Extended Suspension of Business Travel and New State Added to Restricted List

Business Travel Suspended Through June 2021 Due to COVID-19

The CSU Chancellor’s Office recently announced that non-essential international and domestic travel will be suspended through June 30, 2021. For more information, please view the FY2020-21 Systemwide Meetings and Conferences memo.

In response to the extension, SJSU will continue to follow the travel guidelines established due to COVID-19 and as explained in our blog last March. The noticeable change to the original guideline is the President (or their designee) now maintain final approval for essential travel. Essential travel is not authorized until President approval is obtained.

For information on the university’s plan to continue campus operation, please refer to SJSU Adapt.

Update- New State Added to the Restricted Travel List

With the effective date July 1, 2020, Idaho has been added to Assembly Bill 1887, the law restricting the funding or sponsoring of state business travel to states with discriminatory laws.

The current list of restricted states are as follows:

Alabama
Idaho
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Mississippi
North Carolina
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas

For the background and guidelines regarding Restricted Travel, please refer to the Travel Guide.

Travel Reimbursement for Business Travel Suspended by the COVID-19 Situation

Employees whose business travel were suspended due to the COVID-19 situation can submit a Travel Reimbursement in FTS for non-refundable expenses paid for out of pocket. Please use the Travel Reimbursement that is associated to your Travel Authorization. Enter the expenses in the One Time Charges and not in the Daily Charges section. In the Funding Source/Chartfields section, include COVID-19 class code 4716 with the required chartfields (Account-Fund-DeptID).

For expenses incurred by the department (typically on a GoCard), review your GoCard statements for costs incurred in previous months and enter an Expense Transfer Journal in FTS 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.

Please refer to our travel announcement for guidelines related to submitting a Travel Reimbursement. If you have any questions, contact Finance Support at financeconnect@sjsu.edu or 4-1558.

Figure 1: An example of how to enter claims in the One Time Charges. Click on image to enlarge.

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. Effective 7/2/20:  The President (or their designee) maintain final approval for essential travel. Essential travel is not authorized until President 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.