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GitLab Contribute Frequently Asked Questions

Registration

I'm new/I'm a manager and have a new hire. Will I/my new hire be invited? When will invitations been sent?

New team members who have signed their work agreement on or before March 6, 2020 - with a start date up to and no later than March 18, 2020 - will be eligible to attend Contribute 2020 so that travel and accommodation can be arranged no less than two weeks prior to the event. This has been decided by the E-Group.

Any new team members with start dates up to and including Feb. 24, 2020 will receive a Contribute registration email and TripActions invite sent to their GitLab email addresses on their first or second day of work, with 2 weeks to register and book their travel. These emails will be sent on a weekly basis until and including on Feb. 24, 2020.

For any new team members with start dates after Feb 24, 2020 and up to and including March 18, 2020, invitations will be sent daily to their personal email addresses with a 1-week deadline to register and book travel. For invitations sent to personal email addresses, only the Contribute registration email will be sent (no TripActions invitation). Those team members will be instructed how to book travel on their own, and submit reimbursement when they have access to Expensify on their first day; or they may send their preferred, in-budget itinerary to contribute@domain.com and we will book their travel for them.

How do I register?

You will receive an email from contribute@gitlab.com inviting you to register (please see above for details on when invitations will be sent to new hires). Please follow the link in the email to register.

Booking your travel (through TripActions or otherwise) is not sufficient to register for Contribute. You need to follow in the link in your invitation email to register. If you do not register, we cannot arrange accommodation, transfers, excursions, or any other elements of Contribute for you.

I am not sure I can attend just yet, what should I do?

You may have 14 days or less from the time you receive your registration email to register for Contribute. Your exact deadline time frame is listed in your registration invitation email. If you'd like to request an extension, please email contribute@gitlab.com with information on why you'd like more time to decide.

How do I modify my registration?

There is a link to Manage Registration Details in the confirmation email sent after you register.

If you deleted/can't find your confirmation email, you can visit https://events.bizzabo.com/gitlab-contribute/settings/ticket.

How do I deregister from Contribute?

We're sorry to hear you won't be able to join us. To deregister find the confirmation email sent after you registered, and click on Manage Registration Details, that will allow you to cancel your registration.

If you don't have access to that email, or if you need to deregister your SO as well, please email contribute@gitlab.com and the team will take care of it.

Concerns about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

2020-03-04 Update: With the increased impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) across the world, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the planned March 2020 edition of Contribute. The health and safety of our team members is our highest priority. We are disappointed, but believe this to be the best decision for everyone involved. For other organizations facing similarly difficult decisions, we encourage them to study, implement, and contribute to GitLab's Guide to All-Remote, which outlines our vision for building meaningful relationships through intentional informal communication and in-person interactions.

2020-02-26 Update: As of 26 February 2020, Contribute 2020 is still on. The Contribute team and the EGroup are continually monitoring the coronavirus situation to ensure the safety of all team members and guests. We are monitoring the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as they evolve and are in communication with the CDC to stay informed. We understand the concerns that you may have. Important things we would like you to know right now:

  1. It is your decision to attend Contribute, and we encourage you to make your own decision about what is right for you regarding attendance and travel. Rest assured there is no judgement from GitLab if you make the decision not to travel to Contribute 2020.
  2. GitLab Team Members will have no penalty for choosing not to attend at any time - even if travel reimbursements have already been made or if you have non-refundable tickets. Please email contribute@gitlab.com before you cancel any travel reservations so that we can assist and maximize any credits for future travel or refunds that you may be eligible for.
  3. GitLab will refund single room charges if you decide to cancel.
  4. GitLab will refund Guest Contribute Tickets if your guest decides to cancel. Guests are responsible for getting refunds or credits for their own airline tickets (as GitLab was not involved in purchasing those tickets and cannot provide refunds).
  5. We are making preparations for the typical health and safety requirements of a large group. For example, there will be an EMT/ nurse on site at all times. But, as with any trip, please begin preparing for your personal health at Contribute by acquiring alcohol-based hand-sanitizers, wipes and anything else you deem necessary to keep yourself safe during your travel time and while at Contribute. Please refer to the CDC’s prevention guidelines here.

Please continue to refer to this handbook page for the latest update on the status of Contribute 2020.

This list will continue to evolve as CDC and WHO guidance changes:

Travel insurance

Every team member at GitLab is enrolled in our Business Travel Accident Policy through AIG. There are no exclusions in our policy for the Novel Coronavirus.

This will cover:

This will not cover:

For more information on our Business Travel Accident Policy, please refer to point 7 in the general benefits section.

Booking travel

We’ve signed on with TripActions for all team travel. For Contribute you will receive a separate invitation email with the specific budget and travel dates for Prague directly from Trip Actions. However, since there may be cheaper flights outside of TripActions, please do a search on other websites, such as Google Flights, airline websites, and Skyscanner, before booking. If you find a cheaper flight elsewhere, please see Booking travel outside TripActions below for more information.

Please use the invitation email link to book your flight in TripActions for correct finance tagging.

Deadline to book travel

Please see your registration email to determine your booking deadline.

Budget

All amounts are listed in United States Dollars (USD). Convert the amount to your local currency if you don't use USD.

Your email invite is linked to the correct budget for your location.

**All travel budget allocated is not applicable for guest travel expenses.**

The handbook policy of $300 towards an upgrade on flights of 9+ hours does not apply to Contribute*.

*However, if your travel time is 24+ hours or includes 3+ connections please feel free to expense up to $300 towards an upgrade (the $300 is for the round trip, not each way), if you are traveling over 30 hours please let us know asap and we can arrange for you to arrive a day earlier. If your height is greater than 1.95m or 6'5", please seek approval from your manager first if you would like to upgrade your flights, as the additional cost will come out of your team's budget.

Please see the Expenses section below for more on what expenses are covered for team members.

Using TripActions

If you’re logged in, you can find the tab “Invitations” in the top menu where you can again find the Prague link to book. Please make sure to use this for correct finance tagging.

Booking travel outside TripActions

If you've found a cheaper or more direct flight outside of TripActions, you can book in two ways:

Book on your personal credit card and submit for reimbursement. When self booking you can only expense up to the max in your region. Make sure to use the tag "Prague Contribute 2020" in the "classifications" field in Expensify. You can contact TripActions directly, provide them with the flight information, and ask that they book the flight on the company card.

If you'd like to travel by train, you can use your local railway website to book your travel. Please feel free to reach out with any questions and note that the budget will be the same as stated above for EMEA.

For anyone making any sort of booking outside of Trip Actions, please make sure to email your full itinerary confirmation to contributetravel@gitlab.com as soon as you have booked it.

Travel FAQs

What if I can't find a flight within the budget for my region?

Please do searches outside of TripActions on Google Flights, airline websites, and other travel sites to see whether there's a price difference.

If you are still unable to find something that works, please reach out to contributetravel@gitlab.com, and we will do our best to accommodate you. When you email the Contribute team, please attach screenshots of your research on both TripActions and external sites.

Please note that the Contribute team must approve your overbudget flight BEFORE you book. Failure to do so may result in covering the overage out of pocket. Your manager will also be contacted in the event you book outside policy.

What about travel to and from the airport?

Please see the expenses section below.

What if I don't have a passport/need to renew my passport?

If you don't have a passport yet, please enter 000000000000 for now. Apply for a passport ASAP. When you have it come back to modify your registration and enter the number.

If you are renewing your passport, enter your current number and come back to modify it when you have the new passport.

Please see Passport costs below for guidance on expensing your passport application fee.

I need an invitation letter from GitLab to apply for a visa. Where can I get one?

Also, can I get one for my SO and/or children?

Please check the handbook page on visas for details about getting an invitation letter.

What if I want to book my travel to/from a city other than Prague?

If you want to extend your trip to visit another city in the area, it's fine to book and expense your travel to/from another destination, provided it costs no more than traveling directly to/from Prague and falls within the budget for your region. Note that you may need personal travel insurance.

What if I want to extend my trip and travel on different days?

If you want to extend your trip, it's fine to book and expense your travel on different days, provided it costs no more than traveling directly to/from Prague and falls within the budget for your region. Note that you may need personal travel insurance.

When should I arrive/depart?

Plan to arrive on March 22nd (this means you may need to leave your home on the 21st). This is arrivals day and there are no planned activities for this day. Even if you arrive at 11:45pm you will not miss out on anything and the team will be there to check you in.

If you arrive early on the 22nd, you may not be able to check into your hotel room right away, but the team will be there to greet you, and the hotel can hold your luggage so you're free to explore the city.

March 27th is the departures day; you can leave at any time on that day as the event concludes the night before and no activities are planned for the 27th. We will have transport back to the hotel from the final party anytime from 9pm on the 26th, but if you want to enjoy the party for as long as possible (in the past it has ended around 1am), we suggest booking an afternoon or evening flight home.

I found cheaper flights. Can I expense, or do I have to use TripActions?

If you find flights outside of TripActions that are cheaper, you can purchase and expense the flight, see Booking travel outside TripActions.

Can I use the $300 upgrade for my flight?

The handbook policy of $300 towards an upgrade on flights of 9+ hours does not apply to Contribute.

However, if your travel time is 24+ hours or includes 3+ connections, please feel free to expense up to $300 towards an upgrade (i.e. $300 total, not per flight).

If you’re traveling 30+ hours, please let us know asap, and we can arrange for you to arrive a day earlier.

If you are taller than 1.95 m or 6'5", you can upgrade to Economy Plus. Please email contributetravel@ before booking.

I need a Schengen visa for Contribute. What happens if my visa application is declined and I need to cancel my travel plans?

First of all, we hope this doesn't happen to you! But if it did, any cancellation fees would be taken care of by GitLab.

This is also applicable if you are unable to apply for visa before the deadline for booking flights. You can book your tickets before the deadline if you are unable to apply for a visa at that time. That way, you get better rates on your tickets. We can cancel the tickets based on your status of Visa later, and GitLab will take care of any cancellation fees.

Please see Visa application costs below for guidance on expensing.

I'd like to travel by train to Contribute but this won't be within budget for my region. What can I do?

Thanks for being eco-conscious! Please email contributetravel@gitlab.com with the price difference and we will do our best to accomodate you.

What if I need to come early for a team meeting?

Once your manager notifies the planning team at contribute@gitlab.com we'll make arrangements for lodging.

Guests

Can I bring a guest?

Yes, GitLabbers may bring one (1) guest, and they're encouraged to buy a ticket to attend. This way they will be able to join in on all activities, meals, excursions, workshops, and more. Any guests that do not have a ticket will not be able to participate in any Contribute activity.

Can my guest/child attend without a ticket to Contribute?

This is discouraged for a few reasons. The purpose of Contribute is to connect with our team face to face, as we only gather in person once every nine months. If your guest is unable to join in on any activities, you may find yourself torn between spending time with other GitLabbers and hanging out with your guest, which could mean that you miss out on bonding with teammates.

It is also not guaranteed that you will get a private room if you request one (see the room info page). The safest way to being your SO to Contribute is to buy them a ticket. The cost of a private room to share with your guest is included in their ticket.

That said, we understand that Contribute is a long time away from your family, and if the only way to attend is to bring our child/guest/both, then we won't charge a guest ticket.

Please note we cannot accommodate anyone under 18 at any Contribute activity, such as meals, excursions or workshops.

How do I register my guest?

If you are buying a ticket for your guest for Contribute, you will need to register them separately.

When is the latest I can register my guest to attend?

Your guest has the same deadline as you do.

Is my guest's ticket refundable if they have do to cancel for some reason?

It is refundable up to 45 days before Contribute.

Accommodation

During registration, you can express your rooming preferences. Final room assignments will be shared at the beginning of March.

Hotels

We will be staying at the Hilton Prague (Pobřežní 1, Prague, Czech Republic, 186 00) and Hilton Prague Old Town (V Celnici 7, Prague, Czech Republic, 110 00). You will not necessarily be in the same hotel as the rest of your team.

The Hilton Prague is our primary hotel where workshops and meetings will take place.

As it stands, most team members will be in the Hilton Prague, with some larger rooms reserved for those traveling with family in the Hilton Prague Old Town.

Sharing a room

There is no additional cost if you opt to share a room.

We encourage you to schedule coffee chats with your roommate before Contribute.

Private rooms

With your guest

If you buy a Contribute ticket for your guest, you will automatically get a private room to share with them. The cost of this is included in your guest's ticket.

If your guest is joining you, it is strongly recommended that they have a ticket for Contribute, rather than joining independently and sharing a single private room with you. The intention of Contribute is to be together with our team for IRL networking, relationship building, and experiences both with team members as a whole, and specialized department activities throughout the day and some evenings. If a guest ticket is purchased, they are welcome to attend any and all elements of Contribute (workshops, food and beverage, events, excursions, lodging, etc.). If your guest doesn't have a ticket, they will not be able to join any element of Contribute, which might be isolating for them and could lead to you feeling torn between participating with the team and spending time with your guest. Please note that only registered guests can be accommodated on shuttles to/from the Prague airport. If you are bringing unregistered guests, you must arrange for your own transportation at your own expense.

On your own

If you want to have a private room to yourself or to share with your guest who doesn't have a Contribute ticket, there is an additional cost of US$500. This is a fixed rate for GitLab and will not change, regardless of fluctuations in the listed price on the hotel's own website.

There may not be sufficient private rooms to accommodate everyone who wants one, so please note this is not guaranteed. It is best to register early as it is first come, first served. We will also take personal/medical needs into account if the demand for private rooms outstrips supply.

If you registered for Contribute and requested a single room before December 1, your request was granted. We will confirm other requests when the rooming list goes out at the beginning of March.

When do I pay for a single room?

Instructions for this will be provided when the rooming list goes out at the beginning of March.

Other lodging options

Team members are not permitted to stay in other accommodations during Contribute, such as Airbnbs or other hotels due to security reasons. Furthermore, the goal of Contribute is to build bonds with the GitLab community, which is easier to accomplish when we're staying at the same locations.

Looking to stay additional days at the Contribute hotel?

If you want some extra time to explore Prague, this year we have added an option to select additional night stays before or after Contribute in the registration process. This will be an out-of-pocket cost of 4400 CZK + VAT (approximately $241 USD; this includes breakfast but not taxes) per night, but we will confirm the registration on your behalf. You will not need to check back in or out, and payment will be due upon checkin.

If you find a better rate, feel free to book and pay for it independently, but note that you will need to check in and out separately for your additional days, and you may move rooms.

Attending Contribute

Is it possible to attend Contribute for a shorter amount of time?

While we encourage everyone to attend the entire event because the program is crafted to ebb and flow with various learnings and differentiated interactions - both departmental and cross functional - we understand that this is a long time away from family and other priorities, so we're able to accept partial bookings as long as team members can attend for at least 2 full days excluding Arrivals Day.

What if I have to leave early?

In the case of an emergency that requires you to leave Contribute, please reach out to an Ambassador. We'll help find transportation and provide any other support you need. You won't be expected to reimburse GitLab for anything.

What to expect at Contribute

How much free time will there be during Contribute?

You can count on having free time during Arrivals Day and in the evenings. You’ll have a packed schedule the rest of the time, including excursions, workshops, and keynotes. Please note that events are not mandatory, so if you’re not up for an excursion or a workshop, you’re not obligated to attend. However, the goal of Contribute is to build bonds with each other and cultivate a strong community, so if you decide not to attend an event, we hope that you spend that time recharging or getting to know others.

How can I sign up for excursions?

Registration for excursions opened at 5am PT on February 20. We sent a Google Form to all registered attendees; please check the email address you used to register for Contribute and let us know if you still haven't received an email. We understand this may not be a convenient time for all time zones – being a global company makes this a challenge. We have tried to offer a wide range of choices for all interests and levels of activity. You can view descriptions of all excursions here.

How does SO registration for excursions work?

If your SO has a ticket for Contribute, they should have received an email with the Google Form to fill out as well. If you and your SO both send your forms in around the same time, chances are high that you will be placed on the same excursions (assuming you gave the same first and second choices!).

Unfortunately we can't accommodate team members registering both themselves and SOs for excursions with one Google Form, but we are noting guests with registered +1s to do everything possible to pair team members with their SOs.

My SO doesn't have a Contribute ticket. Can I pay for them to join an excursion?

Unfortunately not, we have provided headcounts to the tour operators based on registered attendees only.

When will we hear which excursions we are joining?

We will let everyone know which excursions they are registered for in a few weeks. We promise you will have plenty of time to plan and pack accordingly!

What happens if the weather is bad?

If you chose an outdoor excursion, the tour operator will likely make reasonable adjustments for the excursion to go ahead. We will be accommodating of weather-related cancelations onsite, because even though as a company we will still be paying, our team members' sense of safety is paramount.

What if I need to cancel my place on an excursion?

We will not be charging team members for cancellations, however please keep "spending company money like your own" in mind and be aware that GitLab will pay for your place on an excursion whether you attend or not. That being said, we understand that things happen and don't want to force people to do something that should be enjoyable for fear of being fined.

There will be an excursion desk onsite dedicated to assisting with any wait lists, changes, cancellations etc.

How do I sign up for workshops, panels, etc.?

We will be opening registration for all sessions soon, please watch this space! In the meantime you can view a tentative schedule here.

What about self-organized activities outside of the official schedule?

Please feel free to arrange and participate in these! You can find them on the issue tracker using the 'self-organized activity' label, and create a new issue using that label if you want to do something that's not listed. Some existing issues are:

  1. Football (soccer) game
  2. GitLab band
  3. Board Games @ Contribute 2020
  4. Climbing Gym outing
  5. outing - nerf arena

What is Team Day?

Wednesday, March 25 is Team Day. On this day we will have designated Team Time where functional groups and teams can organize an activity together, followed by a team dinner in the evening.

It is best to organize Team Time with the group you work with day to day. This can be a meeting during the day with a stage (multiple teams) and then a dinner with a team (smaller group). Or, it could be a meeting with your team (e.g. Marketing Operations or Field Marketing) and a dinner with a larger group (all of Marketing). The EBA tam is responsible for organizing and relaying their teams requests. They will be in touch with directors and managers on how they will be doing so.

EBA's need to submit this form on AV/ meeting space requests. Please do not complete without consulting your manager/ director to make sure they don't have plans for your larger group.

What is the budget for Team Time?

What do we do for lunch during Team Time?

We will have regularly scheduled meals at the hotel. We can arrange for bag lunches for teams going offsite at no additional cost to the team. We can take into account any food allergies and dietary restrictions, but the menu for bag lunches will be predetermined in coordination with the hotel.

If teams want to have lunch outside of this, it comes out of the budgets as described above.

Where do we make requests for space during Team Time?

What flexibility do we have?

The activities during the day is completely up to the team/manager. Some teams do bonding activities, others do work stuff. It is up to team leads to decide what is best for their group. Dinner will be planned by the Contribute team.

Can we plan our own excursions?

Definitely, each team has $50 per person to spend on activities during the day. Anything in excess of this budget will be taken out of the team's budget. If you would like to plan one, we can set you up with our local agency to help you plan your team outing. Please let us know in the form what kind of activity you’d like to do, the rough budget, and headcount.

Can I bring in a guest speaker or workshop host?

Yes, please let us know your plans and note that any associated costs will need to be from your team's budget and requests submitted by February 20. Our local resources can help you find local leaders/ speakers. We cannot accept any speakers that will require air travel or lodging.

What should managers do about team dinners?

In an effort to alleviate the burden of finding a suitable restaurant within budget we have pre-booked and assigned groups restaurants. Note that due to how large our group is this year, how time consuming small bookings are, and how rapidly the event is approaching, we had to make most team dinners for 50 or more people. Most orgs got broken up into two or more parts, with many of the smaller teams grouped together. Teams can choose to sit with their smaller orgs or intermix with the larger group.

We will send a follow-up email with more details on team dinners and reservations, so hang tight.

Are SOs welcome?

What do community members, speakers, and other guests do during Team Time?

Final party

Into the Woods

Inspired by Prague's rich history, folk tales, and castles, what better way to immerse ourselves in a fairytale city than go… Into the Woods! Our final party is set to be an enchanted evening, and costumes/accessories/themed attire is encouraged.

What expenses are covered for team members?

Airfare or train tickets

Please see Booking travel above.

Is checked luggage reimbursable?

On TripActions, most airlines provide an option to pay extra for checked luggage. GitLab will reimburse the cost for adding one checked bag at a standard weight (only if the existing booking doesn't permit checked luggage), up to a maximum $100 USD total.

If you booked outside of TripActions and the booking does not include any checked luggage, please feel free to expense the cost of adding one checked bag at a standard weight. If possible, please try to do so ahead of time, as it is often far more costly to do this when you reach the airport.

Getting to and from your home airport

Parking and mileage*/taxi/public transport to and from your home airport/train station can be expensed up to $80 USD total (this is on top of the limit set for flight costs in your region).

*Please see Spending company money for guidance regarding expensing mileage.

If you are extending your trip and traveling earlier or later than the official Contribute dates, you may still expense these travel costs associated with getting to/from your home airport on your traveling days.

Please use the Prague Contribute 2020 classification in Expensify.

Getting to and from the Contribute hotel

Arriving by air

GitLab will arrange transportation to and from Prague airport with scheduled group transfers. If you are arriving before March 22nd or leaving after March 27th we won't reimburse you for your transport to or from the airport in Prague, unless you have an exception explicitly agreed upon with the Contribute team.

Arriving by train

Watch this space – instructions coming soon!

Exceptions

Example 1: You are flying in early to Prague to spend a few days sightseeing before arrivals day. You may expense your transport to your home airport, but not transport on arrival in Prague. You will need to make your own way to the Contribute hotel at your own expense. On departures day, GitLab will arrange and pay for a group transfer from the hotel to the airport. When you arrive back in your home country, you may expense your transport home from the airport.

Example 2: You arrive on arrivals day in Prague, but are staying on afterwards to travel elsewhere in Europe. You may expense your transport to your home airport. GitLab will arrange and pay for a group transfer to the hotel on arrival in Prague. You will then need to make your own way to the airport (wherever you are flying home from) at your own expense. When you arrive back in your home country, you may expense your transport home from the airport.

Passport costs

If you need to get a passport or renew it specifically for traveling to Contribute, you can expense up to $75 USD to cover the cost of this process. If the costs are higher, GitLab will only reimburse up to $75 USD.

To take advantage of this perk, email contribute@gitlab.com with details for approval and include your manager in cc. Once approved, submit for expense reimbursement and mention that the expense has been approved.

Visa application costs

Please check first if you need a visa to visit Prague!

If you do need one, you may expense the visa application fee, transport to the embassy or visa application center, courier fees for return of your passport, and accommodation if you need to travel to another city to make your application. Please use the Prague Contribute 2020 classification in Expensify.

Please take care to note what documents are needed for your visa application and always follow official guidance from the embassy or visa application center regarding timelines. GitLab will not reimburse you for additional trips to apply if you haven't prepared adequately.

Accommodation

Hotel nights/tax have already been paid for by GitLab during Contribute. Each person will need to check in and provide a credit card for incidentals, but won't be charged unless there are any (e.g. room service). Basic internet is included in the room. When sharing a room, usually the first team member to arrive will be prompted to put down their card. Communicate with your roommate and discuss how to split any bill that may arise from room incidentals.

Food and drink

Meals

GitLab has arranged meals for everyone attending on the following dates: Monday, March 23rd - Thursday, March 26th. If you choose to not consume what we have prearranged or go out on your own, you cannot expense separate items/ meals.

Example: We will have coffee at the hotel every day; if you decide to buy a coffee offsite that will not be expensable.

On arrival and departure days (March 22 and 27) you may expense up to $65 USD towards meals. This $65 USD is for each day and applies to GitLab team members only. If you are traveling to Contribute on different days, you may expense this amount on your travel days only.

Example: As your Department is meeting early on March 22, you are traveling to Prague on March 20 to get acclimated with the new time zone. Then, after Contribute, you are leaving to spend one week in Greece until April 14th. You would still be able to expense $ 65 USD in meals on March 20 and April 14.

Drinks

GitLab will have a few hosted bars. If you order something outside of these hours or off menu these drink cannot be expensed or put on the GitLab tab.

If your team has a happy hour or drinks with your team dinner that will be handled by your team lead – please ask them for their parameters on ordering.

What's NOT Covered


We want to ensure everyone has a safe and successful week and that everyone feels like they are getting their needs met, so if you have any questions about the policies above please reach out to contribute@gitlab.com.