Meals during travel

Travel requires an overnight stay for reimbursement

Meals for one day trips will not be reimbursed as the Treasury Department regulations classify meal reimbursements during day trips as taxable income. An exception of that rule involves situations where Western Michigan University business is conducted during a meal. This exception normally requires the presence of non-University personnel.


Per diem

Per diem meals apply to individual University travelers and do not apply to hosting meals.

Continental United State

Western Michigan University will reimburse overnight travelers for meals consumed during business related travel on a per Diem basis. Per Diem meal allowance will be used for all days of travel.

Actual receipts will not be used. Per Diem meals will be reimbursed according to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA Per Diem) schedule of per Diem rates. This website lists the per Diem rates by primary destination. If a city or county is not specifically listed, the Daily Standard Per Diem rate per day will be used. The individual meal rate for breakfast, lunch and dinner does include meal taxes and tip. The incidental rate is for expenses related to snacks, fees and other tips. When meals are provided or included in conference registration fees, the daily rate must be reduced by the applicable meal rate.

Foreign rates in U.S. dollars

The University will also reimburse international travel based on the U.S. Department of State Foreign Per Diem rates in effect for the days of travel. Receipts for meals and incidentals are not required when the per Diem is used.


Conference or seminars meals

If the cost of meals arranged by a conference or special meeting exceeds the limitations above, actual expenses will be reimbursed. You must provide a listing of expenses on a program or paid receipt or letter of approval from the department head. Conferences meals included in the conference fee will not be reimbursed.

When attending a conference or seminar that does not require overnight travel, any costs associated with meals not included in the conference/seminar fees will not be reimbursed by the University. This includes both in and out-of-town conferences and seminars.


Hosting meals

The University recognizes hosting as an appropriate expense of University funds if hosting activities contribute to, or result from, legitimate University-related business. Each department is expected to use prudence in determining the appropriateness of the hosting function.

Please read the hosting meals section in the Travel Policy and Procedures for detailed instructions.