Summer Travel: Who Pays What?

Summer Travel: Who Pays What?

As summer ramps up so does travel, especially in ministry. Churches and nonprofits are organizing summer youth trips and conferences, mission trips and conventions around the world. While exciting, anything that disrupts a normal work week routine raises questions. Primarily, who pays for what?

What do employers pay?

  • Travel expenses outside of normal commute (i.e., airfare and luggage fees, train/bus/taxi fare, related tips, etc.)
  • Car rental, tolls and parking
  • Lodging
  • Meals  (Note: organizations can create a meal policy that caps meals at a certain dollar amount)
  • Conference or convention fees
  • Laundry and/or dry cleaning expenses during trips longer than 5 days, if needed
  • “Other reasonable and necessary business expenses, not specifically excluded by this policy, and with prior approval”
  • For non-exempt employees, you should also be paying them their base wage for travel time (see below!)

What do employees pay?

  • Normal travel to and from work
  • Cost of childcare
  • Personal items or care such as personal clothing, toiletries, hair cutting/styling services, or luggage
  • Unnecessary expenses such at tips over 20%, first class airfare, entertainment costs (i.e., hotel room movies, in-flight movies or refreshments, etc.)
  • Fines or fees from poor personal choices such as traffic violations

How does it work with hourly (or non-exempt) employees?

  • Hourly rates, including overtime, must be paid for any time work is performed during traveling, any time the employee is driving themselves or other employees at the request of the employers or any hours of travel that fall within normal working hours in which the employee is a passenger.

Most of the time, what is or isn’t covered is pretty common sense and employees can use their own judgment much of the time. If there’s a question, an employee should ask their supervisor and may even be able to gain approval with a written request submitted prior to the expense.

Original content by HR Ministry Solutions. This information is provided with the understanding that Payroll Partners is not rendering legal, human resources, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from a lawyer, HR consultant or other professional.

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