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Travel policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 15 October 2018.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy sets out the principles governing business related travel.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to anyone who undertakes travel on behalf of the University, as part of official University business or an approved University program or in connection with official University activities, regardless of the source of funds (including where travel is funded by an external organisation) or duration of travel. This Policy includes travel by students where they are travelling with the approval of the University in connection with University programs and activities.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University recognises that travel is an essential part of the work related activities of University staff and the study related activities of students.

(5) In facilitating travel the University is committed to:

  1. maintaining its duty of care;
  2. meeting its legal and tax obligations;
  3. achieving value for money in relation to travel expenditure; and
  4. reducing the environmental impact of University travel.

Exercising professional and business judgement

(6) University travellers and Travel Approvers are expected to act consistently with the following principles when booking, approving and undertaking travel:

  1. travel is for a legitimate University purpose
  2. use of an approved Travel Consultant or travel provider
  3. safety
  4. convenience of journey, flight times, accommodation and expenses
  5. arrangements are able to withstand public scrutiny
  6. value for money.

(7) University travellers must ensure that their travel complies with any relevant Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) requirements in accordance with the details in the Taxation policy.

(8) University travellers must ensure that they are fit for travel.

(9) Travellers must not under any circumstances approve their own travel.

(10) Any travel funded, in whole or in part by the University must be for University business. The University will not pay for personal travel. Any travel funded, in whole or in part by the University or by a third party (e.g. flights, accommodation etc.) must be facilitated by an approved Travel Consultant.

Travel approval

(11) All proposed staff travel arrangements, except for travel set out in clause 12, regardless of the source of the funding, must be approved in the online Travel Approval System (TAS) by Travel Approvers prior to booking any travel.

(12) Intercampus travel of five nights or less is exempt from approval via the TAS as follows:

  1. travel between University campuses and a corporate centre or
  2. same day travel with no flights involved within Victoria or
  3. attendance at a conference or equivalent scholarly and/or professional meeting or activities that are located at or in close proximity (ie: walking distance) to a Deakin campus.
The above must adhere to the Travel Guidelines.

(13) Approval for intercampus travel or other local travel that involves the use of a University central pool vehicle or a private vehicle must occur via the Smartfleet system or through a Travel Approver respectively. Intercampus or other local travel by University departmental vehicle, public transport, taxis, ride-sharing services or hire cars does not require approval although the University traveller must be able to justify the use through the credit card reconciliation or reimbursement process where applicable.

(14) The ultimate responsibility for approval of travel and compliance with the Travel policy and Travel procedure lies with the Travel Approvers.

(15) All travel must be approved by a Travel Approver as follows:

  1. domestic travel – a line manager who has a financial delegation of DF4 or above in accordance with Table B, or a financial delegate within Table A, or a staff member with a financial delegation level DF1 or DF2 in Table B of the Financial Delegations policy
  2. international travel a Senior Manager or member of the Executive who has a financial delegation of GE4 or above in accordance with Table A of the Financial Delegations policy.

(16) All proposed travel arrangements by University travellers other than staff, HDR students and visitors shall be approved by Travel Approvers at a Faculty or Portfolio level.

(17) Approval for travel encompasses all expenses associated with that travel, including but not limited to airfares, accommodation, car hire, taxis, public transport, meals and other related incidentals.

(18) Staff members who are requesting travel approval will ensure that arrangements are made to cover their teaching, examining and administrative duties during the approved absence. Where such arrangements cannot be made, travel may not be approved. All research conference travel shall be taken in accordance with the Research Conference Attendance (Academic Staff) procedure.

(19) All University travellers will comply with any conditions set down by a funding organisation for non-Deakin funded travel. If the external funding organisation pays the University Traveller or Deakin directly and there is an absence of conditions applied by the external funding organisation, the University traveller must book through the approved Travel Consultant. In the event that the external funding organisation and Deakin’s requirements are inconsistent, Deakin’s requirements take priority.

University Travel Consultant

(20) The University has appointed an approved Travel Consultant to facilitate travel on behalf of University travellers. Use of the approved Travel Consultant is mandatory for all airfare purchases and is preferred for accommodation and car hire purchases (refer to the Travel SharePoint site for details of the approved Travel Consultant). Accommodation and car hire purchases associated with intercampus travel (within Victoria) are exempt from this requirement.

Traveller safety

(21) If, prior to travel occurring, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued a Level 4 'Do Not Travel' and International SOS (IntlSOS) an equivalent Level 5 ‘Extreme’ warning for a high risk country or restricted area, that travel must be cancelled or deferred. If travel to a Level 4/5 country or area cannot be cancelled or deferred then the University Traveller must seek approval from the Chief Operating Officer to continue with that travel. Applications setting out reasons why the travel needs to continue must be submitted in writing to travel@deakin.edu.au

(22) If, during travel, DFAT issues an upgrade warning to Level 4 'Do Not Travel' and International SOS an equivalent Level 5 ‘Extreme’ for a high risk country or restricted area the University and the University traveller will follow the requirements of the Travel procedure.

(23) Women and LGBTIQ+ University travellers to areas, regions or countries designated by DFAT as Level 2  ‘Exercise a high degree of caution’ or higher should take precautions to ensure their safety, as outlined in the Travel procedure.

(24) All international travel details must be registered by the University Traveller on International SOS prior to the commencement of travel.

(25) The Chief Operating Officer or nominee may recall any University traveller (except students) at any time, or may refuse to approve travel, if it is considered that a University traveller, travelling or due to travel, is or may be at risk. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement or nominee may recall students at any time, or may not approve travel, if it is considered that the student, travelling or due to travel, is or may be at risk.

(26) When a University traveller is travelling in an aircraft owned and/or operated by a client for whom the University is providing services or is an aircraft chartered for the purpose of provision of the services, the University traveller must advise the Insurance Office and travel@deakin.edu.au at least five (5) working days prior to travel. The client's or charter aircraft must be a licensed aircraft.

Academic Study Program

(27) Academic staff undertaking travel as part of an approved Academic Study program are required to comply with the requirements of this Policy and the accompanying Travel procedure, including booking their travel through the approved Travel Consultant.

Student compliance

(28) Students undertaking travel as part of an approved program, where that travel is funded in whole or in part by the University, are required to comply with the requirements of this Policy, the Travel procedure and other applicable procedures covering Student International Programs and Placements.

(29) Students undertaking travel as part of an approved program, where that travel is funded in whole by the student, are required to comply with the requirements of this Policy, the Travel procedure and other applicable procedures covering Student International Programs and Placements except that the student may purchase their airfare and accommodation from other than the approved Travel Consultant. Prior to travel all itineraries for students shall be provided by the student's Faculty to the Global Mobility Office for entry into Terra Dotta.

Guests and contractors

(30) Guest or contractor travel that is to be paid for by Deakin must be booked through the approved Travel Consultant.

(31) Guest or contractor travel that is paid for and booked by another entity must have their details entered into International SOS for insurance purposes. Guest and/or contractor details including itinerary, mobile phone and email address must also be emailed to travel@deakin.edu.au

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students

(32) For the purpose of travel, HDR students are considered staff and must comply fully with this Policy and the Travel procedure. Refer to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) policy.

Other pre-trip considerations

(33) All travel must be cost-effective with no regard for personal benefits from a travel provider's loyalty program. Points gained through a loyalty program whilst on travel should wherever possible, be used on further travel.

(34) Membership of a travel provider's loyalty program or an airline lounge will not be funded by the University unless the membership has been approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

Air travel

(35) University travellers must use the University's On-line Booking Tool or the approved Travel Consultant (refer to the Travel SharePoint site) when booking:

  1. domestic air travel
  2. simple international air travel.

(36) All other international air travel must be booked using the approved Travel Consultant (refer to the Travel SharePoint site).

(37) The principle of Lowest Logical Airfare must always be followed when booking any flight.

(38) University travellers must book a class of air travel in accordance with the following:

  1. Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and the Executive: Business Class
  2. Associate Deans International: Premium Economy. If Premium Economy seats are unavailable  travel by Business Class is permitted
  3. All other University travellers: Economy Class (Economy does not include Premium Economy).

(39) The exceptions to the class of air travel in clause 38 are:

  1. University travellers who have a particular class of airfare stated in their contract of employment;
  2. University travellers who can provide a medical endorsement to their Travel Approver indicating that their normal entitlement is unsuitable and they require a higher class of travel;
  3. University travellers who personally fund the difference either using personal funds or use of loyalty points between a higher class of fare and their normal entitlement;
  4. University travellers where the air travel is completely funded and booked by an external organisation
  5. University travellers who have the approval of the Vice-Chancellor to travel in a higher class of travel.

(40) The University has a number of corporate discount agreements in place with preferred airlines. Travel with one of these airlines must be prioritised over other airlines unless the preferred airlines do not service specific destinations. Details of the corporate agreements can be found on the Travel SharePoint site.

(41) With the exception of participants travelling on a study tour, the number of University travellers travelling together on travel by air shall not exceed four from the one business area unless prior approval is obtained from the Chief Operating Officer.

Other transportation

(42) University travellers will use public transport (where it is safe and economical to do so), University vehicles or hire cars and where these options are not available, private vehicles. The use of University vehicles or private vehicles is governed by the requirements of the Guidelines for Use of University Vehicles.

(43) Taxis should only be used by a University traveller when all other transport means have been exhausted or when the taxi use is considered safer or more cost effective. It is preferred that a University corporate credit card is used to pay for taxi travel but if unavailable reimbursement may be sought with a valid receipt if travel is paid using a personal credit card or cash.

(44) Ride-sharing services like Uber may be used however the University traveller must satisfy themselves that the driver is trustworthy and capable and the vehicle is insured, roadworthy and safe.

Accommodation

(45) The maximum standard of accommodation should be taken in accordance with the reasonable expenses/allowances in the Travel Guidelines. A higher level may be taken in a country or area where there is a security concern. A higher level can only be taken following approval by the Travel Approver prior to the booking or where approval has been given by the Vice-Chancellor.

(46) The use of shared accommodation services (like Airbnb and hostels) requires travellers to accept all responsibility for personal risk and safety. It is expected that travellers have carried out appropriate due diligence before departure and on arrival to ensure the standard of accommodation meets their needs, has high experience ratings (customer feedback), is safe, is in a safe neighbourhood and is conducive to conducting University business. Prior to booking, the shared accommodation service provider must be able to provide a copy of their public liability insurance that covers fee paying guests. See Travel Guidelines.

(47) University travellers may, where applicable, stay with family, friends or a host if this is a preferred option. Accommodation of this nature is acceptable and encouraged by the University provided that work performance is not affected by any discomfort or inconvenience created by the home visit and the accommodation is a 'no-cost business expense'. University travellers must ensure that stays with family, friends or a host for international travel are provided to their Travel Approver and travel@deakin.edu.au

Travel insurance and risk management

(48) University staff who undertake International travel approved through the online TAS or other University travellers whose travel is funded and approved in whole or in part by the University will automatically be provided with insurance cover by the University, as specified by the University Travel Insurance program, provided that prior to travel an entry is made in the online TAS for staff; to the Faculty, Insurance Office or Global Mobility Office for students or to Procurement Services Division for all other traveller types. If no prior travel advice is provided then the University traveller may not be covered by the Deakin Travel Insurance for the travel in question.

(49) The University traveller will be required to purchase their own insurance for any personal travel in excess of 10 days that is taken within, immediately prior to, or after a period of University travel.

(50) Travel insurance for any travel by a person or persons accompanying the University traveller on University travel is the responsibility of the University traveller.

(51) Students purchasing their own international travel are required to purchase an applicable travel insurance either through the Deakin Travel Insurance or with an insurer of their own choice. Prior to travel the student is required to provide evidence of the insurance policy and details of their proposed travel to the Insurance Office and to Global Mobility Office.

(52) University travellers who are affected by a critical incident must comply with the relevant requirements detailed in the Travel procedure and the Critical Incident Management policy where applicable.

Travel expenses and payments

(53) All travel expenses and payments should be read in conjunction with the Business Expenses policy.

(54) The University will reimburse travel expenses that are necessary for a University business purpose, reasonable and actual and ensure funds are acquitted within stipulated timeframes and approved budget limits. All travel reimbursement requests must be processed via Expense Management System (EMS) for staff, via the Faculty, Research area or Terra Dotta for students and via the University Financial Management System for all other traveller types.

(55) University travellers may, in exceptional circumstances, and with the prior approval of their Travel Approver, apply for a cash advance to the Chief Financial Officer where they:

  1. have obtained pre-approval for international travel and will not be receiving a University corporate credit card prior to departure; or
  2. can provide adequate justification that a University corporate credit card cannot be used for some travel expenses and the total of any personally incurred travel expenses is such that it would cause financial hardship.

(56) Where a cash advance is approved by the Chief Financial Officer, upon return from travel the University traveller must provide proof of receipt for all purchases made so that a matching process can be undertaken with the cash advance and any cash advance not used or not matched with a receipt must be returned to the University.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(57) The Travel procedure documents how to comply with this Policy.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(58) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. critical incident: is a traumatic event, or the threat of such and may include any natural disaster, outbreak of war (including civil war), invasion, insurrection, revolution, use of military power, usurpation of government or military power, terrorist activity, transport accident, damage to property, bodily injury, death, theft, disease or illness, imprisonment or charged with a criminal offence or other emergency that causes extreme stress, fear or injury such as to affect the travel plans of the University traveller.
  2. domestic travel: travel within Australia and its territories.
  3. International SOS: the University’s current medical and travel assistance provider appointed by the University to provide all University travellers with assistance whilst travelling internationally.
  4. international travel: travel outside of Australia and its territories and includes travel within another country.
  5. LGBTIQ+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer/Questioning
  6. Lowest Logical Airfare (LLAF): the fare on a carrier for which a seat is available in the class required, which meets the needs of the traveller in terms of schedule, flexibility, service, reliability, itinerary, comfort, safety and is in compliance with the Travel procedure.
  7. simple international travel: travel outside of Australia that is direct or point-to-point, which may include a transit stop as opposed to a stopover ie: the traveller cannot stay at the city of stopover but must continue with their travel to the final destination.
  8. Terra Dotta: the online system used to manage student global mobility programs.
  9. Travel Approval System (TAS): the online system based within the Service Now platform which includes the Travel Request Form and Travel Portal.
  10. Travel Approver: domestic travel must be approved by a line manager who has a financial delegation of DF4 or above in accordance with Table B, or by a financial delegate within Table A, or a staff member with a financial delegation level DF1 or DF2 in Table B of the Financial Delegations policy. International travel must be approved by a Senior Manager or member of the Executive who has a financial delegation of GE4 or above in accordance with Table A of the Financial Delegations policy.
  11. Travel Consultant (TC): the travel agent/s appointed by the University to facilitate University travel and afforded approved status.
  12. travel: travel for official University business that may be associated with attending conferences, symposia or workshops, expatriate postings, Academic Study Program (ASP), commercial business on behalf of the University, student international placements and programs, research or accredited fieldwork, visiting fellowships, overseas teaching, marking and business development, approved secondments, grant-funded travel, any other travel supported by the Vice-Chancellor.
  13. Travel Request Form: the online form required to be completed by all Deakin travellers prior to booking any domestic or international travel.
  14. University traveller: a person who travels on behalf of the University, on pre-arranged University business that is booked, arranged by or approved by the University, including, but not limited to staff (includes HDR students), a partner, family member or dependent accompanying staff member engaged in University business, members of Council, consultants and contractors (guests whose travel is funded in whole or in part by the University)engaged by the University, students and other persons whose travel is associated with and/or paid for by the University.