United Communications Group Travel & Expense Guidelines


UCG Group Travel & Expense Guidelines

Travel & Expense Program Principles

UCG ("the company") will reimburse employees for all approved, necessary and reasonable business travel expenses. In an effort to reduce costs, employees should consider audio/video conferencing and other appropriate alternatives to business travel whenever possible.

This policy cannot provide for every situation which may arise, therefore it is expected that travelers will exercise restraint and sound judgment in the expenditure of company funds; such expenditures must clearly serve the objectives of the company. The employee is expected to make the choice that affords the least amount of expense to the company providing it does not result in ineffective use of working time or compromise company objectives. Furthermore, personal (or guest) travel requirements should never take precedence over company objectives.

These “common sense” questions should be considered when determining whether or not to incur costs while on business travel or otherwise:

Employee Responsibilities in Business Travel

Employees must:

It is the employee’s responsibility to maintain his or her personal preferences in their travel and expense profile within the company's Corporate Travel Portal. The profile must reflect the employee’s full legal name and must exactly match their valid driver’s license and/or passport. A complete and up-to-date Traveler Profile will ensure UCG or its Travel Agency has the ability to communicate with the employee (or their designated contact) in the event of an emergency.

Section 1 - Travel Arrangements

All business travel must be booked using one of the options outlined in these Travel Guidelines. This policy allows the company to maintain accurate records of all business travel; using any other method to book travel may not be considered as reimbursable and requires pre-approval by the employee’s manager.

It is the employee’s responsibility to obtain approval by his or her authorizing manager for the trip expense prior to the purchase of travel.

1.1 Booking Business Travel

All travel arrangements, including air, hotel and car rental reservations, should be booked using UCG’s Online Travel and Expense Tool. This tool provides access to live air, car and hotel inventories, multiple Web sites and access to UCG’s preferred supplier programs.

All travel should be booked through the Online Booking Tool, or via an agent at UCG’s designated Travel Agency.

1.2 Corporate Card

A corporate credit card is available to all employees expected to travel two or more times a year or who incur $500 annually in out-of-pocket business-related expenses. The Accounting Department will create individual profiles for all employees in the Company’s electronic travel and expense system. Once a profile has been established, employees can then view their personal profile by accessing the Company's Travel Intranet or via UCG’s Travel Portal at www.ucgtravel.com.

To request a corporate charge card, employees must log into Ceridian Self-Service, under the "Company Information" column, and complete the Corporate Card and Limit Increase Request Form. Card issuance takes approximately 10 business days. All business travel-related expenses including air, car, hotel and meals should be paid for using the UCG Corporate Charge Card.

The following provisions have been set related to the corporate card:

Lost, Stolen or Replacement Corporate Cards

Personal credit cards should only be used by employees not holding corporate cards or in the event that the vendor does not accept UCG’s corporate card.

Section 2 - Air Travel

All flights should be booked through UCG’s Online Booking Tool. This tool provides access to live flight inventories, multiple Web sites as well as UCG’s preferred supplier and soft dollar programs.

2.1 Lowest Logical Airfare

To minimize cost and provide an acceptable level of convenience, employees are required to accept the least costly airfare by booking flights that:

2.2 Authorized Manager Approval

2.3 Changes and Cancellations

Changes and cancellations should be kept to a minimum to avoid costly fees. If changes to a restricted ticket are made for personal reasons, the employee is responsible for paying any additional costs incurred. Changes that will affect savings (i.e. one less night at a hotel) are permitted.

Employees are required to call UCG’s Travel Agency to change or cancel an airline ticket. The agency contact information is listed on UCG’s Travel Portal at www.ucgtravel.com

2.4 Ticketing

All tickets will be issued electronically with the Airline Record Locator listed on the itinerary.
Paper tickets will only be issued when the employee’s itinerary does not qualify for an electronic ticket. If the employee requests a paper ticket when an electronic ticket is available, the extra fees will be at the employee’s personal expense and will not be reimbursed.

2.5 Airport Parking

Employees should park in the least expensive long-term economy lot available at the airport or other low-cost facilities.

Section 3 - Hotel Accommodations

3.1 Making Reservations

Hotel reservations should be made using UCG’s Online Booking Tool. This tool provides access to live hotel inventories, multiple Web sites and access to the Company’s preferred supplier programs.

3.2 Rates

Hotel reservations shall be limited to the most economical and cost-effective rate available. Employees should only consider properties that meet their requirements for personal safety and security. Employees should consider multiple hotels that are within a comparable distance from the desired location.

Hotel rates should be reasonable based on the destination city, but are typically not to exceed $250.00 per night.

3.3 Authorized Manager Approval

Hotel rates that are $250.00 or more per night are considered out-of-policy. It is the responsibility of the employee to obtain approval from his or her authorizing manager for rates that exceed $250 per night prior to booking.

3.4 UCG Conference Room Blocks

For all travel associated with UCG conferences, the employee must contact the respective company's Conference Coordinator associated with the conference to arrange their hotel room reservation.

3.5 Changes and Cancellations

Changes and cancellations should be kept to a minimum to avoid costly fees.

The reserved hotel’s cancellation policy will be noted on the employee’s itinerary. It is the traveler’s responsibility to read his or her itinerary and make note of the hotel’s cancellation policy. UCG will not reimburse the employee for hotel no-show fees.

3.6 Payment and Receipts

All hotel expenses will be charged to the employee’s corporate charge card. It is the employee's responsibility to obtain a detailed receipt of all charges upon check-out. The hotel receipt should be included and submitted with the associated expense report. It is required that hotel expense line items are itemized in the expense tool.

Employees who do not have a corporate charge card will be required to use a personal credit card for hotel expenses. Hotel charges will not be direct billed. All approved charges will be reimbursed through the travel & expense reporting system.

3.7 Hotel Expenses

In-room entertainment (i.e. movies), excessive mini-bar (i.e. alcohol) and personal items (i.e. shampoo, soap, etc.) are not reimbursable.

3.8 Late Arrival

All hotel reservations will be guaranteed for late arrival when booked through the Online Booking Tool or the company's Travel Agency.

Section 4 - Car Rental

As with all other travel arrangements, car rentals must be booked through the Online Booking Tool or the company's Travel Agency.

Employees should choose the car rental supplier that offers the most economical rate.

4.1 Preferred Suppliers

UCG has corporate accounts with Enterprise, AVIS, Budget & National. Employees should use one of UCG's preferred suppliers whenever possible if they offer the lowest rate. Employees should decline all insurance coverage offered as UCG is self-insured. In order to be covered under the company's insurance policy, the employee must write "UCG" under their signature on the rental agreement.

4.2 Insurance

Employees should decline all insurance coverage and not sign up for additional rental insurance (i.e.: Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) or Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) with any of the car rental suppliers as this is covered by UCG’s company insurance.

NOTE: in order to be covered under the company’s insurance policy when renting a car, the employee must write “UCG” under their signature on the rental agreement.

4.3 Size Limitations

Size of vehicle is restricted to “Intermediate” or “Mid-Size” (i.e., Class C), with the following provisions:

4.4 Payment & Receipts

All car rental expenses will be charged to the employee’s corporate card. It is the employee's responsibility to obtain a detailed receipt of all charges. The receipt should be included and submitted with the associated expense report.

Employees who do not have a corporate card will be required to use a personal credit card for car rental expenses. All approved charges will be reimbursed through the expense reporting system.

4.5 Fuel

It is strongly suggested that the traveler refuel the rented vehicle prior to returning it in order to avoid exorbitant fueling charges, including the prepay fuel option that is subject to rental car taxes and surcharges imposed by localities.

4.6 Ancillary Services

Services or features such as GPS systems, EZ pass, etc. are allowed if reasonable and necessary and should be approved by the employee’s authorizing manager.

Section 5 - Ground Transportation

The traveler should always attempt to use the least expensive form of ground transportation available.

Employees should choose the least expense method of transportation to and from the airport locally. UCG will reimburse the cost of airport parking, the Metro, a taxi or the cost of a car service to and from the airport, whichever is less.

Employees should check to see if the hotel in their destination city offers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport before opting to take another form of transportation.

Taxi cabs are preferred if the hotel does not provide complimentary shuttle service to/from the airport.

Section 6 - Personal Car

The use of an employee’s personal car should only apply when business is to be conducted in a localized area.

The cost incurred from the use of an employee’s personal car for a business trip is not to exceed the cost of a car rental, train or plane ticket to and from the same location.

6.1 Reimbursement

6.2 Insurance

An employee’s personal automobile insurance is primary in the event of an accident when using a personal vehicle for company business.

Section 7 – Food & Beverage

7.1 Employee Meals

Employees will be reimbursed for all reasonable meal expenses; valid, detailed receipts must accompany all meal-reimbursement requests.

7.2 Entertaining Clients

When an employee is entertaining a client at UCG’s expense, all expenses must be appropriate and business must be the primary reason for entertainment. A detailed receipt of all charges must be provided and approved by the employee’s authorizing manager.

7.3 Receipts

Itemized receipts detailing all food and alcohol expenses must accompany all expense reports.

Section 8 - Telephone

Cell Phones:
UCG employees may submit cell phone overage charges up to 30 minutes if their existing plan was exceeded while traveling on business. Reimbursement for overage charges greater than 30 minutes will require approval from senior level management. Employees are required to submit a copy of their entire itemized bill showing all calls and the overage charges.

Hotel Phones:
Hotel phones should be avoided due to their high cost; cheaper alternatives are almost always available. The company will generally not provide reimbursement for long distance calls dialed directly from hotel rooms. UCG employees should only use the hotel phone in emergencies and if they do not have a cell phone.

Section 9 – Expense Reimbursement Process

All expense reports must be submitted through the Concur Automated Expense Tool.

To qualify for reimbursement, an expense must be business related, necessary, reasonable and commensurate with the position and duties of the individual. Any misrepresentation in reporting the manner in which expenses are incurred will be considered a violation of the Policy.

For questions regarding the Expense Reimbursement Process, please contact Mona Janis at 301-287-2205 or by email at mjanis@ucg.com.

9.1 Receipts

Receipts are required for all reimbursable expenses. UCG reserves the right to deny reimbursement of charges claimed on an expense report that are not accompanied by a valid receipt.

9.2 Reimbursable Expenses

Examples of reimbursable expenses include:

9.3 Non–Reimbursable Expenses

Examples of non-reimbursable expenses include:

Section 10 - Miscellaneous

10.1 Discount Travel Websites

With the exception of UCG’s designated Online Booking Tool, the use of discount travel websites for booking is prohibited (i.e.: Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc.).

10.2 Cash Advances

Cash advances are only allowed under special circumstances and they must be pre-approved by the employee’s authorizing manager.

10.3 Family & Friends on Business Travel

Pre-approval must be obtained in writing by the employee’s authorizing manager if family and/or friends are to accompany the employee on a business trip. Employees will not be reimbursed for the travel, meals, and entertainment costs of personal guests unless approved in advance by the employee’s authorizing manager.

Questions regarding these Travel and Expense Guidelines may be directed to Mona Janis at 301-287-2205 or by email at mjanis@ucg.com.

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