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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

340.7 - Per Diem Allowances in Lieu of Actual Subsistence

2/1/90

OPR: Admin/Financial Management

1. Purpose. Per diem allowances shall be paid as prescribed in this Chapter for official travel away from the official station (including travel incidental to a change of official station), except when actual subsistence expense reimbursement is authorized or approved as provided in Survey Manual Chapter 340.8.

2. Definitions. For purposes of this Chapter, the following definitions apply:

A. Calendar Day. Calendar day means the 24-hour period from one midnight to the next midnight. For the purposes of these regulations, the calendar day technically begins immediately after midnight (reflected herein as 12:01 a.m.) and ends at 12:00 midnight.

B. CONUS. CONUS refers to both the "Continental United States", defined in 5 U.S.C. 5701(6), and the "conterminous United States", defined as the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia.

C. Locality Rates. Locality rates are maximum per diem rates prescribed for specific localities within CONUS. Locality rates are listed by state and city in Appendix A.

D. Standard CONUS Rate. Generally, the standard CONUS rate is prescribed for any location within CONUS that is not included in one of the defined localities or areas for which a specific rate is prescribed in Appendix A. The standard CONUS rate is also prescribed in certain specified circumstances as provided herein for all locations within CONUS, including the separately defined localities.

E. Per Diem Allowance. The per diem allowance is a daily payment instead of actual expenses for lodging, meals and related incidental expenses (see 3C. The per diem allowance is distinguished from transportation expenses and other miscellaneous travel expenses as described below.

(1) Transportation Expenses. Transportation expenses include commercial bus, air, rail, or vessel/steamship fares and are reimbursable in addition to the per diem allowance. Transportation expenses also include local transit system and taxi fares, cost of commercial rental cars and other special conveyances, and mileage and other allowances for use of privately owned conveyances, including fees for parking, ferries, etc.

(2) Other Miscellaneous Travel Expenses. Other miscellaneous travel expenses are those described in Chapter 340 that are directly attributable and necessary to the travel and temporary duty as authorized and performed. When authorized these expenses are reimbursable in addition to the per diem allowance and transportation expenses.

3. Types of Expenses Covered by Per Diem. The per diem allowance covers all charges, including taxes and service charges where applicable, for the following types of subsistence expenses.

A. Lodging.

(1) The term "lodging" includes expenses for overnight sleeping facilities; baths; personal use of the room during daytime; and service charges for fans, air conditioners, heaters, and fires furnished in rooms when such charges are not included in the room rate.

(2) The term "lodging" does not include accommodations on airplanes, trains, buses, or vessels. The cost of accommodations furnished aboard common carriers is included in the transportation cost and is not considered a subsistence expense. However, in determining the overall cost to the Government when authorizing the mode of transportation to be used, the availability of these accommodations shall be considered.

B. Meals. Expenses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (specifically excluded are alcoholic beverages and entertainment expenses, and any expense incurred for other persons).

C. Incidental Expenses Related to Subsistence.

(1) Fees and tips to waiters and waitresses, porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, dining room stewards or stewardesses and others on vessels, and hotel servants in foreign countries.

(2) Laundry and cleaning and pressing of clothing.

(3) Transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken except as provided in 340.2.8C.

(4) Telegrams and telephone calls necessary to reserve lodging accommodations.

4. Employee Responsibility. An employee traveling on official business is expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business and expending personal funds. Excess costs, circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations and services unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official business are not acceptable under this standard. Employees will be responsible for excess costs and any additional expenses incurred for personal preference or convenience.

5. Responsibilities for Authorizing/Approving Rates. It is the responsibility of the individual authorizing the travel to authorize or approve only those per diem allowances that are justified by the circumstances affecting the travel and are allowable under the specific rules in this Chapter. However, the per diem rates provided for under these rules represent the maximum allowable. To prevent authorization or approval of per diem allowances in excess of amounts required to meet the necessary subsistence expenses of official travel, consideration shall be given to factors such as those listed below that reduce the necessary expenses of employees. (See specific guidelines in paragraph 10 for reducing rates.)

A. Known arrangements or established cost experience at temporary duty locations showing that lodging and/or meals can be obtained without cost or at reduced cost to the employee.

B. Situations in which special rates for accommodations have been made available for a particular meeting, conference, training or other temporary duty assignment.

C. Traveler's familiarity with establishments providing lodging and meals at a lower cost in certain localities, particularly where repetitive travel or extended stays are involved.

D. Modes of transportation where accommodations are provided as part of the transportation costs.

E. Situations in which the Government furnishes lodging, such as Government quarters.

6. Maximum Per Diem Rates. Per diem allowances for official travel shall be at daily rates not in excess of the maximum per diem rates established as follows:

A. Conterminous United States (CONUS). The per diem allowances payable for official travel within CONUS shall not exceed the maximum per diem rates established by the Administrator of General Services and listed in Appendix A.

B. Nonforeign Areas Outside CONUS. The per diem allowances payable for official travel in non-foreign areas shall not exceed the maximum per diem rates established by the Secretary of Defense and listed in Civilian Personnel Per Diem Bulletins published periodically in the Federal Register. The term "nonforeign areas" includes the States of Alaska and Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Possessions of the United States.

C. Foreign Areas. Per diem allowances payable for official travel in foreign areas shall not exceed the maximum per diem rates established by the Secretary of State and published in the Per Diem Supplement to the Standardized Regulations (Government Civilians, Foreign Areas). The term "foreign areas" includes any area (including the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands) situated both outside CONUS and the nonforeign areas as described in A and B, above.

7. General Rules Affecting Entitlement to Per Diem.

A. Travel Within Local Commuting Area.

(1) Excluding conference travel, per diem may not be allowed under normal duty situations for travel within 50 miles of both the employee's duty station and residence. Exceptions may be approved for travel less than 50 miles but more than 30 miles from both the duty station or residence, when the travel involves unusual and/or uncontrollable factors such that requiring the employee to return home would create undue hardship. Only the Director may grant this exception. A copy of each exception approved by the Director must be provided to the Department, as well as being part of the documentation supporting reimbursement claims. Exceptions for travel within 30 miles from either an employee's duty station and/or residence may be granted only by the Assistant Secretary--Policy, Budget and Administration, and will be considered in only the most unusual and pressing circumstances.

(2) Per diem may be allowed for conference travel when the conference site is at least 30 miles from the employee's duty station and residence. Per diem may not be approved nor paid for attendance at a conference less than 30 miles from both the employee's duty station and residence. Exceptions to the limitation may be granted only by the Assistant Secretary--Policy, Budget and Administration.

(3) In addition to the mileage limitation on payment of per diem, an employee must be in an authorized travel status and incur costs that would generate an entitlement to reimbursement.

(4) Any requests for exceptions to the policy must be submitted to the Director through the Assistant Director for Administration.

B. Travel of 10 Hours or Less (10-hour rule). A per diem allowance shall not be allowed when the period of official travel is 10 hours or less except as provided in 9B(1). (See also 8B(1)(a).)

C. Beginning and Ending of Entitlement. For computing per diem allowances, official travel begins at the time an employee leaves his/her home, office, or other authorized point of departure and ends when the traveler returns to his/her home, office, or other authorized point at the conclusion of the trip.

D. Deductions for Meals and/or Lodgings Furnished. Where meals and/or lodging are furnished without charge or at a nominal cost by a Federal Government agency at a temporary duty station, an appropriate deduction shall be made from the authorized per diem rate. (See 8A(2)(b).

8. Lodgings-Plus Per Diem Computation Rules for Travel Within CONUS. Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter the per diem allowances authorized or approved for all official travel within CONUS, including travel incident to a change of official station, shall be computed under the lodgings-plus per diem system as prescribed herein. Under this system the per diem allowance for each travel day is established on the basis of the actual amount the traveler pays for lodgings plus an allowance for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) the total not to exceed the applicable maximum per diem rate. The rules provided in A through D, below, shall be applied in the specific situations covered.

A. Maximum CONUS Per Diem Rates (Appendix A). Maximum per diem rates prescribed for travel within CONUS are listed in Appendix A for certain specific localities. For all CONUS locations not specifically listed or encompassed by the defined boundaries of a listed location, a standard maximum per diem rate of $66 is prescribed. For all CONUS locations, whether or not they are specifically listed in Appendix A, the standard CONUS rate applies in certain specified travel circumstances (see b(2), below) and for subsistence allowances incident to a change of official station. The following elements comprise the per diem allowance:

(1) Maximum Lodging Expense Allowance. The maximum per diem rates include a maximum amount for lodging expenses. The employee will be reimbursed for actual lodging costs incurred up to the applicable maximum amounts listed in Appendix A. Receipts for lodging are required as provided in C(1), below.

(2) Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) Allowance.

(a) The maximum per diem rates include a fixed allowance for meals and for incidental expenses related to subsistence. This allowance is reflected in Appendix A as the M&IE rate. When the M&IE rate, or fraction thereof, is authorized or approved as provided herein, it is payable to the traveler without itemization of expenses or receipts. For partial days of travel, the M&IE rate shall be prorated as provided in paragraph B below.

(b) The M&IE rate shall be allocated as shown below when making necessary deductions from the per diem for meals furnished to the employee without charge by the Federal Government. The total amount of deductions made on partial days shall not cause the employee to receive less than the amount allocated for incidental expenses.

M&IE Rates

$26 $34

Breakfast 5 7

Lunch 5 7

Dinner 14 18

Incidentals 2 2

B. Per Diem Allowance Computations. The per diem allowance is to be calculated using the rules stated in (1) through (4), below.

(1) Travel of 24 Hours or Less.

(a) 10 Hours or Less. Per diem shall not be allowed for travel of 10 hours or less (see 7B). This prohibition is also applicable to travel incident to a change of official station within CONUS.

(b) More Than 10 Hours. When the travel period (entire trip) for which per diem has been authorized is 24 hours or less, the travel period will be divided in to 6-hour periods starting from the actual time travel begins and ending with the traveler's arrival at home, office, or other authorized point, upon conclusion of the trip. The per diem allowance for the trip will be calculated as follows:

(i) Lodging Not Required. If lodging is not required, one-fourth of the M&IE rate applicable to the location of the temporary duty assignment will be allowed for each 6-hour period, or fraction thereof. If more than one temporary duty point is involved, the per diem allowance will be calculated using the M&IE rate prescribed for the location where the majority of the time is spent performing official business.

(ii) Lodging Required. If lodging is required, the rules of travel of more than 24 hours apply.

(2) Travel of More Than 24 Hours. The applicable maximum per diem rate (standard CONUS or locality rate from Appendix A) for each calendar day of travel shall be determined by the travel status and location of the employee at 12:00 midnight and whether lodging is required at such location. When lodging is required, the applicable maximum per diem rate shall be the maximum rate prescribed in Appendix A for the temporary duty location, or a stopover point where lodging is obtained while enroute to, from, or between temporary duty locations (see (3) and (4), below, for rules on lodging location and travel incident to a change of official station, respectively). Only one maximum rate will be applicable to a calendar day or fraction thereof. The following rules shall be applied in calculating the allowable per diem for travel of more than 24 hours.

(a) Day Travel Begins.

(i) Lodging Required. When lodging is required on the day travel begins (day of departure from the official station or other authorized point), the per diem allowable shall be the actual cost of lodging incurred by the employee, limited to the applicable maximum lodging allowance prescribed in Appendix A, plus the applicable M&IE rate prorated as provided in (iii), below.

(ii) Lodging Not Required. When lodging is not required on the day travel begins, the per diem allowable shall be the standard CONUS M&IE rate prorated as provided in (iii), below.

(iii) Method of Prorating M&IE Rate. The M&IE rate shall be prorated by dividing the day of departure into 6-hour periods starting from the actual time travel begins and running through 12:00 midnight. For each 6-hour period, or fraction thereof, one-fourth of the applicable M&IE rate shall be allowed.

(b) Full Calendar Days of Travel.

(i) Lodging Required. For each full calendar day that the employee is in a travel status and lodging is required (whether enroute or at a temporary duty location), the actual cost of lodging incurred by the traveler shall be added to the applicable M&IE rate. The resulting amount, limited to the maximum per diem rate prescribed for the location in Appendix A, shall be the allowable per diem for the full calendar day.

(ii) Lodging Not Required. For any full calendar day of travel when lodging is not required (such as when employee is enroute overnight returning to the official station), the maximum per diem rate shall be the M&IE rate applicable to the preceding calendar day.

(c) Day Travel Ends.

(i) Determining Applicable Rate. For the day travel ends (when employee returns to the official station or other authorized point, or arrives at the new official station incident to a change of official station), the per diem allowable shall be the M&IE rate applicable to the preceding calendar day prorated as provided in (ii), below.

(ii) Method of Prorating M&IE Rate. The M&IE rate shall be prorated by dividing the day travel ends into 6-hour periods beginning at 12:01 a.m., and running until the employee arrives at home, office, or other authorized point at the conclusion of the trip. For each 6-hour period, or fraction thereof, one-fourth of the applicable M&IE rate shall be allowed.

(d) Lodging Obtained After Midnight. Although per diem generally is based on the employee's location at midnight, there will be instances in which he/she is enroute and does not arrive at the lodging location (either temporary duty location or enroute stopover point) until after midnight. In such cases, the lodging shall be claimed for the preceding calendar day and the applicable maximum per diem for the preceding day will be determined as if the employee had been at the lodging location at 12:00 midnight of that day.

(3) Lodging Location Rules.

Lodging at Temporary Duty Location. It is presumed that the employee will obtain lodging at the temporary duty location. However, if the employee obtains lodging away from or outside the temporary duty location because of personal preference or convenience, the allowable per diem shall be limited to the maximum per diem rate prescribed for the temporary duty location.

(4) Maximum Rate Applicable to Change of Official Station Travel. The standard CONUS rate shall be the applicable maximum per diem rate for enroute travel performed incident to a change of official station.

C. Receipt Requirements and Allowable Lodging Expenses.

(1) Lodging Receipt Requirements. Receipts shall be required to support all lodging costs for which an allowance is claimed under the lodgings-plus per diem system except that a statement instead of a receipt may be accepted for the fee or service charge incurred for the use of Government quarters. Receipts are not required when a specific or reduced rate has been authorized in advance of the travel as provided in paragraph D below.

Double Occupancy. If the lodging receipt shows a charge for double occupancy, such fact shall be shown on the travel voucher with the name, and employing agency or office, of the person sharing the room if such person is a Government employee on official travel. One-half of the double occupancy charge shall be allowable for each employee. If the person sharing the room is not another Government employee on official travel, identification of the person sharing the room is not required and the employee may be allowed the single room rate.

(2) Allowable Lodging Expenses. As provided in 8A(1), the traveler will be reimbursed only for his/her actual cost of lodging up to the maximum amount. No minimum amount is authorized for lodging under the lodgings- plus per diem system since reimbursement is based on the actual cost of lodging incurred by the employee. Expenses incurred in the situations described below will be allowed as lodging expenses.

(a) Conventional Lodging. When an employee uses conventional lodging facilities (hotels, motels, boarding houses, etc.), the allowable lodging expense will be based on the single room rate for the lodging used (for double occupancy, see C(1)(a), above). (See 12A(2) for computing daily lodging expense when lodging is rented on a weekly or monthly basis.)

(b) Government Quarters. A fee or service charge paid for the use of Government quarters is an allowable lodging expense.

(c) Lodging with Friends or Relatives. When the employee obtains lodging from friends or relatives (including members of the immediate family) with or without charge, no part of the per diem allowance will be allowed for lodging unless the host actually incurs additional costs in accommodating the traveler. In such instances, the additional costs substantiated by the employee and determined to be reasonable by the Chief, Office of Financial Management may be allowed as a lodging expense. Neither costs based on room rates for comparable conventional lodging in the area nor flat "token" amounts will be considered as reasonable.

(d) Lodging in Nonconventional Facilities. When no conventional lodging facilities are present (e.g., in remote areas) or when there is a shortage of rooms because of an influx of attendees at special events (e.g., world's fairs or international sports events), costs of lodging obtained in nonconventional facilities may be allowed. Such facilities may include college dormitories or similar facilities and rooms generally not offered commercially that are made available to the public by area residents in their homes. In such cases, the traveler must provide an explanation of the circumstances.

(e) Use of Travel Trailer or Camping Vehicle for Lodgings. A per diem allowed when the traveler uses a travel trailer or camping vehicle while on temporary duty assignments away from his/her official station. (See paragraph 12B for per diem computations in such situations.)

D. Deviation from Lodgings-Plus Per Diem System. If the lodgings-plus per diem system is not appropriate for certain travel assignment situations, such as when quarters or meals, or both, are provided at no cost or at a nominal cost by the Government or when for some other reason the subsistence costs to be incurred by the employee can be determined in advance. In such instances a specific per diem rate may be established within the maximum per diem otherwise applicable to the travel situation and any appropriate reductions made in accordance with paragraph 10 provided the exception from the lodgings-plus per diem system and the specific per diem rate are authorized in advance on the travel authorization. Such specific per diem rate authorized on the travel authorization shall be the per diem rate payable on the travel voucher without receipts and/or itemization by the employee.

9. Per Diem Computation Rules for Travel To, From, Between, or Within Locations Outside CONUS. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, per diem allowances authorized or approved for official travel to, from, between, or within locations outside CONUS (including travel incident to a change of official station) shall be computed under the quarter-day system as provided in A through F, below. Lodging receipts are not required except for travel to Alaska and Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

A. Maximum Per Diem Allowable. Per diem allowances for official travel within localities outside CONUS will be at rates not to exceed the maximum per diem rate established under paragraphs 6 B and C for the locality in which the travel is performed. Per diem allowances for enroute travel to, from, or between localities outside CONUS will be determined as provided in C, below. Whenever lodging is not required during a calendar day of official travel, the applicable maximum rate shall be reduced by 50 percent to reflect such fact.

B. Computation of Basic Per Diem Entitlements.

(1) Travel of 10 Hours or Less. Per diem shall not be allowed when the travel period is 10 hours or less during the same calendar day, except when the travel period is 6 hours or more and either begins before 6 a.m. or ends after 8 p.m. (This rule does not apply for enroute travel incident to a change of official station.)

(2) Methods of Prorating Travel Days. Basic per diem entitlements will be calculated on a calendar day basis. When a change in travel status requires a change in the applicable rate during a calendar day or a per diem allowance must be calculated for partial days of travel, the travel day will be prorated as follows:

(a) Travel of 24 Hours or Less. For continuous travel of 24 hours or less, the travel period will be divided into 6-hour periods starting from the actual time travel begins and ending with it's completion at home, office, or other authorized point. For each 6-hour period, or fraction thereof, one-fourth of the applicable per diem rate for a calendar day will be allowed.

(b) Travel of More Than 24 Hours. In computing per diem allowances for travel periods covering more than 24 hours, the calendar day (midnight to midnight) shall be the unit. The calendar day shall be divided into four 6-hour periods (quarter days) and one-fourth of the applicable per diem rate shall be allowed for each quarter day. The per diem rate in effect at the beginning of a quarter day shall continue to the end of that quarter. When the per diem rate is changed during a calendar day, such rate will take effect at the beginning of the next quarter day immediately following the quarter day in which the rate change occurred. For a partial day at the beginning or ending of a travel period, one-fourth of the applicable per diem rate for the calendar day shall be allowed for each quarter day, or fraction thereof, that the employee is in a travel status during the partial day.

(c) 30-Minute Rule. When the time of departure from home, office, or other authorized point at the beginning of the trip or the time of return thereto at the end of the trip involves only a 30-minute fraction of a quarter day, per diem shall not be allowed for either such quarter day unless the traveler provides a statement with the travel voucher explaining the necessity for the specific time to departure or return that is acceptable to the Chief, OFM. The 30-minute rule applicable to the payment of per diem as provided herein does not apply to the beginning of continuous travel of 24 hours or less as provided in (a), above; however, it is applicable to the end of such travel.

(3) International Dateline. In computing per diem in cases where the traveler crosses the international dateline (180th meridian), the actual elapsed time shall be used to compute per diem rather than calendar days.

C. Computation of Per Diem Rates for Enroute Travel to, From, or Between Locations Outside CONUS. The maximum per diem rate for enroute travel, to, from, or between locations outside CONUS is based on the traveler's travel time (including time spent at rest stop locations or stopovers at intermediate points) as prescribed below.

(1) Duty Point. As used herein, the term "duty point" means the official station outside CONUS, any other place outside CONUS at which official travel begins or ends, or the point of exit or entry within CONUS.

(2) Rates and Conditions. For enroute travel beyond the limits of CONUS by airplane, train, or boat (regardless of whether commercially or Government-owned), whether enroute between a duty point within CONUS and a locality beyond or between localities outside CONUS, including stopovers of less than 6 hours, the maximum per diem that may be authorized or approved (except for the provisions of B(1), above) is as follows:

(a) Same Day Return. When the traveler departs from a duty point within CONUS or a locality outside CONUS and returns during the same calendar day to a duty point within CONUS or the locality outside CONUS, respectively, the maximum per diem rate allowable for the trip shall be that of the duty point at which the trip began. Since lodging is not required in this instance, the per diem rate applicable to any duty point within CONUS shall be the standard CONUS M&IE rate prescribed in Appendix A. For the same reason, the maximum per diem rate for the origin locality outside CONUS shall be reduced by 50 percent to reflect no lodging costs.

(b) Enroute Less Than 6 Hours. For travel other than that described in (a), above, when the enroute travel time is less than 6 hours between a duty point within CONUS and a duty point in a locality outside CONUS or between two duty points outside CONUS, the maximum per diem rate allowable between duty points shall be that of the destination duty point. When the destination duty point is within CONUS, the maximum per diem rate shall be the standard CONUS rate prescribed in Appendix A.

(c) Enroute 6 Hours or More. When the enroute travel time is 6 hours or more between the duty points described in (b), above, the per diem rate applicable for travel between the duty points in $6, except:

(i) For vessel travel of more than 9 successive calendar days, in addition to the fractional days of embarkation and debarkation, the per diem rate for the succeeding calendar days and for the fractional day of debarkation is $2; and

(ii) When either the $6 or $2 rate prescribed herein is not commensurate with a traveler's subsistence expenses, a different per diem rate may be authorized or approved not in excess of the maximum per diem rate applicable to the destination duty point or, with respect to vessel travel, not in excess of $9, except that the rate for travel by the Alaska Ferry System shall not exceed the standard M&IE rate for CONUS.

(3) Stopovers of 6 Hours or More. When the enroute travel period between origin and destination duty points involves a stopover at an intermediate point and the time spent at the stopover point is 6 hours or more, the per diem rate for the travel period at the stopover point shall be the rate applicable to the locality in which the stopover takes place. The applicable per diem rate shall take effect at the beginning of the quarter day following the actual time of arrival at the intermediate stopover point. For purposes of determining per diem rates for enroute travel, the length of time at an intermediate stopover point is controlling regardless of whether the stopover is necessary because of official duty, common carrier scheduling, or an authorized rest stop (see (6), below). Stopovers of less than 6 hours are considered part of the enroute travel as provided in (2), above.

(4) Travel Beginning or Ending Within CONUS. When the travel covered by this paragraph (c), begins or ends at a place within CONUS other than a duty point, the maximum per diem applicable to the travel between such place and the duty point (place of exit or entry) within CONUS, including time in a travel status at the duty point or an intermediate location, shall be determined as provided in (a) through (c), below.

(a) Generally, the applicable maximum per diem rate shall be the standard CONUS maximum per diem rate prescribed in Appendix A, except that such maximum rate shall be limited to the M&IE portion of the standard CONUS rate in the following travel circumstances:

(i) For the day travel begins when the traveler is in an enroute travel status at 12:00 midnight and no lodging is required that day because of the enroute travel status; or

(ii) For the day(s) of return (or day travel ends) when lodging is not required because of enroute status at 12:00 midnight or arrival at home or official station;

(b) When either the standard CONUS maximum per diem rate, or the M&IE portion thereof, is not commensurate with a traveler's subsistence expenses (such as when lodging is required at the duty point or an intermediate location), a different rate may be authorized or approved not in excess of the maximum per diem rate applicable for the locality involved; or

(c) When the travel described above involves temporary duty within CONUS and lodging is required within CONUS, per diem shall be computed under the lodgings-plus per diem system as provided in paragraph 8. In such instances, the provisions of this paragraph (4) apply only to travel days prior to or immediately following the travel days for which the lodgings-plus per diem system is applicable.

(5) Travel Beginning or Ending Outside CONUS. When enroute travel outside CONUS is required between a home, official station, or some other location and the common carrier or other terminal or between localities outside CONUS, and such travel is by a mode of transportation other than airplane, train, or boat, per diem for the quarter days involved will be based on the locality rate where the traveler is located at the beginning of each quarter. Per diem for the first quarter day of the travel will be at the origin rate.

(6) Rest Stops.

(a) When travel is direct between duty points which are separated by several time zones and at least one duty point is outside CONUS, a rest period not in excess of 24 hours may be authorized or approved when air travel between the duty points is by less-than-first-class accommodations and the scheduled flight time (including stopovers of less than 8 hours) exceeds 14 hours by a direct or usually traveled route.

(b) The rest stop may be authorized at any intermediate point, including points within CONUS, provided the point is midway in the journey or as near to midway as requirements for use of U.S. flag air carriers and carrier scheduling permit.

(c) A rest stop shall not be authorized when an employee, for personal convenience, elects to travel by an indirect route resulting in excess travel time.

(d) The per diem rate for the rest stop shall be the rate applicable for the rest stop location (see (3), above).

(e) When carrier schedules or the requirements for use of U.S. flag air carriers preclude an intermediate rest stop, or a rest stop is not authorized, it is recommended that the employee be scheduled to arrive at the temporary duty point with sufficient time to allow a reasonable rest period before reporting for duty. (See 340.3 for guidelines on the use of U.S. flag carriers.)

(f) When lodging is not located at duty point outside CONUS. When suitable lodging is not available at place of temporary duty in a locality outside CONUS and the employee is required to obtain lodging in a different locality, the maximum applicable per diem rate shall be that of the locality in which the lodging is obtained.

D. Deductions for Meals and/or Lodgings Furnished. Where meals and/lodgings are furnished without charge or at a nominal cost by a Federal Government Agency at a temporary duty station, an appropriate deduction shall be made from the authorized per diem rate.

E. Travel Involving Temporary Duty Within CONUS. As a general rule, when travel covered under paragraph 9 involves temporary duty within CONUS and lodging is required within CONUS incident to such temporary duty either at the temporary duty location, the entry or exit duty point within CONUS, or an intermediate stopover point within CONUS, the lodgings-plus per diem system is applicable to the travel time within CONUS. For the remainder of the trip, or when temporary duty is of such short duration that lodging is not required, per diem will be computed under the quarter-day system. The specific rules provided in (1) through (3), below, will be applied to determine specific time periods for application of the lodgings-plus system.

(1) Round-Trip Travel Beginning Outside CONUS. When round-trip travel is from a duty point outside CONUS for temporary duty within CONUS, the lodgings-plus per diem system takes effect at 12:01 a.m., on the first day lodging is required within CONUS and extends through 12:00 midnight of the last calendar day that lodging is required within CONUS.

(2) Travel Beginning Within CONUS. When travel begins within CONUS and temporary duty is performed within CONUS prior to departure from the CONUS exit duty point, the lodgings-plus per diem system will be in effect beginning on the day of departure from home, office, or other authorized point within CONUS through 12:00 midnight of the last calendar day that lodging is required within CONUS.

(3) Travel Ending Within CONUS. When travel ends within CONUS and temporary duty is performed within CONUS prior to conclusion of the travel, the lodgings-plus per diem system will be in effect beginning at 12:01 a.m., on the first day lodging is required within CONUS through the time of arrival at home, office, or other authorized point within CONUS upon completion of the travel.

10. Reductions in Maximum Per Diem Rates When Appropriate (Worldwide). The official authorizing the travel should authorize a reduced per diem rate under certain circumstances, such as when lodgings and/or meals are obtained by the employee at a reduced cost or furnished to the employee at no cost or a nominal cost by the Government; or when for some other reason the subsistence costs to be incurred by the employee can be determined in advance. The authorizing officer should consider any known factors that will cause the traveler's subsistence expenses in a specific situation to be less than the applicable maximum rates prescribed under paragraph 6. If it can be determined in advance of the travel that such factors are present, a reduced rate that is commensurate with the known expense levels should be authorized. Such reduced rate authorized on the travel authorization shall be the per diem rate payable on the travel voucher without receipts and/or itemization by the employee. When reduced rate situations involve partial days, the rate will be prorated by quarters. Specific guidelines for reducing rates and situations where reduced rates may be appropriate are provided below.

A. When No Lodgings Expenses Incurred. For travel within or outside CONUS which is less than 24 hours or in any other travel situation where lodging expenses will not be incurred, including instances where lodging is furnished by the Government without charge, the maximum per diem rate shall be reduced accordingly. For CONUS travel, the lodgings-plus per diem system automatically reduces the maximum per diem rate to the M&IE rate (or fraction thereof). When lodging is furnished at no cost to the employee through use of a purchase order, the traveler will not be authorized a per diem allowance for other subsistence expenses that will, when combined with the cost of lodgings furnished, exceed the applicable maximum per diem rate prescribed under paragraph 6.

B. When Meals/Lodgings are Furnished by the Government. When all or part of the meals and/or lodgings are furnished at no cost or at a nominal cost to the employee by the Federal Government, the applicable maximum per diem rate or the M&IE rate, as appropriate, shall be reduced to a daily amount commensurate with the remaining expenses expected to be incurred by the employee. If a reduced per diem rate was not authorized in advance of the travel, an appropriate deduction shall be made from the total per diem payable on the travel voucher. (See 8A(2)(b).)

C. Extended Stays. When travel assignments involve extended periods of more than 30 days at temporary duty locations and travelers are able to secure lodging and/or meals at lower costs, the per diem rate will be reduced accordingly. If the extended temporary duty is for purposes of training, see E, below.

D. Meetings and Conventions. In the interest of uniform treatment of employees, whenever a meeting or conference is arranged which will involve the travel of attendees from other agencies or components of the same agency, and reduced cost lodging accommodations have been prearranged at the meeting or conference site, the agency or agencies sponsoring the meeting or conference shall recommend to the other participating agencies or components a per diem allowance that would be reasonable.

E. Subsistence Payments for Extended Training Assignments.

(1) The Government Employees Training Act (5 U.S.C. 4101-4118) authorizes agencies to pay all or part of the subsistence expenses of an employee assigned to training at a temporary duty station. Implementing regulations prescribed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in Section 410.603 of Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR 410.603), provide specific guidelines for payment of subsistence expenses for employees on extended training assignments of more than 30 calendar days at temporary duty locations.

(2) Generally the OPM guidelines require a reduced subsistence payment of not more than 55 percent of the applicable maximum per diem rate prescribed in these regulations. Subsistence payments above these levels (not to exceed the maximum per diem rates) must be justified. Offices shall refer to the OPM guidelines in 5 CFR 410.603 for specific criteria to determine the appropriate subsistence payments. Guidelines are also published by OPM in the Federal Personnel Manual, Chapter 410, Section 6-3.

11. "Mixed Travel" Reimbursements. "Mixed Travel" occurs when official travel within a single trip is subject to payment of the daily subsistence expenses under different reimbursement systems (i.e., CONUS lodgings-plus, outside CONUS quarter-day, or actual subsistence expense).

A. Transition Between Reimbursement Systems. Reimbursement for subsistence expenses will be computed under only one reimbursement system for each calendar day except when the provisions of 340.8.3B apply. When travel to or from locations outside CONUS involves temporary duty (with lodging) within CONUS, the rules in paragraph 9E govern the transition between the CONUS lodgings-plus system and the outside CONUS quarter-day system. When actual expense reimbursement for certain travel days intermittent with the per diem method for others, the rules in SM 340.8.7 govern.

B. Determining Maximum Daily Rate(s). Reimbursement for each day will be subject to only one maximum rate, except for travel under paragraph 9 which may require different rates within a calendar day due to the quarter-day per diem calculation method. The rules for determining maximum rates within each reimbursement system are provided in paragraphs 8, 9 and SM 340.8.

12. Per Diem Allowance Computations for Special Situations (Worldwide).

A. Per Diem for Weekly or Monthly Rentals.

(1) Types of Expenses Included in Lodging Costs. When an employee rents a room, apartment, house, or other lodging incident to a temporary duty assignment, the following expenses may be considered part of the lodging cost: the rental cost; if unfurnished, the rental cost of appropriate and necessary furniture and appliances, such as a stove, refrigerator, chairs, and tables, bed, sofa, television, and vacuum cleaner; cost of connection, use, and disconnection of utilities; cost of reasonable maid fee and cleaning charges; monthly telephone use fee (does not include installation and long-distance calls); and, if ordinarily included in the price of a hotel or motel room in the area concerned, the cost of special user fees, such as cable TV charges and plug-in charges for automobile head bolt heaters.

(2) Computation of Daily Lodging Costs. When the employee obtains lodging on a weekly or monthly rental basis, the daily lodging cost shall be computed by dividing the total lodging cost for the expenses listed in (1), above, by the number of days the accommodations are actually occupied, provided that the employee acts prudently in renting by the week or month, and that the cost to the Government does not exceed the cost of renting conventional lodging at a daily rate. Otherwise the daily lodging cost shall be computed by dividing by the number of days in the rental period (e.g., 7 or 30 days, as appropriate).

(3) Per Diem Allowable.

(a) Under the lodgings-plus system for CONUS travel, the allowable per diem consists of the daily lodging cost calculated under (2), above, plus the applicable M&IE rate not to exceed the maximum per diem rate prescribed for the location involved.

(b) When a reduced per diem rate is being established (see paragraph 10) in advance of the travel, the daily lodging cost calculated in (2), above, shall be added to the amount determined by the authorizing officer to be necessary for meals and incidental expenses.

B. Per Diem Allowances for Use of a Recreational Vehicle for Lodging. The term "recreational vehicle" includes mobile homes, campers, camping trailers, or self-propelled mobile recreational vehicles.

(1) Privately Owned.

(a) Lodging Costs. When an employee uses a privately owned camping or recreational vehicle while on official travel, allowable expenses which may be considered as a lodging cost include parking fees; fees for connection, use, and disconnection of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewage); bath or shower fees; and dumping fees. Depreciation shall not be considered as a lodging cost.

(b) Meals and Incidental Expenses. The authorizing official shall determine an appropriate amount for meals and incidental expenses based on whether the type of recreational vehicle used by the employee has meal preparation facilities. When use of the recreational vehicle is for a temporary duty assignment within CONUS, such amount shall not exceed the applicable M&IE rate.

(c) Per Diem Computation. The daily lodging costs plus an appropriate rate for meals and incidental expenses determined under (b), above, shall be the per diem rate, limited to the applicable maximum rate prescribed under paragraph 6 for the locality involved. An agency may authorize a reduced per diem rate within the applicable maximum per diem rates if the actual costs expected to be incurred can be determined in advance of the travel.

(2) Rented Recreational Vehicle. When the use of a rented recreational vehicle is authorized or approved as advantageous to the Government, the rental fee and the allowable expenses shown in (1) (a), above, may be considered as lodging costs. Advantageous use might occur when the employee is on an extended temporary duty assignment in a remote area or where conventional lodging facilities are limited or not available. If use of a rented recreational vehicle is not authorized or approved as advantageous, only those expenses listed in (1)(a), above, may be considered as lodging costs.

C. Per Diem Computations When Temporary Duty is Curtailed, Canceled, or Interrupted for Official Purposes (See 59 Comp. Gen. 609 (1980), 59 Comp. Gen. 612 (1980), 60 Comp. Gen. 630 (1981), and Cases Cited Therein). When an employee has made advance arrangements for lodging (such as those described in A or B, above), with reasonable expectation of the travel assignment being completed as ordered or directed, and subsequently the temporary duty assignment is curtailed, canceled, or interrupted for official purposes, or for other reasons beyond the employee's control that are acceptable to the agency, lodging costs may be calculated and paid as follows:

(1) Travel Assignment Curtailed or Interrupted. When the temporary duty assignment is curtailed or interrupted for the benefit of the Government or for other reasons beyond the employee's control and the employee is unable to obtain a refund of prepaid rent, expenses incurred for unused lodging may be reimbursed under the following conditions:

(a) Determination of Reasonableness. The approving official must determine that the employee acted reasonably and prudently in incurring allowable lodging expenses pursuant to temporary duty travel orders. Included in this determination should be consideration of whether the employee sought to obtain a refund of the prepaid lodging cost or otherwise took steps to minimize the costs once the temporary duty was officially curtailed or interrupted.

(b) Adjusted Calculation and Reimbursement of Lodging Costs. If the agency determines that the employee acted reasonably, the unused portion of the prepaid lodging cost may be reimbursed as follows:

(i) The daily lodging costs for the period covered by the voucher shall be calculated by dividing the total cost of the rental period by the number of days of actual occupancy. The total of the lodging costs thus calculated plus the appropriate daily amount authorized for meals and incidental expenses may be reimbursed not to exceed the per diem rate authorized in the employee's travel orders for the days that the lodging was occupied.

(ii) If the authorized per diem rate is insufficient for the days of occupancy, the daily lodging cost calculated in (i) plus the amount authorized for meals and incidental expenses may be reimbursed on an actual expense basis not to exceed appropriate maximum daily rates determined as provided in SM 340.8.

(iii) The excess amount (if any) of the unrefunded lodging cost not reimbursed under (ii), above, may be paid as a miscellaneous travel expense incident to the travel assignment, if otherwise proper.

(iv) In instances where the travel assignment was interrupted for official purposes (e.g., when the employee is directed to perform temporary duty at another location), allowable subsistence expenses (if any) incurred during the interruption may be reimbursed separately from those reimbursements outlined in (i) and (ii), above, if otherwise proper, and in conformance with the provisions of this Chapter.

(2) Travel Assignment Canceled. When the employee incurs lodging expenses in reasonable expectation of a travel assignment being completed as ordered or directed, and due to a change in travel orders the travel assignment is canceled prior to its commencement, the prepaid lodging expenses may be reimbursed as a miscellaneous travel expense provided the amounts are reasonable and the conditions in (1)(a) are met.

(3) Forfeited Rental Deposits. If, in situations described in (1) and (2), above, the employee was required by the terms of a lease or rental agreement to pay a rental deposit and all or part of the deposit is forfeited to cover unpaid lodging costs, the amount of the forfeited deposit may be reimbursed as a miscellaneous travel expense provided the conditions in (1)(a), above, are met. Reimbursement for deposit forfeited for damages to lodging accommodations shall not be allowed.

D. Per Diem While Aboard Government Vessel. For temporary duty aboard Government vessels where meals and lodgings are furnished at no cost or at a reduced cost, travelers shall be authorized a per diem rate of $2.00 per day. The term "Government Vessel" includes vessels owned and operated, leased and operated, or chartered by the Government.

13. Time Determinations.

A. Duty to Record Pertinent Times. The date and hour of departure from and arrival at the official station or any other place at which official travel begins or ends must be shown on the travel voucher. The same information also must be shown for points at which temporary duty is performed when such arrival or departure affects the per diem allowance or other travel expenses. Other points visited should also be shown but the time or arrival and departure need not be entered.

B. Use of Standard Time. The hours of departure and arrival recorded on the voucher shall be those of the standard time in effect at the place involved. (See 15 U.S.C. 262.)

14. Interruptions of Per Diem Entitlement. For purposes of this paragraph, the term "place of abode" means the place from which the employee commutes daily to the official station.

A. Leave and Nonworkdays.

(1) General. Leave of absence (other than as provided in paragraph D below) for one-half, or less, of the prescribed daily working hours shall be disregarded for per diem purposes. Where the leave is more than one-half of the prescribed daily working hours, no per diem shall be allowed for that day.

(2) Nonworkdays. Legal Federal Government holidays and weekends or other scheduled non workdays are considered nonworkdays. Employees are considered to be in a per diem status on nonworkdays except when they return to their official station or place of abode (See (b), below), or except under conditions stated in (a) or (b), below.

(a) Leave Before and After Non-workdays. Per diem shall not be paid for nonworkdays when:

(i) Employees are in a leave status at the end of the workday before the nonworkdays and at the beginning of the workday following the non workdays, and

(ii) The period of leave on either of those days is more than one-half of the prescribed working hours for that day.

(b) Leave Between Nonworkdays. Per diem shall not be paid for more than two nonworkdays in cases where leave of absence is taken for all of the prescribed working hours between the nonworkdays.

(3) Any leave taken during a TDY assignment must be indicated on the travel voucher.

B. Return to Official Station for Nonworkdays.

(1) Required Return--Official Business. An employee who is required by appropriate officials to return to his or her official station for the nonworkdays to perform official business or because it is otherwise advantageous to the Government shall be allowed the roundtrip transportation expenses and per diem for the enroute travel.

(2) Authorized Return--Substantial Cost Savings. Per diem and transportation expenses may be authorized to an employee to return home for nonworkdays where a significant cost savings will be achieved. Travel time shall be scheduled within the employee's duty hours to the extent practicable. The cost of lost productivity attributable to the duty hours involved in traveling to and from the employee's residence for nonworkdays shall be considered in determining the cost savings (Comp. Gen. B-202544, August 31, 1981).

(3) Voluntary Return. When an employee voluntarily returns to his/her official station or place of abode for nonworkdays, the maximum reimbursement for the round-trip transportation and per diem enroute shall be limited to the per diem allowance and travel expenses which would have been allowed had the employee remained at the temporary duty station. The employee shall perform any such voluntary return travel during non-duty hours or periods of authorized leave.

C. Indirect Route or Interrupted Travel. If there is an interruption of travel or deviation from the direct route resulting in excess travel time because of an employee's personal preference or convenience or through the taking of leave, the per diem allowed shall not exceed that which would have been allowed on uninterrupted travel by a direct or usually traveled route.

D. Illness or Injury or a Personal Emergency Situation. Provisions governing per diem allowable for emergency travel performed due to an employee's incapacitating illness or injury or because of a personal emergency situation, as well as the continuation of per diem due to incapacitating illness or injury of the employee, are found in SM 340.9. for the enroute travel.


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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
URL: http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/340/340-7.html
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