Guidance re: COVID-19 Travel Suspension

The President’s Office made an announcement on March 8th, 2020 regarding SJSU Travel:

Effective immediately, San Jose State University and its auxiliary organizations have suspended all international and non-essential domestic travel from now through the end of the spring semester (May 31, 2020). This includes suspension of travel approved prior to March 8, 2020. 

In light of this announcement, we would like to clarify what this means for our campus community.

Individuals with previously approved travel authorizations will be notified via email that their authorization to travel has been revoked.

Essential Travel. In the rare instance travel could be deemed essential, please submit a written justification to your supervisor. Supervisors should carefully review these requests with a focus on employee and community safety. The goal of this travel restriction is to minimize spread of the virus. Travel deemed essential by an employee’s supervisor will be forwarded to the appropriate Dean or Associate Vice President for review.  Vice Presidents (or their designee) maintain final approval for essential travel. Essential travel is not authorized until VP approval is obtained.

Future travel, including summer and fall 2020, will be determined as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Reimbursement of Employee-Incurred Expenses

  • The travel reimbursement process via FTS will be used to claim costs incurred for cancelled travel.
  • Travelers should make every effort to claim a refund. Many airlines, hotels and car rental companies are refunding or crediting individuals who personally prepaid these transactions.
  • Travelers should collect and maintain documentation about the refund/credit request and outcome.
  • Refund requests that were denied by the travel partner are eligible for reimbursement. These reimbursement requests will require supporting documentation showing the request for refund was denied. Please submit a travel reimbursement claim via FTS.
  • Refunds granted in the form of a voucher for later use will be treated as a travel advance. The traveler may immediately submit a travel reimbursement claim for the expense. If the travel advance (airline voucher, etc.) is not applied to university-related business travel before it expires, it will be reported as income subject to payroll tax withholding per IRS regulations.

For Expenses Incurred by the Department (typically on a GoCard)

  • Travelers/departments should make every effort to claim a refund. Many airlines, hotels and car rental companies are refunding or crediting individuals who personally prepaid these transactions.
  • GoCard holders should collect and maintain documentation about the refund/credit request and outcome.
  • During the GoCard reconciliation process, please attach any supporting documentation and code all COVID-19 related travel expenses with class code 4716. This will facilitate later reimbursement by the university. Credits on GoCards statements from travel partners should be coded the same way.
  • Refunds granted in the form of a voucher for later use should be tracked by the department and used at the earliest opportunity.

Departments should review prior GoCard statements for costs incurred in previous months and enter an expenditure transfer to add class code 4716 to the transaction. While an extra step, it will best ensure departments receive reimbursement for costs associated with cancelled trips.

Travel Funded by External Sponsoring Agencies

In addition to guidelines stated in the SJSU Research Foundation Travel Policy, sponsoring agencies also have their own travel guidelines. Travel funded by external sponsors must be related to project activity and must be allowable, allowable, and reasonable.

In the event that travel plans must be cancelled, requests for reimbursement of travel-related expenses such as airfare, hotel, registration, and cancellation fees will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Requests must be approved by the SJSU Research Foundation, and in some cases would also require sponsor approval. Please contact your assigned Sponsored Programs manager for assistance or with any questions regarding travel reimbursement requests.

Please reach out to FinanceConnect at 4-1558 or financeconnect@sjsu.edu if you have any questions about this process.

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