I travel a fair amount on business; sometimes this is paid for by my employer, other times by third parties. The travel (train/plane) tickets may be paid for on account or by me and then expensed. Sometimes the travel plans go wrong and there's a delay; in these cases, there's often refunds or compensation available (e.g. EC261 or delay-repay). Am I allowed to claim these, or is this tantamount to claiming expenses twice? Can I keep the money, or do I have to offer it to the travel-funder?
Some additional parameters:
- Often the travel has been paid for in advance (in the UK we can claim expenses as soon as we pay, we don't (usually) have to wait until after travel). Even when not, the time limits for expense and compensation claims tend to preclude awaiting the outcome of the compensation claim and adjusting the expense claim accordingly.
- In some cases, e.g. EC261, the money is explicitly compensation for inconvenience rather than a refund and explicitly accrues to the traveller. Nevertheless, the business may have suffered consequences (e.g. missed meeting), as well as the traveller (sat on an aircraft for hours, late home).
- In other cases, e.g. delay-repay, "compensation" and "refund" are used interchangeably, but the payouts are based on the price you paid, making it more of a refund.
- I have never seen an official organisational policy on this matter (in travel-expenses rules for several organisations); for employer-funded travel, my previous supervisor was happy for me to keep it (as I'd suffered the fun of being sat in airports/railway stations due to delays; not sure whether the finance dept. would have agreed with him...). That doesn't provide a general rule that helps when third parties are paying, however.