Expenses and Cost Approval Chart

Manual Section

Guideline Description

Approval Required

General Guidelines

II.D.

Unless there is a compelling business reason (lower overall costs) to do so, the Laboratory will not reimburse expenses relative to weekend stays either at the beginning or the end of a Laboratory related business trip. These types of requests require a cost analysis to be performed by the Travel Office.

Head of Accounting

General Guidelines

II.E.

PPPL travelers must provide written justification prior to any deviations from the travel guidelines. Requests for exceptions should be submitted to the Travel Office prior to incurring expenses. The Travel Office will evaluate each request for cost allowability, compliance and cost impact and then provide a response to the traveler with final determination of approval (Note: some requests may require senior management determination). 

Department Head

Pre-Trip Approval-

Travel Approval Form

III.A.3

Significant modifications/additions not documented on the initial approved TAF, such as the addition of a car rental, destination and/or duration of the trip, must be approved as appropriate by either the account authorized signatory or Department Head (email approval with justification is acceptable). If the airfare estimate on the TAF is lower than the actual airfare by 25% or more, the Travel Office will inform the account signatory of the difference.

Account Authorized Signatory

Pre-Trip Approval-

Unlimited Open Travel

III.B.1.i.

Unlimited Open Travel – restricted to individuals approved by the Director. This process allows travelers approved for unlimited/open travel to plan trips without requiring a new Travel Approval Form (TAF) for each trip. A TAF, signed by the Director, is submitted to the Travel Office at the beginning of the fiscal year, or as needed, to cover all travel during a specific period of time. 

If the trip is to be charged to multiple accounts, the distribution among the accounts must be provided. If the account number is not within the traveler’s department, the email/form will be forwarded to the applicable Deputy Director for approval.

Director

Deputy Director

Pre-Trip Approval-

Approval for Conference Attendance

III.C.3.

The DOE may only provide reimbursement at the early registration fee level. Any request for registration after the early registration fee deadline must be approved by the applicable Department Head prior to submitting the request to the Travel Office.

Department Head

Pre-Trip Approval-

Approval for Foreign Travel

III.D.1.

If a travel request is not submitted to the Travel Office in time to meet the 30-day or 40-day requirement, justification for the late submission must be provided on line 26 of the foreign travel approval form or by email along with the other required documentation. 

Travel Office

Pre-Trip Approval-

Approval for Foreign Travel

III.D.4.

If a new or revised foreign trip request is submitted inside of the 30 - or 40 - day time frame, it will be considered a travel “exception” and justification must be provided for the revision.

Applicable Department Head

Pre-Trip Approval-

Group Travel

III.E.1.

Travel for any purpose of more than a single person is considered to be Group Travel. Approval is needed whenever three or more Laboratory Council Members or key project personnel will be traveling together.

Laboratory Director

Pre-Trip Approval-

Travel by Non-PPPL Employees

III.F.2.

Travel expenses incurred for employment interviews are authorized when necessary to recruit key personnel for work positions at PPPL. Any travel expenditure for interviewees must have an approved Travel Approval Form, completed by the individual with signature authority, documenting the authorized travel expenses with a notification email sent to Human Resources.

Human Resources

(Notification Only)

Pre-Trip Approval-

Travel by Non-PPPL Employees

III.F.3.

Retirees planning on travel for PPPL must follow all of the approval requirements for each type of travel defined for employees of PPPL. The TAF must have the purpose of the travel and the benefits that PPPL will receive from the proposed travel that are specific enough to meet the “allocability” criteria for cost allowability. The Head of Accounting must review and approve the Travel Approval Form.

Head of Accounting

Pre-Trip Approval-

Travel Advances

III.H.1.

Travel advances are generally not provided except for limited circumstances. A justification must be provided. The amount of the advance will be determined based on the traveler’s need or under the certain circumstances. 

Head of Accounting

Pre-Trip Approval-

Direct Billing Process

III.I.1.

Direct billing is done only under limited circumstances with documented justification and the approval of the Travel Office. The exception to this is when direct billing is done for a large group of people (such as hotels/shuttles for APS), and large groups if there is a cost savings.

Travel Office

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Transportation

IV.A.1.b.

Coach class, or any discounted class, must be used in the interest of economy on all domestic or foreign flights. Except under extenuating circumstances, written authorization for reimbursement of airfare for business-class or first-class service must be obtained in advance.

Travel Office

and

OMO

(Medical Only)

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Transportation

IV.A.1.d.

Any traveler whose airfare exceeds the lowest available fare obtainable by the Travel Office may not be reimbursed for the additional cost without written justification for the additional expense. This justification must be approved and submitted to the Travel Office before the trip commences.

Department Head

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Transportation

IV.A.3.i.f.

Global Positioning System (GPS) units provided by rental companies are an unallowable expense, except when approved.

Travel Office

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Hotels and Lodging

IV.B.1.

Actual lodging expenses which exceed the per diem rate by less than 25% do not require justification; those lodging expenses that do exceed the per diem rate by 25% require justification. This justification must be included on the TAF and will be reviewed and approved by the Travel Office for reasonableness. Prior to making reservations, those lodging expenses that will exceed the per diem rate by 150% or more requires approval of Head of Accounting.

Travel Office

and/or

Head of Accounting

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Hotels and Lodging

IV.B.3.

Lodging accommodations that are made by the Travel Office will be sited as close as possible to the business location. The traveler may arrange his/her own lodging; however, the cost is not permitted to exceed the published federal lodging per diem rate or any hotel cost cap placed for attending a conference without prior approval.

Travel Office

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Hotels and Lodging

IV.B.11.

If reimbursement is requested for hotels within 50 miles of a traveler’s home, approval will need to be obtained prior to the travel.

Department Head

And

Head of Accounting

Travel Arrangements and Pre-Trip Planning-

Vacation During Business Travel/Travel Companions

IV.E.4.

If a traveler is on vacation or has paid vacation arrangements and is required to interrupt his/her vacation for business reasons, travel costs will be reimbursed from the vacation point to the official business point and back to the vacation point, plus any change or penalty fees that may apply. All expenses incurred by a traveler as a result of his/her vacation being interrupted will be considered for reimbursement with approval.

Department Head

Post-Trip Requirements/ Reimbursement of Travel Expenses-

Travel Voucher

V.A.

To avoid delay in travel reimbursement and to ensure the Travel Voucher will be able to sustain future audit scrutiny, all unusual expenses or situations should be explained on the Travel Voucher or in an accompanying memo. Changes to the itinerary made while traveling require an explanation and approval.

Department Head

Other-Tax Considerations

VI.A.2.

If substantiation occurs more than 60 calendar days after the expenses were incurred, the expense reimbursement request must include an explanation for the delay. At the discretion of the Chief Financial Officer or Head of Accounting, reimbursement requests beyond the 60-day limit may be approved, and the reimbursement may be reported to the IRS as taxable income paid to the individual. For expenses incurred while travelling, the traveler will have 60 calendar days upon returning from travel to substantiate and submit the expenses. This does not apply to expenses incurred before the trip (e.g. airfare) which must be substantiated and submitted within 60 days of incurring the expense.

Chief Financial Officer

or

Head of Accounting