340.1 - Authority for Travel
OPR: Admin/Financial Management
1. Purpose and Scope. This chapter establishes the policies, responsibilities, and procedures for the authorization or approval of travel by USGS employees. The provisions of this chapter and succeeding chapters on travel also apply to individuals who are not USGS employees but who are performing work/service for the USGS.
A. Authorization for travel will be limited to that travel which is essential to the transaction of the USGS mission in the most effective and economical manner. Authorizing officials must take into consideration the need for the travel and the use of travel substitutes (e.g., mail, teleconferencing, etc.). Travel must be authorized by the Director, or by an official to whom authority has been delegated by the Director. (See SM 205.2 for the delegation of authority on travel matters.)
B. Travel during non-duty hours should not be required of an employee. However, it must be recognized that in some cases no amount of planning or scheduling will prevent this. When it is necessary, the employee will receive overtime pay (or compensatory time off if appropriate) for the time in travel status, consistent with provisions of SM 370.550.1. Payment of overtime for travel during non-duty hours will be approved in accordance with SM 370.550.1 and the hours reported on the employee's time and attendance report.
C. Travel will be by the most expeditious means of transportation practicable and be commensurate with the nature and purpose of the duties of the employee requiring such travel.
D. Employees traveling on official business are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business.
E. Travel expenses which will be reimbursed are confined to those expenses essential to the transacting of official business.
A. The Chief, Office of Financial Management is responsible for developing and implementing USGS policies and procedures relative to the management of travel by all USGS employees, and for providing staff advice and financial services in support of such matters.
B. USGS Officials, to whom authority to authorize travel is delegated, are responsible for exercising this delegation in compliance with the requirements of this chapter.
4. Guidelines for Issuing Travel Authorizations.
A. Travel authorizations will be issued in advance of travel as these constitute the legal basis for performing the travel. The legal rights and liabilities in regard to travel allowances vest as and when travel is performed under a competent travel authorization. Such authorizations may not be revoked or modified retroactively so as to increase or decrease the rights and benefits which have become fixed under the applicable statutes and regulations.
B. Travel made without advance authorization will be held to a minimum. When travel is performed in an emergency, without prior authorization, the voucher covering such travel will contain, or be accompanied by, a statement signed by the traveler, showing why advance authorization was not obtained, and requesting retroactive approval. The request must be approved by the individual who normally authorizes travel for the employee.
C. The travel expenses of an employee are properly chargeable to the appropriation current at the time such expenses are incurred by the employee.
5. Types of Travel Authorizations.
A. Unlimited open authorization (General). This type of authorization (type - TDU) allows an employee to travel throughout the United States, its territories and insular possessions, for any purpose (except conference and meeting attendance and training sessions) without further authorization. Unlimited open authorizations will be issued only to principal USGS officials, may cover a period of one fiscal year and must be approved by the Director.
B. Limited open authorization (Area). This type of authorization (type - TDL) is issued to employees whose duties require frequent travel (at least monthly) within a specified area. Such authorizations are issued for a specific purpose(s) of travel (except conference and meeting attendance and training sessions) and must indicate the geographical area covered. Limited open authorizations may be issued for a period up to 3 months and may be extended by a memorandum stating the authorization has been reviewed and the need for frequent travel will continue. Each authorization must be reviewed and, when necessary, revalidated at least quarterly.
C. Trip authorization. This type of authorization (type - TDT) allows an individual or group of individuals to take a specific trip and shall include the specific purpose, itinerary, and estimated dates of travel. Blanket authorizations are special forms of trip authorizations and may be used where several employees are traveling to the same destination and all conditions of travel are the same. The authorization form will show in the "Name" and "Title" spaces the phrase "See attached list." This list will contain the name, title and social security number of each traveler.
D. Permanent change of station. This type of authorization (type - PCS) is issued to an employee for a permanent change of headquarters.
6. Travel Authorization, Form DI-1020. Travel must be authorized on Form DI-1020 (see Figures 1 & 2). Although most items on the form are self-explanatory, an explanation of some items is listed below:
(1) Item 1 - No. Travel authorizations will have a nine digit number. The first position will be the last digit of the fiscal year. The next four positions are the first four digits of the organization code. The last four positions will be a sequential number assigned by the originating organization, i.e., 1-2120-0001. A travel authorization number may not be repeated within a fiscal year.
(2) Item 4 - Name. In addition to the traveler's name, this field must include the traveler's social security number.
(3) Item 6 - Title. If the traveler is not a USGS employee, the term "NON-USGS EMPL" must be included with the traveler's title.
(4) Item 10 - Purpose and Remarks. This field must indicate a specific purpose of travel followed by a brief explanation (i.e. Site Visit - To perform geologic field investigations.) See Appendix A for a list of travel purposes. Additionally, any annual leave to be taken in conjunction with the travel assignment must be indicated in item 10.
(5) Item 11 - Per Diem Allowance. The specific per diem allowance applicable for the trip involved should be indicated in item 11. The term "maximum allowable" should not be used.
(6) Item 20 - Transportation. In addition to the estimated cost of the transportation, the method of payment must be indicated as shown below:
GTR - Government Transportation Request
GTS - Corporate Diners Club Charge Card
DC - Individual Diners Club Charge Card
Cash - Cash or personal credit card other than Diners Club
(7) Item 22 - Other. Anticipated travel cost, in addition to transportation and per diem, must be itemized in this field, i.e. rental car, taxi, registration fee, etc.
(8) Item 24 - Charged To. The account number to be charged must be indicated in this field. In the instance of multiple account numbers, separate amounts for items 20 through 23 must be indicated for each account number.
(9) Item 25 - Fiscal Officer's Signature. The individual authorized to certify that funds are available for this travel assignment must sign the Travel Authorization.
B. Distribution. Form DI-1020 is distributed as follows:
(1) Original (white) to traveler.
(2) Accounting Copy (blue) to the Office of Financial Management.
(3) Voucher Copy (green) to be attached to the travel voucher.
(4) File Copy (yellow) to be kept on file in traveler's office.
7. Levels of approval and requirements for special purpose travel. Due to the relatively high costs associated with certain kinds of travel, such travel shall be authorized only on a trip-by-trip basis and reviewed at a level of authority sufficient to provide policy approval. A specific trip (TDT) travel authorization must be issued for the following types of travel:
A. Conferences, meetings, and training sessions.
B. Foreign travel.
C. Permanent change of station.
8. Prior to issuing a travel authorization, the Director's approval is required for the following circumstances:
A. Foreign travel. See SM 340.16 for instructions for submitting form DI-1175 for Director's approval.
B. Sponsoring meetings, conferences, and workshops for which total travel and per diem estimates exceed $5000. Any meeting being sponsored/held by the USGS in which the estimate of the travel and per diem costs exceed $5000 must have the approval of the Director. USGS Form 9-3028, Request for Approval to Hold Meeting, will be completed and submitted to the Director's Office at least 30 days prior to the scheduled meeting date (See Figure 3). This form will be completed in duplicate. After approval one copy will be forwarded to the Assistant Secretary--Water and Science; the other copy will be returned to the originating division. Each Division Chief will have the responsibility for ensuring that this requirement is met. A central division file will be maintained for all Forms 9-3028.