Helpful guidance on the UC Travel Policy for remote workers
The most recent session of the Business Resource Center’s (BRC) Community of Practice meeting focused on UCOP’s updated travel guidelines for hybrid and remote workers. If you’re a remote worker or support team members who work remotely, check out these helpful responses to common questions the BRC has received.
To whom does the UCOP Travel Policy apply?
This policy applies to all types of UCOP employees — full-time, part-time, hybrid, remote, in-house and contractors.
Who changed the travel policy for remote workers and why?
UC Policy has not changed. The history of the travel policy related to people working remotely is as follows:
- Prior to Oct. 26, 2022, travel policy G-28 stated that commute costs to an employee’s assigned job location were not reimbursable.
- From Oct. 26, 2022, through March 6, 2023, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer issued temporary guidelines that allowed reimbursement for travel from an employee’s home office to their assigned job location if the employee lived more than 50 miles from their assigned job location.
- On March 6, 2023, these temporary guidelines were rescinded, and we returned to G-28, which does not allow for reimbursement of commuting costs.
Where is my assigned job location?
Assigned job locations, aka home offices, for UCOP employees are the following UCOP offices: Oakland; Washington, D.C.; Riverside; and Sacramento. On rare occasions, a UCOP employee may be assigned to another UC campus. In such a case, the location is specified in the employee’s offer letter upon hire. An employee’s assigned job location is always a UCOP/UC location; working from home (WFH) is not an assigned job location.
Can I request to be assigned to the UC campus closest to my home?
No; every employee’s position is tied to a specific job location, regardless of which location an employee lives closest to.
When does the rescinded guidance take effect?
All commute travel for those living further than 50 miles from their assigned job location that began on or before March 6 may be reimbursed. If commute travel for these employees started on or after March 7, it is not reimbursable. This is true regardless of whether an employee received approval for commute travel that pre-dates March 6.
Are any travel costs reimbursable for remote workers going to their home office?
No, all costs to commute are borne by the commuter. This includes airfare, mileage to the airport, car services, hotel accommodations, meals, rental cars, etc.
I have been reimbursed for my commute costs since before the pandemic. Does this policy still apply to me?
As we return to a strict interpretation of travel policy, the BRC is learning about departmental agreements that may not have been put in place properly. Only commute reimbursement agreements that were part of an employee’s original offer letter and those that were later signed off on by Thera Kalmijn or Rachael Nava are considered valid. If you have questions about your commute agreement, please contact your local HR business partner.
Does my medical condition allow for an exception to the travel policy?
Having a medical condition does not by itself permit an exception to the policy. If you think you have a special situation for which we should make an exception, please submit an exception request. The exception request forms are on the BRC SharePoint site and should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will managers consider staff commuting situations when requiring in-office attendance?
Managers should be aware of commuting costs for employees who commute to the office every day, as well as those who come infrequently. Employees who commute within Northern California may well spend as much on their daily trips, over a year’s time, as a remote traveler coming to the office a couple of times a year. The BRC is working on talking points for managers to assist with this question.
How is an airfare comparison done for a remote worker traveling to a conference?
If you work remotely and are traveling to a conference that is not located at your assigned job location, you will need to submit your actual airfare receipt along with documentation of what the airfare would have been if you had traveled from your assigned job location. You will be reimbursed for whichever fare is less.
I work remotely. My home office is Oakland and I live near Sacramento. What expenses are reimbursable when I fly from the Sacramento airport?
If you are flying to attend a conference, you may request reimbursement equal to or less than traveling from your assigned job location to one of the local airports. You would choose your local airport by seeing if the closest airport (for Oakland, OAK) offers flights to your destination. If that airport does not have flights, you may use the further airport (SFO in this case) for your comparison.
I forgot to save an airfare comparison when I booked my flight. How can I do one after the fact to submit for my reimbursement?
Go to your booking site and search for airfare two to three weeks from the time you are submitting the reimbursement. If two to three weeks out is during a major holiday travel period, extend your search so that it is not during the holiday.
For additional questions regarding the UCOP Travel Policy, contact BRC-CAAP@UCOP.edu.
Attend the next BRC Community of Practice meeting!
On April 10, from 11:10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (PT), the BRC will hold its next Community of Practice meeting. This session will focus on the purchase-to-payment process — everything from requesting a supplier to paying the final invoice. If you have questions you would like us to address during the meeting, please send them to Elizabeth.email@example.com.Tags: BRC, remote work, travel policy