Policy

Reimbursement of Establishment Expenses for New Appointees - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

In order to attract and retain high performing staff, The University of Queensland can reimburse a proportion of the travel and relocation expenses incurred by new staff who have to relocate to take up their role at the University.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

FBT - Fringe Benefits Tax

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to eligible new appointees and staff as prescribed in section 5 of this policy required to relocate their residence more than 50 kilometers to take up appointment at the relevant campus of The University of Queensland.

4. Policy Statement

Eligible new appointees are entitled to receive reimbursement for establishment expenses to the maximum specified in the offer of appointment and conditions attached to that offer or in writing by the relevant Authorised Officer. Authority to vary the amount reimbursed for establishment expenses is provided to the relevant Authorised Officer, and the Authorised Officer must specify any amendment in writing before reimbursement can be made.

The procedures for reimbursement of establishment expenses are contained in PPL 9.45.03 Reimbursements. Information on what staff appointment expenses attract FBT are outlined in the University's FBT Guide.

5. Eligibility

5.1 Academic staff with continuing, probationary and fixed-term (2-6 years) appointments

Reimbursement of travel expenses is payable for the appointee, spouse and dependent children under 21 as well as reimbursement for relocation expenses and incidentals. Reimbursements are made on the condition that the appointee will repay to the University the reimbursements for travel and relocation expenses and any incidentals allowance if the appointee voluntarily resigns prior to the expiration of a period of two years after salary commenced. The repayment amount is to be pro rata in respect of that part of the two years which is not served.

5.2 Academic staff with fixed-term appointments (less than 2 years)

Fixed term academic appointees appointed for less than two years do not have an automatic entitlement to reimbursement of establishment expenses. However, the relevant Authorised Officer has the authority to approve reimbursement of relocation expenses in particular circumstances. Appointees are entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses for the appointee only, and relocation and incidentals expenses are payable on the authority of the relevant Authorised Officer if the appointment is for one year or more. Reimbursements are made on the condition that if the appointee resigns during the period of appointment, the appointee will repay a pro rata amount of any travel and relocation reimbursements in respect of that part of the appointment which is not served.

5.3 Tutorial staff

Tutorial Fellows are entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses for the appointee only. Reimbursement is made on the condition that if the appointee voluntarily resigns during the period of appointment, the appointee will repay a pro rata amount of any travel reimbursement in respect of that part of the appointment which is not served.

Tutorial Assistants are not entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses.

5.4 Research staff

Reimbursement will depend on the classification and duration of the appointment as specified above, but is subject to the availability of funds in the appropriate research grant and approval by the Authorised Officer, in keeping with the conditions of this policy.

5.5 Professional staff HEW 8 to 10

Reimbursement is as specified under section 5.1.

5.6 Professional staff HEW 1 to 7

Reimbursement is available at the discretion of the Authorised Officer.

6. Establishment Expenses

Any or all of the following expenses can be reimbursed:

6.1 Travel expenses

The University will reimburse travelling expenses up to the level of a one-way economy class airfare by scheduled airline services by the most direct route for the appointee only or the appointee, spouse and dependent children. Travel can be by alternative mode, class or route but any expense incurred above the level of an economy class airfare by the most direct route will be the responsibility of the appointee. The appointee can also choose to travel by private means and will be reimbursed by the University up to the cost of economy class air travel.

6.2 Incidentals allowance

If a relocation of residence is involved and/or the appointee is required to travel more than 50 kilometers to reach the place of employment, reimbursement equivalent to five days salary will be paid to cover any incidental or stopover expenses.

It must be noted that this allowance is considered as assessable income of the staff member, and is subject to Australian income tax.

6.3 Relocation expenses

The amount specified in the offer of appointment or in writing by the relevant Authorised Officer is the University's maximum contribution toward the removal costs of any household and personal effects (including libraries and equipment) which the appointee wishes to bring to the new residence, and settling-in expenses after arrival. The amount offered under this policy is dependent on the current place of residence and level of the position offered. Any change to the standard amount is normally negotiated by the appointee and the relevant Authorised Officer in consultation with the Head of Organisational Unit where required. In the case of professorial appointments, the amount reimbursable for relocation expenses is at the discretion of the Authorised Officer. Appointees will normally be required to obtain three quotations detailing all costs. These will form the basis of negotiation with the Authorised Officer in consultation with the Head of Organisational Unit where required.

If requested, reimbursements for expenses incurred before departure can be paid up to six weeks before an appointee departs, provided receipts or invoices are available. The reimbursement can also be paid in the currency of the country of residence. The University does not possess accommodation available for the use of new staff, therefore new appointees must make their own accommodation arrangements before arrival.

The common relocation expenses that are generally reimbursed by the University are included below. Some of these expenses may be subject to Fringe Benefits Tax as outlined in the University's FBT Guide.

6.3.1 Removal and storage of household and personal effects

  • Freight and storage costs of household effects;
  • Transit insurance;
  • Packing and unpacking expenses; and
  • Port handling fees and quarantine fees.

6.3.2 Settling–in expenses

  • Temporary accommodation in a hotel, motel or guesthouse (excludes rent on a leased premise);
  • Meals, if required to eat out, whilst staying in a hotel, motel or guesthouse; and
  • Costs of connecting/reconnecting utilities (telephone, electricity and gas), excluding the cost of bonds and cleaning fees.

6.3.3 Immigration

  • Medical expenses;
  • Consular expenses;
  • Visas approved prior to relocation and used to enter the country; and
  • Passport and passport photographs.

6.3.4 Other

  • Familiarisation visits; and
  • Relocation Consultants.

7. Costing

Reimbursement of establishment expenses is normally charged against the same account as for other appointment expenses.

8. Requirements of the Australian Taxation Office

All claims for reimbursements of expenses must be accompanied by receipts. If claims are not accompanied by receipts, the total amounts paid by the University can be considered assessable income of the staff member and subject to Australian income tax.

If the University advances reimbursement for relocation expenses and receipts or invoices are not provided, the staff member will be required to reimburse the University for that amount of the advance not covered by receipts.

Normally the University will only reimburse appointees for relocation expenses that are FBT exempt. If the University does reimburse an appointee for relocation expenses, which are subject to fringe benefits tax, then this tax will be included as part of the University's agreed contribution towards their relocation expenses as stated in the offer of appointment.

Where accumulated fringe benefits provided to an individual employee in a FBT year exceed $2,000 the benefits are reportable and will be shown on the employee’s payment summary at the end of the financial year at the grossed up FBT rate. This may have personal tax implications for the employee. If the employee requires further information, they should contact their personal tax advisor.

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)