A-16242, NOVEMBER 13, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 330

A-16242: Nov 13, 1926

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ONE DAY IS CONSTRUED TO MEAN A PERIOD OF 24 CONSECUTIVE HOURS COMPUTING FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAVEL STATUS. NO CHANGE IS MADE BY THE REGULATIONS. IN THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT A TRAVEL STATUS DOES NOT EXIST WHEN THE ABSENCE IS WHOLLY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. REQUESTING DECISION OF QUESTIONS PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR A SHORT TEMPORARY ABSENCE READS AS FOLLOWS: "WHEN ABSENT FROM PERMANENT STATION OR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY FOR LESS THAN ONE DAY NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ONLY WILL BE ALLOWED AND THEN ONLY IF THE ABSENCE IS OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTES A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.'.

A-16242, NOVEMBER 13, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 330

SUBSISTENCE, ACTUAL EXPENSES - ABSENCE LESS THAN ONE DAY IN APPLYING PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ALLOWING ONLY ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE WHEN ABSENT FOR LESS THAN ONE DAY, ONE DAY IS CONSTRUED TO MEAN A PERIOD OF 24 CONSECUTIVE HOURS COMPUTING FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAVEL STATUS. NO CHANGE IS MADE BY THE REGULATIONS, HOWEVER, IN THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT A TRAVEL STATUS DOES NOT EXIST WHEN THE ABSENCE IS WHOLLY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. OF THE SAME DAY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 13, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 2, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION OF QUESTIONS PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR A SHORT TEMPORARY ABSENCE READS AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN ABSENT FROM PERMANENT STATION OR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY FOR LESS THAN ONE DAY NECESSARY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ONLY WILL BE ALLOWED AND THEN ONLY IF THE ABSENCE IS OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTES A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.'

IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD WHAT PARTICULAR TIME IS REFERRED TO BY "LESS THAN ONE DAY.' DOES THE DEFINITION OF A DAY AS SET OUT IN PARAGRAPH 61 OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS APPLY? THAT IS TO SAY, DOES THE DAY BEGIN WITH BREAKFAST AND END WITH THE LODGING OF THE SAME DAY, OR DOES THE PHRASE "LESS THAN ONE DAY" REFER TO A PERIOD OF LESS THAN THE UNIT OF 24 HOURS THAT MAY END ON THE SECOND DAY?

FOR EXAMPLE:

(A) IF A TRAVELER ON A PER DIEM BASIS IS ABSENT FROM OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FOR A PERIOD LESS THAN "MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT," WOULD HE BE ENTITLED TO A FRACTIONAL PART OF THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE?

(B) IF A TRAVELER ON A PER DIEM BASIS IS ABSENT THE FRACTIONAL PART OF TWO DAYS, BUT MORE THAN 24 HOURS, ON ONE TRIP, SAY FROM 10 A.M. ONE DAY TO 3 P.M. THE NEXT DAY, WOULD HE BE ENTITLED TO THE FRACTIONAL PART OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR EACH DAY?

(C) IF A TRAVELER ON A PER DIEM BASIS IS ABSENT THE FRACTIONAL PART OF TWO DAYS BUT LESS THAN 24 HOURS, ON ONE TRIP, SAY FROM 4 P.M. ONE DAY TO 12.30 P.M. THE NEXT DAY, WOULD HE BE ENTITLED TO THE FRACTIONAL PART OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR EACH DAY OR ONLY ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES?

IF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR ABSENCE OF LESS THAN ONE DAY IS PRECLUDED BY THE REGULATIONS WILL AN ORDER OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZING THE PER DIEM GENERALLY ALSO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF ALLOWABLE ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WITHOUT FURTHER AUTHORIZATION IN CASE OF ABSENCE OF LESS THAN ONE AY?

YOU HAVE RULED THAT A SHORT TEMPORARY ABSENCE DURING A DAY FOR TEN HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M AND 6 P.M. IS NOT OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTES A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. WILL THERE BE A MODIFICATION OF YOUR RULING IN THIS RESPECT BECAUSE OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS?

THE TERM "LESS THAN ONE DAY" AS USED IN PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAS REFERENCE SOLELY TO THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE, AND MEANS A PERIOD OF LESS THAN 24 CONSECUTIVE HOURS FROM THE EXACT TIME OF DEPARTURE. ACCORDINGLY, THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION INVOLVED IN THE THREE EXAMPLES SUBMITTED MAY BE MADE AS FOLLOWS:

(A) IF THE TOTAL ABSENCE OF THE TRAVELER, WHOSE ORDERS PRESCRIBE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, DOES NOT AMOUNT TO 24 CONSECUTIVE HOURS, HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OR ANY FRACTIONAL PART THEREOF, BUT MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE IF NECESSARILY ABSENT BEFORE 8 A.M. OR AFTER 6 P.M.

(B) A TRAVELER ON A PER DIEM BASIS WHO IS ABSENT FOR MORE THAN 24 HOURS, TAKING IN PART OF TWO CALENDAR DAYS, WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE PROPORTIONAL PER DIEMS PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 66; FOR EXAMPLE, IF ABSENT FROM 10 A.M. ONE DAY TO 3 P.M. THE NEXT DAY, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THREE-FOURTHS OF THE PER DIEM RATE AUTHORIZED FOR A FULL CALENDAR DAY FOR EACH OF THE TWO FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A DAY.

(C) AN EMPLOYEE ABSENT FROM 4 P.M. ONE DAY TO 12.30 P.M. THE FOLLOWING DAY, SAID ABSENCE BEING LESS THAN ONE DAY OR 24 HOURS, IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY PER DIEM OR FRACTIONAL PART THEREOF, BUT MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS. FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH ACTUAL EXPENSES ARE WITHIN THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED, SUCH ABSENCE WOULD BE REGARDED AS AN ABSENCE OF TWO DAYS.

WHERE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 45 (A), SUPRA, PER DIEM IS NOT AUTHORIZED, THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL ORDERS STATE THAT A PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED AND MAKE NO PROVISION FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES WILL NOT PRECLUDE THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE REGULATIONS.

THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN THE REGULATIONS OR IN THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 688, UPON WHICH THE REGULATIONS ARE BASED, TO REQUIRE OR AUTHORIZE ANY CHANGE IN THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE ON THE QUESTION OF ABSENCES FOR FRACTIONAL PARTS OF THE DAY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. THE REFERENCE IN PARAGRAPH 45 (A) OF THE REGULATIONS TO ABSENCES "OF SUCH DURATION AS CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES" IN PARAGRAPH 45 (A) MUST BE UNDERSTOOD AS EXCLUDING ABSENCES ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. OF ANY ONE DAY. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 598; 4 ID. 467; 5 ID. 100, 449.