Travel & Expense Reimbursement Policy

This policy details allowable travel expenses and reimbursement procedures for Board Directors, employees, and contractors.

In depth

Who is a Covered Individual? The IETF Administration LLC (“IETF LLC”) Board Directors, employees and contractors, as well as any volunteers and/or agents who are formally authorized to act on behalf of IETF LLC in some capacity and are considered by the LLC to be acting in that capacity (collectively, “Covered Individuals”).

Who is not a Covered Individual? IETF participants, IRTF participants, IESG members, the IRTF Chair, IAB members, IAB program members, working group chairs, research group chairs, directorate participants, the Independent Submissions Editor, the Independent Submissions Editorial Board, NOC volunteers, Tools team volunteers, the Ombudsteam, the Sergeants-at-arms, trustees of the IETF Trust, and any individual not involved in the IETF, except if such individuals are formally authorized as Covered Individuals (such as an IETF LLC Board Director).

Covered Individuals who are specifically approved by IETF LLC as eligible for reimbursement for IETF-related travel are collectively defined as “Approved Travelers” herein. The IETF LLC may also approve other individuals as Approved Travelers.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that adequate cost controls are in place, acceptable uses of travel funds are explained, and a uniform and consistent approach is applied for the timely reimbursement of authorized expenses. It is the policy of IETF LLC to reimburse only reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred by the authorized individual travelers (e.g. not on a per diem basis).

The IETF LLC provides travel assistance and expense reimbursement to IETF LLC Board Directors and to certain Approved Travelers in order for them to conduct business on behalf of IETF LLC. Reimbursement of travel and other expenses is a necessary part of any organization’s routine business conduct, provided that such expenses are reasonable and appropriate. In particular, the IETF LLC is subject to the laws that govern a non-profit organization and keeping expenses to a minimum allows IETF LLC to better fulfill its mission. At the same time the IETF, like many similar organizations with globally-distributed participants, meets all around the world, necessitating travel for people serving in certain roles. This can include reimbursement for travel by unpaid volunteers, where the cost of the volunteers’ donated time typically far exceeds the value of any limited expense reimbursements and where their skills, experience, and contributions to the IETF are critical and highly valued.

For IETF LLC Board Directors, the availability of travel and expense reimbursement may allow them to retain their independence on the Board by freeing them from obligations created if their employers were to cover travel and expense costs. It also may allow for greater diversity of Board Director applicants who have the administrative, financial, and/or executive management expertise necessary to serve on the Board.

This policy is designed to cover all typical travel expenses; however, it is impossible to anticipate every scenario that may occur. It is expected that authorized individuals traveling on IETF LLC business will exercise good judgment and act in accordance with their fiduciary or other responsibilities to IETF LLC when unforeseen situations arise.

The following table describes the relevant Approval Authorities for the various types of individuals covered by this policy:

Individual Type Approval Authority
Approved Travelers (except for Board Directors) Executive Director
Board Directors (except for the Treasurer) Treasurer
Treasurer Board Chair
Executive Director Treasurer

IETF Meetings

Certain Approved Travelers are expected to attend IETF meetings. Approved Travelers must first get written confirmation from the IETF LLC Executive Director that they are eligible to claim reimbursement for travel to the meeting before making travel arrangements for which they will seek reimbursement, in accordance with the procedures described below.

The IETF LLC Executive Director is expected to attend all IETF Meetings and to identify IETF Meetings that IETF LLC employees are expected to attend. Board Directors are expected to attend at least one IETF Meeting each year. The Executive Director and employees of IETF LLC may claim reimbursement for travel to these meetings per the procedures listed below. Board Directors may claim reimbursement for travel to these meetings per the procedures listed below if their employer is unwilling or unable to cover the expenses, or they lack sufficient business justification to qualify for reimbursement under that employer’s policies, or they do not have other means of support such as may be the case for independent contractors.

Board Travel

Most Board meetings will take place electronically. Generally, Board Directors will meet in person at one to two face-to-face Board meetings annually, which may also coincide with an IETF meeting. A Board Director may claim reimbursement for travel to such Board meetings per the procedures listed below if their employer is unwilling or unable to cover the expenses, or they lack sufficient business justification to qualify for reimbursement under that employer’s policies, or they do not have other means of support such as may be the case for independent contractors.

On occasion, Board meetings may be co-located with other events. If a Board Director would like reimbursement to participate in a portion of a co-located event that they would not otherwise have attended, and solely in order to understand a topic that is being studied by the IETF LLC board, the Board Director must:

1 - Submit a written justification along with a funding request, and receive the appropriate Approving Authority’s approval, in advance, to attend a specified portion of the co-located event, and

2 - Use the additional day(s) to attend the co-located event and not for other activities, whether business or personal, and

3 - Request reimbursement only for the costs of any extra day(s) of a hotel room and for individual meals for the Board Director.

Other Travel

Other travel may be necessary or appropriate for certain Approved Travelers, such as to visit potential future IETF meeting venues. If an individual believes such travel is appropriate in the context of their IETF LLC responsibilities or is invited to participate on behalf of the IETF LLC, the individual must first get the approval of the appropriate Approval Authority to be eligible to claim reimbursement for associated travel.

ALLOWABLE TRAVEL AND MEETING EXPENSES

Air and Train Travel

Approved Travelers should as a general matter request written approval of the appropriate Approving Authority for their proposed air and/or train travel itineraries and fares 45 days or more prior to the travel event start date, acknowledging this may not be possible in exceptional circumstances that require travel on short notice.

Approved Travelers should select flights that balance a reasonable fare with a convenient and reasonable itinerary, and to consider different airlines, flight times, routings and other variables to obtain lower fares. Authorized travelers should book their travel promptly after receiving approval of their proposed itinerary from the appropriate Approving Authority, as travel costs are typically lower the further in advance that booking are made.

For travel by air, the IETF LLC reimburses at non-refundable economy or premium economy rates for a round trip ticket typically from the Authorized Traveler’s home city to the event. For international flights exceeding seven (7) hours without stopovers or plane changes, or ten (10) hours inclusive of stopovers or plane changes, business class tickets may be purchased, upon IETF LLC’s pre-approval. Fares and itineraries for pre-approval should be sent to the appropriate Approval Authority as set forth above.

If an Approved Traveler wishes to combine the authorized trip with other travel, IETF LLC will only reimburse them for the lower of the actual travel cost or the cost of a trip from the authorized traveler’s home city to the event without that additional travel.

Approved Travelers may not opt to travel in a less-expensive class in order to apply the cost difference to the airfare of another traveler.

Fully changeable fares are eligible for reimbursement under this policy. Reimbursement for changes to itineraries will only be provided if IETF LLC makes a material change to the meeting schedule or if a personal emergency makes such a change necessary. If a flight must be canceled and a trip is not taken, any funds the authorized traveler receives must be reimbursed to IETF LLC.

For travel by train, particularly if over long distances, IETF LLC allows for first class train travel if the incremental cost is reasonable and/or if that class provides business necessities such as electrical power for charging a laptop used to conduct work while traveling.

Hotel

A specific hotel may be designated by the IETF LLC for each IETF meeting, Board meeting, and IETF-related event. If no hotel has been designated, Approved Travelers should obtain the appropriate Approving Authority’s written approval for their proposed hotel arrangements prior to making reservations.

Approved Travelers are requested to use the designated hotel, if applicable, and to confirm their hotel room requirements 45 days or more in advance. Authorized travelers may use alternative hotels; however, authorized travelers who do so must assume financial responsibility for their own local transportation to and from the applicable event venue as well as any offsite events or dinners, and for their own room reservations and payment arrangements. After the event, Approved Travelers may seek reimbursement for room and tax for the eligible period at the alternative hotel at an amount equal to or less than the designated hotel.

For the comfort of Approved Travelers, hotel costs may be covered for their physical arrival on the day prior to the applicable event’s start and to the day after it ends (as specified by the appropriate Approving Authority). Extended hotel stays may be approved by the appropriate Approving Authority in instances when flights are unavailable, if it results in lower overall travel costs, or in other exceptional circumstances (e.g. early check in following 24 hours of flight time).

If another traveler accompanies an Approved Traveler, such as a family member, the Approved Traveler is responsible for any and all additional costs incurred by that additional traveler including any extra room charges and meals.

Meals & Incidentals

Some meals may be provided during authorized IETF LLC travel. When purchasing meals at other times during approved travel, authorized travelers are reminded that expenses must be both reasonable and necessary to be deductible by IETF LLC as a business expense.

Local Transportation

Reasonable costs for ground transportation are reimbursable. This includes ground travel to and from home and destination airports via taxi, bus, train, ride share, rental vehicle, or an Authorized Traveler’s personal automobile, as well as home airport parking and tolls. If not otherwise provided by IETF LLC, reasonable local transportation between the hotel and any off-site IETF LLC events or dinners is reimbursable.

Other Expenses Related to Travel

IETF LLC will reimburse Approved Travelers for other reasonable expenses associated with approved travel, including visa fees and other costs required to lawfully enter a country, any required vaccinations required or recommended in a particular country or region, and Internet access costs while traveling (e.g. in-flight WiFi). With the exception of reasonable Internet access costs while traveling, the other expenses are subject to the discretion of the appropriate Approving Authority.

Online Booking Tools

Approved Travelers should use booking tools (e.g. websites and mobile applications) that enable them to obtain the lowest possible fare, rate, or cost. This may in some cases require the use of an IETF booking website with an IETF-specific rate, or may involve contacting a business to obtain the IETF rate. In other cases, the Approved Traveler may use the booking tools of their choice unless and until such time as the IETF LLC may designate an official online booking tool.

Procedures for Requesting Reimbursement

Approved Travelers should contact the appropriate Approving Authority via email for their request for approval, within the timelines designated herein. Each such request should describe the relevant travel event, a description of the requestor’s reason for the travel in question, and include all relevant information for the request in question (itinerary, hotel information, total costs, etc.).

As a general matter, Approved Travelers are required to provide their hotel requirements or reservations to the appropriate Approving Authority at least 45 days in advance, and to indicate at that time which, if any, allowable travel and meeting expenses they would like IETF LLC to cover, acknowledging this may not be possible in exceptional circumstances that require travel on short notice.

Approved Travelers may submit paid receipts for approved air travel as well as other allowable pre-paid expenses, such as visa application fees, prior to the travel event.

Claims for reimbursement for all allowable travel expenses described above must be submitted within 30 days of the end of the travel event in accordance with the procedure described above and include original or scanned receipts for all expenses above $10.00 USD. Submission to the appropriate Approval Authority will occur via email, unless and until such time as the IETF LLC designates an official expense submission system (e.g. mobile application and/or web-based tool) that will accept submissions and route them for appropriate approval.

IETF LLC may decline to pay all or a portion of an expense if it is deemed to be excessive or unnecessary. To the extent available, IETF LLC will use guidelines for deductibility provided by taxing authorities or other standards for non-profit entities. Approved Travelers should contact the appropriate Approval Authority in advance if they are unsure about an expense item, such as whether it is reasonable or whether it is likely to be reimbursable under this policy.


Policy version: 1
Last updated: 31-October-2019