1501.6 - Procedure on Lodging Accommodations

Introduction

Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to ensure compliance with State of North Carolina travel regulations as defined by the legislature and communicates current rates as set by the NC Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), US General Services Administration (GSA), US Department of State, and Department of Defense as applicable.

Scope of Applicability

This procedure applies to all employees (faculty, staff, employed students, senior University administrators) and non-employees (non-employed students, independent contractors, and University affiliates).

Procedure

Employee travelers are required to procure commercial lodging reservations from the university-contracted agencies with whom the University has sourcing agreements.  Exceptions are allowable when the traveler is attending an event which provides them access to negotiated lodging rates no available from the University’s contracted agencies.  Third-party lodging may be approved if the traveler can provide documented evidence of savings to the University and/or use of the third-party lodging is deemed justifiably necessary.

University faculty, staff, students, affiliates, and independent contractors may be reimbursed for subsistence expenses incurred while traveling on University business. Subsistence is an allowance related to lodging and meal costs (including gratuities). For the purposes of determining eligibility for allowances, travel status means being at least 35 miles from the employee's normal duty station or home and, while traveling, the employee must be acting in his/her official capacity as required by his/her work activities. Reimbursements will be made at the amount authorized by State regulation unless a higher allowance (excess subsistence) has been specifically approved by sponsoring agency.

Standard North Carolina Subsistence Rates are located on the UNC Finance Travel Allowances website.  OSBM revises the subsistence rates on July 1 of each odd-numbered year based on the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. 

Lodging

  • Reimbursement for lodging may be made only in the amount documented by a receipt of actual lodging expenses from a commercial lodging establishment. The per diem rate for lodging does not include taxes. That is, the payment of sales tax, lodging tax, local tax, or service fees applied to the cost of lodging are paid in addition to the lodging rate and are reimbursed as a lodging expense. Employee travelers will be required to itemize their lodging cost in Concur.
  • The traveler may exceed the part of the ceiling allocated for lodging without approval for over-expenditure provided that the total lodging and food reimbursement that the employee is entitled to for that day does not exceed the maximum daily subsistence.

Third-Party Lodging

  • Third-Party Lodging refers to establishments that are being rented out by a third party (e.g. Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) or an establishment treated as an apartment building by state or local law.
  • Requests for all types of third-party lodging must provide suitable evidence of savings to the University. Documentation is required to show such savings to the University and should be based on approved in-state and out-of-state lodging rates. When requests exceed State lodging rates, an appropriate comparison of local hotels may be submitted as evidence of savings to the University. Any requests that do not show a savings must provide sufficient justification to support the necessity for third party lodging.
  • Each traveler must provide a completed Finance Form 1501.6.1f - Non-Hotel Lodging Authorization Request to their department for review and approval prior to signing a lease agreement. This form may be attached to the employee traveler's Request in Concur.
  • The approved form and the supporting receipt (signed lease agreement or an itemized invoice) must be attached to the expense in Concur (for employees) or Web Travel (for students).

Excess Lodging Expenses

  • Excess lodging expenses must be justified if hotel rates exceed $300 per night, excluding taxes and surcharges (or $400 per night, excluding taxes and surcharges, if staying in one of the following high-cost cities: Boston, New York City, San Francisco and the Bay area, Washington DC, Los Angeles, or Seattle). If those rates are exceeded, the traveler will be required to detail the reason within Concur (for employees) or Web Travel (for students).

Federal Rates and International Rates

Special Situations: Group Travel

University Group Travel is defined as pre-approved travel arranged by the University for several individuals to accomplish a specific common University purpose.  University Group Travel may be paid for in full or in part, directly or indirectly by the University; organized by the University with participants or sponsors paying; organized by others and paid for by the University; or supported by the University in the form of organization, management, staffing, transportation, or space provision.  University Group Travel may include arrangements for transportation and lodging. University Group Travel must be conducted in full compliance with University Travel Policies.

If not submitting for University Group Travel, when two or more persons travel together, it is necessary for each person to submit their reimbursement requests separately (for expenses for meals, lodgings, tips, and transportation by public carrier). However, when two or more persons use the same personal or State car, only one person should report the cost of operating the car.

Reimbursement to an employee sharing a room with another employee will be limited to one-half of the occupancy rate if both claim expense for the room, otherwise, one employee may request the full occupancy rate for the room they shared. If an employee purchased rooms for a group of University travelers, a list of traveler's names and status (i.e. volunteer, student, Faculty/Staff) must be attached to the Expense Report in Concur. If Finance Form 1501.6.2f - Group Travel Request Form was submitted to pay for lodging expenses on a Travel & Expense Card or Departmental P-Card, this form should be attached to the Expense Report in Concur or to the P-Card transaction in Bank of America Works.

Reimbursement to an employee sharing a room with a non-University traveler(s) will be limited to the single occupancy rate.

Exceptions

The University reimburses the actual cost with receipts for lodging when faculty, staff, or students are in a high-cost area and unable to secure lodging with the current allowance, or when an individual submits in writing an opinion that his/her personal safety or security is unattainable within the current allowance. Travelers will be required to detail the reason for the excess cost in Concur (for employees) or Web Travel (for students). Lease agreements with family members are prohibited.

Forms and Instructions

Definitions

Please refer to Finance Policy 1501 - The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Business Travel for a list of common definitions.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Primary Contacts
Subject Contact Telephone Fax Email
Travel Policy Travel Services 919-962-0210 919-962-2356 travel_team@unc.edu
Concur Travel Services 919-962-0210 919-962-2356 concur@unc.edu
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Details

Article ID: 131468
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:09 PM
Modified
Fri 7/30/21 2:34 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
08/03/2021 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Travel and Payment Card Services Manager
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
07/30/2021 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
07/30/2021 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/02/2019 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget