Queensland Law Society

QLS Council Travel Policy


As approved by the Queensland Law Society Council on 27 June 2019.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines and establish procedures for Queensland Law Society (QLS) Councillors travelling on QLS business.

Councillors are not expected to gain or lose financially as a result of travelling on QLS business. They are expected to use good judgment in avoiding unnecessary costs and choosing va lue for money alternatives from the travel options available to them.

Having regard to the status of Councillors , the policy aims to ensure Councillors travelling on QLS business are provided with a reasonable level of service and comfort at the best possible cost whilst at the same time allowing the QLS to properly manage its travel costs.

Scope

This policy applies to all QLS Councillors, including the office of President.

Definitions

In this policy-

"Councillor" means a Council member elected or appointed to the Council of the Queensland Law Society pursuant to s.685 of the Legal Profession Act 2007.

"routine travel" means travel undertaken for the purposes of the day-to-day business of QLS including:

a)  attending QLS Council meetings;
b)  carrying out the duties of the President, Deputy President. Vice President or Councillor as set out in the respective role descriptions .
c)  participating in meetings, conferences or events as a QLS representative at the request of the President or CEO.

Policy

  1. Council travel budget
    As part of the annual QLS budget, the Council approves a Council travel budget for each financial year. That budget includes an estimate of the cost of the Council travel that will be necessary for QLS business in that year. That budget must accommodate for the geographical diversity of Council members and recognise the offices of President, Deputy and Vice President will incur greater travel costs due to the nature of the responsibilities of those positions.

    The corporate secretary is responsible for monitoring the Council travel budget monthly and reporting any concerns to the President.
     
  2. Pre-authorisation of travel
    The pre-authorisation requirements are as follows:

    a)  Travel requiring no pre-authorisation
    No prior authorisation is required where the travel is routine travel and the total cost of the travel to QLS (including airfares, accommodation, vehicle hire or motor vehicle allowance and expenses) is anticipated to be less than $2,500.
    b)  Travel requiring pre-authorisation of Council Executive Committee
    Prior authorisation of Council Executive Committee shall be required for all travel outside 4.2a).
     
  3. Air travel
    Where bookings are required for accommodation and/or travel, the travel ling party may either book the accommodation or flights themselves and then seek reimbursement from QLS or alternatively engage the assistance of the executive assistant to the President and CEO or the executive assistant to the secretariat to make the arrangements.

    QLS has entered into a Standing Offer Arrangement with Government (QTravel) which provides discounts on domestic and international travel when booked through the agent Corporate Travel Management (CTM). The amount that QLS will pay or reimburse will be based upon the discounted rates available to QLS through that arrangement, based on the best available non-flexible economy fare to the destination booked with at least seven days' notice.

    Where air travel is less than 3 continuous hours it must be economy class. If it is in excess of 3 continuous hours it may be business class travel. Ordinary Councillors must obtain prior approval from the President for business class travel and approval will be subject to budget. Where the President seeks business class travel and it is in excess of the amount referred to in 4.2a prior approval is obtained from the Council Executive Committee. Approval from the Council Executive Committee is subject to budget. 
     
  4. Accommodation
    QLS will pay the reasonable costs of accommodation of a Councillor when that person is travelling on QLS business and it is reasonably necessary to stay overnight.

    Accommodation will only be paid for by QLS where the necessity to stay overnight relates to the completion of QLS business, taking into account flight availability and work health and safety concerns.
     
  5. Taxis and vehicle hire
    Wherever possible, taxi services should be used to minimise cost of land transport . Taxi services required for QLS business will be reimbursed on production of receipts. Vehicle hire should be limited to where it is not cost effective or feasible to use taxi services. 
     
  6. Motor Vehicle Allowance
    If Councillors use their motor vehicles to attend to QLS business they are entitled to be reimbursed at the applicable rate for income tax purposes.

    Reimbursements should be submitted via the expense reimbursement form or via the expense management system where one exists. Councillors in receipt of an honorarium wi ll have such claims reimbursed through the pay system. Other claims will be reimbursed via cheque. 
     
  7. Travel insurance
    Whilst QLS may from time to time hold policies of travel insurance on behalf of those travelling on QLS business, any traveller should not assume that such a policy is in place or the terms and conditions of any such policy.

    Travellers should consult the corporate secretary prior to undertaking any travel should they wish to determine whether and to what extent travel insurance may cover them for the intended journey.
  8. Company travel
    The traveller is free at any time to travel with other parties, such as a spouse or partner. No additional reimbursement however shall be available for such travel unless it is approved by the Council Executive Committee.
     
  9. Expenses for meals and incidentals
    Reasonable sustenance expenses will be reimbursed on production of receipts, up to a daily limit of $120.00 plus parking expenses, for domestic travel. Reasonable sustenance expenses for international travel to be approved by Council.

    Expenses may include reasonable costs of, for example:

    a)  meals;
    b)  telephone calls; and
    c)  parking fees.

    Generally, unless there is entertainment for QLS business related purposes, Councillors are expected to pay for any alcohol purchased. 
     
  10. Entertainment expenses incurred by councillors
    It may be necessary for councillors in their capacity to entertain members of the profession and other people with whom they have dealings. It is difficult to place any dollar limit on the expenses which may be incurred. QLS relies on the discretion of Councillors in observing reasonable limits.

    It is preferable, where possible, to hold meetings and discussions at the QLS's premises where food and drink can be supplied internally.

    Councillors other than the President must not incur entertainment expenses unless they have obtained the prior approval of the President.

    Councillors incurring entertainment expenses are required to provide evidence of the expenditure (receipt or invoice) and are required to record:

    a)  the date of the entertainment;
    b)  the name of the establishment where the entertainment took place;
    c)  the names of the people who attended and the names of the organ isations they represent;
    d)  the amount spent.
     
  11. QLS credit card
    The President will be provided with a QLS credit card to enable their reasonab le trave l and entertainment expenses to be charged directly to QLS. The President must keep receipts for any amounts charged to that card, with those receipts to be provided to the executive assistant to the President and CEO in a timely fashion to facilitate monthly reconciliations.
     
  12. Applications for reimbursement
    Any application for reimbursement of expenses by a traveller following travel or entertainment must be supported by receipts and shall be made as soon as reasonably practicable after return from travel and, except in exceptional circumstances, within the same financial year that the travel occurred.

Endorsement

QLS is committed to this policy and its equitable implementation . For further information, please contact the corporate secretary.


Document History

Amended

Amended By

Division

Details

25 August 2016

Council

 

Council amendment and approval

May 2019

Governance Committee

Clauses 3 b), 4.3 and 4.9 and 4.10