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Updated travel guidelines for hybrid and remote workers

On March 6, 2023, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom issued updated guidelines related to travel reimbursement for remote and hybrid workers. This new guidance rescinds his October 2022 memo allowing for reimbursement of travel to UCOP office locations.

As of March 6, UCOP has reverted back to the existing interpretation of the G-28 policy, which states “Expenses for travel between the traveler’s residence and headquarters (commuting expense) shall not be allowed.” This policy applies to any travel that occurs after March 6, regardless of when the travel was booked.

Below are key points covering how the travel policy applies at UCOP, given our new flexible work arrangements.

Job location and flexible work arrangements

All UCOP employees are officially located at and assigned to a UCOP location and facility — the Oakland, Riverside, Sacramento or Washington, D.C. campuses. These assignments pertain to on-site, hybrid and remote workers and apply regardless of where an employee spends most of their time working.

Commute vs. work-related travel

Per IRS regulations and California law, an employee’s commute expenses are not reimbursable. An employee’s travel, including flights, mileages, hotel, meals, etc., to their assigned UCOP job location/facility is considered a personal commute expense, regardless of the employee’s flexible work arrangement.

Travel expenses related to university business outside the vicinity of an employee’s assigned job location are reimbursable; however, they cannot exceed the expenses the employee would have incurred had they started their travel from their UCOP-assigned job location.

If an employee who lives outside of the vicinity of their assigned job location seeks reimbursement for travel expenses originating from their residence:

  • Along with documentation of their actual expenses, they must provide documentation of what their expenses would have been had they traveled from their assigned job location.
  • They may only request reimbursement for expenses up to the cost of the comparison trip originating from their assigned office location.

Meal reimbursements

  • To be eligible for meal reimbursement, an employee must be on travel status or attending an event in person.
  • Employees working from home are not on travel status and are not attending a meeting or conference in person; therefore meals or gift cards to purchase meals are not allowable.

Travel reimbursement examples

  • An employee with a remote work arrangement lives in San Diego with an assigned job location in Oakland.
  • The employee needs to travel to Oakland to participate in a meeting.
  • The employee cannot request any travel reimbursement, as they are commuting to their assigned job location.

Example 2:

  • An employee with a remote work arrangement lives in Oregon with an assigned job location in Oakland.
  • The employee needs to travel to UC San Diego for business.
  • Airfare from Oregon to San Diego is $350.
  • Airfare from Oakland to San Diego is $300.
  • The employee may request airfare reimbursement of up to $300, as that is what it would have cost them if they had traveled from their assigned job location.

Example 3:

  • An employee with a hybrid work arrangement lives in Sacramento with an assigned job location in Oakland
  • The employee needs to drive to UC Santa Cruz for business
  • Mileage from Sacramento to UC Santa Cruz: 294 miles (round trip) x $0.625 = $183.75
  • Mileage from UCOP Oakland to UC Santa Cruz: 143 miles (round trip) x $0.625 = $89.38
  • The employee may request mileage reimbursement of up to $89.38.

Check out ConnexUC

ConnexUC, the UC Travel portal, offers discounts on airfare, lodging and car rental that are available to all UCOP employees. These discounted rates can be used when booking personal or non-reimbursable travel. This program allows UC employees to benefit from the buying power of a large institution.

For questions on travel reimbursement guidelines or how they are applied, please contact Travel and Entertainment Team Manager Mark Lozano or Director of the Business Resource Center Amy Vrizuela.

We also hold weekly office hours and welcome you to join us there with any questions you may have.



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