New reimbursement rates are coming in mid-October for lodging and meals for UC business travel, the UC Office of the President announced last week.
- Lodging reimbursement within the lower 48 states will be capped at $275 per day, before taxes and other hotel fees. Under existing policy, all reasonable rates for the locale are permitted. If, under the new policy, a traveler is unable to secure a room at or below $275, the traveler must submit written justification as to why a rate under the cap could not be obtained and provide screenshots of price comparisons within the proximity of the meeting location. The price comparison will need to be performed at the time of booking.
- Meal and incidental expenses reimbursement will be $62 per day, down from $74.
The new lodging and meal rates are among a number of policy changes taking effect Oct. 15 to strengthen the university’s management of its resources and improve operations.
The changes will enable the university to better align its policies and procedures with best practices and to more effectively manage costs. They also align with recommendations in a recent state audit of the Office of the President that was issued in April.
“These measures, and others we will be taking, will ensure the continued careful management of our resources and transparency in their use across the UC system,” President Janet Napolitano said. “Every organization, including UC, has room for improvement. We’ve made significant progress so far, and we will continue to do so.”
Other new policies will:
- Eliminate prospectively car allowances for newly hired or appointed senior management group level employees, or current senior management level employees transferring to a different position.
- Eliminate prospectively supplemental retirement contributions for newly hired or appointed senior management group level employees, or current senior management level employees transferring to a different position.
- Eliminate cash relocation allowances for senior management group and management and senior professional level employees. Under the new practice, the university will reimburse employees for limited, documented eligible transaction costs associated with the sale of a primary residence.
In addition, at the Office of the President, UC-issued cell phones, tablets and MiFi contracts are being reassessed and will be allowed only if a position requires remote access or before or after work hour access. The revised cell phone policy also outlines restrictions on phone replacement.
Earlier this year, Napolitano convened a task force chaired by Chief Operating Officer Rachael Nava to implement the state auditor’s recommendations. These new changes are responsive to the state audit recommendations and the result of extensive consultation with internal stakeholder groups, including campus representatives. In addition, UC surveyed the prevailing practices of other universities, and state and federal agencies.
More details about the university’s implementation of the state audit recommendations and the timing of additional policy changes are available on the UCOP Audit Implementation Plan website.
UC Strategic Communications and Media Relations contributed to this report.
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