COUNTY OF SAN MATEO
SUBJECT: County Travel Policy
RESPONSIBLE DEPARTMENT: County Manager
DATE: April 2, 2013
This memorandum replaces the prior Administrative Memorandum B-16 dated January 7, 1997, revising the County policy for travel. The County Travel Policy is intended to establish consistent, efficient, and effective guidelines for County employees and officials when traveling on County business.
I. Purpose and Appropriateness of Travel
Travel on County time and at County expense will be permitted for bona fide business reasons that will benefit the County. Travel for attending business conferences, services, and meetings will be permitted only if there is a clear benefit to the County and there is not a more cost effective means of getting the information disseminated at the conference.
II. Reimbursement for Travel Expenses Within the County
Reimbursement for expenses incurred while travelling on County business within the County limits is limited to transportation costs. Pursuant to County Ordinance 2.72.020 (a), the County will reimburse employees for travel in their own automobiles at the rate determined by the Internal Revenue Service. (See County Driving Policy located on the Intranet for further instructions and specifics) Whenever practical, County employees are encouraged to carpool or use public transportation for County related business travel within the County limits.
These restrictions are limited to travel related expenses and do not limit reimbursement for the actual costs of expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of official duties, such as business related meals within the County. However, reimbursement for business related meals requires Department Head approval.
Ill. Reimbursement for Travel Expenses Outside the County
Reimbursement for expenses incurred while travelling on County business outside County limits shall include:
• Meals (see section IV.e below for further restrictions)
• Incidentals (e.g. tips, baggage transfers) Such expenses must be necessary and reasonable.
IV. All Travel
When traveling on County time and at County expense, employees should adhere to the following:
a. Advance Planning
Business travel should be planned in advance whenever possible to obtain the lowest possible rates. Reduced rates and fares can generally be obtained by booking in advance.
Government and group rates offered by a provider of lodging services shall be used when available. If such rate is not available, the maximum reimbursement rate shall be limited to the Continental United States (CONUS) current rate as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations or double the amount of the CONUS current rate for CONUS designated high cost of living metropolitan areas. If the lodging is in connection with a conference or organized educational activity, reimbursement for lodging costs shall not exceed the maximum group rate published by the conference or activity sponsor, provided that lodging at the group rate is available at the time of booking. If such rate is not available, the maximum reimbursement rate shall be limited to double the amount of the CONUS current rate or the group rate, whichever is higher.
Current CONUS rates can be found at www.gsa.gov/perdiem.
c. Air Transportation
Employees shall use coach or economy classes of air travel accommodations.
d. Ground Transportation
Employees shall use the least expensive and most efficient form of ground transportation (including carpooling and public transportation). When driving, employees must familiarize themselves with the County’s Driving Policy, available on the Intranet, and must adhere to the rules and regulations prescribed therein. Employees receiving a biweekly transportation allowance are not eligible to claim reimbursement for ground transportation travel expenses incurred within County of San Mateo and the City and County of San Francisco.
Reimbursements will only be provided for meals incurred for self during business travel when all of the following criteria are satisfied:
• The meal was purchased outside of the County limits;
• The cost of the meal was reasonable and not excessive; and
• The travel required an overnight stay.
These restrictions are limited to meals incurred for self as a result of travel away from the home area and do not limit reimbursement for the actual costs of expenses reasonably incurred in the performance of official duties, such as business related meals outside the County. However, business related meals require Department Head approval.
The maximum reimbursement for the actual cost of travel related meals for self (in conjunction with an overnight stay) will be limited to CONUS except that for CONUS designated high cost of living metropolitan areas the maximum reimbursement rate shall be limited to double the amount of the CONUS current rate.
f. Weekend Travel
Reimbursement for Saturday or Sunday travel will be made when adequate justification is provided on the employee expense reimbursement form.
g. Out-of-State Travel
All out-of-state travel for meetings and conferences must be approved by the Department Head.
V. Advance Claims
An advance claim for travel may be submitted if an employee needs moneys to defray out-of-pocket expenses up to a maximum of $1,000. Such requests must be made at least 5 working days before travel is to commence. Receipts to support the use of such advances must be provided and accounted for on an employee expense reimbursement form.