The Travel Policy and Dual Purpose Travel Procedure take effect on 28 March 2022 for travel departing from 1 April 2022. For imminent travel departures prior to 1 April 2022 please refer to the approval process outlined in the Latest Updates (Update - 28 January 2022).

Travel Approval Forms for domestic and international travel are located on the UQ Travel website. Please refer to the website for more information.

 

Policy

Travel - Policy

Printer-friendly version
Body

1.0    Purpose and Scope

1.1    Context

Travel management at The University of Queensland (UQ) is an enabling function that comprises all modes of domestic and international travel, and directly associated activities such as accommodation and meals. 

UQ travel is an approved journey that includes either a flight or overnight accommodation away from a UQ traveller’s normal place of work.

This policy outlines the principles and key requirements for UQ travel, which is defined as:

  • authorised travel approved by UQ, regardless of funding source, for the purpose of UQ business.

Persons undertaking UQ travel are defined as UQ travellers under this policy. Even if UQ is contributing to the travel costs, a UQ traveller does not include:

  • travellers undertaking travel because of personal reasons (e.g. family related, health related, returning to their home country of their own will);

  • job interviewees who are invited to UQ;

  • research participants;

  • volunteers;

  • external guests who are invited to UQ, but are not travelling as a representative of UQ; or

  • staff travelling to or from a home base to begin employment at UQ, or at the conclusion of a term or contract.

Students (undergraduate/postgraduate coursework students and HDR candidates) should refer to the Student Travel Procedure.

1.2    Objective, Scope and Application

The objective of this policy is to facilitate UQ travel, while enabling and ensuring:

  • Prudent and transparent use of resources

  • Effective and efficient management of travel-related risks

  • Compliance with legal and regulatory obligations

  • Community expectations are met.

This policy applies to all UQ travel and to all UQ travellers.

For staff (defined as continuing, fixed-term, research contingent funded and casual staff members), compliance with this policy is a condition of their appointment and continuing employment with UQ. For UQ honorary/title holders, compliance with this policy is a condition to retain their title.

This policy applies in conjunction with any travel-related conditions, obligations and arrangements stipulated in employment contracts, grant conditions or contracts and arrangements with third parties. To avoid any doubt, this policy prevails over such travel-related contracts, conditions, obligations and arrangements to the extent it does not adversely affect the rights of any third party.

The ‘six steps to travel’ are outlined on the UQ Travel website and must be followed in conjunction with this policy. 

This policy is supported by the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure.

Request for exemptions from this policy must be put in writing and formally approved by the relevant University Senior Executive Team (USET) member or Institute Director (IMB, QAAFI, SMI, QBI and AIBN) prior to requesting UQ travel and will only be considered where it is deemed fair and reasonable to apply an approved exemption. USET members require approval from their relevant supervisor for exemptions from this policy.

2.0    Principles and Key Requirements

2.1    Legitimate purpose of travel

UQ travel will be undertaken for legitimate UQ purposes only and be demonstrably aligned to UQ objectives and strategic priorities.

All UQ travel will satisfy the test of necessity (i.e. UQ travel was practically the only option, or it was demonstrably the most effective and efficient option to achieve the underlying business/academic objective).

2.2    Conduct while travelling

UQ travellers will act with respect, integrity and professionalism at all times and ensure that their behaviour during UQ travel is:

  • Appropriate to the purpose of the UQ travel;

  • Consistent with the UQ Code of Conduct Policy and/or Student Charter and UQ values;

  • Compliant with applicable laws and regulations; and

  • Respectful of local beliefs and customs.

UQ staff are at work while on UQ travel, including between periods of UQ travel when it is impractical to return to their normal place of work. This does not include private travel days when a staff member is on approved leave (refer to the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure for private travel day definition). 

2.3    Sustainability

While UQ travel is integral to UQ achieving its strategic goals, travel is also a large contributor to UQ’s carbon emissions. The environmental impact of travel must be considered and minimised where possible, although not at the expense of a UQ traveller’s health and safety.

UQ travellers and travel approvers must:

  • Avoid travel if the business/academic objective can be achieved without it; and

  • If UQ travel is necessary, make sustainable travel choices where possible such as flying Economy Class.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has demonstrated many UQ business activities can be undertaken online effectively such as meetings, conferences and events. UQ will actively look to minimise the overall number of journeys undertaken by UQ travellers moving forward.

2.4    Prudent use of UQ resources

All reasonable steps will be taken to minimise the cost of UQ travel and its impact on UQ operations, provided:

  • the primary purpose of the travel is not compromised;

  • there is no unacceptable increase in the safety or health risk to the UQ traveller and/or to UQ; and

  • there is no adverse impact on UQ’s ability to meet its duty of care obligations to the UQ traveller.

2.5    Class of travel

Domestic air travel must be booked at Economy Class.

International air travel must be booked at Economy Class except if the air travel is more than 7 continuous hours, the travel approver may use their discretion to approve a UQ traveller to travel at a higher class of travel (Premium Economy or Business Class) in certain circumstances including:

  1. to accommodate the specific health and safety needs of a UQ traveller such as:

    1. a medically certified disability or medical condition; or

    2. the UQ travel is required to be undertaken within a very short timeframe (e.g. less than 48 hours total time in the business location).

  2. budget is available and:

    1. the air travel is paid for by an external organisation with funds not administered by UQ, or where a higher class of travel above Economy Class is explicitly included and stated in the approved budget of an externally funded project/contract; or

    2. the air travel is paid (or upgraded from Economy Class) using consultancy funding.

UQ travellers may upgrade travel to a higher class with their own personal funds or loyalty/frequent flyer points. This can be facilitated by UQ’s travel services provider, FCM Travel Solutions.

2.6    Justifications and approvals

  1. All decisions and approvals for UQ travel will be transparent, verifiable, documented and demonstrate responsible stewardship of the UQ’s resources, reputation and values.

  2. All UQ travel will be fully justified, planned, budgeted, funded and approved prior to travel in accordance with this policy, the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure and the UQ travel website.

  3. UQ will not normally cover any unapproved and unreasonable costs. Where costs are incurred by UQ for any unauthorised travel, expenses will be recovered from the traveller and disciplinary actions will be taken.

  4. UQ travellers can not approve their own UQ travel or travel-related expenses including any reimbursement claims. All UQ travel must be approved by the relevant travel approver (see UQ travel website).

  5. UQ staff will not approve UQ travel or travel-related expenses for their supervisor.

  6. UQ travel funded by grants or by an external party (including work covered under the Consultancy, Secondary Employment and Internal Work Policy) must be considered in accordance with this policy. To the extent the plans, contracts and conditions approved by the grantor/external party are materially inconsistent with this policy, this policy prevails, provided the grantor’s/external party’s rights are not adversely affected.  

  7. Grant seekers will not seek or negotiate travel privileges as part of their grant requests and contracts.

  8. Expenses associated with loyalty programs and lounge memberships are to be paid for personally by the UQ traveller however UQ travellers can accrue points for loyalty programs resulting from UQ travel.

2.7    Travel insurance and fitness for travel

Automatic travel insurance applies to UQ travellers undertaking UQ travel more than 50km from their normal place of residence or business, excluding everyday commuting. Travel insurance cover is subject to full policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations.

UQ travellers must ensure they are fit for UQ travel, given the nature, purpose, destination and duration of the travel.

UQ travellers must familiarise themselves with what is and is not covered under UQ travel insurance while on UQ travel, refer to the UQ Insurance Services website (UQ Travel Insurance brochures for Staff and Students). UQ travellers must advise their supervisor and the relevant travel approver prior to requesting UQ travel approval if there is a possible foreseen risk of costs being incurred in connection with the UQ travel which may not be covered by UQ Travel Insurance (e.g. you have a pre-existing medical condition and your doctor has not been prepared to certify that you are fit for international travel or it’s foreseeable that your travel may be cancelled or disrupted).

Any uninsured costs or losses resulting from UQ travel, and where UQ is responsible, will be funded by the UQ traveller’s business unit.

2.7.1    International travel - fitness for travel requirement

If a UQ traveller is planning to undertake international UQ travel and has a pre-existing condition, or if the UQ traveller is over 75 years of age, they must obtain medical clearance to travel from a doctor within 30 days prior to the UQ travel using the Fit for Travel form available on the UQ Insurance Services website.

A pre-existing condition is a physical defect, condition, illness or disease for which treatment, medication or advice (including advice for treatment) has been received or prescribed by a doctor in the 12 months prior to the UQ travel. This also includes pregnancy and any mental illness.

The Fit for Travel form must be completed by UQ travellers prior to booking their international UQ travel if, at the time, they are showing symptoms of any defect, condition, illness or disease.

2.8    Private travel

Dual Purpose Travel (defined as a combination of part UQ travel and part private travel) may be permitted in some circumstances provided:

  1. the private travel component is not the primary purpose of the trip;

  2. the private travel component will not adversely affect the objectives of the UQ travel;

  3. the private travel component will not result in any additional cost to UQ;

  4. the private travel component would not have occurred if not for the UQ travel;

  5. the most logical and economical flight-path to and from the UQ travel destination/s has been selected;

  6. leave for private travel is approved in accordance with UQ’s leave approval process;

  7. UQ will not incur any Fringe Benefit Tax liability;

  8. the travel approver agrees the request is reasonable and approves the dual purpose travel in accordance with this policy and the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure;

  9. the UQ traveller abides by the requirements of dual purpose travel in accordance with this policy and the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure; and

  10. the UQ traveller agrees to disclose and maintain details of their dual purpose travel to enable UQ to assess compliance with this policy.

UQ will not cover any direct costs attributable to private travel e.g. accommodation, meals. Any costs incurred by UQ that can be directly attributable to or associated with private travel will be charged to and recovered from the UQ traveller. 

UQ will not approve any private travel to a High Risk Destination (see Section 2.10.1).

UQ will not be responsible or liable for managing any issues including risks and customer complaints relating to or arising from private travel or the private portion of dual purpose travel.

Refer to the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure.

2.8.1    Travel insurance during private travel

UQ travellers will be insured under UQ travel insurance cover (subject to full policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions) for some limited private travel which is incidental to the UQ travel. For more information on what private travel is and is not covered under UQ travel insurance, refer to the UQ Insurance Services website (UQ Travel Insurance brochures for Staff and Students). UQ travellers must obtain their own private travel insurance for any other private travel.

UQ travellers will not be covered for any private travel to a High Risk Destination (see Section 2.10.1).

2.9    Non-UQ travel companion/person

2.9.1    Non-UQ travel companion

In some circumstances a non-UQ travel companion (including family members such as a spouse, partner, or dependant etc.) may accompany a UQ traveller undertaking UQ travel, provided:

  • UQ will not be liable for the non-UQ travel companion;

  • UQ will not incur any additional costs;

  • the objectives of the UQ travel will not be compromised; and

  • the non-UQ travel companion doesn’t pose any additional risks to the UQ traveller or UQ.

UQ will not be responsible for managing any issues including risks and customer complaints relating to or arising from travel with a non-UQ travel companion.

A non-UQ travel companion will not be covered by UQ’s travel insurance and must arrange their own personal travel insurance cover.

2.9.2    Approved non-UQ person

In some circumstances a non-UQ person may be approved by UQ to undertake UQ travel if there is a compelling and evidenced reason such as a medical, safety and/or security risk to the UQ traveller (e.g. a Carer who accompanies a UQ traveller with disabilities in order for the business objective to be achieved).

Explicit written approval from the relevant USET member must be obtained prior to booking travel for the non-UQ person.

A non-UQ person approved by UQ will be treated (and have the same responsibilities) as a UQ traveller in accordance with this policy.

A non-UQ person approved as a UQ traveller will be covered by UQ’s travel insurance (subject to full policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions).

Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) will be applicable on any costs paid for by UQ for a non-UQ person. The FBT liability will be funded by the business unit (contact the UQ Taxation team for further information on FBT).

2.10    Risk management

Travel will not be authorised if the risk to the traveller and/or UQ is assessed as unacceptable by either the relevant travel approver or the High Risk Travel Approver.

While travelling and where necessary, UQ travellers will be provided with medical and security assistance via UQ’s emergency assistance provider, International SOS (ISOS).

ISOS does not replace the UQ travel approval process. Once UQ travel is approved, UQ travellers must:

  • register their itineraries through ISOS and DFAT Smartraveller prior to departure and update their itineraries should travel plans change;

  • check their emergency contact details are accurate in Workday and ISOS in the event of an emergency so they can be promptly contacted and located;

  • carry the ISOS Travel Assistance 24/7 contact number whilst travelling and contact ISOS in the event of any medical or security issue whilst travelling; and

  • stay in regular contact, as agreed, with their supervisor and inform them of any changes to travel plans prior to departure or during travel.

UQ travel will be undertaken using safe and reliable carriers only. Air travel is only permitted on airline carriers rated safe as recommended by Airlines Ratings Australia. Airline carriers on the banned list published by the European Union (EU) Air Safety List are not permitted to be used. 

Based on the activities undertaken, UQ travellers and supervisors should consider, and agree on, actions to ensure fatigue management is addressed.

UQ travellers must ensure the secure, safe and legal transportation, storage, and distribution of all UQ assets (physical and digital) while travelling.

UQ travellers must ensure that there are no international safeguards (e.g. sanction laws and regulations) under Australian law that may prohibit, or restrict, certain travel.

2.10.1    High Risk Destinations

To ensure the health, safety and wellness of UQ travellers and to ensure UQ meets its duty of care obligations, UQ travel is not permitted to countries/regions rated by DFAT Smartraveller as:

  • Level 3 (reconsider your need to travel);

  • Level 4 (do not travel);

  • where no advice has been issued by DFAT Smartraveller; or

  • any other country/region as determined by UQ;

unless

  • the travel is necessary for legitimate UQ strategic purposes;

  • the High Risk Travel Approver (nominated representative of the USET) approves the request to undertake the travel; and

  • the UQ traveller undertakes all requirements for travel to a high risk destination outlined in this policy and the UQ travel website.

UQ travellers must be vigilant with their personal safety while on UQ travel and should avoid taking unnecessary risks that impact their health, safety and wellness.

If travelling in groups, a group leader with sufficient capabilities and authorities must be clearly identified to ensure there is clarity of direction and instructions during travel and in case of any emergency or incident.

The high risk destination travel approval process is outlined on the UQ travel website.

2.10.2    Travel protocol for senior management

No more than 50 per cent of USET members are to travel in the same aircraft/vehicle at the same time.

USET, the Chancellor and the President, Academic Board should avoid travelling with their deputies in the same aircraft or vehicle.

2.11    Travel management

The ‘six steps to travel’ on the UQ travel website outline the requirements which must be followed for planning travel, approval for travel, booking travel, paying for travel, safety while travelling and returning from travel.  

Travel bookings must be made through UQ’s preferred travel services provider, FCM Travel Solutions, in accordance with the booking travel process outlined on the UQ travel website. Valid exceptions for not booking UQ travel through FCM are listed on the UQ travel website FAQ section.

Personal preferences, airline memberships and reward program memberships (such as frequent flyer programs or other loyalty programs) are not sufficient reasons to not book travel through FCM.

3.0    Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1    UQ Travellers

UQ travellers are responsible for complying with applicable sections of this policy, the Dual Purpose Travel Procedure and the UQ travel website including:

  1. exploring all viable options to achieve the business objective (e.g. virtual attendance at meetings, conferences, workshops etc.);

  2. ensuring UQ travel is properly budgeted for and funds are available to pay for the travel and all associated costs;

  3. planning their travel and obtaining necessary approvals, within a timely manner prior to UQ travel;

  4. ensuring UQ travel is planned and undertaken in the most cost effective and efficient manner;

  5. ensuring their work responsibilities are suitably covered during the UQ travel;

  6. assessing the risks and ensuring appropriate precautions are taken and risk management actions taken to protect themselves from medical, safety, security and related risks including:

    1. assessing and ensuring their own fitness to travel and obtain medical clearance for international travel from a doctor if required; (UQ will reimburse UQ travellers for the cost of an appointment with a doctor to assess fitness for travel if the UQ traveller has a pre-existing condition or is over 75 years of age);

    2. obtaining necessary vaccinations/medications; (UQ will reimburse UQ travellers for the cost of vaccinations/medications required for their specific UQ travel destinations, other than for vaccinations listed in the Immunise Australia Program);

    3. seeking appropriate medical and security advice from ISOS prior to travel;

    4. completing risk assessment documentation where required;

    5. providing true and complete travel-related information to UQ;

    6. ensuring their contact details and travel itinerary is kept up-to-date with ISOS;

    7. promptly responding to UQ or ISOS when contacted; and

    8. establishing appropriate communication arrangements with their supervisor and advising their supervisor of any changes to their itinerary or the risk profile of their travel.

  7. holding a valid passport, appropriate visas and complying with relevant immigration requirements for the entire duration of UQ travel;

  8. checking the accuracy of their travel documentation prior to travel and understanding the terms and conditions of their UQ travel bookings;

  9. managing travel-related costs and expenses responsibly and consistently in accordance with UQ policies and procedures;

  10. identifying any private travel costs during the UQ travel and pay their personal contribution at the time of booking;

  11. disclosing to UQ any relevant details regarding private travel or UQ travel with accompanying non-UQ travellers or an approved non-UQ person to facilitate any audit and reviews undertaken by UQ or a party engaged by UQ;

  12. maintaining and, where appropriate, providing copies of necessary travel-related records. All travel-related records must be finalised within 30 days of return from UQ travel;

  13. ensuring all UQ assets are reasonably protected during UQ travel; and

  14. ensuring that there are no international safeguards (e.g. sanction laws and regulations) under Australian law that may prohibit or restrict certain travel.

A prospective UQ traveller may decline to undertake UQ travel due to compelling and evidenced medical, safety and/or security reasons.

UQ travellers who act outside of this policy and any associated procedures will be personally responsible for costs incurred by UQ. Repayment must be made by the UQ traveller from personal, post-tax funds and cannot be paid from a university account (e.g. consulting, external funding or research funded account).UQ will expect repayment of this cost within 30 days of identification.  Failure to do so will result in debt recovery action being taken by UQ.

3.2    Travel Approver

The role of travel approver will vary across UQ depending upon the type of travel being applied for by the UQ traveller. In most cases, the travel approver will be the UQ traveller’s supervisor and/or Head of Organisational Unit (or their delegate).

Travel approvers are responsible for assessing and ensuring the following, where relevant, in a timely manner:

  1. UQ travel is necessary and is undertaken for legitimate UQ purposes;

  2. the timing, duration, and total cost of the UQ travel is reasonable and demonstrates prudent use of UQ resources;

  3. the UQ travel is properly planned (i.e. the most logical and economical route is selected);

  4. appropriate controls have been or will be implemented to effectively manage the risks associated with undertaking the UQ travel;

  5. the traveller is fit to undertake UQ travel having regard to the nature, purpose, destination, and duration of the travel;

  6. appropriate communication arrangements have been put in place to remain in contact with the traveller; and

  7. information given by the UQ traveller regarding a private travel component is reasonable and confirming the business-related UQ travel is the principal component.

3.3    High Risk Travel Approver

The High Risk Travel Approver is a nominated representative of USET (see High Risk Destination section on the UQ Travel Website) and is responsible for:

  • assessing, in conjunction with advice from the Governance and Risk Division, all requests for UQ travel to high risk destinations and deciding whether to approve the request; and

  • ensuring the risks associated with the UQ travel are acceptable and the risk mitigation measures put in place align with UQ’s Risk Appetite Statement (refer to the Enterprise Risk Management Framework Policy).

The High Risk Travel Approver may impose a complete travel ban to certain destinations and may require UQ travellers to alter their travel plans or return home. UQ travellers must comply with all such directives. UQ has no liability or responsibility where this may impact either a UQ traveller’s private travel (as part of dual purpose travel) or any non-UQ travel companion that accompanies a UQ traveller.

3.4    UQ Travel Manager

The UQ Travel Manager (Governance and Risk Division) is responsible for:

  1. providing systems and processes, to the extent necessary and feasible, to enable efficient adoption of this policy; 

  2. engaging, establishing and managing contracts and relationships with travel-related suppliers or third parties including travel management provider/s, airlines and accommodation providers;  

  3. enforcing the requirements of this policy; and

  4. escalating any material and/or systemic breaches of this policy to senior managers for remediation.

4.0    Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Supervisors, travel approvers and budget holders will monitor all travel (and travel related expenses) within their areas of responsibility to ensure compliance with this policy, any associated procedures and the UQ travel website.

The UQ Travel Manager will:

  • assess compliance with this policy at least annually and ensure any material deficiencies are rectified or escalated to senior managers for remediation; and

  • provide annual assurance on the effectiveness of this policy and make recommendation/s, as appropriate, to improve this policy.

5.0    Recording and Reporting

The UQ Travel Manager will produce the annual Overseas Travel Report.

UQ travellers, supervisors, travel approvers and UQ Finance will provide the necessary information and data to the UQ Travel Manager to produce the annual report and any other reports to USET.

Custodians
Director, Governance and Risk Mr Robert Oldfield

Procedures

Dual Purpose Travel (DPT) - Procedures

Printer-friendly version
Body

1.0    Purpose and Scope

This procedure gives effect to Section 2.8 (Private Travel) of The University of Queensland’s (UQ) UQ Travel Policy and applies to any person who meets the definition of a UQ traveller. The objective of this procedure is to facilitate UQ traveller and travel approver understanding and compliance with dual purpose travel (DPT).

DPT (defined as a combination of part UQ travel and part private travel) may be permitted in some circumstances provided the UQ travel is in accordance with this procedure and the UQ Travel Policy.

This procedure applies to all forms of UQ travel be it for operating, research, project, or consultancy purposes. This includes ‘externally funded travel’, such as research, industry / collaborator funding, as well as travel funded via consultancy accounts. 

This procedure applies to air travel; and / or ground transportation options that are selected in lieu of such air travel e.g., car, train, bus, ferry, cruises etc.

2.0    Process and Key Controls

Dual purpose travel must satisfy the criteria in Section 2.8 (Private Travel) of the UQ Travel Policy.

The process for seeking approval and booking dual purpose travel is as follows:

  • UQ traveller prepares draft itinerary and submits travel request, confirming private travel is only in business locations AND total private days are less than total business days.

  • Travel approver reviews and approves travel request, confirming UQ business is the primary purpose of the UQ travel.

  • UQ’s travel services provider (FCM Travel Solutions) books travel arrangements and UQ fully funds the air travel and/or ground transport costs as well as directly attributable travel costs on business days.

The key controls for dual purpose travel include:

  • The UQ travel approval request (and imbedded travel diary), including the review and approval of the request by the UQ travel approver.

  • Supervisors, travel approvers and budget holders will monitor all travel (and travel related expenses) within their areas of responsibility to ensure compliance with this procedure.

  • Ad hoc reviews of travel bookings, travel diaries and costings for compliance with this procedure.

3.0    Requirements

Dual purpose travel may be allowed if the private days are:

  1. only in the business location where the traveller is currently undertaking business; AND

  2. total private days must be less than total business days for the entire UQ travel journey.

Example 1: acceptable dual purpose travel

A UQ traveller is heading to the United Kingdom for UQ business. Their business itinerary is drafted as:

  • 1 day travel to fly from Brisbane to London

  • 1-day in London due to invitation to present at the University College London

  • 1 day travel to Edinburgh

  • 5-day conference in Edinburgh

  • 3 days of collaborator meetings/workshops at The University of Manchester (includes travel from Edinburgh to Manchester)

  • 1 day travel from Manchester to London to fly home to Brisbane.

The UQ traveller would like to include some private days as part of this trip:

  • 5 days private in London

  • 3 days private in Manchester

  • 3 days private in Edinburgh.

This proposed dual purpose travel passes the key requirements above, as the total private days (11) are less than the total business days (12) and are only occurring in business locations.

Where the requirements of dual purpose travel are met, UQ can fully fund the air travel and/or ground transport costs as the UQ travel is predominantly for UQ business purposes. The private travel is ‘merely incidental’ to the UQ travel and wouldn’t have occurred if not for the official UQ business activity.

Other than under the circumstances outlined above, UQ travellers will not be able to take any additional private days during their UQ travel and UQ will not contribute any funds, provide travel insurance or be responsible or liable in any way for any private travel that contradicts UQ’s dual purpose travel position.

UQ travellers who choose to undertake personal holidays, and take leave, separately from the UQ travel (e.g. before or after UQ travel is undertaken) must:

  • book and pay personally (not through UQ suppliers)

  • be personally responsible for getting themselves to and/or from the business location

  • arrange their own personal travel insurance.

Example 2: separate personal holiday

Assume the same circumstances as example 1.  However, the UQ traveller would like to visit family in Ireland after completing their authorised UQ travel in Manchester. In this instance, the UQ traveller would only submit a travel request for booking of a one-way flight to London and the direct costs in London, Edinburgh, and Manchester.  Once the dual purpose travel is completed in Manchester, the UQ travel would cease. The traveller would then be responsible for all costs to travel to Ireland and return home to Brisbane. According to the ATO, costs associated with a personal holiday location (including flights) must be paid for separately by the traveller to negate Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT).

The UQ traveller is still required to comply with the UQ Travel Policy and this procedure, evidencing that there are no additional costs incurred by UQ with this revised travel (i.e. one-way flight to London).

Note: the UQ traveller cannot include Ireland in the UQ authorised travel OR request to personally fund only the cost of travelling to Ireland and back to London, with UQ funding a London return flight. This fails the key requirements of this procedure as the locations visited in Ireland are not business locations.  The UQ traveller cannot choose to work remotely from Ireland to ‘convert’ a holiday location to a business location. This would be in direct breach of this procedure and the UQ Travel Policy and must not be requested by the UQ traveller or approved by the Travel Approver.

3.1    Types of locations

3.1.1    Business Location

In accordance with a ruling received from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), a business location is defined as the city/town/village where the authorised UQ business is currently being undertaken. It is not the state/country/continent the traveller is in.  

Example 3: business locations

Assume the same circumstances as example 1. The business locations are London, Edinburgh and Manchester.  The UQ traveller cannot treat “United Kingdom” as the business location for assessing their travel against the dual purpose travel requirements.

3.1.2    Unavoidable stopovers

It is reasonable for a UQ traveller to spend an evening in a location if they have an unavoidable stopover in that location, enroute to their business location. This is on the basis that they take the first available connecting flight, and the most logical and economical route on to the business location. The UQ traveller cannot add private days to this stopover location as it is not considered a business location.

Example 4: Singapore overnight stopover onto Europe

A UQ traveller is required to travel to Zurich for official UQ business.  Due to scheduling, the most direct and economical flight requires an overnight stopover in Singapore.  When assessing dual purpose travel, the night in Singapore would be treated as business as the stopover was unavoidable.

3.1.3    Transit locations

An overnight stopover is different to a transit, which is typically a gap between the next available connecting flight, with the UQ traveller remaining in the airport.

Example 5: 2-hour transit in Singapore

Assume the same circumstances as example 4. However in this example, the traveller only has to wait 2 hours between disembarking in Singapore and connecting to the next available flight to Zurich. Singapore would not be considered a business location for assessing dual purpose travel.  If the UQ traveller wants to remain overnight in Singapore instead of continuing on to Zurich after the 2 hour transit, Singapore would be considered a private location and fails the dual purpose travel requirements.

International flights typically connect via common airport hubs. Examples include but are not limited to: Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.

Connecting to and from business locations via these common hubs does not make these locations business locations. They are transit locations and to spend private days at these locations, the traveller must also be currently conducting authorised UQ business in that location in accordance with this procedure.

Example 6: transit via common airport hub

A UQ traveller must attend UQ business in Munich, Germany. The traveller could fly via Singapore direct to Munich, or via Singapore and Frankfurt. Under both options, Singapore and Frankfurt are only considered to be transit locations and not business locations. The traveller cannot request private days in either location under UQ’s dual purpose travel rules.

A recovery day is not to be taken in a transit location enroute to the business location (refer to section 4.1 (4) for further guidance on the applicability of recovery days).

3.1.4    Entry/departure location which require ground transportation to the business location

UQ travellers may go to a business location that does not have an airport, or the logical route is for the traveller to arrive in an entry location and then take ground transport to the business location (or vice versa).

In those instances the traveller can treat the entry/departure location as a business location in accordance with this procedure.

Example 7: entry/departure location – pass

A UQ traveller is undertaking research collaboration at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. The nearest airport to Mainz is Frankfurt, a 30min drive or train ride. Frankfurt would be considered their logical entry/departure location. As such, the traveller could request private days in Frankfurt, provided they were less than 50% of the business days in Mainz.

Note, the traveller must not request travel that includes an entry/departure location that is not the logical and reasonable route to the business location. 

Example 8: entry/departure location – fail

A UQ traveller is attending a conference in Paris, France. Flights are available from Brisbane via Dubai. The traveller instead requests to fly via Dubai and London with a couple of private days in London on arrival. The traveller will then catch the Eurostar from London to Paris for the conference. The travel approver must reject this travel request. London is not considered to be an entry/departure location as the traveller could have flown direct to Paris from Dubai. The private days requested in London are not permitted unless there is authorised UQ business activities occurring in London.

3.1.5    Day trips from a business location

During authorised private travel days, it’s understandable UQ travellers may wish to travel to other close areas within the same country during the day. However the UQ traveller must return to the business location to stay overnight in order to meet the ATO requirements. These days would still be considered ‘merely incidental’ private days in business locations. In those situations:

  • UQ travellers must not take air travel to other locations unless it’s for a UQ business reason.

  • UQ travellers cannot cross country borders unless it’s for a UQ business reason.

Example 9: sightseeing on private days

A UQ traveller is required to be in Rome, Italy for authorised UQ business. Based on their business days, the UQ traveller can include up to two private days in Rome and still comply with the dual purpose travel requirements. The UQ traveller would like to visit Pompeii on one of those private days. They personally book a day tour which collects them early in the morning and returns them to their hotel in Rome the same evening.  This would meet the dual purpose travel requirements as they have not stayed overnight at Pompeii, not crossed country borders nor taken air travel for a private reason.

4.0    Assessing dual purpose travel (business vs private)

4.1    Definition of business days

Business days whilst on UQ travel are defined as a day on which official UQ business is undertaken for a period exceeding three hours of the day, not including meals or rest breaks.  Examples of official UQ business activities include but are not limited to:

  • preparing for and/or attending a business-related conference, workshop, forum or similar

  • preparing for and/or presenting at a business-related conference, workshop, forum or similar

  • undertaking approved research

  • attending business meetings.

Business days also include:

  1. A day on which a UQ traveller travels to or from their normal place of work to a business location.

  2. A day on which a UQ traveller travels to a business location.

  3. A public holiday recognised in the business location, where the preceding day and the following day are business days.

Note: a public holiday recognised at the UQ traveller’s home base (e.g. Brisbane) but not recognised in the business location does not meet the definition of a business day.

Example 10: public holiday in Brisbane

A UQ traveller from Brisbane is in London on 3 October 2022. The 3 October 2022 is a public holiday in Brisbane (Queen’s Birthday). The UQ traveller is not entitled to take this day off in London and treat it as a business day (as the Queen’s Birthday public holiday is not recognised in London on that day). If they work in London on 3 October 2022, the UQ traveller may negotiate with their supervisor for an appropriate day off in-lieu upon their return to Brisbane. If they choose to still take the 3 October off in London, it will be treated as a private day requiring personal funding for any directly attributable or incremental costs.  

  1. A recovery day - the day following the UQ traveller’s arrival in a business location, provided the UQ traveller was required to complete a flight of seven or more continuous hours to arrive at that business location. Based on the activities undertaken, UQ travellers and their supervisor should consider, and agree on, whether a recovery day is suitable or not to address fatigue management.

Example 11: recovery day

A UQ traveller from Brisbane is required in London for a conference that commences on Monday.  The UQ traveller arrives in London on Saturday. As the Monday will be for official UQ business and it took more than seven hours to reach London from Brisbane, the UQ traveller and their supervisor agrees to a recovery day on the Sunday in London.

A recovery day would not usually apply:

  1. If the day after the recovery day is not being used to conduct official UQ business.

  2. If it is being taken at a different location enroute to the business location.

  3. If the UQ traveller was approved to fly Business Class.

  4. For the return of a UQ traveller to their home base.

A recovery day does not apply on return from the business location. Whether the traveller can take time off upon their return is not covered by this procedure.

  1. A business weekend – the Saturday/Sunday in the business location where the UQ traveller undertakes official UQ business on the preceding Friday and the following Monday. UQ will fund the distinct travel related costs (accommodation, meals, incidentals) on the Saturday and Sunday at the business location.

If the UQ traveller is not conducting official UQ business on either the preceding Friday or following Monday, these weekends are personal weekends, therefore Saturday and Sunday are considered private days. UQ will not cover the costs associated with personal weekends and they will need to be funded by the UQ traveller personally.

Example 12: extending a business trip to include a personal weekend

A UQ traveller requests to attend a conference for UQ business in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday. As the conference starts early on Thursday, they are approved to fly out Wednesday.  The traveller is an avid Harry Potter fan and would like to remain in Melbourne to attend the show on Friday and Saturday evenings. The traveller would then fly home on the Sunday. UQ could fully fund the return flight as the itinerary meets the dual purpose travel requirements: the private days are less than the business days and the private days are in the business location.  However, UQ would not fund the accommodation for the Friday and Saturday, nor any other direct costs on the Saturday and Sunday (meals, incidentals, local transport around Melbourne etc.) as the Saturday and Sunday are private days.  

4.2    Private days

In accordance with this procedure and the UQ Travel Policy, UQ travellers can take private days during their UQ travel however the UQ traveller must personally pay all direct or incremental travel costs attributable to private days. UQ will not cover any costs incurred on private days.

Directly attributable travel costs associated with private days include, but is not limited to:

  • accommodation

  • meals

  • vehicle hire

  • local transport

  • incidentals. 

If private days are taken on a workday, UQ staff must take some form of leave (annual, long service or leave without pay) and record the leave in UQ’s HR system prior to departure (except for workdays gifted to UQ staff).

4.2.1    Definition of private days

Private days whilst on UQ travel is defined as any day that is not a business day (refer to section 4.1 business day). Examples of private days include:

  1. Days of booked recreation leave, long service leave, days of time-off-in-lieu or flexi-days.

  2. Personal weekends (refer to the example in 4.1 (5) above).

  3. Public holidays (in the business location) where the preceding day and the following day are not business days.

  4. Workdays gifted to UQ staff (e.g. UQ shut-down periods in Australia) if not worked in the business location.

  5. The non-workdays of part-time, casual, and sessional staff.

  6. Sabbatical days not spent undertaking official study/work.

4.2.2    Personal contributions for private travel days

The UQ traveller will identify any personal contribution that is required and will pay their contribution upfront at the time of booking.

Any costs incorrectly incurred by UQ that can be directly attributable to or associated with private travel will be charged to and recovered from the UQ traveller. 

Any incremental cost to accommodate a non-UQ travel companion must be paid by the UQ traveller personally. Examples of incremental costs include:

  • Booking larger hotel rooms or a homestay rental to accommodate the accompanying person/s.

  • Choosing to take ground transport between business locations instead of personally paying airfares for the accompanying persons (when a flight would have been more direct and economical for the UQ traveller to undertake the business/academic objective).

  • Including unnecessary stopovers and/or overnight accommodations between business location/s (e.g. taking the scenic route).

4.3    Travel diaries

The Australian Taxation Office requires a travel diary for all UQ travel, which is stored in UQ’s travel approval system.  

UQ travellers, where appropriate, may be required to provide copies of necessary travel-related records and supporting documentation. All travel-related records must be finalised within 30 days of return from UQ travel and stored for seven years.

5.0    Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

5.1    UQ traveller

The UQ traveller is responsible for:

  1. Identifying the inclusion of private days for the travel approver and UQ’s travel services provider FCM Travel Solutions, private costs and/or accompanying persons that are to be privately funded.

  2. Maintaining a high level of probity when requesting dual purpose travel. This includes being accountable for using public resources appropriately and ensuring all decisions made are transparent and defensible.

  3. Understanding the UQ travel insurance coverage with respect to the inclusion of private days. For more information on what is and is not covered under UQ travel insurance, refer to the UQ Insurance Services website (UQ Travel Insurance brochures for Staff and Students).

  4. Undertaking the most logical and economical route to / from the business location; and return via the same most logical and economical route.

  5. Not directing the choice of a flight or route based on their:

    1. private preference of the route, or

    2. private preference of an airline provider, or

    3. private travel needs.

5.2    UQ Travel Approver

UQ Travel approver/s are responsible for:

  1. Reviewing and making sufficient enquiries as to validate the essential nature of a business location that includes private days.

  2. Reviewing traveller’s substantiation that UQ is not incurring any additional costs by accommodating the private travel requests.

  3. In instances where there is doubt as to the business or private nature of travel, liaising with the UQ Taxation Unit to ascertain the appropriate treatment of those days prior to approving the booking of dual purpose travel. 

  4. Enforcing the mandatory repayment of travel costs by travellers who are found to be in breach of this procedure.

5.3    UQ Taxation Unit

The Taxation Unit is responsible for:

  1. Managing, overseeing, and communicating information related to UQ’s FBT compliance and application with respect to dual purpose travel.

  2. Helping Organisational Units, as required, with assessments of dual purpose travel and the treatment of business and private days by UQ travellers.

6.0    Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. Supervisors, travel approvers and budget holders will monitor all travel within their areas of responsibility to ensure compliance with this procedure.

  2. The Taxation Unit (with the assistance of the UQ Travel Team) will conduct ad hoc reviews of travel bookings, travel diaries and costings for compliance with this procedure.

7.0    Recording and Reporting

Travel requests will be recorded in UQ’s travel approval system.

8.0    Appendix

8.1    Definitions

Non-UQ travel companion: as defined by section 2.9 of the UQ Travel policy, including family members such as spouse, partner or dependent etc that are not employed by UQ; or are employed by UQ but are not travelling in their authorised capacity as an employee of UQ.

UQ travel: as defined by the UQ Travel Policy, UQ travel is an approved journey that includes either a flight or overnight accommodation away from a UQ traveller’s normal place of work. UQ travel is authorised travel approved by UQ, regardless of funding source, for the purpose of UQ business.

UQ traveller: as defined by the UQ Travel Policy, being persons undertaking UQ travel.

Custodians
Director, Governance and Risk Mr Robert Oldfield

Forms

Printer-friendly version

Custodians
Director, Governance and Risk Mr Robert Oldfield
Custodians
Director, Governance and Risk Mr Robert Oldfield