B-165733, JAN. 23, 1969

B-165733: Jan 23, 1969

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SCHULLERY: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER SEVEN EMPLOYEES OF YOUR AGENCY WHO WERE ASSIGNED TO PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS OTHER THAN SALT LAKE CITY. ARE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE THEY WERE ON TEMPORARY DUTY FOR TRAINING IN SALT LAKE CITY. ALL PARTIES KNEW AT THE TIME THE EMPLOYEES WERE ASSIGNED TO THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS THAT THE EMPLOYEES WOULD BE REQUIRED WITHIN A SHORT TIME TO UNDERGO TRAINING AT SALT LAKE CITY FOR PERIODS VARYING FROM 4 TO 10 WEEKS. ALTHOUGH PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 PER DAY WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY WAS AUTHORIZED. THE MAXIMUM RATE UNDER AGENCY TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHEN NO LODGING COSTS ARE INCURRED.

B-165733, JAN. 23, 1969

TO MR. R. J. SCHULLERY:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER SEVEN EMPLOYEES OF YOUR AGENCY WHO WERE ASSIGNED TO PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS OTHER THAN SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, WHERE THEY LIVED WHEN APPOINTED, ARE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE THEY WERE ON TEMPORARY DUTY FOR TRAINING IN SALT LAKE CITY. THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO THE EMPLOYEES AUTHORIZED PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT THE RATE OF $16 PER DAY.

THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED ENTERED ON DUTY BETWEEN OCTOBER 16, 1967, AND DECEMBER 18, 1967. ALL PARTIES KNEW AT THE TIME THE EMPLOYEES WERE ASSIGNED TO THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS THAT THE EMPLOYEES WOULD BE REQUIRED WITHIN A SHORT TIME TO UNDERGO TRAINING AT SALT LAKE CITY FOR PERIODS VARYING FROM 4 TO 10 WEEKS. APPARENTLY, FOR THIS REASON THE EMPLOYEES RETAINED THEIR RESIDENCES IN SALT LAKE CITY UNTIL AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY. ALTHOUGH PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 PER DAY WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY WAS AUTHORIZED, WE UNDERSTAND THAT PER DIEM IF OTHERWISE PROPER WOULD ONLY BE ALLOWABLE AT THE RATE OF $12 PER DAY, THE MAXIMUM RATE UNDER AGENCY TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHEN NO LODGING COSTS ARE INCURRED.

SECTION 6.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"A. THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCES PROVIDED IN THESE REGULATIONS REPRESENT THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY TO AUTHORIZE ONLY SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES AFFECTING THE TRAVEL. TO THIS END, CARE SHOULD BE EXERCISED TO PREVENT THE FIXING OF PER DIEM RATES IN EXCESS OF THOSE REQUIRED TO MEET THE NECESSARY AUTHORIZED SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

"FOR TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS WHEN A NIGHT'S LODGING IS NOT REQUIRED, THE PER DIEM RATE SHOULD BE ADJUSTED DOWNWARD TO REFLECT THE FACT THAT THE TRAVELER DOES NOT INCUR COSTS FOR LODGING AND IS ENTITLED ONLY TO AN ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OTHER THAN FOR LODGING. (AS AN EXAMPLE, A PER DIEM RATE OF $8 COULD BE ESTABLISHED BY AN AGENCY WHEN NO LODGING IS INVOLVED. IN THAT CASE AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS IN TRAVEL STATUS FROM 9:00 A.M. TO 11:00 P.M. OF THE SAME DAY WOULD BE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR THREE QUARTERS AT THAT RATE--- BECAUSE HE WAS IN TRAVEL STATUS FOR TWO AND A FRACTION 6-HOUR PERIODS. THE RATE PER QUARTER WOULD BE $2 AND THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE $6.) RATES FOR TRAVEL WHICH DOES NOT INVOLVE LODGING SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED BY THE AUTHORIZING AGENCIES ON THE BASIS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE TRAVEL.'

IT IS ALSO NOTED THAT WHILE SECTION 6.11 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE TRAVEL PERIOD IS 10 HOURS OR LESS DURING THE CALENDAR DAY, IT DOES INDICATE THAT PER DIEM MAY BE ALLOWABLE WHEN THE TRAVEL PERIOD BEGINS BEFORE 6 A.M. OR TERMINATES AFTER 8 P.M.

IT IS APPARENT UNDER THE ABOVE REGULATIONS THAT PER DIEM MAY BE AUTHORIZED EVEN THOUGH AN EMPLOYEE CONTINUES TO LIVE AT HOME WHILE PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY. MOREOVER, EACH AGENCY HAS A CLEAR RESPONSIBILITY UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS TO EXERCISE CARE TO PREVENT THE FIXING OF PER DIEM RATES IN EXCESS OF THOSE REQUIRED TO MEET THE NECESSARY AUTHORIZED SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. 35 COMP. GEN. 554.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED OCCUPIED RENTED ROOMS AT THEIR OFFICIAL DUTY STATIONS FOR PERIODS OF 2 TO 3 WEEKS WHILE AT THE SAME TIME MAINTAINING THEIR FAMILY RESIDENCES IN SALT LAKE CITY. IN VIEW THEREOF AND AS THE PER DIEM PAYMENTS MAY NOT EXCEED THE RATE OF $12 PER DAY AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PAYMENT OF THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE TO THAT EXTENT.