed. Considering that such expenses fall under the company’s travel reimbursement policy, they are reimbursed in a timely manner. These fall under the “responsibility” of the employee. 

    Other responsibilities include: 

    • Providing accurate and adequate documentation for the expenses made 
    • Reimbursements for travel expenses for anyone other than himself need to be clearly stated 
    • Compliance with travel laws and regulations 
    • Ensuring all travel-related expenses are reasonable 
    • Submission of travel expense reports in a timely manner 

    To facilitate reimbursement, the employee should be aware of the company’s travel reimbursement policy to make sure he is reimbursed for all the necessary travel expenses. In case the expenses do not comply with the company’s travel policy, they are rejected and not reimbursed. 

    Some Non-Reimbursable Travel Expenses 

    Non-reimbursable travel expenses refer to the purchases made by an employee that will not be compensated as they do not comply with the company’s policies/procedures. Some non-reimbursable travel expenses are: 

    • Personal entertainment expenses such as movie rentals, expensive food, luxury bookings, etc. 
    • Traffic or parking violations 
    • Non-adherence to law and other policies/regulations 
    • Last-minute cancellations or postponements, unless approved 
    • Expenses for travel companions, unless pre-approved 
    • Lost or stolen personal/work items 
    • Travel insurance costs 
    • Expenses due to personal choices 
    • Any expenses that are not approved by the business or do not come under the company’s travel policy for employees 

    FAQs

    1. What expenses are not covered by an employee travel policy? 

    An employee travel policy does not cover the personal entertainment expenses of an employee unless pre-approved by his manager. Additionally, expenses incurred due to his personal choice, his companion, or violations of law are not covered in the policy. 

    2. What are the guidelines for booking travel under an employee travel policy? 

    Guidelines for travel bookings may vary with respect to organizational policies. These policies may also outline guidelines for selecting transportation, lodging, and meal options, as well as rules for managing expenses and submitting reimbursement requests.  

    3. How is reimbursement for travel expenses handled under an employee travel policy? 

    Reimbursement for travel expenses is handled by HR/concerned manager after receiving all the receipts, travel expense reports, and incidental reports from the employee. If the expenses comply with the travel reimbursement policy, the payment is made within 30 days. 

    4. What happens if an employee violates the company’s travel policy? 

    When an employee violates the company’s travel policy, it results in disciplinary action. It includes verbal/written reprimands, suspension/demotion, or even termination, depending on the severity of the case. 

    5. How often is an employee travel policy reviewed and updated? 

    An employee travel policy is reviewed and updated at least once a year to ensure it’s up to date with changes in company or employee needs, regulations, internal processes, and company structure.  

    6. How can an employee request an exception to the company’s travel policy? 

    To request an exception to the company’s travel policy, an employee must submit a request to the appropriate manager/department responsible for approving such requests. Such requests should be business-related and provide a clear explanation of the circumstances.  

     

     

     

     

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