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Policy

Providing the correct procedures for claiming are followed, accommodation costs will be reimbursed for business journeys, up to the current set maximum.

Current accommodation rates are available on the Subsistence rates page.


Procedure

Hotel Accommodation

When employees are necessarily away from the University and it is not reasonable to travel home, then they are entitled to accommodation in a reasonable quality hotel or other suitable accommodation. Basic standards include cleanliness, privacy, personal security and the availability of breakfast should be considered.

However, heads of department and others that arrange overnight hotel accommodation are asked to note that for hotel accommodation in London and elsewhere, negotiated rates are available to the University and colleges.

For information on preferred suppliers of hotel accommodation please see the Procurement Services website.

The cost of accommodation and meals should not exceed the subsistence rates. Claims for subsistence in excess of these limits must be justified in writing. The officer authorising the claim has the right to reject all or part of the amount in excess of the subsistence rate if he or she is not happy with the justification.

Where prior arrangements have been made for the cost of the hotel room (plus breakfast if this is not included in the room cost) to be invoiced directly to the University the employee is responsible for settling prior to leaving the hotel the cost of any additional items such as:

  • Newspapers
  • Personal phone calls
  • Bar
  • Mini-bar
  • Videos/movies
  • Restaurant (other than breakfast)
  • Laundry

Accommodation provided by friends/relatives

It is recognised that on occasions, employees may wish to stay with friends or relatives whilst travelling on University business and may wish to make some financial recompense for the hospitality they have received. In such cases, a payment of £25 per night may claimed, subject to the employee completing the form attached at Appendix D to substantiate the payment when submitting an expenses claim form.

Absences of extended duration

Where an employee is required to work away from the University in a single location for a period exceeding three months then cheaper alternatives to hotel accommodation such as rented accommodation must be considered.

Accommodation provided whilst working abroad

The rates agreed annually by Finance Committee for overnight subsistence apply to costs incurred in the UK. The rates do not apply to overseas accommodation because for some countries this would be insufficient to meet the average cost of reasonable accommodation whilst in others it would be excessive.

Therefore for overseas travel, employees should book accommodation, which is roughly equivalent to 3 star level. For areas where there is deprivation or a high security risk then the rating may be increased to 4 star. Similarly for meals, employees should expect to be reimbursed for meals that are equivalent to the kind of meal that can be purchased in the UK within the rates for UK travel.

A reasonable expectation of the University is that an employee should enjoy a modest breakfast, light lunch and more substantial evening meal. The University should not be expected to meet the cost of a lavish 5 course meal simply because the cost of living is low in a particular country and the meal is therefore cheap. Equally employees should not be expected to exist on meagre portions in a country where the cost of living is high.

Occasionally it may be more cost effective for the University to provide accommodation as opposed to reimbursing subsistence expenses for employees working away. For example an employee who is normally based in the UK is sent to work on assignments abroad ("detached duty") for a period exceeding 24 months. If this occurs the University undertakes to provide accommodation (e.g. by leasing a property) to the employee only, it does not extend to their family.


Tax implication

Accommodation provided whilst working away for a period exceeding 24 months This is deemed to be a taxable benefit and should be reported on a P11D
All other accommodation provided whilst working on business Does not need to be reported on a P11D

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