B-156643, JUN. 30, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 837

B-156643: Jun 30, 1965

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PAYMENT OF PER DIEM FOR LESS THAN 6 HOURS TRAVEL EACH WAY ON DIFFERENT DAYS IS NOT PRECLUDED BY THE 10-HOUR TRAVEL PERIOD RESTRICTION ON CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF 24 HOURS. EVEN THOUGH BECAUSE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTION THE PER DIEM PAYABLE IS FOR LESS THAN A CONTINUOUS PERIOD OF 24 HOURS. YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS THEREON ARE AS FOLLOWS: "UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD THE PROVISO IN 6.11 OF THE STANDARD GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PRECLUDE THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE BECAUSE THE TRAVEL WAS LESS THAN 10 HOURS ALTHOUGH THE DEPARTURE FROM THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AND RETURN TO OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WERE PERFORMED ON WIDELY SEPARATED DAYS? "IF YOUR ANSWER IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WOULD THE PER DIEM IN QUESTION BE PROPER FOR PAYMENT HAD THE ORDER AUTHORIZED PER DIEM WHILE AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AS WELL AS WHEN TRAVELING TO AND FROM SUCH POINT?

B-156643, JUN. 30, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 837

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - FRACTIONAL DAYS - LESS THAN TEN HOURS UNDER A TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZING PER DIEM TO AN EMPLOYEE WHILE TRAVELING TO AND FROM A PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY FOR TRAINING, PAYMENT OF PER DIEM FOR LESS THAN 6 HOURS TRAVEL EACH WAY ON DIFFERENT DAYS IS NOT PRECLUDED BY THE 10-HOUR TRAVEL PERIOD RESTRICTION ON CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF 24 HOURS, OR LESS, IN SECTION 6.11 OF THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REVISED EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1965, THE PER DIEM FOR THE FRACTIONAL DAYS OF THE TRAVEL TIME INVOLVED BEING FOR COMPUTATION UNDER THE RULE FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL EXCEEDING 24 HOURS, EVEN THOUGH BECAUSE OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTION THE PER DIEM PAYABLE IS FOR LESS THAN A CONTINUOUS PERIOD OF 24 HOURS, AND THE EMPLOYEE HAVING BEEN AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR A PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY IN EXCESS OF 24 HOURS, THE FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A DAY AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF THE "CONTINUOUS TRAVEL" CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL PERIOD ENTITLING THE EMPLOYEE TO ONE-FOURTH OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE FOR EACH PERIOD OF 6 HOURS OR FRACTION THEREOF.

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, JUNE 30, 1965:

ON APRIL 26, 1965, YOU PRESENTED FOR OUR DECISION CERTAIN QUESTIONS, HEREINAFTER QUOTED, RELATING TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE TRAVELING TO AND FROM A PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY FOR TRAINING.

THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED PER DIEM WHILE TRAVELING BUT NO PER DIEM WHILE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. THE GOING TRIP REQUIRED SLIGHTLY OVER 3 HOURS (9:30 A.M., C.S.T., TO 1:37 P.M., E.S.T.), AND THE RETURN TRIP REQUIRED 4 HOURS (9:15 A.M., E.S.T., TO 12:15 P.M., C.S.T.). YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS THEREON ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD THE PROVISO IN 6.11 OF THE STANDARD GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PRECLUDE THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE BECAUSE THE TRAVEL WAS LESS THAN 10 HOURS ALTHOUGH THE DEPARTURE FROM THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AND RETURN TO OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WERE PERFORMED ON WIDELY SEPARATED DAYS?

"IF YOUR ANSWER IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WOULD THE PER DIEM IN QUESTION BE PROPER FOR PAYMENT HAD THE ORDER AUTHORIZED PER DIEM WHILE AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AS WELL AS WHEN TRAVELING TO AND FROM SUCH POINT?

"THE USE OF THE TERM "OFFICIAL TRAVEL" IN SECTION 6.9A OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS CLEARLY COVERS THAT PERIOD BETWEEN DEPARTURE FROM AND ARRIVAL AT AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION. PARAGRAPH 6.9C HOLDS, IN EFFECT, THAT OFFICIAL TRAVEL BEGINS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE DEPARTS AND ENDS WITH THE ,CONCLUSION" OF A TRIP.

"IT ISN-T READILY APPARENT WHETHER THE TERMS "CONTINUOUS TRAVEL" AND "TRAVEL PERIOD" AS USED IN SECTION 6.11 OF THE CITED REGULATIONS ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH A PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY OR SHOULD BE LITERALLY INTERPRETED AS APPLYING TO THE PHYSICAL ACT OF TRAVELING IRRESPECTIVE OF THE OVERALL PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY COVERED BY THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION.'

SECTION 6.11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (REVISED EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1965) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"DAY DEFINED.--- IN COMPUTING THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS, THE CALENDAR DAY (MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT) WILL BE THE UNIT, AND FOR FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A DAY AT THE COMMENCEMENT OR ENDING OF SUCH CONTINUOUS TRAVEL, CONSTITUTING A TRAVEL PERIOD, ONE-FOURTH OF THE RATE FOR A CALENDAR DAY WILL BE ALLOWED FOR EACH PERIOD OF 6 HOURS OR FRACTION THEREOF. * * *

"FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF 24 HOURS OR LESS, THE TRAVEL PERIOD WILL BE REGARDED AS COMMENCING WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAVEL AND ENDING WITH ITS COMPLETION, AND FOR EACH 6-HOUR PORTION OF THE PERIOD, OR FRACTION OF SUCH PORTION, ONE-FOURTH OF THE PER DIEM RATE FOR A CALENDAR DAY WILL BE ALLOWED: PROVIDED, THAT NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE TRAVEL PERIOD IS 10 HOURS OR LESS DURING THE SAME CALENDAR DAY * * *" FOR PURPOSES OF COMPARISON WE QUOTE ALSO THE PROVISO TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 6.11 AS WORDED PRIOR TO AUGUST 1, 1959 (ALSO DESIGNATED PARAGRAPH 51 OF CERTAIN PRIOR EDITIONS OF THE REGULATIONS), AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * PROVIDED, THAT NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE DEPARTURE IS AT OR AFTER 8 A.M., AND THE RETURN ON THE SAME DAY IS AT OR PRIOR TO 6 P.M. * * *"

THE EXPRESSION "TRAVEL PERIOD" APPEARING IN THE PROVISO TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 6.11 OF THE REGULATIONS AS RECENTLY AMENDED HAS APPEARED FOR MANY YEARS IN SAID SECTION (OR IN ITS PREDECESSOR--- PARAGRAPH 51) IN PRESCRIBING THE RULES FOR COMPUTING PER DIEM FOR FRACTIONAL DAYS AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF "CONTINUOUS TRAVEL" OF MORE OR LESS THAN 24 HOURS, RESPECTIVELY. IN CASES IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY IN EXCESS OF 24 HOURS, WE HAVE HELD THAT THE RULE FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF MORE THAN 24 HOURS WAS APPLICABLE EVEN THOUGH, BECAUSE OF CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRICTIONS, PER DIEM WAS PAYABLE FOR LESS THAN A CONTINUOUS PERIOD OF 24 HOURS. 21 COMP. GEN. 4; B-37904, NOVEMBER 30, 1943. FURTHERMORE, THE FORMER "8 A.M. TO 6 P.M.' RULE APPEARING IN THE PROVISO QUOTED IMMEDIATELY ABOVE HAS NOT BEEN VIEWED AS PRECLUDING PAYMENT OF PER DIEM FOR ABSENCES FROM HEADQUARTERS UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES. -110984, AUGUST 20, 1952. IN LINE WITH SUCH PRIOR CONSTRUCTION, WE HOLD THAT THE 10-HOUR TRAVEL PERIOD RESTRICTION OF SECTION 6.11 OF THE CURRENT REGULATIONS DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM FOR THE FRACTIONAL DAYS OF ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME INVOLVED IN THE CASE YOU PRESENT, SUCH FRACTIONAL DAYS' PER DIEM BEING FOR COMPUTATION UNDER THE RULE FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL EXCEEDING 24 HOURS. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, MAKING IT UNNECESSARY TO ANSWER THE SECOND QUESTION.

IN REACHING OUR CONCLUSION HEREIN, WE HAVE ASSUMED THAT YOUR AGENCY WAS NOT RELIEVED FROM THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS AT THE PLACE OF TRAINING, BECAUSE OF CONTRIBUTIONS BY A NON-GOVERNMENT ENTITY UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 19 OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT, 72 STAT. 336, 5 U.S.C. 2318, AS IMPLEMENTED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-48, FEBRUARY 13, 1959, AND PART 410, SUBPART G, OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION'S REGULATIONS. OTHERWISE, THERE WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION THE APPLICABILITY OF THE RULE SET FORTH IN 18 COMP. GEN. 701.