Meals and Incidentals, Lodging

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H. Meal And Incidental Expenses

[1] General

Generally, meal and incidental expenses are reimbursed at a per diem rate. Meal and incidental expenses may be reimbursed only if the traveler qualifies for lodging-expense reimbursement, except as noted herein.

For the day the traveler leaves on a trip, the per diem rate specified for where the traveler will conduct the majority of their business is used. For the day the traveler returns from a trip, the per diem rate specified for the last location where the traveler conducted business is used.

Procedure - Travel Meals and Incidental Reimbursement

Meal and incidental per diem are reimbursed based on the location of the majority of the day's business activities.  Receipts are not required.

If a provided breakfast is "continental" and not a full meal (containing protein) a traveler may claim the allowable meal per diem.

Employees traveling together should incur and claim their own expenses for better accuracy and transparency.  The corporate travel One Card is available for reimbursable travel expenses.  Employees may not claim meal per diem for another UO employee. 

Group meal:  An employee may claim actual expense for another UO employee's meal with an itemized receipt showing payment.  The maximum allowable reimbursable amount is limited to actual expense, up to the allowable meal per diem rate.  Use the Group Meal expense type.  Neither employee may claim per diem in addition to the group meal.  Tips and gratuities may be reimbursed up to the state standard of 20% of the expense, excluding taxes.

[2] Travel Days

Travelers are eligible for 75% of the meal and incidental expenses per diem amount on the initial and final day of travel.

[3] Hosted Meals

Applicable meal and incidental expense per diem will be reduced on a pro-rata basis for days when one or more meals are provided and consumed as part of a hosted function (e.g., a conference registration fee includes a meal, meals are included with lodging rate). Meal per diem is pro-rated based upon the applicable rate table. Incidental expense per diem is paid at 100% even if the meal per diem is apportioned.

Meal and incidental expense per diem is not pro-rated for the initial and final day of travel (even if a meal is provided and consumed).

[4] Actual Meal-Expense Reimbursement

Reimbursement for meals at actual expense (including gratuity) instead of per diem rate is allowed when hosting official guests and groups and in other circumstances noted herein (see departmental fiscal procedures). 

[5] Meals on One-Day Trips

When an employee departs and returns the same day, meal expenses are reimbursed only in the following cases:

[a] When traveling as a University of Oregon Board of Trustees member or unpaid member of a university advisory committee.

Procedure: Meals for One Day Trips are processed in Concur for a guest using the UO Host's profile and Guest Policy.  In the header, select Trip Type #6 Non Employee - 1099 tax reportable (acct code 39742)

[b] When a meal at a convention, conference, or meeting is part of the agenda and the cost of the meal has not previously been paid with the registration fee.

Procedure: Meals over per diem at a conference or meeting while in travel status are processed in Concur using the Expense Type: Registration (acct code 28601).

[c] When directed or required to attend mealtime business meetings, including community or public relations meetings.

Procedure: If in travel status, use Concur and Expense Type: Registration (acct code 28601).  If for a local expense, use Banner and account code 28601.

[d] Trips by athletic teams and student groups (see STUDENTS, STUDENT GROUPS, AND TEAMS in UO Travel Policy section)

Procedure: One-Day Trips - Meal expenses for an athletic team or student group on a one-day trip may be reimbursed at actual cost, up to allowable GSA per diem (as opposed to per diem). An itemized receipt is required. University employees such as coaches, trainers, or group leaders who accompany and are responsible for the care, custody, or control of the team or group are also eligible for meal-expense reimbursement. The request for reimbursement must state that the expenses result from a trip by an athletic team or student group.

Lunches on one-day trips will not be reimbursed except in circumstances H.5(a)-H.5(d), listed above.

In addition to H.5(a)-H.5(d) above, the university may provide breakfast and dinner allwances under circumstances (e) and (f) below. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires breakfast and dinner allowances, provided on the basis of hours worked (such as those permitted under (e) and (f) below, to be recorded as taxable income to the employee. Breakfast and dinner allowances are not available to non-employees.

In Concur use Expense type "Group Meals" (acount code 35120) for domestic travel meals.

[e]When an employee leaves their official station two or more hours before their regular work shift, they are eligible for the breakfast allowance.

When an employee leaves their official station two or more hours before their regular work shift, they are eligible for the breakfast allowance.  This is processed in UO Payroll as a taxable fringe benefit:  /payroll/single-day-meals

[f]When an employee returns to their official station two or more hours after their regular work shift, they are eligible for the dinner allowance.

When an employee returns to their official station two or more hours after their regular work shift, they are eligible for the dinner allowance.  This is processed in UO Payroll as a taxable fringe benefit:  /payroll/single-day-meals

[6] Incidental Expenses

The university uses IRS guidance (Publication 463 (Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses) or any substitute guidance) for the definition of domestic-travel incidental expenses and the U.S. Department of State guidance for the definition of foreign-travel incidental expenses.

Procedure - Reimbursement for Incidental Expenses

Domestic travel: Incidental definition is determined by IRS Publication 463

Foreign travel: The US Dept. of State determines foreign per diem rates. The rates consist of a maximum lodging portion and a maximum meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) portion. Because taxes are included in the lodging and meal prices we use to determine the foreign per diem rates, lodging tax expenses may not be reimbursed separately. The incidental expenses portion of the per diem rate includes laundry and dry cleaning expenses. Therefore, laundry expenses, along with fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships may not be claimed separately.  US State Department Allowances

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I. Lodging

Lodging expenses are normally permitted when authorized university personnel determine that the traveler would not reasonably be expected to return to their residence between work shifts. Generally, lodging is paid/reimbursed at actual cost up to per diem rates. Exceptions to per diem maximum may be granted with appropriate justification and supervisor approval. Common exceptions include:

  • Conferences
  • Traditionally high-cost locations (e.g., New York City; Washington, DC; San Francisco Bay Area; Boston; Seattle)
  • Cities where a per diem hotel is not available within a reasonable distance [e.g., twenty (20) minute drive] of the primary business location

[1] Lodging Receipts Requirements

Receipts for lodging are required and must show the following:

  • Traveler's name (or names)
  • Date(s) occupied
  • Itemization of Charges
  • Settlement in Full

[2] Taxes on Lodging

Lodging taxes at domestic locations are paid/reimbursed as part of the actual lodging cost calculation, but are not included when determining if lodging cost has exceeded the per diem rate maximum.  Lodging taxes at international locations are included as part of the per diem.

[3] Non-commercial Lodging

The intent of the non-commercial lodging per diem is to reimburse travelers using non-commercial facilities (e.g., travel trailer, motor home, staying with friends or family members) and should result in an economic benefit for the university.  For current rate, see related resources

For purposes of payment/reimbursement rates and per diem limits, lodging arranged through commercial services such as Airbnb is considered Commercial Lodging.

In certain circumstances, alternate lodging arrangements (e.g., leased apartment) may be considered most appropriate.  Contact the BA Travel Office for additional information and consideration.

Lodging Procedures

Lodging Reimbursement

Lodging may be reimbursed only if the traveler's home base is more than 50 miles from the business site.  Prepaid, non refundable hotel rates are discouraged as they do not allow the flexibility required for business travel.  No show hotel expenses are non reimbursable (See Miscellaneous Expenses section of travel policy).

Employees traveling together should incur and claim their own expenses to insure accuracy and transparency.  The corporate travel One Card is available for reimbursable travel expenses.  If necessary, a traveler may pay for another employee or student's lodging with business purpose and a receipt providing proof they incurred the expense.

Lodging per diem is based on the city in which the traveler conducts the majority of the day's business:

Conference Lodging:  Exceptions to standard lodging per diem may be provided for conferences & meetings. Lodging may be reimbursed at actual and reasonable cost with appropriate documentation such as a conference brochure/website that shows all of the following:

  • Assigned conference hotel(s), and
  • Lodging rate assigned to the conference, and
  • Lodging receipt that shows the amount paid.

Non-commercial lodging may be claimed at $25 per night.

UO Hotel Pricing Partners

 UO Hotel Pricing Partner program contains pricing agreements in a number of Oregon areas negotiated for UO business travelers. 

What is the UO Hotel Pricing Partner Program?

  • The pricing agreements auto renew each year on Jan. 1 unless mutual consent to cancel with 30 days written notice.
  • The pricing agreements streamline the contracting process for reservations by eliminating the need for additional signatures.
  • Pricing agreements may be applicable to both individual and group arrangements.  See specific hotel for details.
  • Pricing agreements are for UO business travelers only.  Contact the hotel for pricing for personal travel needs.
  • Rates can be confirmed by either phone or through UO Contract Travel Agencies.

UO Hotel Pricing Partners

Student Travel - CLERY Act

The Clery Act is a federal law that requires schools to collect and report crimes that may occur at student lodging while on away-trips. To meet Clery Act requirements, faculty, staff and students must provide student lodging information to the Clery Coordinator if it meets the following criteria.

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