Section 4 Introduction
The Statewide Travel Policy as provided by the State Accounting Office is located at https://sao.georgia.gov/state-travel-policy. The Policy provides the following on purpose, authority and applicability:
“The purpose of this Policy is to provide guidelines to state agencies for payment of travel expenses in an efficient, cost effective manner, and to enable state travelers to successfully execute their travel requirements at the lowest reasonable costs, resulting in the best value for the State. Teleconferencing instead of travel should be considered when possible. Each agency is charged with the responsibility for determining the necessity, available resources and justification for the need and the method of travel.
The Policy is based on travel industry best practices and with total cost management in mind. As such, it is important for employees to understand the intent of the Policy and work with their management on managing work related travel, accordingly.”
In accordance with the Official Code of Georgia Annotated Section 50-5B-5, “The State Accounting Officer in cooperation with the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) is authorized to and shall adopt rules and regulations governing in-state and out-of-state travel and travel reimbursement that promote economy and efficiency in state government and which treat employees fairly and equitably.”
The Statewide Travel Policy applies to all State Agencies, including Units of the University System of Georgia (USG), therefore, USG institutions shall be guided by general travel regulations set forth in this section when employees are required to travel away from headquarters in the performance of their official duties. Therefore, all USG employees, especially those responsible for authorizing, approving and paying travel costs, should establish a good working knowledge of the travel regulations in the Statewide Travel Policy. The Sections below will provide additional narrative and guidance on various areas of the Statewide Travel Policy in order to provide more clarity, especially if USG applies a more stringent interpretation of travel requirements. SAO provides as follows “Agencies are not authorized to set more lenient policies than the Statewide Travel Policy; however, agencies may establish policies that further restrict an employee’s travel if the agency determines that stricter policies are necessary, except that a mileage rate that is different than the rates established by SAO/OPB in accordance with OCGA 50-19-7 may not be adopted”. Note: Guidelines for requesting exceptions to the Statewide Travel Policy are found in Section 8 of the Policy. SAO and OPB are responsible for issuing any exceptions. Any requests for exceptions for the USG must be handled through Fiscal Affairs.
Note: As you read through the Statewide Travel Policy you will see numerous references to the State of Georgia’s TTE System. This is the State’s travel system that is used by many agencies. We do not use this system, so please disregard references to usage of the TTE system. Since we do not use this system and since the Statewide Travel Policy is written with the usage of that system in mind, at times throughout this section of the BPM we will elaborate on USG’s policies and procedures related to proper protocol for submission and documentation for travel expense statements as produced by our USG institutions.
Note: Users also may wish to consult Section 19.0, Miscellaneous, of this Manual for additional guidance in the following areas related to travel reimbursement:
- Section 19.7 – Employee Group Meals
- Section 19.8 – Purchase of Food Using Institutional Funds
- Section 19.9 – Non-Employee Travel