Policy Statement

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This is the NYU policy for business expenses and travel. Policies executed by schools, departments and units can be more restrictive than the University policy. Enforcement of the more restrictive policy will be the responsibility of the school, department or unit. In no case can a school, department or unit have a policy less restrictive than the University policy.


This policy affects all employees purchasing goods or services that include non-compensation business expenses such as (i) travel, meals, lodging and other business expenses, (ii) gifts, (iii) office equipment, furniture and technology, (iv) temporary staffing, and (v) other non-compensation goods and services.

Scope of the Policy

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This policy applies to any member of the University community who initiates, processes, approves, or records financial transactions that involve University funds. This policy does not apply to NYU Langone Medical Center (or its component parts: NYU Hospitals Center, its affiliates, and New York University School of Medicine), to NYU Shanghai or to NYU Abu Dhabi, as long as they maintain their own similar policy which has been approved by the University’s Chief Financial Officer or Executive Vice President

This policy does not apply to externally sponsored agreements that are governed by the Sponsored Programs Administration Post-Award Handbook and administered by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Post Award Administration. Please refer to the Sponsored Programs Administration Post Award Handbook for information and guidance regarding allowable and unallowable expenses associated with sponsored research.

Policy

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Stewardship Responsibility

NYU employees and faculty are expected to employ sound expense management practices and exercise prudent financial management in their stewardship of University resources. As such, individuals using University resources for business, travel expenses, and/or purchasing items to be owned by NYU share the responsibility of ensuring that these resources are used appropriately, support the University mission, and comply with University policies, applicable laws and regulations, and donor restrictions. All faculty and employees of the University are expected to exercise due diligence when generating, reviewing, and approving Transactions that commit to the expenditure of University Funds.

Criteria for Determining a Permissible Expense

In order to be paid directly by the University or reimbursed to an individual, a business expense must be:

  • Necessary to perform a valid business purpose fulfilling the mission of the University; and
  • Reasonable in that the expense is not extreme or excessive, and reflects a prudent decision to incur the expense; and
  • Appropriate in that the expense is suitable and fitting in the context of the valid business purpose.

Necessary

An expense is necessary if there is a valid business purpose required to fulfill the mission of the University. The primary beneficiary of a necessary business expense is the University, not the individual. A necessary expense is a minimum purchase or service required to achieve a valid business objective.

Reasonable

Reasonable means that the amount being spent reflects the value that normally would be spent in that specific situation. An expense is considered reasonable if it is not extreme or excessive and reflects a fair and prudent decision and action to incur the expense. A cost may be considered reasonable if the nature of the goods or services acquired, and the amount involved therefore, reflect the action that a prudent person would have taken under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision to incur the cost was made. Major considerations involved in the determination of the reasonableness of a cost are: (a) whether or not the cost is of a type generally recognized as necessary for the operation of the institution; (b) whether or not the individuals concerned acted with due prudence in circumstances, considering their responsibilities to the institution, its employees, its students, the Federal Government, and the public at large; and (c) whether or not the cost represents fair value for the good or service provided.

Appropriate

Costs are appropriate if they are suitable or fitting for a business purpose. For a cost to be appropriate it is also presumed that there is a valid business purpose, which is normally the responsibility of the unit to determine.
The following questions should be considered when determining the appropriateness of costs:

  • Could the cost be comfortably defended under public scrutiny?
  • Would you be confident if the cost was selected for audit?
  • Would you be comfortable reading about it in the newspaper?
  • Would you be comfortable explaining to a donor that their donation was used this way?
  • Does the supporting documentation align with the requirements of the NYU Travel and Expense Policy?

Transaction Authority

Certain individuals are delegated the responsibility or authority to initiate or enter into Transactions that commit the University to spend funds. All individuals incurring, approving, recording or processing payment of business expenses must know the signatory approval structure established in his/her school, department, or unit. This structure ensures that business expenses are properly reviewed and authorized. Please review the Signature Authority Policy and the Delegation of Authority (which details the signatory approval structure established in each school, or unit) for more details.

Conflict of Interest

The Board of Trustees of New York University prohibits those activities or behavior which conflict with the best interests of the University. Transactions therefore between a supplier of goods or services and the University in which a conflict of interest exists are prohibited.


“Conflict of interest” is defined as a situation in which a University official, faculty, staff, or any of such person’s family or associates either has (1) an existing or potential financial or other material interest that impairs or might appear to impair that person’s independence and objectivity of judgment in the discharge of responsibilities to the University, or (2) may receive a financial or other material benefit from knowledge of information confidential to the University.
For specific rules and requirements established by the Board of Trustees, see the Conflicts of Interest Policy for Trustees, Officers, and Senior Administrators of the University.


The Office of Sponsored Programs provides additional rules and requirements that apply to sponsored programs.

University Policies on Procurement and Expense Reimbursement

To avoid incurring costs for which you may not be reimbursed, or committing the University to costs that cannot be paid using University Funds, the Purchasing Policies and Procedures Manual of the University should be consulted before you incur the expense. Certain expenses may be subject to specific procurement rules and requirements of the applicable Federal, State or local government.

Individuals who incur business expenses using personal funds may be reimbursed by the University through Accounts Payable. Refer to the Expense Reimbursement Procedure of the University for specific guidance. Consideration should also be given to the Accountable Plan Rules 

Staff and faculty with an NYU-issued Payment Card should also refer to the Payment Card Policy.

Allowable and Unallowable Expenses

Certain expenses that the University deems legitimate and permissible may be deemed unallowable by the Federal government. University Funds may be used for such expenses, but they must be identified and segregated in the University’s general ledger. Please refer to the Sponsored Programs Administration Post-Award Handbook for information and guidance regarding allowable and unallowable expenses associated with Sponsored Research.


Sales Tax

  • The University reserves the right not to reimburse sales tax for a Transaction that would have qualified for a sales tax exemption if it had been properly processed through the appropriate University channels (P-Card, i-Buy, etc.).
  • Sales tax exemption will not apply if the meal or lodging is paid using a personal credit card
  • New York Sales Tax Exemptions on Purchases of Meals and Lodging
    • The University is exempt from New York sales tax for meal and lodging expenses provided the following conditions are met: the retailer directly charges the University for the meals or lodging; the University directly pays the retailer with a University check / ACH or a University corporate card (such as Purchasing Cards, Fleet Cards, Student Club Cards, and CTA cards); and the University is not reimbursed, in whole or in part, by donation or otherwise, for its payment for the meals or lodging by those consuming the meals or lodging. Personal expenses are not eligible for the University’s sales tax exemption.
    • Certain lodging and meal expenses incurred while traveling on University business outside of New York may be exempt from state sales tax.
    • The University qualifies for travel-related sales tax exemptions in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Missouri, Illinois, Utah, and Washington, DC.
    • The relevant exemption forms for the above-listed states can be obtained from AskFinanceLink@nyu.edu. In order to obtain exemption, the University must make the payment directly to the hotel or restaurant using a University corporate card or check / ACH.

Violations

  • Employees, faculty, and approvers are responsible for compliance to this policy, which is subject to audit.
  • Expenses submitted for reimbursement that are deemed in violation of this policy may not be reimbursed to the employee/traveler.
  • Additionally, employees/travelers may owe NYU an amount equal to the total of discrepancies or unallowable expenses paid by the University.
  • Repeated or egregious violations are subject to other disciplinary actions.

NYU Non-Permissible Expenses

Any expense that does not support the missions of the University and/or does not reflect proper stewardship is considered by the University as non-permissible regardless of the source of funds. When the non-permissible expenses referenced below are submitted to the University for reimbursement or payment, they will be rejected, unless they are justified in a memo, as approved by the University, as necessary in carrying out a University task or function. The memo should provide a clear explanation of why such an expense should be deemed a business expense, and should be submitted to the “approver” and/or Fiscal Officer (the individual responsible for funds being charged) for review and approval. Accounts Payable will not process any payment or reimbursement of non-permissible expenses unless the memo is attached and university approval is granted.

Please see the appendix for the list.

NYU Permissible Expenses

General Comments

Expenses that support the missions of the University are deemed valid and therefore permissible. The following sections of the document detail those expenses that are generally deemed permissible.

Payment Methods

University employees and Faculty must use established University methods to incur business expenses. A business expense should be paid by the University directly to the vendor using i-Buy NYU or the P-Card (refer to the University's Buying and Paying website for further guidance). When expenses are related to travel, the CTA Card, the Departmental Travel Card, or the Corporate Card should be used if available, when not available, an expense can be incurred using a personal card.


Certain expenses may be incurred by University employees and Faculty in the conduct of University business using personal funds. These expenses may be reimbursed when University and government requirements are met (see the Expense Reimbursement Procedure of the University or specific guidance). 

Per IRS regulations, expenses submitted after 60 days could be considered taxable income to the employee, therefore, if submitting after 60 days, justification should be provided.

Business Expenses: Other Than Travel

Meals

  • When not traveling on NYU business, meals (including alcoholic beverages) between two or more employees or faculty during which routine business issues are discussed are not reimbursable.
  • In situations where an individual is conducting business with one or more guests, reasonable meals and entertainment expenses are allowable. Business meals and entertainment must be directly related to University business.
  • There should be no more than four NYU hosts per external guest for business related lunch or dinner meetings or events (excluding students).
  • The most senior representative present for meals must submit the expense.
  • The concept of reasonableness should apply to the cost of business meals. Events such as training, professional development, hosting speakers and guests, workshops and conferences are examples of events where business meals may be a reasonable expense. Whether meeting on or off campus, the normal guideline for allowability would be the average cost of a comparable meal at a University facility, or from Dining Services catering. Except under rare circumstances, meals should not exceed the following thresholds (per person), excluding tips and tax:
    • Up to $35 USD for breakfast or lunch
    • Up to $75 USD for dinner
  • When business meals are incurred for sound business reasons such as training, professional development, speakers, workshops, and conferences, and these business meals exceed the thresholds listed above, the Fiscal Officer must approve the cost of these business meals.
  • The University’s current dining provider must be the vendor of choice for all catered events. Exceptions will be granted by the Fiscal Officer for external vendors if savings would be in excess of 25% of the dining provider’s quote.
  • Refreshments for standing / departmental meetings should be limited to coffees, teas, and other non-alcoholic beverages as well as snacks. Inexpensive options such as bagels and pizza are allowed but must be paid by P-Card or through a Seamless account for orders over $200 USD.
  • New hire lunches are limited to $20 per person. Attendees should be limited to the new hire and immediate supervisor.
  • If an NYU employee and a Vendor representative go out for a meal together, they MUST split the bill.
  • If necessary, Fiscal Officers can grant exceptions to the criteria for allowable meals and thresholds. The reasons for these exceptions should be obtained in advance and submitted with the request.

Alcohol

The purchase and use of alcohol places significant legal exposure on the University. Therefore, the use of alcohol for business meals and entertainment purposes should be kept to a minimum and must comply with the University’s Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy for New York, DC, and California. 

When holding events where alcohol is present a guideline of no more than two alcoholic beverages per employee on average should be followed.

Occasional Employee Events and Functions (Onsite or Offsite)

  • On occasion, group events such as retreats, group meetings, retirement celebrations, holidays or other similar events may occur as need arises. Such gatherings should be infrequent and a legitimate purpose should be outlined that aligns to business needs. To the extent possible, such events should be held in University space. If the University is hosting an event at an off-site space with a rental contract, the event and contract need to be approved by the Department of Insurance Programs.
  • Social events such as annual holiday parties are allowable if they are reasonable in scope, with only one event per department, school, or unit, supported by NYU funds. Costs associated with third party guests will not be reimbursed. Incidental costs incurred by staff in order to participate in such events such as transportation costs or babysitting are not allowable for reimbursement.
  • Such events should be modest and alcohol consumption should be closely supervised by the event sponsor. The costs associated with these events should not exceed the per person cost for business meals as previously outlined unless approved in advance by the Fiscal Officer or the appropriate designee.
  • Units should make every effort to consolidate holiday activities with other groups to ensure that the total cost for NYU is reasonable and prudent.
  • Occasions that are inherently personal in nature (e.g., parties to celebrate births or marriages) or small in-office functions with purchased food or beverages should be paid for by the employees involved and are not reimbursable business expenses.
  • Limits on Team Building costs should adhere to the thresholds provided in the Meals section on a per person basis for food and drink. Other expenses for training, facilitation, and events (e.g. 360 assessment, communication assessor) should be reasonable in terms of cost and frequency. Team building events should consist of the majority of the team and must be paid by the senior most administrator.
  • Events should follow the NYU Green Events Standard.

Gifts to Employees

  • Gifts and flowers to any University employee are not reimbursable, except for the following:
    • Births and Adoption
    • Bereavement
    • Retirement
    • Severe illness or surgery
  • Gifts for the reasons above should not exceed $75 for full-time employees. Gifts for Part-time employees are not reimbursable.
  • Contributions can be solicited from friends and fellow workers to cover the expenses of other occasions.
  • The University takes seriously its commitment to advance sustainability of resources, and to the extent possible, encourages limited purchase and distribution of printed materials, and the reduction of waste and use of recyclable materials. To that end, the University encourages the use of electronic cards as an alternative to printed cards whenever feasible.

University-Funded Research and Scholarly Activity Accounts

The University invests in research, other sponsored, and professional development activities in a variety of ways, one of which includes direct funding allocations made to dedicated accounts available for expenses that are allowable, allocable and reasonable. Funds in general University and University-funded research and scholarly activity accounts are intended to be used to support research and other scholarly activities. Expenses may include but are not limited to the employment of personnel, purchase of supplies and materials, software and access to databases, payment of translation expenses, support for conferences and travel, and other expenditure types utilized in the performance of research and scholarly activity.

Faculty members should apply the requirements of the Business Expense Policy to all expenditures and requests for reimbursement from these accounts. These general University and University-funded research and scholarly activity accounts are not intended to nor should funding be used as a catch-all to cover expenditures made by faculty members for expenses not related to research and other scholarly activities. Any personal computer or other durable equipment that is purchased from a general University or University-funded research and scholarly activity account remains the property of the University. Funds may not be used to purchase home office equipment such as desks, chairs, bookcases, and so forth. These are considered non-permissible expenses and reimbursement will not be permitted. Any expenditure not directly related to the faculty member’s research and scholarly activities must be approved by the Dean before it can be charged to a general University or University-funded research and scholarly activity account. Please see the Dean of Faculty website for more information.

Business Expenses: Travel

  • In order to take advantage of NYU’s scale and procure the best possible rates flights, rails and hotels should be booked using the NYU travel booking tool that can be accessed through the NYU Traveler tile of the NYU Home Dashboard. Travel booked outside of the NYU travel booking tool is discouraged.
  • For travel booked outside of the NYU travel booking tool it is strongly encouraged that the trip is registered with NYU traveller to allow NYU to communicate with, and provide assistance to, the traveler in case of an emergency.
  • It is encouraged that trips booked outside of the tool be registered with NYU Traveler.
  • Any trips booked outside of the NYU travel booking tool for air, rail or hotel must be priced lower than if the NYU travel booking tool had been used.
  • If you are considering traveling on University business or attending a conference, you are expected to determine if the potential benefits of the trip justify the time, expense, and environmental impact after considering cost-effective and low-carbon alternatives, such as video conferencing.
  • International travel must be approved in advance by a Vice President or Dean and the approvals must be documented in the AP Workflow submission, where applicable.
  • For administrative staff, attendance at conferences requiring a flight and hotel should be limited to two employees from the same department per conference (exceptions may be granted for required continuing education for licenses/certifications or other business needs, as approved in advance by Fiscal Officer. Documentation will be required.)
  • Per NYU policy, a P-Card may not be used to book travel unless the school or unit has prior authorization. Instead travelers may use personal cards, corporate travel cards, or NYU CTA Cards.

Business Expenses: International Travel

  • Employees and faculty traveling internationally on NYU business who do not have an NYU-owned mobile device can claim reasonable and necessary business-related data and cellular charges for reimbursement.
  • For credit/debit card transactions and cash withdrawals, proof of the exchange rate and associated charges from your financial institution should be provided with your reimbursement request. For cash transactions, use a recognized exchange rate calculator such as xe.com and provide a screenshot of the rate.

Non-Business Days

If a traveler chooses to arrive early or to stay longer for non-business reasons, the University will not pay for expenses during additional personal days. The only exceptions are when travel is at a lower total cost if the traveler stays over a weekend or holiday, with department approval in advance and/or when traveling more than 8 time zones, travelers may arrive one day ahead of the event (for example, the conference starts on Monday, it is ok to arrive on Sunday). The traveler must document the reason for this extra expense in order to support the non-business-day payment.

Air Travel

Flights

  • Preferred carrier approved by the Procurement Travel Team should be the first choice for all flight bookings. See the latest Preferred Airlines list.
  • Booking at least 21 days in advance is encouraged, 30 days preferred   
    • Any flight segment that has a scheduled in-air flying time in excess of 9 hours: Business Class, capped at $7,500. Approval required to request exception by Vice President or Dean
    • Any international flight segment has a scheduled in-air flying time in excess of 6 hours: hours: Premium Economy capped at $3,000; exceptions: faculty teaching same day as arrival may fly Business Class subject to Business Class cap (but should strongly consider premium economy). Business Class under the Premium Economy cap is also allowable
    • Exception to caps above requires Dean or Vice President pre-approval which must be submitted along with reimbursement request along with a justification for the exception (such as a list of available flights or a business justification for a specific flight)
  • All other flights: Economy
Exceptions
  • California: Premium Economy is acceptable for “red-eye” flights or faculty teaching same day; All flights to California: Cost for Extra Leg Room allowed.
  • Business class may be approved as an exception: Travelers whose job descriptions include > 50% responsibilities which are global in nature (outside their "home location where travel is expected >50% of the time), as determined by their supervisor. Telecommuting arrangements do not qualify as an exception.
  • Any other exceptions would require Fiscal Officer approval in advance. Documentation will be required.

Travel by Rail

  • Rail travel within the Northeast Corridor (Richmond to Boston via Amtrak), and between cities within 4 hours travel in Europe, is a less carbon intensive option than air travel and should be taken unless it is more expensive than air or if rail is not easily available.

Hotels

Reservations

  • Negotiated rates at NYU preferred hotels are present in the NYU travel booking tool and hotel reservations should be booked using the NYU travel booking tool.
  • If booking outside of the travel systems, the GSA (General Services Administration) limits should apply.
  • For travel outside the US, if NYU preferred hotels are unavailable, select standard accommodations at reasonably priced mid-market hotels on or close to the location of the business using $300/day without meals and taxes as a standard maximum cost guideline.
  • Click here for a full list of NYU preferred hotels with preferential rates for NYU travel.
  • When booking a hotel for a conference where there is a special conference rate, the reservation may be made directly with the hotel or through the conference site.
  • Travelers must cancel reservations to avoid no-show charges which are not reimbursable unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Local Transportation

  • The least-expensive and lowest-carbon option (e.g., train, taxi, shuttle, or personal auto) should be chosen unless there are convenience or safety issues that justify the additional cost and carbon footprint.
  • Use of taxis, Uber, Lyft (or equivalent) for travel between NYU locations, while not encouraged, is permitted for necessary University business. These services may also be used for airport travel on University business.
    • If an area does not have Uber, Lyft, taxis or local equivalent, car service may be permitted.
  • The cost to commute to and from your NYU place of employment is not reimbursable. Exceptions would require Fiscal Officer approval in advance. Documentation will be required.
  • When traveling with others on University business, it is often more economical to coordinate travel times and share a van or shuttle service. When requiring larger vehicles (e.g., UberXL, van) business justification and/or attendee information should be included.

Personal Vehicles

  • When traveling by car, mileage reimbursement isn’t always the most economical or safest choice. Renting a car through university‐preferred vendors offers well‐maintained, low‐mile cars at discount rates for business travel.
  • At times, a personal vehicle may be used in order to save time, transport equipment or reduce costs when several people are traveling together. Reimbursement is calculated per mile based on the current federal mileage reimbursement rate. Reimbursement is limited to the amount of standard coach airfare for the equivalent trip. Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed in addition to the mileage allowance. Fuel costs are included in the per‐mile reimbursement rate and are not reimbursable as a separate expense. See the Standard Mileage Rate.
  • Before using personal vehicles for business travel, you should check the requirements of the Department of University Insurance Programs. Prior approval, in some cases, may be necessary.
  • Costs of repairs to personal vehicles during business travel are deemed non-permissible expenses; University Funds cannot be used for such expenses.
  • The owners of those personal vehicles used for University business are responsible for ensuring adequate insurance coverage for their protection and for the protection of any passengers. Their personal auto insurance carrier is deemed the primary insurance carrier. NYU does not protect the driver or the owner against loss resulting from bodily injury or damage to property. Contact Insurance Programs for specific guidance. Frequent use of personal vehicles for University business is discouraged.


Rental Cars

  • Costs related to rental cars are deemed valid business expenses when renting a car is less expensive or more feasible than other transportation options available. Click here for preferred vendors for rental car arrangements.
  • Reimbursable costs include daily rental fee, mileage fee, tolls, and authorized insurance charges. Non-reimbursable costs include but are not limited to vehicle repairs, parking tickets, and fines for traffic violations or upgrades to vehicles larger or higher cost than necessary.
  • Individuals should take advantage of University discounts by book through preferred rental car services using the NYU Travel Booking Tool at all times. This requirement is important to ensure proper insurance coverage. which includes the provision of appropriate insurance.
  • In the very limited instances where NYU’s preferred rental car services are not available, reserving through a different provider If booking outside the NYU Travel Booking Tool, individuals should ensure the relevant insurance is included, checking with the Department of Insurance Programs.

Travel Insurance Provided to You

Travelers should contact the Department of Insurance Programs with questions regarding the appropriateness of optional trip cancellation insurance prior to domestic or foreign travel for insurance requirements that may apply.

The purchase of reasonable trip cancellation insurance coverage for visitor and employee business travel is permissible subject to the approval of an employee authorized under the University Signature Authority policy. Reasonable travel insurance includes: trip cancellation, trip interruption and delay, baggage/personal effects and baggage delay. For parties of 5 or less, travel insurance can be purchased during the reservation process. For parties of 5 or more the Procurement Travel Office can assist with the purchase of travel insurance.

Meals and Entertainment

Individual Meals and Incidentals

  • Travelers should claim actual meal and incidental expenses unless they are using per diem as described below. Actual daily expenses claimed should be reasonable and appropriate and typically should not be more than $75 USD/day for domestic travel and $125/day USD for international travel.
  • Location based per diem rates will be followed for incidentals and meals:
  • Travelers cannot switch between actual meal expenses and per diem on the same trip.
  • Meals are not reimbursed for travel without an overnight stay or when employees are away from their normal work location for an entire day on University business (e.g., all-day conference or meeting “off-campus”).
  • Business meals on travel should refer to the general meals policy above.
  • Any exceptions must be approved by the Fiscal Officer in advance of travel and properly documented.

Mini Bar

Mini bar charges are not reimbursable unless they constitute/replace a meal.

Incidentals

The following incidental expenses will be reimbursed for approved business travel needs:

  • A temporary international voice or data plan added to a personal cell phone
  • Internet access (e.g., hotel, airline)
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Immunizations and travel related prescriptions

Tips Guidelines

The following would be considered reasonable and appropriate and can be claimed for reimbursement if not using per diem:

  • Skycap: $2 USD per bag
  • Porters/bell person, etc.: $2 USD per bag upon check-in/check-out
  • Maid service: up to $2 USD per day
  • Meals: 15% – 20% (if not included in the charge)
  • Car service: if using a non-contracted service, 15-20% is appropriate

Conferences

  • Online classes or remote attendance, if available, should be considered first.
  • For administrative employees, attendance at conferences requiring a flight and hotel should be limited to two employees from the same department per conference (exceptions must be granted in advance by a Fiscal Officer and documented for required continuing education for licenses/certifications or other business needs).
  • Conferences and events hosted by NYU should allow for virtual participation when possible and follow the NYU Green Events Standard.

Computers and Software

Computers

  • NYU IT establishes and maintains standard computers, peripherals and accessories offerings, available on the NYU IT website and in the Dell Premier Page in i-Buy. Laptops are the preferred option to allow for mobility and remote work.
  • Standard computers peripherals and accessories must be procured via i-Buy or at the NYU Bookstore.
  • Only one computer is allowed per employee.
  • Only one monitor, keyboard, and mouse are allowed per employee.
  • NYU provides multi-function devices (MFDs) at its offices for employees to use as the default printing, scanning and copying option. New personal printers should not be procured. Existing personal printers should be phased out by the end of their life cycle for sustainability purposes.
  • Computers, peripherals and accessories procured by NYU are the property of NYU and must be returned to NYU upon equipment refresh or separation from the University.
  • Computers can be refreshed every 4 to 5 years, barring malfunction, loss, or theft.
  • Schools/units are responsible for tracking assets that are distributed to employees and ensure retrieval upon upgrade or separation.

Exceptions to the above standards can be granted by Fiscal Officers where the job function of the employee requires equipment beyond the standard issue.

Exceptions to the above standards for medical reasons or employees with disabilities do not require fiscal officer approval; they should attach the OEO approval to the reimbursement claim.

Software

NYU negotiates discounts for commonly used software products for both individual and enterprise use. Acquisition of, or reimbursement for, products that are covered by an NYU enterprise agreement is not allowed and will not be reimbursed. Please check the NYU IT Software Library and/or your local IT Department prior to making any purchases.

Communication Devices and Mobile Devices

Phone Lines

The University provides a dedicated phone line and Jabber - a soft phone solution - to employees. Desk (“hard”) phones must be justified with a legitimate business purpose.

Mobile Devices

Eligibility

Full-time NYU employee whose job requires that the employee is

  • Fully accessible at any time of day to the public, faculty, students, staff, or alumni
    OR
  • Mostly mobile - employee spends the majority (70% or more) of the workday moving between NYU buildings/locations AND is required to respond, reference, or record their work using a mobile device.

Terms

  • Only one mobile device/line will be allowed per eligible individual.
  • For eligible employees, mobile hotspots can be made available with the mobile line to allow connectivity to other NYU-owned devices (i.e., laptops).
  • Tablets, mi-fi’s, wearable tech, and other devices will not be provided or covered by NYU.
  • All equipment is the property of NYU and must be returned to NYU upon termination of the phone line.
  • Each department is responsible for notifying it.mobile@nyu.edu of deactivating phone lines as well as collecting and returning devices.
  • Cell phones can be upgraded every two years, barring malfunction, loss, or theft. Employees are encouraged to keep functioning equipment for as long as possible.
  • Mobile plans and device offerings will be determined and defined by NYU IT.
  • Requests for devices/plans/upgrades need to be approved by the FO.
  • Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the school/unit Dean, VP or FO.

International Cellular Coverage

Employees and faculty who have an NYU-issued device and are traveling internationally on University Business are responsible for enrolling in an international plan by contacting it.mobile@nyu.edu at least one week prior to departure. Travelers who incur excessive roaming or data charges as a result of not enrolling in an international plan or as a result of excessive personal use, will be responsible for reimbursing NYU for those charges.

Office Equipment and Furniture

  • For cost as well as sustainability consideration, re-using equipment and furniture must be considered first. Contact surplus.furniture@nyu.edu for availability of furniture.
  • New furniture for administrative and academic space should conform to the University Furniture Standards. University approved vendors within the standard should be used at all times. All questions should be directed to NYU Procurement.
  • If an ENERGY STAR rated model of the office equipment is available, it should be selected.

Space Acquisition or Alteration

  • Any acquisition of external space for long term (multi-year) or short term i.e. a semester or the entire school year, must be coordinated through the Office of Real Estate (real.estate@nyu.edu)
  • Any planned alterations to space must be vetted with the Office of Strategic Assessment, Planning & Design as well as adhere to NYU Design Standards and Guidelines.
  • Any permanent signage that includes NYU’s or any of its school’s logos should conform to NYU University Identity standards.

Other Goods and Services

Consulting and Other Professional Fees

Any contractual agreement for consulting, independent contractors or other professional fees of $100K- $499K USD must be approved by a Fiscal Officer and agreements of $500K USD or above, the CFO. All requests must be initiated through i-Buy.

Preferred Suppliers

  • Preferred Supplier Contracts are established by Procurement for the purchase of goods or services, which are either competitively bid or negotiated with suppliers. These agreements may include group and cooperative purchasing agreements that the University may utilize. When making a purchase for goods and services, departments must use Preferred Supplier Contracts as their first choice. Generally, departments do not have to obtain additional quotations or comply with the competitive bid process when a Preferred Supplier Contract is utilized unless required by Procurement.
  • Preferred suppliers can be found in the i-Buy NYU Marketplace and in the Procurement & Suppliers section of the Buying and Paying site. Log-in for access to the i-Buy NYU Marketplace

Temporary Staffing

  • Contingent / temporary staffing should be used only when it is based on the following reasons: special projects with defined time frames; coverage for attrition or employee leave of absence; and a need for additional personnel during peak workload periods.
  • Use of preferred suppliers is mandatory, and requests must be submitted utilizing the i-Buy system via the Temporary Staffing Request Form. If preferred suppliers cannot provide the service required, the Procurement team must be engaged to negotiate agreements relating to fee schedules, bill rates, payment schedules and other terms.
  • Temporary employees, other than student workers, may not be engaged at NYU for more than three (3) months for staff-level work, or six (6) months for administrator-level work, unless an extension is granted from University Human Resources (UHR) Talent Acquisition. HR Business Partners will be able to assist in determining the appropriate length of time based on the nature of work.
  • To retain a temporary employee beyond the terms listed above, a business case must be submitted to the organization's FO and UHR Talent Acquisition, in compliance with the University’s Hiring Process for Temporary Employees policy in New York.
  • Exceptions are granted for large projects that may last more than the maximum term and for which the business case has been approved.
  • The supervisor or hiring manager is responsible for the accuracy of hours worked through the conduct of weekly timesheet approvals. The relevant fiscal officer is responsible for ensuring billing accuracy in terms of rates charged for these approved hours worked and may delegate this authority.

External Legal Services

  • Only the University’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) is authorized to engage the services of outside legal counsel. Please refer to the Using Outside Counsel page.
  • All invoices for outside legal counsel must be reviewed and approved by OGC prior to payment. The Accounts Payable Department (or the counterpart at a global site through which the legal bill will be paid) will not allow payment for legal services unless the invoice has been approved for payment by OGC (or their delegate).
  • In order to ensure timely payment for services rendered, and to ease the burden on schools and units, OGC will process the payment for all legal services invoices other than those paid through a global site. In those situations in which charge-backs occur, charge-backs normally will be made within 30 days of invoice payment.
  • Expenditures for all legal services must be recorded solely in account 60430-Legal Fees.

Institutional Development, Political Contributions and Lobbying

  • University Funds must not be used for payments, donations, or contributions to political organizations or candidates.
  • Lobbying activities intended to advance University missions are in general deemed unallowable under Federal guidelines but may be deemed permissible by the University. Expenses for such activities must receive prior authorization from the Office of the SVP for University Relations and Public Affairs.

Recruitment

All job applicant candidates who must travel to the University for an interview must obtain prior authorization for travel related expenses to be reimbursed. All expenses must comply with this policy.

Membership in Professional Organizations, Professional Dues, Fees, Certifications and Subscriptions

Membership or professional dues or fees are deemed business expenses only when membership is primarily for University purposes or representation of the University in the organization or association. Professional Memberships, Dues, Fees or Certifications may be reimbursed if any of the following apply:

  • Membership or certification is directly related to skills required by current position, based on job description (for administrators).
  • The expense is being used for employee’s professional development and has been documented in advance (for example during annual self-assessment and goal setting) and approved by the supervisor.
  • The membership, dues or fees serve a business purpose for the entire department or University beyond the individual’s position and is not duplicative.

Subscriptions are also deemed business expenses when they are for publications related to the functions of individuals in the University. Media subscriptions for business use (Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music/TV, SlingTV or similar) should not be linked to personal email accounts, or utilized personally. Monthly subscriptions should be cancelled once the business requirement has ceased.
Payment or reimbursements for some expenses of this kind may be deemed taxable income to the individual receiving the benefit. Please consult the Tax Guidance & Compliance page for further information.

Payments to Foreign Nationals

Payments to foreign nationals authorized to perform services in the United States are subject to specific legal limitations as well as tax rules and regulations. For detailed information, visit the Tax Guidance & Compliance page on FinanceLink (AskFinanceLink@nyu.edu).

Contacts

Direct any general questions about the Expenses Reimbursement Policy or the Travel and Expense Policy to your department’s administrative office or your FOs. If you have questions about specific issues, call the following offices:

  • FinanceLink (AskFinanceLink@nyu.edu) for:
    • Accounts Payable (including employee reimbursements) Customer Service
    • Insurance Issues
    • Policy Clarification
    • Procurement Customer Service
    • Tax Issues
  • Office of General Counsel (212-998-2240) for:
    • Contracts, Leases, etc.
    • Record Retention
  • University Compliance Hotline (877-360-7626) for:
    • Report issues of non compliant
  • Payment Card Contact (payment.cards@nyu.edu) for:
    • P-Cards, CTA, corporate

Other Resources

Definitions

These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy.

Accountable Plan Rules

In order to be considered an accountable plan by the IRS, expenses incurred by employees or independent contractors must have a business connection, the individual must adequately account to the University for these expenses within a reasonable time (60 days) and the individual must return an excess reimbursement or allowance within a reasonable time (60 days). If all three conditions are met the reimbursement can be excluded from the individual’s taxable income.

Approver

The individual granted the authority to review and approve (or reject) Transactions that require the use of University Funds. The physical signature (on forms) or electronic signature (in AP Workflow, i-Buy NYU) of the "approver" signifies that the “approver” has verified the request for compliance with applicable University policies.

Business Expenses

Charges for goods and services that foster or support the missions of the University.

Documentation or Substantiation

Documents that describe and support a business expense or Transaction, such as original receipts or other original vendor-generated documents that show type of expense, amount of expense, and date the expense was incurred.

NYU or the University

The New York University and all its Affiliates, including the schools, colleges, institutes, and other administrative units of the University, all University Affiliates, and the Global Network University sites, as such terms are defined in the Policy on Policies.

Reasonable

Not extreme or excessive. A cost may be considered reasonable if the nature of the goods and services reflects prudent action.

Stewardship

The careful and responsible management and protection of the University’s resources, which includes ensuring that resources are used appropriately or used according to applicable policies of the University.

Transaction

A commitment by the University involving the exchange of money or property, an obligation to perform services requiring payment or use of University resources, or the assumption of a liability (e.g., indebtedness) or potential liability, currently or in the future (e.g., NYU agreeing to indemnify another party).

University Community

All NYU faculty, including visiting faculty; researchers, including persons participating in research at or under the auspices of NYU; employees; professional staff, including medical, dental, and nursing staff; volunteers; fellows, trainees, and postdoctoral appointees; students; consultants, vendors, and contractors.

University Funds

All funds received from internal or external sources and owned by the University, which carry fiduciary responsibilities.

Appendix

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General Comments

Any expense that does not support the missions of the University and does not reflect proper stewardship is considered by the University as non-permissible regardless of the source of funds.


When the non-permissible expenses listed below are submitted to the University for reimbursement or payment, they will be rejected, unless they are justified in a memo as necessary in carrying out a University task or function and approved by the University. The memo should provide a clear explanation of why such an expense should be deemed a business expense, and should be submitted to the “approver” (the individual responsible for funds being charged) for review and approval. Accounts Payable will not process any payment or reimbursement of Non-Permissible Expenses unless the memo is attached.

Non-Permissible Expenses

Non-Permissible Expenses refer to those expenses that are not related to any activity of the University, are not required in carrying out an individual’s task or responsibility at work, or do not benefit the University. Non-Permissible Expenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Automobile repairs
  • Child care
  • Clothing and toiletry items for personal use
  • Credit card annual fees
  • Delinquency fees or finance charges on the NYU CTA Card or personal credit cards
  • Dues in private clubs, including lounge memberships and entry fees
  • Personal membership and club fees, such as airline clubs and personal Amazon prime account
  • Expedited Traveler Screening programs such as TSA PreCheck, CLEAR, Global Entry or SENTRI or NEXUS
  • Frequent flyer and other similar awards for hotel and car rentals
  • Grooming services (haircuts and shoe shines)
  • Laundry, dry cleaning unless for extended business travel, per this policy
  • Gym and recreational fees, including massages and saunas
  • In-room movies
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Pet care
  • Single-Use water bottles in conjunction with Water Bottle Purchasing Policy
  • Telephone charges in excess of what is deemed reasonable for calls to home when on business travel (see “Expenses Related to Business Travel” section in this document)
  • Traffic violation penalties
  • Upgrades (air, hotel, car, etc.) when traveling on University business
  • Expenses that will be reimbursed from another source
  • Any fraudulent expense
  • Spousal/partner travel
  • First class airfare
  • Personal membership and club fees, such as airline clubs and personal Amazon prime account
  • Personal items included in a purchase of items to be owned by NYU
  • Expenses that should not be paid using personal funds (e.g., independent contractor fees, stipends, cash gifts, etc.; these types of expenses should be charged directly to the University)
  • Voluntary charitable contributions
  • Any expense prohibited by law (e.g., University funds cannot be used for payments or donations to political organizations or candidates)

In addition to the above expenses, these items are never reimbursable or allowable:

  • Drugs or Illegal Substances
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Political Contributions
  • Expenses made through third party payment sites such as Venmo, Zelle, PayPal (Personal Payment), Auction Sites

Notes
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  1. Dates of official enactment and amendments: Jul 15, 2004
  2. History: Revised: March 2012, September 2014, June 2016; June 2018; September 2019; December 2019 Changes made to Pg. 16 - Honorariums, Gifts, Prizes, Awards to Non-Employees; Revised September 2019: Pg. 19 - Relocation Expenses. Revised November, 2014: Additional language added to per diems and incidental expenses sections, found on pages 10-11 of Policy PDF. Revised December 2019: Pg. 23 - Related Policies.
  3. Cross References: N/A