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Wikimedia CH/Policies/General Reimbursement

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General reimbursement policy[edit]

General information[edit]


These rules apply to all employees in an employment relationship with Wikimedia CH and volunteers who have an activity for the Association. They apply in the following circumstances:

  • business trip[1] in Switzerland and abroad
  • meetings with external contributors
  • scholarships
  • purchase of equipment, office supplies, materials, etc.

Regarding the meetings and scholarships, an activity report must be provided along with the expense reports. The activity reports must indicate clearly what is the purpose of the meeting/scholarship, the name of the participants as well as their title, a description of their involvement in the project and the outcome of the encounter.

This list above is not exhaustive and any particular request that does not fall in any of these categories can be sent to payments@wikimedia.ch for review.

  1. A business trip would be any trip undertaken on behalf of the WMCH (meeting with stakeholders, volunteers, members, potential new partners, staff/Board members etc.). International travel must be approved before engaging in any expenses by the CEO of WMCH.

Definition of the term "expenses"[edit]

For the purpose of this document, expenses are expenditure incurred by the above mentioned persons while representing the interests of the Association. All expenses must be submitted to a prior approval. The applications are to be sent through email to payments@wikimedia.ch. The usual expenses due to the daily life of the Association as travel costs for the General Assembly or other meetings - outings organized for volunteers, festive event, brunch, etc. - are to be reimbursed.

All employees are obliged to keep their expenses to a minimum as a condition for expense refunds. Unnecessary expenses may not be accepted by the Association and must be paid by employees/volunteers themselves. The following types of expenses incurred for business reasons may be refunded:

  • Cost of travel (see section 1.2)
  • Cost of meals (see section 1.3)
  • Cost of overnight accommodation (see section 1.4)
  • Other costs (see section 1.5)

Principle governing expense refunds[edit]

In principle, all expenses must be settled on the basis of the original receipts for the expense incurred. Lump-sum payments may only be made as an exception.

In case of continuous absences of more than four weeks (e.g. maternity/paternity leave, military service, illness/accident, but excluding holidays), monthly and/or annual lump-sum payments have to be reduced accordingly.

Cost travel[edit]

In the case of a one-day trip, the travel starts from the city of residence of the employees/volunteers and ends at the venue of the meeting.

A maximum amount of CHF 330.- / month is allowed per person who travel by private car. Beyond this amount, the difference must be paid by employees/volunteers themselves.

A maximum amount of CHF 165.- / month is allowed for the persons who travel by public transport and uses his/her personal GA. Beyond this amount, the difference must be paid by employees/volunteers themselves.

Rail travel[edit]

All employees/volunteers are entitled to travel second class by rail in Switzerland and abroad. If required, the Association may issue a personal half-price season ticket to employees/volunteers.

Employees who frequently travel by rail on business can, if required, be issued a free rail pass. Holders of free rail passes may not claim expenses incurred for private cars and may not deduct the cost of travel to work on their tax returns. A check must be placed in the appropriate box on the annual salary certificate (box F of the salary certificate).  

Air travel[edit]

All employees/volunteers travel in "economy class" when traveling by plane. Flying miles, bonus points and premiums, etc., credited to employees by airlines after business trips should be used principally for other business trips.

Use of private cars/taxis for business[edit]

As a general rule public transport has to be used. Costs incurred for private cars/taxis may only be refunded if using them results in substantial savings in time or costs to the Association or if it would be unreasonable to expect the individual concerned to use public transport. In that case, please ask WMCH for approval before taking the car. Taxis are only to be used if imperatively necessary (schedule too tight, material to be carried, physical issues), and in this case also, approval must be sought before incurring the expense.

If private cars/taxis are used despite adequate public transport being available, only the actual cost of public transport will be refunded.

Up to 200km per travel, the rate per kilometer is CHF 0.70 Over 200km per travel, the rate per kilometer is CHF 0.20

If the total cost of travel exceeds the public transportation second class tarification, only the later will be reimbursed. However, if several persons travel together in one car, the rate above is applied.

Sometime the use of a scooter/motorbike is more adequate. In this case, the rate per kilometer is CHF 0.20 regardless the number of kilometers.

Cost of meals[edit]

If an employee is on a business trip or if an employee is compelled for other reasons to eat at a place other than the usual workplace, the employee is entitled to a refund of the effective costs; these may not exceed the following approximate values:

Lunch : CHF 20.-

Dinner: CHF 30.-

The volunteers who are representing the Association on a business purpose over a meal are entitled to a refund of the effective costs as mentioned above, for themselves as well as the invited contributors.

The actual costs incurred may be reimbursed; however, the following points should be clearly stated:

  • Names and positions of all people present, the names of the companies/associations involved and the business relationship to Wikimedia CH (including company employees)
  • Name and location of the venue
  • Date of the meal
  • Purpose of the meal
  • Name of the person who authorized this expense if applicable

Cost of accomodation[edit]


As a rule medium-priced hotels should be used for accommodation.

The actual costs incurred for hotels may be reimbursed according to the original invoices; incidental private expenses (e.g. private phone calls) must be deducted from the hotel bill.

Other expenses[edit]

Technical equipment[edit]

As a general rule, for all purchase of equipment that has not been budgeted, it is first required to ask for sponsoring. For all new purchase, 3 quotations are required for comparison.

Some equipment are available on demand (see inventory). They can be provided to the volunteers for a specific activity. Any purchase of equipment that are not available or inexistant in the Association must be submitted for approval before order.

Minor expenses[edit]

Minor expenses, such as parking fees, office supplies, etc., are generally refunded, provided these are incurred in the course of business and original receipts are produced. As an exception, if the original receipts are not available or it is unreasonable to expect expenses to be reported in such a form, one voucher may be submitted.

In particular case, a monthly lump-sum can be given to employees/volunteers for telephone cost, office supplies, stamps, etc. This applies firstly to the persons who work remotely from the office during a determined project or timeframe. In those particular case, a request must be sent to payments@wikimedia.ch indicating the following points:

  • Name of the project/purpose of the request
  • Description and quantity of material needed, telephone occurred during the activity


As part of contributor care or maintaining contact with business associates the Association may demand that employees entertain such individuals and invite them for meals. As a rule, restraint should be exercised with respect to such invitations. The actual cost incurred must be commensurate with the business involved. In choosing an appropriate locality, the importance of the contributor or business partner to the company and local practice should be taken into account. The actual costs incurred may be reimbursed; however, the following points should be clearly stated:

  • Names and positions of all people present, the names of the companies/associations involved and the business relationship to Wikimedia CH including company employees)
  • Name and location of the venue
  • Date of the invitation
  • Purpose of the invitation
  • Name of the person who authorized this expense if applicable

Debit card/Credit card[edit]

Members of management may be issued a personal debit card/credit card (Postcard) in their own name. The costs arising from use of this card are paid by Wikimedia CH. This card may only be used for business expenses.

Furthermore, this card may not be used for payment of any expenses covered by lump-sums (especially those up to CHF 50.- of receivers of lump-sum payments). Otherwise the employee has to be debited with the respective amount.

Mobile phones[edit]

A business mobile phone will be provided for WMCH employees only. No other mobile phone or phone costs will be reimbursed (unless a volunteer has to have regular access to a phone line because of his/her work/duties, in which case reimbursement of some fees may be considered). Please contact WMCH staff if this is the case.

Administrative requirements[edit]

Statement of expenses and signature[edit]

Expenses will only be settled if they are submitted on the form stipulated by management. The template "Expense Report" is available on the website or on Commons or on request to the executive office of Wikimedia CH.

The expense report must be submitted after the event for which expenses are incurred; however, this must be at least once per month; the form should be submitted with the appropriate receipts to the employee/volunteers’s superior/referee for approval and signature.

Receipts, which must be submitted with the statement, must be originals; these include receipts, checkout slips, credit card payment slips, proof of transport costs, etc.

It is recommended to send the expense reports directly to the email address payments@wikimedia.ch, with the corresponding electronic invoices (expense report in PDF, scanned copies of the other documents and invoices) and also to send the hard copies to the office: Wikimedia CH, 8008 Zürich. This will facilitate the administrative follow-up.

Reimbursement of expenses[edit]

The expenses will be reimbursed directly on the banking or postal account of the concerned person. She/He must indicate her/his IBAN number on the expense report.

Keeping expense receipts and settlements[edit]

For auditing purposes expense reports and all relevant receipts must be kept for ten years.


These expense payment rules were submitted to the Cantonal Tax Office of Zurich and were approved on the 28th of January 2014. On the basis of this approval Wikimedia CH does not detail the actual expenses on the salary statement. Any future modification of the expense payment rules must be submitted to the Cantonal Tax Office Zurich for approval. The tax administration must also be informed if the expense payment rules are annulled or replaced by another set of rules that are not yet approved.


These expense payment rules apply from 17th of December 2013.

See also[edit]