Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Subchapter D - Agency Responsibilities


Part 301-70 - Internal Policy and Procedure Requirements

Subpart A - General Policies and Procedures

5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); Sec. 2, Pub. L. 105-264, 112 Stat. 2350 (5 U.S.C. 5701, note); OMB Circular No. A-126, revised May 22, 1992; OMB Circular No. A-123, Appendix B, revised January 15, 2009.

§301-70.1 - How must we administer the authorization and payment of travel expenses?

When administering the authorization and payment of travel expenses, you—

      (a) Must limit the authorization and payment of travel expenses to travel that is necessary to accomplish your mission in the most economical and effective manner, under rules stated throughout this chapter;

      (b) Should give consideration to budget constraints, adherence to travel policies, and reasonableness of expenses;

      (c) Should always consider alternatives, including teleconferencing, prior to authorizing travel; and

      (d) Must require employees to use the ETS to process travel authorizations and claims for travel expenses once you migrate to the ETS, but no later than September 30, 2006, unless an exception has been granted under §§301-73.102 or 301-73.104 of this chapter.

Subpart B - Policies and Procedure Relating to Transportation

§301-70.100 - How must we administer the authorization and payment of transportation expenses?

You must:

      (a) Limit authorization and payment of transportation expenses to those expenses that result in the greatest advantage to the Government;

      (b) Ensure that travel is by the most expeditious means practicable.

§301-70.101 - What factors must we consider in determining which method of transportation results in the greatest advantage to the Government?

In selecting a particular method of transportation you must consider:

      (a) The total cost to the Government, including per diem, overtime, lost worktime, actual transportation cost, total distance of travel, number of points visited, the number of travelers and energy conservation. As stated in 5 U.S.C. 5733, “travel of an employee shall be by the most expeditious means of transportation practicable and shall be commensurate with the nature and purpose of the duties of the employee requiring such travel.”

      (b) Travel by common carrier (air, rail, bus) is considered the most advantageous method to perform official travel. Other methods of transportation may be authorized as advantageous only when the use of common carrier transportation would interfere with the performance of official business or impose an undue hardship upon the traveler, or when the total cost by common carrier exceeds the cost by another method of transportation. A determination that another method of transportation is more advantageous to the Government than common carrier will not be made on the basis of personal preference or inconvenience to the traveler.

      (c) When travel must be performed by automobile, agencies should next consider using a Government-furnished automobile.

      (d) If a Government-furnished automobile is not available, agencies should then consider using the least expensive compact rental vehicle.

      (e) Agencies should lastly consider authorizing a POV only if the employee agrees to use a POV, because agencies cannot mandate employees to use their POV for official reasons.

§301-70.102 - What governing policies must we establish for authorization and payment of transportation expenses?

You must establish policies and procedures governing:

      (a) Who will determine what method of transportation is more advantageous to the Government;

      (b) Who will approve any of the following:

           (1) Use of other than coach-class transportation accommodations for air and rail under §301-10.183 of this chapter.

           (2) Use of a special-reduced fare or reduced group or charter fare;

           (3) Use of an extra-fare train service under §301-10.164;

           (4) Use of ship service;

           (5) Use of a foreign ship;

           (6) Use of a foreign air carrier;

      (c) When you will:

           (1) Require the use of a Government vehicle;

           (2) Allow the use of a Government vehicle; and

           (3) Prohibit the use of a Government vehicle;

      (d) When you will consider use of a POV advantageous to the Government, such as travel to and from common carrier terminals or to the TDY location. When determining whether the use of a POV to a TDY location is the most advantageous method of transportation, agencies must consider the total cost of using a POV as compared to the total cost of using a rental vehicle, including rental costs, fuel, taxes, parking (at a common carrier terminal, etc.), and any other associated costs;

      (e) Procedures for claiming POV reimbursement;

      (f) Procedures for allowing the use of a special conveyance (e.g., taxis, TNCs, innovative mobility technology companies, or commercially rented vehicles), taking into account the requirements of §301-10.450;

      (g) What procedures an employee must follow when he/she travels by an indirect route or interrupts travel by a direct route;

      (h) Whether to reimburse the full amount of transportation costs in conjunction with TDY or only the amount by which transportation costs exceed the employee’s normal costs for transportation between:

           (1) Office or duty point and another place of business;

           (2) Places of business; or

           (3) Residence and place of business other than office or duty point;

      (i) Develop and issue internal guidance on what specific mission criteria justify approval of the use of other than coach-class transportation under §301-10.123(a)(4), §301-10.123(b)(9), and §301-10.162(e), as well as on the use of other than lowest first-class under §301-10.183(d) and the use of other than a compact rental car under §301-10.450(c). The justification criteria shall be entered in the remarks section of the traveler's authorization.

      (j) Develop and publish internal guidance regarding what constitutes a rest period upon arrival at a temporary duty location; and

      (k) Develop and publish internal guidance regarding Seating Upgrade Programs in coach-class (see §301-10.124).

§301-70.103 - In what circumstance may we authorize use of ship service?

Travel by ship is not generally regarded as advantageous. You must determine that the advantages accruing from the use of ocean transportation offset the higher costs associated with ship travel, i.e., per diem, transportation, and lost worktime.

§301-70.104 - What factors should we consider in determining whether to require an employee to commit to the use of a Government automobile?

You should consider:

      (a) The advantages of using a Government-furnished automobile. Such advantages may include, but are not limited to:

           (1) Full utilization or availability of fleet vehicles;

           (2) Lower cost;

           (3) Official presence.

      (b) The type of travel the employee performs. You should require such a commitment when an employee or group of employees requires the use of an automobile for official travel on a frequent or repetitive basis.

§301-70.105 - May we prohibit an employee from using a POV on official travel?

No, but if the employee elects to use a POV instead of an alternative form of transportation you authorize, you must:

      (a) Limit reimbursement to the constructive cost of the authorized method of transportation, which is the sum of per diem and transportation expenses the employee would reasonably have incurred when traveling by the authorized method of transportation; and

      (b) Charge leave for any duty hours that are missed as a result of travel by POV.

Subpart C - Policies and Procedures Relating to Per Diem Expenses

§301-70.200 - What governing policies must we establish for authorization and payment of per diem expenses?

You must establish policies and procedures governing:

      (a) Who will authorize a rest period;

      (b) Circumstances allowing a rest period during prolonged travel (see §301-11.20 for minimum standards);

      (c) If, and in what instances, you will allow an employee to return to his/her official station on non-workdays;

      (d) Who will determine if an employee will be allowed to return to his/her official station on a case by case basis.

      (e) Who will determine in what instances you will pay a reduced per diem rate;

      (f) Who will determine, and in what instances, to issue a blanket authorization for actual expenses under §301-70.201 or when actual expenses are appropriate in individual cases; and

      (g) Who will determine, and in what instances, an employee will be able to claim the full M&IE allowance even though meals are furnished to the employee by the Government, in accordance with §§301-11.18(b) and §301-11.18(c).

§301-70.201 - May we issue a blanket actual expense authorization for our employees during a Presidentially-Declared Disaster?

Yes. A blanket authorization regarding actual expense reimbursement may be issued to your employees assigned to perform TDY travel in an area subject to a Presidentially-Declared Disaster. These authorizations must apply to a specific Declaration, and must end on the expiration date of the Declaration, or one year from the date the Declaration is issued, whichever is sooner. A blanket authorization issued under this section shall not apply to any travel performed pursuant to Chapter  302 of this title.

Subpart D - Policies and Procedures Relating to Miscellaneous Expenses

§301-70.300 - How should we administer the authorization and payment of miscellaneous expenses?

You should limit payment of miscellaneous expenses to only those expenses that are necessary and in the interest of the Government.

§301-70.301 - What governing policies must we establish for payment of miscellaneous expenses?

You must establish policies and procedures governing:

      (a) Who will determine when excess baggage is necessary for official travel;

      (b) When you will pay for communications services, including whether you will pay for a telephone call to the employee’s home or place where the employee’s dependent children are;

      (c) Who will determine if other miscellaneous expenses are appropriate for reimbursement in connection with official travel, including but not limited to, fees for the use of automated teller machine (ATMs) when using the Government contractor-issued travel charge card and expenses for laundry, cleaning, and pressing of clothing.

Subpart E - Policies and Procedures Relating to Travel of an Employee with a Disability or Special Need

§301-70.400 - How should we authorize and administer the payment of additional travel expenses for an employee with a disability or special need?

You should authorize and administer the payment to reasonably accommodate employee(s) with disabilities in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, (29 U.S.C. 701-7961) and 5 U.S.C. 3102 and part  301-13 of this chapter. An employee with a special need should be treated the same as an employee with a disability. You must determine that additional travel expenses are necessary to accommodate the employee’s needs.

§301-70.401 - What governing policies and procedures must we establish regarding travel of an employee with a disability or special need?

You must establish the policies and procedures governing:

      (a) Who will determine if an employee has a disability or special need which requires accommodation, including when documentation is necessary under §§301-10.123, 301-10.124, 301-10.162, and 301-10.183, and when a determination may be based on a clearly visible physical condition; and

      (b) Who will determine how to reasonably accommodate the employee and what expenses you will pay.

Subpart F - Policies and Procedures for Emergency Travel of Employee Due to Illness or Injury

§301-70.500 - What governing policies and procedures should we establish relating to emergency travel?

Each agency must determine:

      (a) When you will authorize emergency travel under part 301-30;

      (b) Who will determine if the employee’s situation warrants payment for emergency travel expenses;

      (c) When and by whom travel to an alternate location other than official station or point of interruption will be authorized; and

      (d) Who will determine when and if the definition of family may be extended and to whom.

§301-70.501 - Does per diem continue when an employee interrupts a travel assignment because of an incapacitating illness or injury?

Yes, when an employee interrupts a travel assignment because of an incapacitating illness or injury and takes leave (annual or sick), per diem will be allowed, not to exceed the maximum rate for the location where the interruption occurs, for a reasonable period, normally not to exceed 14 calendar days (including fractional days) for any one period of absence. You may approve a longer period if justified.

§301-70.502 - Are there any limitations to the payment of these expenses?

Yes, there are limitations to the payment of these expenses. Per diem is not payable, or if paid, must be collected from the employee when—

      (a) The employee is confined to a hospital or medical facility that is within the proximity of the official station or that is the same one the employee would have been admitted to if the illness or injury had occurred while at the official station; and/or

      (b) The Government provides or reimburses the employee for hospitalization under any Federal statute (including hospitalization in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center or military hospital) other than 5 U.S.C. 8901-8913 (Federal Employees Health Benefits program).

§301-70.503 - What additional emergency expenses should we allow?

When an employee discontinues a TDY assignment before its completion due to an incapacitating illness or injury, you may pay—

      (a) Transportation and per diem expenses for travel to an alternate location to receive medical treatment;

      (b) Transportation and per diem expenses to return to the official station; and

      (c) Transportation costs of a medically necessary attendant.

§301-70.504 - When the employee is able to travel, should we continue the use of the existing travel authorization?

Not if the interrupted trip was authorized under a trip by trip authorization. If, when the employee’s health has been restored, the agency decides that it is in the Government’s interest to return the employee to the TDY location, such return is considered to be a new travel assignment at Government expense. An interrupted trip authorized under an open or limited open authorization may be continued without further authorization.

§301-70.505 - May any travel costs be reimbursed if the employee travels to an alternate location for medical treatment?

Yes. When an employee, interrupts a TDY assignment because of an incapacitating illness or injury and takes leave of absence for travel to an alternate location to obtain medical services and returns to the TDY assignment, you may reimburse certain excess travel costs provided in this section. Specifically, you may reimburse the excess (if any) of actual costs of travel from the point of interruption to the alternate location and return to the TDY assignment, over the constructive costs of round-trip travel between the official station and the alternate location. The nearest hospital or medical facility capable of treating the employee’s illness or injury will not, however, be considered an alternate location.

Note to §301-70.505: An alternate location is a destination other than the employee’s official station or the point of interruption.

§301-70.506 - How do we define actual cost and constructive cost when an employee interrupts a travel assignment because of an incapacitating illness or injury?

      (a) Actual cost of travel will be the transportation expenses incurred and en route per diem for the travel as actually performed from the point of interruption to the alternate location and from the alternate location to the TDY assignment. No per diem is allowed for time spent at the alternate location if confined to a medical facility.

      (b) Constructive cost is the sum of transportation expenses the employee would reasonably have incurred for round-trip travel between the official station and the alternate location plus per diem calculated for the appropriate en route travel time.

§301-70.507 - May we authorize per diem if an employee discontinues a TDY assignment because of a personal emergency situation?

Yes. Expenses of appropriate transportation and per diem while en route may be allowed, with the approval of an appropriate agency official, for return travel from the point of interruption to the official station.

§301-70.508 - How do we handle reimbursement if the employee travels to an alternate location and returns to the TDY location because of a personal emergency situation?

You may reimburse certain excess travel costs (transportation and en route per diem) to the same extent as provided in §301-70.501 for incapacitating illness or injury to the employee.

§301-70.509 - What factors must we consider in expanding the definition of family for emergency travel purposes?

Agencies must consider on a case by case basis:

      (a) The extent of the emergency;

      (b) The employee’s relationship to the individual involved in the emergency; and

      (c) The degree of the employee’s responsibility for the individual involved in the emergency.

Subpart G - Policies and Procedures Relating to Threatened Law Enforcement/Investigative Employees

§301-70.600 - What governing policies and procedures must we establish related to threatened law enforcement/investigative employees?

You must establish policies and procedures governing:

      (a) When you will pay transportation and subsistence expenses of threatened law enforcement/investigative employees, under part 301-31 of this chapter;

      (b) Who will determine the degree and seriousness of threat in each individual case;

      (c) Who will determine what protective action should be taken, including the location and duration of temporary lodging;

      (d) Who will reevaluate the situation to determine whether protective action should be continued or discontinued and how often;

      (e) What procedures must be followed to obtain authorization of transportation and subsistence expenses for threatened law enforcement/investigative employees; and

      (f) What special procedures must an employee follow to claim expenses.

§301-70.601 - What factors should we consider in determining whether to authorize payment of transportation and subsistence expenses for threatened law enforcement/investigative employees?

You should consider:

      (a) The degree and seriousness of the threat. You should pay transportation and subsistence expenses only if a situation poses a legitimate serious threat to life.

      (b) The option of relocating the employee. You should consider whether relocating the employee permanently would be advantageous given the specific nature of the threat, the continued disruption of the family, and the alternative costs of a change of official station.

§301-70.602 - How often must we reevaluate the payment of transportation and subsistence expenses to a threatened law enforcement/investigative employee?

You must reevaluate the situation every 30 days based on the same factors you considered when you first authorized the payment of the expenses.

Subpart H - Policies and Procedures Relating to Mandatory Use of the Government Contractor-Issued Travel Charge Card for Official Travel

§301-70.700 - Must our employees use a Government contractor-issued travel charge card for official travel expenses?

Yes, your employees must use a Government contractor-issued travel charge card for official travel expenses unless:

      (a) A vendor does not accept the travel charge card;

      (b) The Administrator of General Services has granted an exemption (see §301-70.704); or

      (c) Your agency head or his/her designee has granted an exemption.

§301-70.701 - Who has the authority to grant exemptions to mandatory use of Government contractor-issued travel charge card for official travel?

      (a) The Administrator of General Services will exempt any payment, person, type or class of payments, or type or class of personnel in any case in which—

           (1) It is in the best interest of the United States to do so;

           (2) Payment through a travel charge card is impractical or imposes unreasonable burdens or costs on Federal employees or Federal agencies; or

           (3) The Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Homeland Security (for the Coast Guard) requests an exemption for the members of their uniformed services.

      (b) The head of a Federal agency or his/her designee(s) may exempt any payment, person, type or class of payments, or type or class of agency personnel if the exemption is determined to be necessary in the interest of the agency.

§301-70.702 - Must we notify the Administrator of General Services when we grant an exemption?

Yes, you must notify the Administrator of General Services (Attention: MAE), 1800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20405, in writing within 30 days after granting the exemption, stating the reasons for the exemption.

§301-70.703 - If we grant an exemption, does that prevent the employee from using the card on a voluntary basis?

No, an exemption from use would not prevent the employee from using the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for official travel expenses on a voluntary basis in accordance with your policies.

§301-70.704 - What classes of employees are exempt from mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card?

The Administrator of General Services exempts the following classes of employees from mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card:

      (a) Any employee who has an application pending for the Government contractor-issued travel charge card;

      (b) Any employee, when issuance of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card would adversely affect the mission or put the employee at risk; and

      (c) Any employee who is not eligible to receive a Government contractor-issued travel charge card.

§301-70.705 - What methods of payment for official travel expenses may we authorize when an exemption from use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card is granted?

When you grant an exemption from use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card, you may authorize one or a combination of the following methods of payment:

      (a) Personal funds, including cash or personal charge card;

      (b) Travel advances; or

      (c) Government Transportation Request (GTR).

Note to §301-70.705: City pair contractors are not required to accept payment by the methods in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section.

§301-70.706 - For what purposes may an employee use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card while on official travel?

An employee is required to use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for expenses directly related to official travel.

§301-70.707 - May an employee use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for personal use while on official travel?

No, an employee may not use the Government contractor-issued travel charge card for personal use while on official travel.

§301-70.708 - What actions may we take if an employee fails to activate the Government contractor-issued travel charge card and/or misuses the travel charge card?

Internal agency policies and procedures should be established defining what are considered to be misuses of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card. Appropriate action may be taken pursuant to those policies if an employee fails to activate the Government contractor-issued travel charge card within 60 days of receipt or misuses the travel charge card.

§301-70.709 - What can we do to reduce travel charge card delinquencies?

To reduce travel charge card delinquencies by your employees, you should consider implementing one or more of the following suggestions (this list is not comprehensive; you may adopt other appropriate procedures):

      (a) Agency travel program coordinators must be trained and aware of their responsibilities and the delinquency management tools available under your agreement with the travel charge card contractor (internet training is available for the GSA SmartPay™ Travel Charge Card at: http://www.gsa.gov/traveltraining.

      (b) Ensure that managers and supervisors are provided monthly delinquency and questionable charges report.

      (c) Periodically, but at least once a year, verify that cardholders are still current employees.

      (d) For inactive accounts (cards not used within 6 months, one year, etc., reduce card limit to $1, increase dollar limit when necessary.

      (e) Work with the charge card contractor to block certain high-risk category codes (e.g., department stores, automobile dealerships, specialty stores), etc.

      (f) Review ATM cash withdrawals for reasonableness and association with official travel.

      (g) Implement a salary offset program. (See part  301-76 of this chapter).

      (h) Implement split disbursement in your travel vouchering system, so that an employee may authorize you to make certain payments directly to the charge card contractor on the employee’s behalf.

      (i) Refer potential fraud cases to your agency IG for investigation.

      (j) For some helpful do’s and don’ts for travel cardholders, see GSA publication (Card-F001) entitled “Helpful Hints for Travel Cardholders”. This publication is available on the Internet at http://fss.gsa.gov/services/gsa-smartpay. Click on “Publications and Presentations” and under “Publications,” click on “Helpful Hints for Travel Card Use”.

      (k) Ensure that employees turn in their travel charge card when they retire or leave the agency.

Subpart I - Policies and Procedures for Agencies that Authorize Travel on Government Aircraft

§301-70.800 - Whom may we authorize to travel on Government Aircraft?

You may authorize Federal travelers, non-Federal travelers, and any other passengers, as defined in part 300-3 of this subtitle, to travel on Government aircraft, subject to the rules in this subpart. Because the taxpayers generally should pay no more than necessary for transportation of travelers, except for required use travel, you may authorize travel on Government aircraft only when a Government aircraft is the most cost-effective mode of travel and the traveler is traveling for Governmental purposes.

§301-70.801 - When may we authorize travel on Government aircraft?

You may authorize travel on Government aircraft only as follows:

      (a) For official travel when—

           (1) No scheduled commercial airline service is reasonably available to fulfill your agency’s travel requirement (i.e., able to meet the traveler’s departure and/or arrival requirements within a 24-hour period, unless you demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances require a shorter period); or

           (2) The cost of using a Government aircraft is not more than the cost of the city-pair fare for scheduled commercial airline service or the cost of the lowest available full coach fare if a city-pair fare is not available to the traveler.

      (b) For required-use travel, i.e., when the traveler is authorized to use Government aircraft because of bona fide communications needs (e.g., 24-hour secure communications are required) or security reasons (e.g., highly unusual circumstances that present a clear and present danger to the traveler) or exceptional scheduling requirements (e.g., a national emergency or other compelling operational considerations). Required-use travel may include travel for official, personal, or political purposes, but must be approved in accordance with §§301-10.262(a) and §301-70.803(a).

      (c) For space available travel when—

           (1) The aircraft is already scheduled for use for an official purpose and carrying an official traveler(s) on the aircraft does not cause the need for a larger aircraft or result in more than minor additional cost to the Government; or

           (2) The Federal traveler or the dependent of a Federal traveler is stationed by the Government in a remote location not accessible to commercial airline service; or

           (3) The traveler is authorized to travel space available under 10 U.S.C. 2648 and regulations implementing that statute.

§301-70.802 - Must we ensure that travel on Government aircraft is the most cost-effective alternative?

      (a) Yes, you must ensure that travel on a Government aircraft is the most cost-effective alternative that will meet the travel requirement. Your designated travel approving official must—

           (1) Compare the cost of all travel alternatives, as applicable, that is—

                (i) Travel on a scheduled commercial airline;

                (ii) Travel on a Federal aircraft;

                (iii) Travel on a Government aircraft hired as a commercial aviation service (CAS); and

                (iv) Travel by other available modes of

               transportation; and

           (2) Approve only the most cost-effective alternative that meets your agency’s needs.

           (3) Consider the cost of non-productive or lost work time while in travel status and certain other costs when comparing the costs of using Government aircraft in lieu of scheduled commercial airline service and other available modes of transportation. Additional information on costs included in the cost comparison may be found in the “U.S. Government Aircraft Cost Accounting Guide,” available through the General Services Administration, Office of Governmentwide Policy, MTA, 1800 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20405.

      (b) The aircraft management office in the agency that owns or hires the Government aircraft must provide your designated travel-approving official with cost estimates for a Government aircraft trip (i.e., a Federal aircraft trip cost or a CAS aircraft trip cost).

      (c) When an agency operates a Government aircraft to fulfill a non-travel related governmental function or for required use travel, using any space available for passengers on official travel is presumed to result in cost savings.

§301-70.803 - How must we authorize travel on a Government aircraft?

You must authorize travel on a Government aircraft as follows:

      (a) For required-use travel. Your agency must first establish written standards for determining the special circumstances under which it will require travelers to use Government aircraft. Then, following those standards, your agency’s senior legal official or his/her principal deputy must authorize required-use travel on a trip-by-trip basis in advance and in writing, unless—

           (1) The traveler is an agency head, and the President has determined that all of his or her travel, or travel in specified categories, requires the use of Government aircraft; or

           (2) Your agency head has determined in writing that all travel, or travel in specified categories, by another traveler requires the use of Government aircraft.

      Note to §301-70.803(a): In an emergency situation, prior verbal approval for required-use travel with an after-the-fact written authorization is permitted.

      (b) For travel by senior Federal officials. Your agency’s senior legal official or his/her principal deputy must authorize all travel on Government aircraft by senior Federal officials on a trip-by-trip basis, in advance and in writing, except for required use travel authorized under paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section. In an emergency situation, prior verbal approval with an after-the-fact written authorization by your agency’s senior legal official is permitted. Senior Federal officials who are crewmembers or qualified non-crewmembers on a flight in which they are also traveling (i.e., being transported from point-to-point) are considered travelers and must be authorized to travel on Government aircraft according to this paragraph.

      (c) For travel by non-Federal travelers. If you are the sponsoring agency for a non-Federal traveler, your senior legal official or his/her deputy must authorize all travel on Government aircraft by that non-Federal traveler on a trip-by-trip basis, in advance and in writing. In an emergency situation, prior verbal approval with an after-the-fact written authorization by your agency’s senior legal official is permitted.

      (d) For all other travel.

(1) Your agency's designated travel approving official (or anyone to whom he/she delegates this authority and who is at least one organizational level above the traveler) must authorize, in advance and in writing, all other travel on Government aircraft (i.e., by passengers, crewmembers, or qualified non-crewmembers) that is not covered in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section. In an emergency situation, prior verbal approval with an after-the-fact written authorization by your agency’s designated travel approving official is permitted. If your agency wishes to issue blanket travel authorizations that authorize travel on Government aircraft, such blanket authorizations must define the circumstances that must be met for using Government aircraft in compliance with this regulation and any additional agency policies. Travel on Government aircraft that does not meet the circumstances specified in the blanket travel authorization must be authorized on a trip-by-trip basis in accordance with this regulation and other applicable agency policies.

           (2) When authorizing space available travel (except as authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2648 and regulations implementing that statute), you must ensure that the aircraft management office in the agency that owns or hires the aircraft has certified in writing before the flight that the aircraft is scheduled to be used for a bona fide governmental function. Bona fide governmental functions may include support for official travel. The aircraft management office must also certify that carrying a traveler(s) in space available does not cause the need for a larger aircraft or result in more than minor additional cost to the Government. The aircraft management office must retain this certification for two years. In an emergency situation, prior verbal confirmation of this information with an after-the-fact written certification is permitted.

§301-70.804 - What amount must the Government be reimbursed for travel on a Government aircraft?

      (a) No reimbursement is required for official travel on a Government aircraft.

      (b) For personal travel on Government aircraft, reimbursement depends upon which of the following special cases applies:

           (1) You must require a traveler on required-use travel to reimburse the Government for the excess of the full coach fare for all flights taken on a trip over the full coach fare for the flights that he/she would have taken had he/she not engaged in personal activities during the trip; and

           (2) No reimbursement is required for travel authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2648 and regulations implementing that statute, or when the traveler and his/her dependents are stationed by the Government in a remote location with no access to regularly scheduled commercial airline service.

      (c) For political travel on a Government aircraft (i.e., for any trip or part of a trip during which the traveler engages in political activities), you must require that the Government be reimbursed the excess of the full coach fare for all flights taken on the trip over the full coach fare for the flights that the traveler would have taken had he/she not engaged in political activities, except if other law or regulation specifies a different amount (see, e.g., 11 CFR 106.3, “Allocation of Expenses between Campaign and Non-campaign Related Travel”), in which case the amount reimbursed is the amount required by such law or regulation.

§301-70.805 - Must we include special information on a travel authorization for a senior Federal official or a non-Federal traveler who travels on Government aircraft?

Yes, you must include the following information on a travel authorization for a senior Federal official or a non-Federal traveler:

      (a) Traveler’s name with indication that the traveler is either a senior Federal official or a non-Federal traveler, whichever is appropriate.

      (b) The traveler’s organization and title or other appropriate descriptive information, e.g., dependent, press, etc.

      (c) Name of the authorizing agency.

      (d) The official purpose of the trip.

      (e) The destination(s).

      (f) For personal or political travel, the amount that the traveler must reimburse the Government (i.e., the full coach fare or appropriate share of that fare).

      (g) For official travel, the comparable city-pair fare (if available to the traveler) or full coach fare if a city-pair fare is not available.

§301-70.806 - What documentation must we retain for travel on Government aircraft?

You must retain all travel authorizations and cost-comparisons for travel on Government aircraft for two years.

§301-70.807 - Must we make information available to the public about travel by senior Federal officials and non-Federal travelers on Government aircraft?

Yes, an agency that authorizes travel on Government aircraft must make records about travelers on those aircraft available to the public in response to written requests under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), except for portions exempt from disclosure under that Act (such as classified information).

§301-70.808 - Do the rules in this part apply to travel on Government aircraft by the President and Vice President or by individuals traveling in support of the President and Vice President?

Given the unique functions and needs of the presidency and the vice presidency, section 4 of Circular A-126, “Improving the Management and Use of Government Aircraft,” Revised May 1992, makes clear that Circular A-126 does not apply to aircraft while in use by or in support of the President or Vice President. Since the principal purpose of the rules in this part is to implement Circular A-126, the rules in this part also do not apply to such travel. If any questions arise regarding travel related to the President or Vice President, contact the Office of the Counsel to the President or the Office of the Counsel to the Vice President, respectively.

Subpart J - Policies and Procedures for Agencies that Own or Hire Government Aircraft for Travel

§301-70.900 - May we use our Government aircraft to carry passengers?

Yes. You may use Government aircraft, i.e., aircraft that you own, borrow, operate as a bailed aircraft, or hire as a commercial aviation service (CAS), to carry Federal and non-Federal travelers, but only in accordance with the rules in 41 CFR 102-33.215 and 102-33.220 and the regulations in this part.

§301-70.901 - Who may approve use of our Government aircraft to carry passengers?

Your agency head or his/her designee must approve the use of your agency’s Government aircraft for travel, i.e., for carrying passengers and any crewmembers or qualified non-crewmembers who are also traveling. This approval must be in writing and may be for recurring travel.

§301-70.902 - Do we have any special responsibilities related to space available travel on our Government aircraft?

Yes, except for travel authorized under 10 U.S.C. 4744 and regulations implementing that statute, you must certify in writing before carrying passengers on a space available basis on your Government aircraft that the aircraft is scheduled to perform a bona fide governmental function. Bona fide governmental functions may include support for official travel. You must also certify that carrying a passenger in space available does not cause the need for a larger aircraft and does not result in more than minor additional cost to the Government. Your aircraft management office must retain this certification for two years. In an emergency situation, prior verbal approval with an after-the-fact written certification is permitted.

§301-70.903 - What are our responsibilities for ensuring that Government aircraft are the most cost-effective alternative for travel?

To help ensure that Government aircraft are the most cost-effective alternative for travel, your aircraft management office must calculate the cost of a trip on your aircraft, whether Federal aircraft or CAS aircraft, and submit that information to the traveler's designated travel-approving official upon request. The designated travel-approving official must use that information to compare the cost of using Government aircraft with the cost of scheduled commercial airline service and the cost of using other available modes of transportation. When you operate a Government aircraft to fulfill a non-travel related governmental function or for required use travel, using any space available for passengers on official travel is presumed to result in cost savings. For guidance on how and when to calculate the cost of a trip on Government aircraft, see the “U.S. Government Aircraft Cost Accounting Guide,” published by the Aircraft Management Policy Division (MTA), General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 20405.

§301-70.904 - Must travelers whom we carry on Government aircraft be authorized to travel?

Yes, every traveler on one of your aircraft must have a written travel authorization from an authorizing executive agency, and he/she must present that authorization, before the flight, to the aircraft management office or its representative in the organization that owns or hires the Government aircraft. In addition to all passengers, those crewmembers and qualified non-crewmembers on a flight in which they are also traveling (i.e., being transported from point to point) are considered travelers and must also be authorized to travel on Government aircraft.

§301-70.905 - What documentation must we retain for travel on our Government aircraft?

      (a) You must retain for two years copies of travel authorizations for senior Federal officials and non-Federal travelers who travel on your Government aircraft.

      (b) You must also retain for two years the following information for each flight:

           (1) The tail number of the Government aircraft used.

           (2) The dates used for travel.

           (3) The name(s) of the pilot(s), other crewmembers, and qualified non-crewmembers.

           (4) The purpose(s) of the flight.

           (5) The route(s) flown.

           (6) The names of all passengers.

§301-70.906 - Must we report use of our Government aircraft to carry senior Federal officials and non-Federal travelers?

Yes, except when the trips are classified, you must report to GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy (MTT) all uses of your aircraft for travel by any senior Federal official or non-Federal traveler, by using an electronic reporting tool found at www.gsa.gov/sftr, unless travel is authorized under 10 U.S.C. 2648 and regulations implementing that statute.

§301-70.907 - What information must we report on the use of Government aircraft to carry senior Federal officials and non-Federal travelers and when must it be reported?

You must report on a semi-annual basis to the General Services Administration (GSA) information about Senior Federal officials and non-Federal travelers who fly aboard your aircraft. The reporting periods are October 1 through March 31 and April 1 through September 30 of each fiscal year. A report is due to GSA not later than 30 calendar days after the close of each reporting period and must contain the following information:

      (a) The person’s name with indication that he/she is either a senior Federal official or a non-Federal traveler, whichever is appropriate.

      (b) The traveler’s organization and title or other appropriate descriptive information, e.g., dependent, press, etc.

      (c) Name of the authorizing agency.

      (d) The official purposes of the trip.

      (e) The destination(s).

      (f) For personal or political travel, the amount that the traveler must reimburse the Government (i.e., the full coach fare or appropriate share of that fare).

      (g) For official travel, the comparable city-pair fare (if available to the traveler) or the full coach fare if the city-pair fare is not available.

      (h) The cost to the Government to carry this person (i.e., the appropriate allocated share of the Federal or CAS aircraft trip costs).

Note to §301-70.907: You are not required to report classified trips; however, you must maintain information on classified trips for two years. Most of the information required by paragraphs (a) through (g) of this section can be found on the traveler’s travel authorization. Your aircraft management office must provide the information about crewmembers and qualified non-crewmembers required by paragraph (b) as well as the information required by paragraph (h). For more information on calculating costs, see the “U.S. Government Aircraft Cost Accounting Guide,” published by the Aircraft Management Policy Division (MTA), General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 20405.

§301-70.908 - Must we make information available to the public about travel by senior Federal officials and non-Federal travelers on Government aircraft?

Yes, an agency that operates aircraft must make records about travelers on those aircraft available to the public in response to written requests under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), except for portions exempt from disclosure under that Act (such as classified information).

§301-70.909 - What disclosure information must we give to anyone who flies on our Government aircraft?

You must give each person aboard your aircraft a copy of the following disclosure statement:

Disclosure for Persons Flying Aboard Federal Government Aircraft

Note: The disclosure contained herein is not all-inclusive. You should contact your sponsoring agency for further assistance.

Generally, an aircraft used exclusively for the U.S. Government may be considered a ‘public aircraft’ as defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102 and 40125, unless it is transporting passengers or operating for commercial purposes. A public aircraft is not subject to many Federal aviation regulations, including requirements relating to aircraft certification, maintenance, and pilot certification. If a U.S. Government agency transports passengers on a Government aircraft, that agency must comply with all Federal aviation regulations applicable to civil aircraft. If you have questions about the status of a particular flight, you should contact the agency sponsoring the flight.

You and your family have certain rights and benefits in the unlikely event you are injured or killed while riding aboard a Government aircraft. Federal employees and some private citizens are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA). When FECA applies, it is the sole remedy. For more information about FECA and its coverage, consult with your agency's benefits office or contact the Branch of Technical Assistance at the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers' Compensation Programs at (202) 693-0044. (These rules also apply to travel on other Government-owned or operated conveyances such as cars, vans, or buses.)

State or foreign laws may provide for product liability or “third party” causes of actions for personal injury or wrongful death. If you have questions about a particular case or believe you have a claim, you should consult with an attorney.

Some insurance policies may exclude coverage for injuries or death sustained while traveling aboard a Government or military aircraft or while within a combat area. You may wish to check your policy or consult with your insurance provider before your flight. The insurance available to Federal employees through the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance Program does not contain an exclusion of this type.

If you are the victim of an air disaster resulting from criminal activity, Victim and Witness Specialists from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and/or the local U.S. Attorney’s Office will keep you or your family informed about the status of the criminal investigation(s) and provide you or your family with information about rights and services, such as crisis intervention, counseling and emotional support. State crime victim compensation may be able to cover crime-related expenses, such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages or loss of support. The Office for Victims of Crime (an agency of the Department of Justice) is authorized by the Antiterrorism Act of 1996 to provide emergency financial assistance to state programs, as well as the U.S. Attorneys Office, for the benefit of victims of terrorist acts or mass violence.

If you are a Federal employee:

1. If you are injured or killed on the job during the performance of duty including while traveling aboard a Government aircraft or other government-owned or operated conveyance for business purposes, you and your family are eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits under FECA. You and your family may not file a personal injury or wrongful death suit against the United States or its employees. However, you may have cause of action against potentially liable third parties.

2. You or your qualifying family member must normally also choose between FECA disability or death benefits, and those payable under your retirement system (either the Civil Service Retirement System or the Federal Employees Retirement System). You may choose the benefit that is more favorable to you.

If you are a private citizen not employed by the Federal Government:

1. Even if you are not regularly employed by the Federal Government, if you are rendering personal service to the Federal Government on a voluntary basis or for nominal pay, you may be defined as a Federal employee for purposes of FECA. If that is the case, you and your family are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits under FECA, but may not collect in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the United States or its employees. You and your family may file suit against potentially liable third parties. Before you depart, you may wish to consult with the department or agency sponsoring the flight to clarify whether you are considered a Federal employee.

2. If there is a determination that you are not a Federal employee, you and your family will not be eligible to receive workman's compensation benefits under FECA. If you are traveling for business purposes, you may be eligible for workman’s compensation benefits under state law. If the accident occurs within the United States, or its territories, its airspace, or over the high seas, you and your family may claim against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act or Suits in Admiralty Act. If you are killed aboard a military aircraft, your family may be eligible to receive compensation under the Military Claims Act, or if you are an inhabitant of a foreign country, under the Foreign Claims Act.

§301-70.910 - Do the rules in this part apply to travel on Government aircraft by the President and Vice President or by individuals traveling in support of the President and Vice President?

Given the unique functions and needs of the presidency and the vice presidency, section 4 of Circular A-126, “Improving the Management and Use of Government Aircraft,” Revised May 1992, makes clear that Circular A-126 does not apply to aircraft while in use by or in support of the President or Vice President. Since the principal purpose of the rules in this part is to implement Circular A-126, the rules in this part also do not apply to such travel. If any questions arise regarding travel related to the President or Vice President, contact the Office of the Counsel to the President or the Office of the Counsel to the Vice President, respectively.

Part 301-71 - Agency Travel Accountability Requirements

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); Sec. 2, Pub. L. 105-264, 112 Stat. 2350 (5 U.S.C. 5701 note).

Subpart A - General

Note to subpart  A: For purposes of this subpart, GSA uses a “we” question when referring to an agency, and an “I” question when referring to the employee.

§301-71.1 - What is the purpose of an agency travel accounting system?

To:

      (a) Pay authorized and allowable travel expenses of employees;

      (b) Provide standard data necessary for the management of official travel; and

      (c) Ensure adequate accounting for all travel and transportation expenses for official travel.

§301-71.2 - What are the standard data elements and when must they be captured on a travel accounting system?

The data elements are listed in Appendix  C of this chapter and must be on any travel claim form authorized for use by your employees.

§301-71.3 - May we use electronic signatures on travel documents?

Yes, if you meet the security and privacy requirements established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for electronic data interchange.

Subpart B - Travel Authorization

§301-71.100 - What is the purpose of the travel authorization process?

The purpose is to:

      (a) Provide the employee information regarding what expenses you will pay;

      (b) Provide travel service vendors with necessary documentation for the use of travel programs;

      (c) Provide financial information necessary for budgetary planning; and

      (d) Identify purpose of travel.

§301-71.101 - What travel may we authorize?

You may authorize only travel which is necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Government effectively and economically. This must be communicated to any official who has the authority to authorize travel.

§301-71.102 - May we issue a single authorization for a group of employees?

Yes. You may issue a single authorization for a group of employees when they are traveling together on a single trip. However, you must attach a list of all travelers to the authorization.

§301-71.103 - What information must be included on all travel authorizations?

You must include:

      (a) The name of the employee(s);

      (b) The signature of the proper authorizing official;

      (c) Purpose of travel;

      (d) Any conditions of or limitations on that authorization;

      (e) An estimate of the travel costs (for open authorizations it should include an estimate of the travel costs over the period covered); and

      (f) A statement that the employee(s) is (are) authorized to travel.

§301-71.104 - Who must sign a travel authorization?

Your agency head or an official to whom such authority has been delegated. This authority may be delegated to any person(s) who is aware of how the authorized travel will support the agency’s mission, who is knowledgeable of the employee’s travel plans and/or responsible for the travel funds paying for the travel involved.

§301-71.105 - Must we issue a written or electronic travel authorization in advance of travel?

Yes, except when advance written or electronic authorization is not possible or practical and approval is in accordance with §§301-2.1 and 301-2.5 for:

      (a) Use of other than coach-class service accommodation on common carriers or use of other than lowest first-class accommodation on ships;

      (b) Use of a foreign air carrier;

      (c) Use of reduced fares for group or charter arrangements;

      (d) Use of cash to pay for common carrier transportation;

      (e) Use of extra-fare train service;

      (f) Travel by ship;

      (g) Use of a rental car;

      (h) Use of a Government aircraft;

      (i) Payment of a reduced rate per diem;

      (j) Payment of actual expenses (see §301-70.201 for when you may issue a blanket actual expense authorization);

      (k) Travel expenses related to emergency travel;

      (l) Transportation expenses related to threatened law enforcement/investigative employees and members of their immediate families;

      (m) Travel expenses related to travel to a foreign area, except as provided by agency mission;

      (n) Acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for travel expenses (see Chapter  304 of this title); and

      (o) Travel expenses related to attendance at a conference.

Note to §301-71.105: You should establish procedures for travel situations where it is not practical or possible to issue a written authorization in advance, except for paragraphs (c), (i), (n), and (o), which always require written or electronic advance authorization.

§301-71.106 - Who must sign a trip-by-trip authorization?

The appropriate official is determined as follows:

For The appropriate official to sign a trip-by-trip authorization is
Use of cash to procure common carrier transportation. An official at as low an administrative level as permitted by 41 CFR 101-203.2 to ensure adequate consideration and review of the circumstances.
Travel on a Government aircraft. Determined under 41 CFR 101-37.405.
Acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for travel expenses. An official at as low an administrative level as permitted by 41 CFR Chapter  304 to ensure adequate consideration and review of the circumstances surrounding the offer and acceptance of the payment.
Travel expenses related to attendance at a conference. A senior agency official.
All other specific authorizations. An official who may issue the employee a general authorization.

§301-71.107 - When authorizing travel, what factors must the authorizing official consider?

The following factors must be considered:

      (a) The need for the travel;

      (b) The use of travel substitutes (e.g., mail, teleconferencing, etc.);

      (c) The most cost effective routing and means of accomplishing travel; and

      (d) The employee’s travel plans, including plans to take leave in conjunction with travel.

§301-71.108 - What internal policies and procedures must we establish for travel authorization?

You must establish the following:

      (a) The circumstances under which different types of travel authorizations will be used, consistent with the guidelines in this subpart;

      (b) Who will be authorized to sign travel authorizations; and

      (c) What format you will use for travel authorizations.

Subpart C - Travel Claims for Reimbursement

§301-71.200 - Who must review and sign travel claims?

The travel authorizing/approving official or his/her designee (e.g., supervisor of the traveler) must review and sign travel claims to confirm the authorized travel.

§301-71.201 - What are the reviewing official’s responsibilities?

The reviewing official must have full knowledge of the employee’s activities. He/she must ensure:

      (a) The claim is properly prepared in accordance with the pertinent regulations and agency procedures;

      (b) A copy of authorization for travel is provided;

      (c) The types of expenses claimed are authorized and allowable expenses;

      (d) The amounts claimed are accurate; and

      (e) The required receipts, statements, justifications, etc. are attached to the travel claim, or once the agency fully deploys ETS and implements electronic scanning, the electronic travel claim includes scanned electronic images of such documents.

§301-71.202 - May we pay a claim when an employee does not include a copy of the corresponding authorization?

Yes, as long as the travel claim was signed by the approving/authorizing official, except for the following, which require advance authorization:

      (a) Use of reduced fares for group or charter arrangements;

      (b) Payment of a reduced rate of per diem for subsistence expenses;

      (c) Acceptance of payment from a non-Federal source for travel expenses; and

      (d) Travel expenses related to attendance at a conference.

§301-71.203 - Who is responsible for the validity of the travel claim?

The certifying officer assumes ultimate responsibility under 31 U.S.C. 3528 for the validity of the claim; however:

      (a) The traveler must ensure all travel expenses are prudent and necessary and submit the expenses in the form of a proper claim;

      (b) The authorizing/approving official shall review the completed claim to ensure that the claim is properly prepared in accordance with regulations and agency procedures prior to authorizing it for payment.

Note to §301-71.203: You should consider limiting the levels of approval to the lowest level of management.

§301-71.204 - Within how many calendar days after the submission of a proper travel claim must we reimburse the employee’s allowable expenses?

You must reimburse the employee within 30 calendar days after the employee submits a proper travel claim to the agency’s designated approving office. You must use a satisfactory recordkeeping system to track submission of travel claims. For example, travel claims submitted by mail, in accordance with agency policy, could be annotated with the time and date of receipt by the agency. You could consider travel claims electronically submitted to the designated approving office as submitted on the date indicated on an e-mail log, or on the next business day if submitted after normal working hours. However, claims for the following relocation allowances are exempt from this provision:

      (a) Transportation and storage of household goods and professional books, papers and equipment;

      (b) Transportation of mobile home;

      (c) Transportation of a privately owned vehicle;

      (d) Temporary quarters subsistence expense, when not paid as lump sum;

      (e) Residence transaction expenses;

      (f) Relocation income tax allowance;

      (g) Use of a relocation services company;

      (h) Home marketing incentive payments; and

      (i) Allowance for property management services.

§301-71.205 - Under what circumstances may we disallow a claim for an expense?

If the employee:

      (a) Does not properly itemize his/her expenses;

      (b) Does not provide required receipts or other documentation to support the claim; or

      (c) Claims an expense which is not authorized.

§301-71.206 - What must we do if we disallow a travel claim?

You must:

      (a) Pay the employee the amount of the travel claim which is not in dispute;

      (b) Notify the employee that the claim was disallowed with a detailed explanation of why; and

      (c) Tell the employee how to appeal the disallowance if he/she desires an appeal, and your process and schedule for deciding the appeal.

§301-71.207 - What internal policies and procedures must we establish for travel reimbursement?

You must establish policies and procedures governing:

      (a) Who are the proper officials to review, approve, and certify travel claims (including travel claims requiring special authorization);

      (b) How an employee should submit a travel claim (including whether to use a standard form or an agency form and whether the form should be written or electronic);

      (c) When you will exempt employees from the requirement for a receipt;

      (d) Timeframes for employee to submit a claim (see §301-52.7);

      (e) Timeframe for agency to pay a claim (see §301-71.204);

      (f) Process for disallowing a claim; and

      (g) Process for resolving a disallowed claim.

§301-71.208 - Within how many calendar days after submission of a proper travel claim must we notify the employee of any errors in the claim?

You must notify the employee as soon as practicable after the employee’s submission of the travel claim of any error that would prevent payment within 30 calendar days after submission and provide the reason(s) why the claim is not proper. However, not later than May 1, 2002, you must achieve a maximum time period of seven working days for notifying an employee that his/her travel claim is not proper.

§301-71.209 - Must we pay a late payment fee if we fail to reimburse the employee within 30 calendar days after receipt of a proper travel claim?

Yes, a late payment fee, in addition to the amount due the employee, must be paid for any proper travel claim not reimbursed within 30 calendar days of submission to the approving official.

§301-71.210 - How do we calculate late payment fees?

Late payment fees are calculated either by:

      (a) Using the prevailing Prompt Payment Act Interest Rate beginning on the 31st day after submission of a proper travel claim and ending on the date on which payment is made; or

      (b) A flat fee, of not less than the prompt payment amount, based on an agencywide average of travel claim payments; and

      (c) In addition to the fee required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, you must also pay an amount equivalent to any late payment charge that the card contractor would have been able to charge had the employee not paid the bill. Payment of this additional fee will be based upon the effective date that a late payment charge would be allowed under the agreement between the employee and the card contractor.

§301-71.211 - Is there a minimum amount the late payment fee must exceed before we will pay it?

Yes, a late payment fee will only be paid when the computed late payment fee is $1.00 or greater.

§301-71.212 - Should we report late payment fees as wages on a Form W‑2?

No, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has determined that the late payment fee is in the nature of interest (compensation for the use of money).

§301-71.213 - Is the additional fee, which is the equivalent to any late payment charge that the card contractor would have been able to charge had the employee not paid the bill, considered income?

Yes, you must report this late payment fee as additional wages on Form W‑2.

§301-71.214 - Does mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card change the employee’s obligation to pay his/her travel card bill by the due date?

No, mandatory use of the Government contractor-issued travel charge card does not relieve the employee of his/her obligation to honor his/her cardholder payment agreement.

Subpart D - Accounting for Travel Advances

§301-71.300 - What is the policy governing the use of travel advances?

You should minimize the use of cash travel advances. However, you should not require an employee to pay travel expenses using personal funds unless the employee has elected not to use alternative resources provided by the Government, such as a Government contractor-issued charge card.

§301-71.301 - In situations where a lodging facility requires the payment of a deposit, may we reimburse an employee for an advance room deposit prior to the beginning of scheduled official travel?

Yes, you may reimburse an employee an advance room deposit, when such a deposit is required by the lodging facility to secure a room reservation, prior to the beginning of an employee’s scheduled official travel. However, if the employee is reimbursed the advance room deposit, but fails to perform the scheduled official travel for reasons not acceptable to the agency, resulting in the forfeit of the deposit, the employee is indebted to the Government and must repay that amount in a timely manner as prescribed by you.

§301-71.302 - For how long may we issue a travel advance?

You may issue a travel advance for a reasonable period not to exceed 45 days.

§301-71.303 - What data must we capture in our travel advance accounting system?

You must capture the following data:

      (a) The name and social security number of each employee who has an advance;

      (b) The amount of the advance;

      (c) The date of issuance; and

      (d) The date of reconciliation for unused portions of travel advances.

§301-71.304 - Are we responsible for ensuring the collection of outstanding travel advances?

Yes.

§301-71.305 - When must an employee account for a travel advance?

An employee must account for an outstanding travel advance each time a travel claim is filed. If the employee receives a travel advance but determines that the related travel will not be performed, then the employee must inform you that the travel will not be performed and repay the advance at that time.

§301-71.306 - Are there exceptions to collecting an advance at the time the employee files a travel claim?

Yes, when the employee is in a continuous travel status and

      (a) You review each outstanding travel advance on a periodic basis (the period will be for a reasonable time of 45 days or less); and

      (b) You determine the amount, if any, of the outstanding balance exceeds the amount of estimated travel expenses for the authorized period and collect the excess amount from the employee.

§301-71.307 - How do we collect the amount of a travel advance in excess of the amount of travel expenses substantiated by the employee?

When the outstanding advance exceeds what you owe the employee, then the employee must submit cash or a check for the difference in accordance with your policy. Your failure to collect the amount in excess of substantiated expenses will cause a violation of the accountable plan rules contained in the Internal Revenue Code (title 26 of the United States Code).

§301-71.308 - What should we do if the employee does not pay back a travel advance when the travel claim is filed?

You should take alternative steps to collect the debt including:

      (a) Offset against the employee’s salary, a retirement credit, or other amount owed the employee;

      (b) Deduction from an amount the Government owes the employee; or

      (c) Any other legal method of recovery.

§301-71.309 - What internal policies and procedures must we establish governing travel advances?

Accountability for cash advances for travel, recovery, and reimbursement shall be in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Government Accountability Office (see Government Accountability Office Policy and Procedures Manual for Guidance of Federal Agencies, Title 7, Fiscal Procedures).

Part 301-72 - Agency Responsibilities Related to Common Carrier Transportation

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 31 U.S.C. 3726; 40 U.S.C. 121.

Subpart A - Procurement of Common Carrier Transportation

§301-72.1 - Why is common carrier presumed to be the most advantageous method of transportation?

Travel by common carrier is presumed to be the most advantageous method of transportation because it generally results in the most efficient, least costly, most expeditious means of transportation and the most efficient use of energy resources.

§301-72.2 - May we utilize methods of transportation other than common carrier (e.g., POVs, chartered vehicles, etc.)?

Yes, but only when use of common carrier transportation:

      (a) Would interfere with the performance of official business;

      (b) Would impose an undue hardship upon the traveler; or

      (c) When the total cost by common carrier would exceed the cost of the other method of transportation.

§301-72.3 - What method of payment must we authorize for common carrier transportation?

You must authorize one or more of the following as appropriate:

      (a) GSA’s Government contractor-issued individually billed charge card(s);

      (b) Agency centrally billed or other established accounts;

      (c) Cash payments (personal funds or travel advances in the form of travelers checks or authorized ATM cash withdrawals) when the cost of transportation is less than $100, under §301-51.100 of this chapter (cash may or may not be accepted by the carrier for the purchase of city pair fares); or

      (d) GTR(s) when no other option is available or feasible.

Subpart B - Accounting for Common Carrier Transportation

§301-72.100 - What must my travel accounting system do in relation to common carrier transportation?

Your system must:

      (a) Authorize the use of cash in accordance with §301-51.100 or as otherwise required;

      (b) Correlate travel data accumulated by your authorization and claims accounting systems with common carrier transportation documents and data for audit purposes;

      (c) Identify unused tickets for refund;

      (d) Collect unused, partially used, or downgraded/exchanged tickets, from travelers upon completion of travel;

      (e) Track denied boarding compensation from employees;

      (f) Identify and collect refunds due from carriers for overpayments, or unused, partially used, or downgraded/exchanged tickets; and

      (g) Reconcile all centrally billed travel expenses (e.g., airline, lodging, car rentals, etc.) with travel authorizations and claims to assure that only authorized charges are paid.

§301-72.101 - What information should we provide an employee before authorizing the use of common carrier transportation?

You should provide the employee:

      (a) Notice that he/she is accountable for all tickets, GTRs and other transportation documents;

      (b) Your procedures for the control and accounting of common carrier transportation documents, including the procedures for submitting unused, partially used, downgraded/exchanged tickets, refund receipts or ticket refund applications, and denied boarding compensation; and

      (c) A credit/refund address so the carrier can credit/refund the agency for unused tickets (when the tickets have been issued using an agency centrally billed account or by GTR).

Subpart C - Cash Payments for Procuring Common Carrier Transportation Services

§301-72.200 - Under what conditions may we authorize cash payments for procuring common carrier transportation services?

In accordance with §301-51.100.

§301-72.201 - What must we do if an employee uses cash in excess of the $100 limit to purchase common carrier transportation?

To justify the use of cash in excess of $100, both the agency and traveler must certify on the travel claim the necessity for such use. See 41 CFR 101-41.203-2.

§301-72.202 - Who may approve cash payments in excess of the $100 limit?

You must ensure the delegation of authority for the authorization or approval of cash payments over the $100 limit is in accordance with 41 CFR 101-41.203-2.

§301-72.203 - When may we limit traveler reimbursement for a cash payment?

If you determine that the cash payment was made under a non-emergency circumstance, reimbursement to the traveler must not exceed the cost which would have been properly chargeable to the Government had the traveler used a government provided payment resource, (e.g., individual Government contractor-issued travel charge card, centrally billed account, or GTR). However, an agency can determine to make full payment when circumstances warrant (e.g., invitational travel, infrequent travelers and interviewees).

§301-72.204 - What must we do to minimize the need for a traveler to use cash to procure common carrier transportation services?

You must establish procedures to encourage travelers to use the GSA individual Government contractor-issued travel charge card(s), or your agency’s centrally billed or other established account, or a GTR (when no other option is available or feasible).

Subpart D - Unused, Partially Used, Exchanged, Canceled, or Oversold Common Carrier Transportation Services

§301-72.300 - What procedures must we establish to collect unused, partially used, and exchanged tickets?

You must establish administrative procedures providing:

      (a) Written instructions explaining traveler liability for the value of tickets issued until all ticket coupons are used or properly accounted for on the travel voucher;

      (b) Instructions for submitting payments received from carriers for failure to provide confirmed reserved space;

      (c) The traveler with a “bill charges to” address, so that the traveler can provide this information to the carrier for returned or exchanged tickets.

      (d) Procedures for promptly identifying any unused tickets, coupons, or other evidence of refund due the Government.

§301-72.301 - How do we process unused, partially used, and exchanged tickets?

      (a) For unused or partially used tickets purchased with GTRs: You must obtain the unused or partially used ticket from the traveler, issue Standard Form 1170 (SF 1170) “Redemption of Unused Ticket” to the airline and or travel agency that issued the ticket, maintain a suspense file to monitor the airline/travel agency refund, and record and deposit the airline/travel agency refund upon receipt. See 41 CFR 102-118.145 and the U.S. Government Passenger Transportation Handbook (http://fss.gsa.gov/transtrav/usgpth.pdf) for policies and procedures regarding the use of SF 1170.

      (b) For unused or partially used tickets purchased under centrally billed accounts: You must obtain the unused ticket from the traveler, return it to the issuing office that furnished the airline ticket, obtain a receipt indicating a credit is due, and confirm that the value of the unused ticket has been credited to the centrally billed account.

      (c) For exchanged tickets purchased with GTRs: You must obtain the airline/travel agency refund application or receipt from the traveler, and maintain a suspense file to monitor the airline/travel agency refund. For additional guidance see 41 CFR 102-118.145 and the U.S. Government Passenger Transportation Handbook (http://fss.gsa.gov/transtrav/usgpth.pdf).

      (d) For exchanged tickets purchased under centrally billed accounts: You must obtain the airline receipt from the traveler showing a credit is due the agency, and ensure that the unused portion of the exchanged ticket coupon is credited to the centrally billed account.

Part 301-73 - Travel Programs

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c).

Subpart A - General Rules

§301-73.1 - What does the Federal travel management program include?

The Federal travel management program includes—

      (a) A travel authorization and claim system that implements the related requirements of the Federal Travel Regulation. (See part  301-71 of this chapter for those requirements);

      (b) A TMS that provides reservation and ticketing support and management reports on reservation and ticketing activities. (See §301-73.106 for specific services that should be provided by a TMS);

      (c) A Travel payment system for paying travel service providers in accordance to §§301-73.300 and 301-73.301 of this chapter;

      (d) Contracts and similar arrangements, with transportation and lodging providers (e.g. Government-contract air carriers, rental car companies, trains, hotels (e.g., FedRooms properties), etc.) that give preferential rates and other benefits to Federal travelers on official business; and

      (e) A Travel Management Reporting System that covers financial and other travel characteristics required by the biennial Travel Survey (see §§300-70.1 through 300-70.4 of this title).

Note to §301-73.1 : The E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) fulfills the requirements of paragraphs (a), (b), and (e) of this section.

§301-73.2 - What are our responsibilities as participants in the Federal travel management program?

As a participant in the Federal travel management program, you must—

      (a) Designate an authorized representative to administer the program including leading your agency's migration of ETS;

      (b) Ensure that you have internal policies and procedures in place to govern use of the program including a plan and timeline to implement ETS no later than December 31, 2004, with agency-wide migration to ETS completed no later than September 30, 2006;

      (c) Establish a plan that will measure direct and indirect cost savings and management efficiencies through the use of ETS once deployed. This plan must include your migration plan and schedule which must be submitted by March 31, 2004 to the E-Gov Travel Program Management Office (PMO) (see §301-73.101);

      (d) Require employees to use ETS in lieu of your TMS as soon as it becomes available in your agency (unless an exception has been granted in accordance with §§301-73.102 or 301-73.104), but no later than September 30, 2006; and

      (e) Ensure that any agency-contracted travel agency services (TMS) complement and support ETS in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Subpart B - eTravel Service and Travel Management Service

§301-73.100 - Must we require employees to use the E-Gov Travel Service?

Yes, unless you have an exception to the use of the ETS (see §301-73.101). You must implement the ETS no later than December 31, 2004, and require employees to use the ETS as soon as it becomes available in your agency. The Department of Defense and the Government of the District of Columbia are not subject to this requirement.

Notes to §301-73.100: (1) You have the option to use the contracted travel agent service(s) of your choice (through the ETS or other contract vehicles). You have the responsibility for ensuring agency-contracted travel agent services complement and support the ETS in an efficient and cost effective manner. (2) Award of a task order to a vendor on the ETS Master Contract constitutes ETS implementation. Agency-wide use of the ETS for all travel management processes and travel claim submission constitutes complete migration.

§301-73.101 - How must we prepare to implement ETS?

You must prepare to implement ETS as expeditiously as possible by—

      (a) Developing a migration plan and schedule to deploy ETS across your agency as early as possible with full deployment required no later than September 30, 2006;

      (b) Requiring employees to use your ETS unless you approve an exception under §301-73.104;

      (c) Establishing goals, plans and procedures to maximize agency-wide traveler use of your online self-service booking tool once you have fully deployed ETS within your agency. These goals, plans, and procedures should be available for submission to the ETS PMO upon its request.

Note 1 to §301-73.101: Your agency should work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to allocate budget and personnel resources to support ETS migration and data exchange. Your agency is responsible for providing the funds required to establish interfaces between the ETS standard data output and applicable business systems (e.g., financial, human resources, etc.)

Note 2 to §301-73.101 : Best practices show that organizations are able to realize significant benefits once they achieve a 70 percent or greater self-booking rate.

§301-73.102 - May we grant a traveler an exception from required use of TMS or ETS once we have fully deployed ETS within the agency?

      (a) Yes, your agency head or his/her designee may grant an individual case by case exception to required use of your agency’s current TMS or to required use of ETS once it is fully deployed within the agency, but only when travel meets one of the following conditions:

           (1) Such use would result in an unreasonable burden on mission accomplishment (e.g., emergency travel is involved and TMS/ETS is not accessible; the traveler is performing invitational travel; or the traveler has special needs or requires disability accommodations in accordance with part 301-13 of this chapter).

           (2) Such use would compromise a national security interest.

           (3) Such use might endanger the traveler’s life (e.g., the individual is traveling under the Federal witness protection program, or is a threatened law enforcement/investigative officer traveling under part 301-31 of this chapter).

      (b) Any exception granted must be consistent with any contractual terms applicable to your current TMS or ETS, once it is fully deployed, and must not cause a breach of contract terms.

§301-73.103 - What must we do when we approve an exception to use of the E-Gov Travel Service?

The head of your agency or his/her designee must approve an exception to the use of the ETS under §301-73.102 in writing or through electronic means.

§301-73.104 - May further exceptions to the required use of the E-Gov Travel Service be approved?

      (a) The Administrator of General Services or his/her designee may grant an agency-wide exception (or exempt a component thereof) from the required use of ETS when requested by the head of a Department (cabinet-level agency) or head of an Independent agency when—

           (1) The agency has presented a business case analysis to the General Services Administration that proves that it has an alternative TMS to the ETS that is in the best interest of the Government and the taxpayer (i.e., the agency has evaluated the economic and service values offered by the ETS contractor(s) compared to those offered by the agency's current Travel Management Service (TMS) and has determined that the agency's current TMS is a better value);

           (2) The agency has security, secrecy, or protection of information issues that cannot be mitigated through security provided by the ETS contractors;

           (3) The agency lacks the technology necessary to access ETS; or

           (4) The agency has critical and unique technology or business requirements that cannot be accommodated by the ETS contractors at all or at an acceptable and reasonable price (e.g., majority of travel is group-travel).

      (b) As a condition of receiving an exception, the agency must agree to conduct annual business case reviews of its TMS and must provide to the eTravel PMO data elements required by the eTravel PMO in a format prescribed by the eTravel PMO.

      (c) Requests for exceptions should be sent to the Administrator, General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, NW., Washington, DC 20405 with full justification and/or analysis addressing (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), or (a)(4) of this section.

§301-73.105 - What are the consequences of an employee not using the E-Gov Travel Service or the TMS?

If an employee does not use the ETS (when available) or your agency's designated TMS, he/she is responsible for any additional costs (see §301-50.5 of this chapter) resulting from the failure to use the ETS or your TMS. In addition, you may take appropriate disciplinary actions.

§301-73.106 - What are the basic services that should be covered by a TMS?

The TMS must, at a minimum—

      (a) Include a Travel Management Center (TMC), commercial ticket office (CTO), an in-house system, an electronically available system, or other method(s) of arranging travel, which has the ability to provide the following as appropriate to the agency's travel needs:

           (1) Booking and fulfillment of common carrier arrangements (e.g., flight confirmation and seat assignment, compliance with the Fly America Act, Governmentwide travel policies, contract city-pair fares, electronic ticketing, ticket delivery, etc.).

           (2) Lodging information (e.g., room availability, reservations and confirmation, compliance with Hotel/Motel Fire Safety Act, availability of FedRooms properties, per diem rate availability, etc.).

           (3) Car rental and rail information (e.g., availability of Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) Government agreement rates where applicable, confirmation of reservations, etc.).

      (b) Provide basic management information, such as—

           (1) Number of reservations by type of service (common carrier, lodging, and car rental);

           (2) Extent to which reservations are in compliance with policy and reasons for exceptions;

           (3) Origin and destination points of common carrier usage;

           (4) Destination points for lodging accommodations;

           (5) Number of lodging nights in approved accommodations;

           (6) City or location where car rentals are obtained; and

           (7) Other tasks, e.g., reconciliation of charges on centrally billed accounts and processing ticket refunds.

Note to §301-73.106 : The ETS fulfills the basic services of a TMS. You have the option to use the contracted travel agent service(s) of your choice through ETS or other contract vehicles. You have the responsibility to ensure that agency-contracted-for travel agent services complement and support the ETS in an efficient and cost effective manner. (See §301-73.2.)

Subpart C - Contract Passenger Transportation Services

§301-73.200 - Must we require our employees to use GSA’s contract passenger transportation services program?

Yes, if such services are available to your agency.

§301-73.201 - What method of payment may be used for contract passenger transportation service?

GSA individual Government contractor-issued travel charge card(s), or your agency centrally billed or other established account, or a GTR (when no other option is available or feasible).

§301-73.202 - Can contract fares be used for personal travel?

No.

Subpart D - Travel Payment System

§301-73.300 - What is a travel payment system?

A system to facilitate the payment of official travel and transportation expenses which includes, but is not limited to:

      (a) Issuance and maintenance of Government contractor-issued individually billed charge cards;

      (b) Establishment of centrally billed accounts for the purchase of travel and transportation services;

      (c) Issuance of travelers checks; and

      (d) Provision of automated-teller-machine (ATM) services worldwide.

§301-73.301 - How do we obtain travel payment system services?

You may participate in GSA’s or another Federal agency’s travel payment system services program or you may contract directly with a travel payment system service if your agency has contracting authority and you are not a mandatory user of GSA’s charge card program.

Note to §301-73.301: Under the new GSA charge card program effective November 30, 1998, it will be your responsibility to select the vendor that will be most beneficial to your agency’s travel and transportation needs.

Part 301-74 - Conference Planning

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707.

Subpart A - Agency Responsibilities

Note to subpart  A: Use of pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants throughout this part refers to the agency.

§301-74.1 - What policies must we follow in planning a conference?

When planning a conference, you must:

      (a) Minimize all conference costs, including administrative costs, conference attendees’ travel costs, and conference attendees’ time costs;

      (b) Maximize the use of Government-owned or Government provided conference facilities as much as possible;

      (c) Identify opportunities to reduce costs in selecting a particular conference location and facility (e.g., through the availability of lower rates during the off-season at a site with seasonal rates); and

      (d) Ensure that the conference planner or designee does not retain for personal use any promotional benefits or materials received from a travel service provider as a result of booking the conference (see §§301-53.2 and 301-53.3 of this chapter); and

      (e) Develop and establish internal policies to ensure these standards are met.

§301-74.2 - What costs should be considered when planning a conference?

When planning a conference, you should consider all direct and indirect conference costs paid by the Government, whether paid directly by agencies or reimbursed by agencies to travelers or others associated with the conference. Some examples of such costs are:

      (a) Authorized travel and per diem expenses;

      (b) Hire of rooms for official business;

      (c) Audiovisual and other equipment usage;

      (d) Computer and telephone access fees;

      (e) Light refreshments;

      (f) Printing;

      (g) Registration fees;

      (h) Ground transportation; and

      (i) Employees’ time at the conference and on en route travel.

§301-74.3 - What must we do to determine which conference expenditures result in the greatest advantage to the Government?

To determine conference expenditures, you must:

      (a) Assure there is appropriate management oversight of the conference planning process;

      (b) Always do cost comparisons of the size, scope, and location of the proposed conference;

      (c) Determine if a Government facility is available at a cheaper rate than a commercial facility;

      (d) Consider alternatives to a conference, e.g., teleconferencing; and

      (e) Maintain written documentation of the alternatives considered and the selection rationale used.

§301-74.4 - What should cost comparisons include?

Cost comparisons should include, but not be limited to, a determination of adequacy of lodging rooms at the established per diem rates, overall convenience of the conference location, fees, availability of meeting space, equipment, and supplies, and commuting or travel distance of attendees. (See Appendix  E to this chapter, Suggested Guidance for Conference Planning.)

§301-74.5 - How should we select a location and a facility?

Site selection is a final decision as to where to hold your conference. The term “site” refers to both the geographical location and the specific facility(ies) selected. In determining the best site in the interest of the Government, you should exercise strict fiscal responsibility to minimize costs. The actions in §301-74.4. As part of the cost comparison, you must use the established per diem rate for the locations for which you are comparing costs.

§301-74.6 - What can we do if we cannot find an appropriate conference facility at the chosen locality per diem rate?

While it is always desirable to obtain lodging facilities within the established lodging portion of the per diem rate for the chosen locality, it may not always be possible. In those instances when lodging is not available at the applicable per diem rate, travelers should construct a cost comparison of all associated costs, including round-trip ground transportation, between finding lodging at the applicable per diem rate away from the conference locality and using the actual expense method at the conference locality as prescribed in Subpart B of this chapter.

§301-74.7 - May we provide light refreshments at an official conference?

Yes. Agencies sponsoring a conference may provide light refreshments to agency employees attending an official conference. Light refreshments for morning, afternoon or evening breaks are defined to include, but not be limited to, coffee, tea, milk, juice, soft drinks, donuts, bagels, fruit, pretzels, cookies, chips, or muffins.

§301-74.8 - May we include conference administrative costs in an employee’s per diem allowance payment for attendance at a conference?

No. Per diem is intended only to reimburse the attendee’s subsistence expenses. You must pay conference registration fees separately, either directly or by reimbursing employees who pay such expenses and submit travel claims.

§301-74.9 - Are there any special requirements for sponsoring or funding a conference at a hotel, motel or other place of public accommodation?

Yes. When you sponsor or fund (see 15 U.S.C. 2225 a), in whole or in part, a conference at a place of public accommodation in the United States, you must use an approved accommodation (see §301-74.10. This provision also applies to the government of the District of Columbia when it expends Federal funds for a conference and any non-Federal entity which uses Government funds to sponsor or fund a conference.

§301-74.10 - May we waive the requirement in §301-74.9?

Yes, if the head of your agency makes a written determination on an individual case basis that waiver of the requirement to use approved accommodations is necessary in the public interest for a particular event. Your agency head may delegate this waiver authority to a senior agency official or employee who is given waiver authority with respect to all conferences sponsored or funded, in whole or in part, by your agency.

§301-74.11 - What must be included in any advertisement or application form relating to conference attendance?

Any advertisement or application for attendance at a conference described in §301-74.9 must include notice of the prohibition against using a non-FEMA approved place of public accommodation for conferences. In addition, any executive agency, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105, shall notify all non-Federal entities to which it provides Federal funds of this prohibition.

§301-74.12 - What special rules apply when a conference is held in the District of Columbia?

In addition to the general rules provided in this part, the following special rules apply:

      (a) You may not directly procure lodging facilities in the District of Columbia without specific authorization and appropriation from Congress (see 40 U.S.C. 34); and

      (b) It is no longer mandatory that you contact GSA for meeting or conference facilities in the District of Columbia. However, you are encouraged to contact the GSA Public Buildings Service (PBS) of the National Capital Region to inquire about the availability of short-term conference and meeting facilities in the District of Columbia. For additional information see the Customer Desk Guide for Real Property Management, Chapter 1. The Customer Desk Guide can be found on the worldwide web at http://www.gsa.gov/attachments/GSA_PUBLICATIONS/pub/CustomerGuidebookmarkedversion.pdf.

Note to §301-74.12:This provision does not prohibit payment of per diem to an employee authorized to obtain lodging in the District of Columbia while performing official business travel.

§301-74.13 - What policies and procedures must we establish to govern the selection of conference attendees?

You must establish policies that reduce the overall cost of conference attendance. The policies and procedures must:

      (a) Limit your agency’s representation to the minimum number of attendees determined by a senior official necessary to accomplish your agency’s mission; and

      (b) Provide for the consideration of travel expenses when selecting attendees.

§301-74.14 - What records must we maintain to document the selection of a conference site?

For each conference you sponsor or fund, in whole or in part for 30 or more attendees, you must maintain a record of the cost of each alternative conference site considered. You must consider at least three sites. You must make these records available for inspection by your Office of the Inspector General or other interested parties.

Subpart B - Conference Attendees

Note to subpart  B: Use of pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants throughout this part refers to the agency.

§301-74.21 - What is the applicable M&IE rate when meals or light refreshments are furnished by the Government or are included in the registration fee?

When meals or light refreshments are furnished by the Government or are included in the registration fee the applicable M&IE will be calculated as follows:

      (a) If meals are furnished the appropriate deduction from the M&IE rate must be made (see §301-11.18 of this chapter).

      (b) If light refreshments are furnished, no deduction of the M&IE allowance is required.

§301-74.22 - When should actual expense reimbursement be authorized for conference attendees?

You may authorize actual expenses under §301-11.300 of this chapter when the applicable lodging rate is inadequate.

§301-74.23 - May we reimburse travelers for an advanced payment of a conference or training registration fee?

Yes, you may reimburse travelers for an advanced discounted payment for a conference or training registration fee as soon as you have approved their travel to that event, and they submit a proper claim for the expenses incurred.

§301-74.24 - What is the traveler required to do if he/she is unable to attend an event for which they were reimbursed for an advanced discounted payment of a conference or training registration fee?

In all cases where a traveler is unable to attend an event for which a discounted registration fee was paid and reimbursed in advance of the event, the traveler must seek a refund of the registration fee and repay the agency with any refund received. If no refund is made, the agency must absorb the advanced payment if the traveler’s failure to attend the event was caused either by an agency decision or for reasons beyond the employee’s control that are acceptable to the agency, e.g., unforeseen illness or emergency. If no refund is made, and the traveler’s failure to attend the scheduled event is due to reasons deemed unexcusable by the agency, the traveler must repay the agency for the amount advanced.

Part 301-75 - Pre-employment Interview Travel

Authority:5 U.S.C. 5707.

Subpart A - General Rules

§301-75.1 - What is the purpose of the allowance for pre-employment interview travel expenses?

To help you recruit highly qualified individuals.

§301-75.2 - May we pay pre-employment interview travel expenses?

Yes, if you determine it is in the best interest of the Government to do so. However, pre-employment travel expenses may not be authorized to offset or defray other expenses not allowable under this subpart.

§301-75.3 - What governing policies and procedures must we establish related to pre-employment interview travel?

You must establish policies and procedures governing:

      (a) When you will pay pre-employment interview travel expenses, including the criteria for determining which individuals or positions qualify for payment of such expenses;

      (b) Who will determine, in each individual case, that a person qualifies for pre-employment interview travel expenses; and

      (c) Who will determine what expenses you will pay for each individual interviewee.

§301-75.4 - What other responsibilities do we have for pre-employment interview travel?

You must:

      (a) Provide your interviewees with a list of FEMA approved accommodations in the vicinity of the interview, and encourage them to stay in an approved accommodation;

      (b) Inform the interviewee that he/she is responsible for excess cost and any additional expenses that he/she incurs for personal preference or convenience;

      (c) Inform the interviewee that the Government will not pay for excess costs resulting from circuitous routes, delays, or luxury accommodations or services unnecessary or unjustified in the performance of official business;

      (d) Assist the interviewee in preparing the travel claim;

      (e) Provide the interviewee with instructions on how to submit the claim; and

      (f) Inform the interviewee that he/she may subject himself/herself to criminal penalties if he or she knowingly presents a false, fictitious, or fraudulent travel claim (See 18 U.S.C. 287 and 1001).

Subpart B - Travel Expenses

§301-75.100 - Must we pay all of the interviewee’s pre-employment interview travel expenses?

If you decide to pay the interviewee per diem or common carrier transportation costs, you must pay the full amount of such cost to which the interviewee would be entitled if the interviewee were a Government employee traveling on official business.

§301-75.101 - What pre-employment interview travel expenses may we pay?

You may pay the following expenses:

      (a) Transportation expenses as provided in part  301-10 of this chapter;

      (b) Per diem expenses as provided in part  301-11 of this chapter;

      (c) Miscellaneous expenses as provided in part  301-12 of this chapter; and

      (d) Travel expenses of an individual with a disability or special need as provided in part  301-13 of this chapter.

§301-75.102 - What pre-employment interview travel expenses are not payable?

You may not pay expenses for:

      (a) Use of communication services for purposes other than communication directly related to travel arrangement for the Government interview.

      (b) Hire of a room at a hotel or other place to transact official business.

§301-75.103 - What are our responsibilities when we authorize an interviewee to use common carrier transportation to perform pre-employment interview travel?

You must provide the interviewee with one of the following:

      (a) A common carrier ticket;

      (b) A GTR; or

      (c) A point of contact with your travel management center to arrange the common carrier transportation. In this instance, you must notify the travel management center that the interviewee is authorized to receive a ticket for the trip;

      (d) Written instructions explaining your procedures and the liability of the interviewee for controlling and accounting for passenger transportation documents, if common carrier transportation is required;

      (e) A credit/refund address for any common carrier transportation provided for unused government furnished tickets.

Subpart C - Obtaining Travel Services and Claiming Reimbursement

§301-75.200 - How will we pay for pre-employment interviewee travel expenses?

For You will
Common carrier transportation expenses other than transit systems at the agency’s location. Bill the expenses to a centrally billed or other agency established account or provide the traveler with a GTR when no other option is available or feasible.
Other expenses. Require payment by the interviewee and reimburse the interviewee for allowable travel expenses upon submission and approval of his/her travel claim.

§301-75.201 - May we allow the interviewee to use individual Government contractor-issued charge cards for pre-employment interview travel?

No.

§301-75.202 - What must we do if the interviewee exchanges the ticket he or she has been issued?

If You will inform the traveler
The new ticket is more expensive than the ticket you provided. That he/she must pay the difference using personal funds and he/she will not receive reimbursement for the extra amount.
The new ticket is less expensive than the ticket you provided. Provide the interviewee with a credit/refund address by attaching a copy of the GTR, or some other document containing this information, to either the ticket or the travel authorization as provided in the U.S. Government Passenger Transportation Handbook” ( http://fss.gsa.gov/transtrav/usgpth.pdf).

§301-75.203 - May we provide the interviewee with a travel advance?

No.

§301-75.204 - May we use Government contractor-issued travelers checks to pay for the interviewee’s travel expenses?

No.

§301-75.205 - Is the interviewee required to submit a travel claim to us?

No. Only if the interviewee wants to be reimbursed, then he or she must submit a travel claim in accordance with your agency procedures in order to receive reimbursement for pre-employment interview travel expense.

Part 301-76 - Collection of Undisputed Delinquent Amounts Owed to the Contractor Issuing the Individually Billed Travel Charge Card

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707; 40 U.S.C. 121(c); Sec. 2, Pub. L. 105-264, 112 Stat. 2350 (5 U.S.C. 5701 note).

Subpart A - General Rules

Note to subpart  A: Use of pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants throughout this part refers to the agency.

§301-76.1 - May we collect undisputed delinquent amounts that an employee (including members of the uniformed services) owes to a Government travel charge card contractor?

Yes, upon written request from the contractor and in accordance with the procedures specified in §301-76.100, you may collect undisputed amounts owed to a Government travel charge card contractor from the delinquent employee’s disposable pay. You must promptly forward all amounts deducted to the contractor.

§301-76.2 - What is disposable pay?

Disposable pay is the part of the employee’s compensation remaining after the deduction of any amounts required by law to be withheld. These deductions do not include discretionary deductions such as savings bonds, charitable contributions, etc. Deductions may be made from any type of pay, e.g., basic pay, special pay, retirement pay, or incentive pay.

Subpart B - Policies and Procedures

Note to subpart  B: Use of pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants throughout this part refers to the agency.

§301-76.100 - Are there any due process requirements with which we must comply before collecting undisputed delinquent amounts on behalf of the charge card contractor?

Yes, you must:

      (a) Provide the employee with written notice of the type and amount of the claim, the intention to collect the claim by deduction from his/her disposable pay, and an explanation of his/her rights as a debtor;

      (b) Give the employee the opportunity to inspect and copy your records related to the claim;

      (c) Allow an opportunity for a review within the agency of your decision to collect the amount; and

      (d) Provide the employee an opportunity to make a written agreement with the contractor to repay the delinquent amount.

§301-76.101 - Who is responsible for ensuring that all due process and legal requirements have been met?

You are responsible for ensuring that all requirements have been met.

§301-76.102 - Can we collect undisputed delinquent amounts if we have not reimbursed the employee for amounts reimbursable under applicable travel regulations?

No, you may only collect undisputed delinquent amounts after you have reimbursed the employee under the applicable travel regulations and in accordance with a proper travel claim. However, if the employee has not submitted a proper travel claim within the timeframe requirements of §301-52.7 of this chapter, and there are no extenuating circumstances, you may collect the undisputed delinquent amounts.

§301-76.103 - What is the maximum amount we may deduct from the employee’s disposable pay?

As set forth in Public Law 105-264, 112 Stat. 2350, October 19, 1998, the maximum amount you may deduct from the employee’s disposable pay is 15 percent per pay period, unless the employee consents in writing to deduction of a greater percentage.

Appendix A - to Chapter 301—Prescribed Maximum Per Diem Rates for CONUS

For the Continental United States (CONUS) per diem rates, see applicable FTR Per Diem Bulletins, issued periodically and available on the Internet at http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem.

Appendix B - to Chapter 301—Allocation of M&IE Rates To Be Used in Making Deductions From the M&IE Allowance

For the meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) deduction amounts for localities in CONUS, non-foreign areas, and foreign areas, visit http://www.gsa.gov/mie. Any updates to the amounts will be noted in FTR Per Diem Bulletins, issued periodically and available on the Internet.

Appendix C - to Chapter 301 — Standard Data Elements for Federal Travel

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5707.

Traveler Identification
Group name Data elements Description

Travel Authorization

Authorization Number

Assigned by the appropriate office.

Employee name

First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name

Agency guidelines may specify the order, e.g., last name first.

Employee Identification

Employee Number

Must use a number, e.g., SSN, vendor number, or other number that identifies the employee.

Travel Purpose Identifier

Employee Emergency

Travel related to an unexpected occurrence/event or injury/illness that affects the employee personally and/or directly that requires immediate action/attention. Examples: Traveler is incapacitated by illness or injury, death or serious illness of a family member (as defined in §300-3.1 or §301-30.2), or catastrophic occurrence or impending disaster that directly affects the employee’s home. Emergency travel also includes travel for medical care while employee is TDY away from the official station (part  301-30), death of an employee/immediate family member when performing official duties away from the official station or home of record (part  303-70), medical attendant transportation (part  301-30), assistance travel for an employee with special needs (part  301-13), as well as travel for threatened law enforcement/investigative employees (part  301-31).

Mission (Operational)

Travel to a particular site in order to perform operational or managerial activities. Travel to a conference to serve as a speaker, panelist, or provide information in one's official capacity. Travel to attend a meeting to discuss general agency operations, review status reports, or discuss topics of general interest.

Examples: Employee’s day-to-day operational or managerial activities, as defined by the agency, to include, but not be limited to: hearings, site visit, information meeting, inspections, audits, investigations, and examinations.

Special Agency Mission

Travel to carry out a special agency mission and/or perform a task outside the agency’s normal course of day-to-day business activities that is unique or distinctive. These special missions are defined by the head of agency and are normally not programmed in the agency annual funding authorization. Examples: These agency-defined special missions may include details, security missions, and agency emergency response/recovery such as civil, natural disasters, evacuation, catastrophic events, technical assistance, evaluations or assessments.

Conference - Other Than Training

Travel performed in connection with a prearranged meeting, retreat, convention, seminar, or symposium for consultation or exchange of information or discussion. Agencies have to distinguish between conference and training attendance and use the appropriate identifier (see Training below).

Examples: To engage in a planned program as a host, planner, or others designated to oversee the conference or attendance with no formal role, or as an exhibitor.

Training

Travel in conjunction with educational activities to become proficient or qualified in one or more areas of responsibility. 5 USC 4101(4) states that “‘training’ means the process of providing for and making available to an employee, and placing or enrolling the employee in a planned, prepared, and coordinated program, course, curriculum, subject, system, or routine of instruction or education, in scientific, professional, technical, mechanical, trade, clerical, fiscal, administrative, or other fields which will improve individual and organizational performance and assist in achieving the agency’s mission and performance goals.” The term “conference” may also apply to training activities that are considered to be conferences under 5 CFR 410.404, which states that “agencies may sponsor an employee’s attendance at a conference as a developmental assignment under section 4110 of title 5, United States Code, when:

(a) The announced purpose of the conference is educational or instructional;

(b) More than half of the time is scheduled for a planned, organized exchange of information between presenters and audience which meets the definition of training in section 4101 of title 5, United States Code;

(c) The content of the conference is germane to improving individual and/or organizational performance, and

(d) Development benefits will be derived through the employee’s attendance.” Agencies have to distinguish between conference and training attendance and use the appropriate identifier (see Conference—Other Than Training above). Examples: Job required training, Internships, Intergovernmental Personnel Act, and forums.

Relocation

Travel performed in connection with a transfer from one official station to another for employees/immediate family members, as applicable. Examples: Permanent change of station (PCS) moves for domestic and international transferees/new appointees, tour renewal, temporary change of station (TCS), and last move home.

Travel Period

Start Date, End Date

Month, Day, Year according to agency guidelines.

Travel Type

CONUS/Domestic

Travel within continental United States.

OCONUS/Domestic

Travel outside continental United States.

Foreign

Travel to other countries.

Leave Indicator

Annual, Sick, Other

Identifies leave type as the reason for an interruption of per diem entitlement.

Official Station

City, State, Zip

The location where the employee regularly performs his or her duties or an invitational traveler’s home or regular place of business. If the employee’s work involves recurring travel or varies on a recurring basis, the location where the work activities of the employee’s position of record are based is considered the employee’s official station.

Residence

City, State, Zip

The geographical location where employee resides, if different from official duty station.

Payment Method

EFT

Direct deposit via electronic funds transfer.

Treasury Check

Payment made by Treasury check.

Imprest Fund

Payment made by Imprest Fund.

Mailing Address

Street Address, City, State, Zip

The location designated by the traveler based on agency guidelines.

Commercial Transportation Information
Group name Data elements Description
Transportation Payment Method employee used to purchase transportation tickets.
Method Indicator GTR U.S. Government Transportation Request.
Central Billing Account A contractor centrally billed account.
Government Charge Card In accordance with and as provided by agency guidelines.
Cash
Transportation Payment Identification Number Payment ID Number A number that identifies the payment for the transportation tickets, according to agency guidelines, e.g., GTR number, Govt. contractor-issued charge card number.
Transportation Method Indicator Air (other than coach-class) Air (coach-class) Non-contract Air, Train, Other Common carrier used as transportation to TDY location.
Transportation in Performance of TDY or While at the TDY Location POV, Car rental, Taxi, TNC, Innovative mobility technology company, Other Identifies transportation used while in the performance of TDY or while at the TDY location.
Travel Expense Information
Group name Data elements Description
Per Diem Total Number of Days The number of days traveler claims to be on per diem status, for each official travel location.
Total Amount Claimed The amount of money traveler claims as per diem expense.
Lodging, Meals & Incidentals
Travel Advance Advance Outstanding The amount of travel advance outstanding, when the employee files the travel claim.
Remaining Balance The amount of the travel advance that remains outstanding..
Subsistence Actual Days Total number of days the employee charged actual subsistence expenses. The number of days must be expressed as a whole number.
Total Actual Amount Total amount of actual subsistence expenses claimed as authorized. Actual subsistence rate, per day, may not exceed the maximum subsistence expense rate established for official travel by the Federal Travel Regulation.
Transportation Method Cost Air (other than coach-class) The amount of money the transportation actually cost the traveler, entered according to method of transportation.
Air (coach-class) Non-contract Air, Train
Other Bus or other form of transportation.
Transportation in Performance of TDY or While at the TDY Location POV mileage Total number of miles driven in POV.
POV mileage expense Total amount claimed as authorized based on mileage rate. Different mileage rates apply based on type and use of the POV.
Car rental, Taxi, TNC, Innovative mobility technology company, Other
Constructive cost Constructive cost The difference between the amount authorized to spend versus the amount claimed.
Reclaim Reclaim amount An amount of money previously denied as reimbursement for which additional justification is now provided.
Total Claim Total claim The sum of the amount of money claimed for per diem, actual subsistence, mileage, transportation method cost, and other expenses.
Standard Data Elements for Federal Travel[Accounting and Certification]
Group name Data elements Description
Accounting Classification Accounting code Agency accounting code.
Non-Federal Source Indicator Per Diem, Subsistence, Transportation Indicates the type of travel expense(s) paid, in part or totally, by a non-Federal source.
Non-Federal Source Payment Method Check, EFT, Payment “in-kind” Total payment provided by non-Federal source according to method of payment.
Signature/Date Fields Claimant Signature Traveler’s signature, or digital representation. The signature signifies the traveler read the “fraudulent claim/responsibility” statement.
Date Date traveler signed “fraudulent claim/responsibility” statement.
Claimant Signature Traveler’s signature, or digital representation. The signature signifies the traveler read the “Privacy Act” statement.
Date Date traveler signed “Privacy Act” statement.
Approving Officer Signature Approving Officer’s signature, or digital representation. The signature signifies the travel claim is approved for payment based on authorized travel.
Date Date Approving Officer approved and signed the travel claim.
Certifying Officer Signature Certifying Officer’s signature, or digital representation. The signature signifies the travel claim is certified correct and proper for payment.
Date Date Certifying Officer signed the travel claim.

Note to Appendix C: Agencies must ensure that a purpose code is captured for those individuals traveling under unlimited open authorizations.

Appendix D - to Chapter 301—[Reserved]

Appendix E - to Chapter 301—Suggested Guidance for Conference Planning

Terms

Conference: A meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium or event that involves attendee travel. The term “conference” also apples to training activities that are considered to be conferences under 5 CFR 410.404.

Milestone schedule: Deadlines, which need to be reached in a progressive and orderly manner.

Planner: The person designated to oversee the conference.

Planning committee: Operational group significantly contributing to a conference’s overall success and able to fully reflect the needs of both the agency and the attendees.

Getting Started

Depending on the size, type, and intended effect of the conference, start planning a minimum of one year in advance. Designate a planner and a planning committee.

Planning Committee

Functions typically include, but are not limited to:

     • Establishing a set of objectives.

     • Developing a theme.

     • Making recommendations for location, agenda, dates, and logistics, e.g., schedule, exhibits, speaker.

     • Making suggestions as to who should attend.

     • Serving as communications link between planners and participants.

     • Evaluation and follow-up.

 

Milestone Schedule

      (a) Develop a milestone schedule, which is essential to conference planning, by working backward from the beginning date of the conference to include each major step. Examples include:

          • Planning committee meetings.

          • Preparation of mailing lists.

          • Letters of invitation.

          • Designation of speakers.

          • Confirmation letters to speakers.

          • Confirmation with site selection official.

          • Preparation of agenda.

          • Preparation of specification sheet.

          • Location and date selection.

          • Exhibits.

          • Budget.

          • Printing requirements.

          • Signage.

          • Conference information packages.

          • Scheduling photographer (if planned).

          • Use of agency seal and conference logo.

          • Handicapped requirements.

          • Planning of meals and refreshments, if appropriate.

      (b) Establish completion dates for each major step.

      (c) Update and revise the schedule as needed.

 

Specification Sheet

A detailed specification sheet is necessary to:

      (a) Identify essential elements of a conference which typically include, but are not limited to:

          • Sleeping rooms and on-site food services. It is generally best to estimate on the low side for the number of sleeping rooms and meals to be prepared. Facilities, unless there is only limited available space, are usually prepared to increase the number of sleeping rooms and meals; however, they discourage—and in some cases penalize—you if the sleeping room and meal guarantees are not met.

          • Meeting rooms.

          • Exhibit facilities.

          • Audio-visual equipment and support services.

          • Miscellaneous support services.

          • Sleeping rooms with amenities, e.g., Internet access, data ports, conference call, and voice mail.

      (b) Determine costs:

          Procurement. Bring contracting officer into the process early. All agreements and decisions should be written and agreed to by the agency-contracting officer before being sent to the facility.

          Government per diem rates. The government per diem rate applies to Federal attendees. Application of it to non-Federal attendees is at the discretion of the property and conference negotiator.

          Registration fee. Generally, the registration fee covers all direct expenditures of agency funds for planning and organization of a conference, e.g., meeting room accommodations, meals, light refreshments (if appropriate), speaker fees, publications, and materials. Anything directly relating to the conference, except liquor, can be included in the fee. To estimate the registration fee, divide the proposed budget by the estimated number of attendees.

 

Budgeting

Decide how the conference expenses (other than sleeping room accommodations and individual meals) will be paid, i.e., by the attendee from a training or registration fee, or directly by the agency.

Conference Site Selection

Minimize total costs, all factors considered.

 

Geographic Location

In determining where to locate the conference, consider:

     • Targeted audience.

     • Total costs, including per diem, transportation, and other.

     • Accessibility by car or air.

     • Whether recreational activities are necessary.

     • The expense of desired facility (significant savings can be achieved in off-season periods).

 

Types of Facilities

      • Federal Government. Use Government-owned or Government-provided conference facilities to the maximum extent possible.

      • Convention centers. Excellent for very large meetings, trade shows and exhibits; usually located near a large number of hotels.

      • Conference centers. Dedicated meeting facilities; good for smaller meetings when numerous breakout sessions are planned.

      • Colleges and universities. Many have good meeting facilities and can offer sleeping accommodations when school is not in session.

      • Hotels. Commercial facilities that may be used to meet all conference needs or just the room night needs.

 

Date Selection

For availability and economical reasons, the best months are April, May, September, October, and November. You should book the facility as early as possible to increase the chances of getting the date you want. However, pay particular attention to commitments for September or October due to fiscal year budget considerations.

 

Considerations When Choosing a Site

      (a) Is the facility:

          • Cost effective, e.g., are Government rates honored?

          • Safe, e.g., FEMA-approved?

          • Is there on-site security personnel?

          • Easily reached from an airport or by car?

          • Clean?

          • Well run, e.g., does the staff seem to be competent and responsive?

          • Laid out in a functional way?

          • Large enough to supply the number of sleeping rooms required?

          • Set up to provide necessary conference registration equipment?

          • Handicapped accessible?

      (b) Parking:

          • Is it adequate?

          • How close to the facility is it?

          • Is it secure and safe?

          • Is the cost separate?

      (c) Sleeping rooms:

          • Will the facility make the reservations, or are you responsible for making the reservations for participants?

          • What are the facility’s registration rules?

          • What are departure rules?

      (d) Functionality of meeting rooms:

          • Is appropriate space available?

          • What costs are involved?

          • Is needed equipment available (i.e., for conference registration, faxes, phones, computers, copiers)? Do not rent equipment unless it is absolutely unrealistic to bring your own.

          • Are rooms designated for agency use for the duration of the conference?

          • Are there columns that can block views?

          • Are ceilings high enough for audio-video equipment?

          • Are rooms suitable for both classroom and/or theatre setups?

          • Are there windows? Shades?

          • Are there manually-controlled thermostats?

          • Are rooms handicapped accessible?

          • Where are electrical outlets?

          • Can the rooms be darkened?

          • Would it be more economical to bring audio-visual equipment?

          • Does the facility want meeting schedules and room layouts in writing in advance of the conference?

          • If necessary, can the rooms be entered the evening before for an early setup?

          • Will the facility arrange for room setup if given a layout?

          • What set-up costs are included?

          • What are departure rules?

      (e) Exhibits:

          • If exhibits are planned, is suitable exhibit space available?

          • Are easels available at no cost?

          • What are the put-up and takedown times?

          • What costs are involved?

          • What about pre-delivery and after-conference arrangements?

          • If exhibits are shipped, know where and to whom they are to be sent.

          • If you are bringing large exhibits, determine location of loading dock, appropriate entrances and elevators.

          • Are there additional handling fees?

          • Check hotel policy on posting, size and appearance of signs.

Food and Drink

Meals

     • You can not generally use appropriated funds to pay for meals for employees at their official stations.

     • Employees on TDY travel may be served meals but cannot be reimbursed for those provided at government expense.

     • You should clarify in advance the appropriate per diem reduction(s) of meal(s) allowance(s) for TDY travel.

     • You may pay, or reimburse an employee for meals as necessary expenses incident to an authorized training program (under the Government Employees Training Act (GETA) at 5 U.S.C. 4104(4)), if a determination has been made that essential training will be conducted during the meal.

     • Work closely with the hotel to plan quality menus that fit within authorized per diem rates.

     • Clarify and agree in advance to the number of meal guarantees.

     • Ensure that gratuities and service charges are added to the cost of each meal, and determine the method of billing to be used (e.g., signed guarantee, collected meal tickets, or actual quantities consumed).

     • Confirm menus.

 

Breaks and Refreshments

Breaks should last no longer than 30 minutes and take place between meeting sessions. The following should also be considered when planning for refreshments:

     • Keep in mind that everyone does not drink coffee or tea.

     • You should clarify and agree in advance that coffee and pastries, if appropriate, are purchased by the gallon and dozen.

     • Try to avoid a per person charge.

     • Negotiate the cost into the contract.

     • Be conservative in your estimates. There are seldom 100 percent of the conference participants attending any one function.

     • If coffee, soft drinks, and water are not included in the fee, are they available “at cost” to the attendee?

Account Reconciliation

It is important to request that the hotel bill be prepared in a logical and chronological sequence, and that backup data accompany the bill. Generally, the hotel will complete its accounting of the conference within two weeks of the conclusion.

Notification

Announcement and/or Invitations

Announcement of the planned conference should be made as early as possible, even one year in advance; invitation letters, 8 weeks in advance. They should include, but are not limited to:

     • Point of contact name and telephone number.

     • Registration form, card, or Internet address (include space for identifying handicapped requirements).

     • Registration instructions.

     • Registration deadline date.

     • Detailed area map and driving instructions.

     • Information on traffic patterns to avoid rush hour delays.

     • Promotional brochures from the facility.

     • Layout of facility including telephone numbers.

     • Breakdown of costs showing any difference from travel versus training object classes, particularly meal costs, so that proper reimbursement can be made.

     • Agenda with a list of speakers and topics.

     • Activity schedule for spouses, domestic partners, and guests (all charges or costs attributed to spouses, domestic partners or guests must be borne by the individual attendee (not reimbursable by the Government)).

     • Provide a sample travel voucher.

 

Confirmations

You should:

     • Decide on the speaker(s) and the message you wish to be conveyed and obtain early commitment(s) in writing.

     • Confirm conference dates/times/topics/arrival and departure times with speaker(s) and any other special guests at least 30 days in advance.

     • Conduct a final planning committee meeting to confirm all plans.

     • Confirm photographer’s schedule.

     • Confirm hotel plans at least one day in advance.

Facility Process

Check-In and -Out

Streamline the process:

     • Will the facility need additional personnel?

     • Is electronic one-stop processing available?

     • Is luggage storage and shuttle service available?

     • Arrange parking for any special guests.

     • Provide signage.

Registration Process

Registration is generally the attendees’ introduction to the conference. Give it special attention by:

     Using directional signs.

     Placing especially attractive or important exhibits nearby.

     Planning for late arrivals.

     Using state-of-the-art processing.

     Checking out the registration capabilities of using GSA’s electronic SmartPay System.

     Providing for handicapped attendees.

Conference Information Package

Each registrant should be given a conference information package. Used regularly during the conference, the conference information package should be accurate, beneficial, and reflect detailed information on a daily/hourly basis. If time allows, you may want to finalize the package and send it to the printer at least 4 weeks in advance of the starting date. The program will be widely used, so you may want to print twice as many copies of the program as you have expected attendees. The information package, for example, may contain:

     A list of everything in the package.

     A “welcome” letter.

     A schedule.

     Workshop agendas.

     Discussion of exhibits.

     Panelists’ information.

     Photos and biographies of speakers/special guests.

     Facility layout and list of services available.

     Identify designated smoking areas.

     Special events.

     Message center information.

     Area map.

     Other pertinent material.

Note: Use of agency seal and conference logo may be considered for the conference package. However, the decision to use such items is strictly the judgment of agency officials.

Miscellaneous

Suggested Room Coordination

Plan ahead to setup:

     • Staff room to handle core of activities;

     • Meal functions;

     • Exhibit rooms, and

     • Meeting rooms—

          • Theatre or auditorium for lectures;

          • Facing speaker when note taking is important;

          • Square or U-shaped style for discussion/interaction; and

          • Banquet or roundtable for discussion.

 

Keeping in Touch

Plan for:

     • A message center to be set up in a central location for special announcements and telephone messages.

     • How to reach whomever at all times—use beepers and walkie-talkies.

     • Clear identification of conference staff.

     • Accommodation of physically impaired attendees with sign language or other special needs.

 

Mementos

Appropriations are not available to purchase memento items for distribution to conference attendees as a remembrance of an event. Two notable exceptions to the memento or gift prohibition are under training and awards. Work closely with appropriate agency officials to make final determinations.

Resources

The following resources may be of assistance in planning a conference:

     An agency contracting officer;

     Travel Management Centers;

     Interagency Travel Management Committee members (a forum of agency travel policy managers—for member identification, contact your agency’s administrative or financial office);

     State chambers of Commerce or Visitors Bureaus;

     Local chapters of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals; and

     Private industry conference planners.

Conclusion

Process:

     • Questionnaires, which may provide invaluable feedback about the success of your conference.

     • Training certificates.

     • Thank you notes to participants, facility personnel, speakers, printers, photographers, and other special contributors.

     • Summary to acknowledge the accomplishments, and to convey the information discussed to a wider audience, may be an excellent promotional tool.

Note to Appendix  E: Use of pronouns “we”, “you”, and their variants throughout this appendix refers to the agency.

Last Reviewed: 2020-07-02