Faculty and staff might have already made travel arrangements and incurred expenses for upcoming travel that may have been cancelled due to concerns related to COVID-19. UB follows SUNY policies for cases when reimbursement is possible.
Issued March 7, 2020, this memorandum is a directive for employees of all State agencies and public authorities to utilize precautions while traveling.
UB follows State and Research Foundation policies regarding travel reimbursement.
If a trip is cancelled at the direction of the agency, the traveler will not be responsible for any costs incurred. If a trip is cancelled for the traveler’s convenience, he or she may be responsible for any costs.
Unused nonrefundable airline tickets may not be charged to a sponsored program account if a trip is cancelled. Unused tickets have no direct benefit to the project, when a trip is cancelled, there is no benefit to the project, and the cost must be absorbed by the campus. If the unused nonrefundable ticket may be used in the future in support of a project, then the cost of the ticket plus any associated fees, such as an airline transfer fee, can be charged to the sponsored project that benefits from the travel.
Reimbursement is allowed for protection against changes in travel plans, for example, airfare refundable insurance, provided it is reasonably cost-beneficial. It is noted that nonrefundable airline tickets must not be charged to a sponsored program award if a trip is cancelled.
While traveling internationally on RF business, employees and their immediate family members may be covered under the RF’s blanket international travel assistance coverage, subject to the limitations and exceptions when using the RF’s International insurance program. For additional information, refer to the RF's International Travel Assistance web page.
Non-refundable costs associated with sponsored program related travel that has been cancelled due to public health emergencies, such as COVID-19, may be charged to an award if those costs would have otherwise been allowable and the sponsor guidelines related to the treatment of such costs are followed. Please check with your sponsor for specific document requirements.
Before you make travel plans, consider the following points:
Visit CDC website for the latest CDC travel advisories.
Consult your unit leadership for further guidance.
Contact the conference organizer directly. They may offer a refund or rollover to a rescheduled date. If you made your lodging reservation through the conference, then they may have information regarding refunds. You might not be issued a refund, but rather, a credit that will need to be applied for future business-related travel.
If you made your reservation with a travel agent, we recommend you contact them to cancel your reservation.
If you did not use a travel agency, contact the car rental agency directly to inquire about the cancellation policy. Many vendors in the travel industry are permitting cancellations absent the traditional cancellation fees. In the event the car rental agency issues a credit to be applied for future travel, it is the unit's responsibility to track and utilize the credit.
Before booking any future travel, please consult with your unit leadership about the most reasonable option. When unsure if the business purpose for the travel might be cancelled but it is still necessary to book the trip, purchasing a refundable ticket may be the most reasonable and economical way to secure your airfare.
If a refundable ticket is purchased, please note “due to COVID-19” as the purpose for the additional expense.
Written documentation and approval from the UBO is required if this option is purchased. Transactions requesting payment to senior leadership (dean, vice president, provost, president) or that benefit an individual with approval authority, require approval by the next higher level of authority.
If you are using RF funds, and purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance, reimbursement is allowed for protection against changes in travel plans, provided it is reasonably cost-beneficial. Before purchasing trip insurance, review the policy terms; some policies will not cover direct or indirect losses stemming from a health epidemic.
If you are using State funds, you may be reimbursed for Trip Cancellation Insurance when traveling internationally. Before purchasing any Trip Insurance, be sure to review policy terms. Some polices will not cover direct or indirect losses stemming from a health epidemic.
Written documentation and approval from the UBO is required. Transactions requesting payment to senior leadership (dean, vice president, provost, president) or that benefit an individual with approval authority, require approval by the next higher level of authority.
Consult with your unit business office when travel insurance might be necessary and UBF funds may be utilized for reimbursement. Proper written documentation and approval from the unit business officer will be required.
Guest travel is reimbursable based on the expectation that the airfare credit issued will be used for future university travel. It is the unit’s responsibility to document and track this credit usage.
If the individual has been reimbursed and the credit is later used for personal use, the unit is responsible for recovering the funds from the individual.
Faculty, staff and students should consult with their unit leadership regarding any planned travel related to university business.