IV.K. General Expense Reimbursement Policy
General Policy Statement
The Berkeley Student Cooperative (BSC) has, since its inception, been dependent upon the contribution of time and talent from its members, alumni and staff. It is incumbent upon the BSC to provide for the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses incurred in conducting the formal affairs of the BSC. It is the intent of the BSC Board of Directors to fairly compensate members, employees and the volunteers of the BSC for their out-of-pocket expenses while exercising fiscal constraint with its funds.
Scope: This policy is designed to cover all employees, members and alumni volunteers while engaged in authorized BSC work.
Ineligible Expenses: No reimbursement of expenses incurred by spouses, domestic partners, or guests will be allowed. The BSC will not reimburse expenses that are reimbursed to the member, volunteer or employee from another source, or that were not approved in advance.
Budget Limitations: The financial liability of the BSC to reimburse for expenses is limited to the funds budgeted for the activity in the current approved budget of the BSC. If any alumni volunteer, member, employee, board, or committee incurs a liability that is greater than the funds so budgeted, or incurs a liability in excess of the amounts allowed by this policy, such liability will be the personal obligation of the individual responsible for incurring or authorizing the liability.
Out of Town Travel
Reimbursement will be made for all reasonably necessary travel provided the travel is approved in advance by the employee’s, member’s or alumni volunteer’s BSC supervisor. Participation in meetings by telephone or carpooling with others is encouraged in lieu of incurring travel expenses.
Private Auto - Mileage: The BSC mileage reimbursement rate shall be set effective January 1st of each year for that entire calendar year, at the standard business mileage rate then in effect by the Internal Revenue Service. The Finance Committee is authorized to make adjustments to the mileage reimbursement rate or the mileage reimbursement policy as needed. Reimbursement will also be made for tolls and parking. Any substantial deviation from a distance shown in a standard mileage guide must be fully explained.
In the event that a private auto is used in lieu of commercial air transportation, the lesser of coach/economy class air-fare or auto mileage will be reimbursed. No reimbursement will be made for lodging en route. Damage to personal autos while being used on BSC business is not covered because a portion of the mileage reimbursement is intended to defray the insurance cost to the individual. Fines for traffic violations are also not reimbursable.
Bridge tolls are reimbursable.
Auto - Parking: Street parking fees will be reimbursed when needed during the performance of duties. A written receipt must be turned in to the supervisor.
Airport parking reimbursements must be reasonable. Since parking at an airport garage is generally more expensive than parking in shuttle lots, persons are encouraged to park in a lesser expensive shuttle lot if possible. For long time periods, airport parking will be reimbursed at the lower of the actual parking costs or an airport shuttle to/from the person's home.
Receipts for parking shall be provided if available. However, the BSC will pay items $25 or less without a receipt as long as the date, place, and business purpose is adequately documented.
Parking tickets incurred in the course of the performance of work-related duty will be paid only if in case of emergencies in which the employee did not have time to comply with parking restrictions.
Airfare: Reimbursement will be made at coach/economy class airfare. Detailed receipts are required for all airfare reimbursements. Alumni volunteers, members and staff should seek the lowest possible fares through use of advance booking. The BSC may or may not reimburse for last-minute fares when the date of a meeting or event was known in enough time to obtain a lower standard fare. The BSC will pay a cancelled airfare if a meeting is cancelled. Airfare change fees will be paid for changes in a meeting schedule.
Rental Cars: Rental cars may be used only when necessary and economically practical compared to other modes of local transportation or if local transportation is nonexistent. Rental charges should be net of any discounts and will be limited to the rental cost of compact or standard-size cars. Detailed receipts must be provided for all reimbursements of rental car costs. It is helpful to rent the car in the name of the BSC. However, the BSC's insurance policy contains an endorsement which extends coverage for damage to rental cars even if they are rented in an individual's name as long as they had permission from the BSC and they are on BSC-related business (the endorsement is intended to fill in the gaps where someone doesn't or can't rent the car in the BSC's name).
Other: Reimbursement for any other method of travel will be reimbursed only in an amount that would have been payable had the most economical method of travel been used. Transportation on BART, AC Transit or other forms of public transportation is encouraged. Reimbursement is not provided for daily commuting.
Lodging/Hotel Accommodations: Hotel/motel accommodations may be reimbursed where an overnight stay is reasonable and prudent.
Effective October 1, 2010, the BSC limits on reimbursements for lodging are the Federal rates per Publication 1542, Table 4*** http://www.irs.gov/publications/p1542/ar01.html
If no lodging below that limit is available or convenient in the area of the stay, the President or the Executive Director may approve reimbursements above the federal limit (e.g., attendance at a conference where the hotel rates for the conference are above the BSC limit). If the maximum limit is being reimbursed, the taxes on only that amount will be paid.
A detailed receipt must be provided for all lodging reimbursements, without exception.
Lodging and parking charges are reimbursable by following prescribed procedures and obtaining the appropriate approvals in advance. Incidentals such as entertainment, dry cleaning, personal phone calls, etc. are not reimbursable.
Meal Expenses: Reasonable meal expenses for out of town staff travel will be reimbursed, including gratuity, at the rate of a maximum of 50% of the IRS standard meal allowance. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/ch01.html#en_US_publink100033793
No alcohol purchases will be reimbursed; such purchases should be segregated from meal expense on the receipt (if the individual is paying) or on a separate receipt and paid for by the individual ordering them (if a BSC credit card is used).
Expenses Other Than Travel, Local Transportation, Lodging, and Meals: Whenever possible, purchases of coffee, flowers, gifts, awards, and food for meetings, trainings and events should be made using normal organizational ordering and billing arrangements for office purchases.
Despite utilization of services available through the BSC office, employees, members and alumni volunteers may occasionally use the resources of their own to conduct BSC business. Where practical, volunteers are expected to absorb, without reimbursement, minor expenditures. However, to the extent that cost records are available to document specific out-of-pocket expenses, such as telephone calls and postage, reimbursement may be made. Expenses for photocopying and facsimile use will be reimbursed at rates deemed reasonable by the Executive Director. No reimbursement will be made for office services not detailed by this policy (for example, voice mail charges, telephone connections, etc.). No reimbursement will be made for personnel costs or professional services without specific advance authorization.
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Reimbursement Procedure for Employees, Members & Alumni Volunteers
General Guidelines: All requests for reimbursement shall be made in writing and shall be signed and dated by the person seeking reimbursement.
Expense reports must be submitted not later than the 10th day of the following month. Reports for expenses submitted later than that date are not eligible for reimbursement unless an exception is granted based on a showing of good cause for the delay in submission.
It is critical to receive all expense reports from a fiscal year within 10 days of the close of the fiscal year. Any requests for reimbursements by employees, members or alumni volunteers received after the close of the fiscal year-end books will not be paid.
The Executive Director is authorized to reject or modify payment to comply with these policies and guidelines. The Executive Director is authorized to make an exception to these policies and guidelines when warranted, but requests for exception should be made when feasible in advance of the expense being incurred. Appeal of the Executive Director's decision shall be made to the Personnel Appeals Committee in the case of an employee expense and to the Cabinet in the case of a member or volunteer expense.
Reimbursement Procedures: Each employee, member or alumni volunteer requesting reimbursement of expenses shall complete and sign a Reimbursement Request and give the request and all associated itemized, original receipts to their BSC supervisor. The request and receipts will be reviewed and either approved, rejected, or returned to the employee, member or alumni volunteer with a request for further information.
Payment for reimbursement will be made by check unless the receipt was for cash and is less than $20.00. Reimbursement from petty cash must have the approval of the BSC supervisor of the employee, member or alumni volunteer.
For example, lodging rates as of 9/30/10 was $166/night for the San Francisco Bay Area and $92/night for Ann Arbor, Michigan.