B-173756, DEC 9, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 364

B-173756: Dec 9, 1971

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR THREE-FOURTHS OF A DAY FOR SATURDAY SINCE IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF THE FRIDAY WORKDAY AND THE FACT THE RETURN TRAVEL BY AIR AND THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE AIRPORTS WOULD INVOLVE 6 HOURS. PARAGRAPH C1051-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A TRAVELER ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WILL EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. PARAGRAPHS C1051-2 AND C10101-7 OF THE REGULATIONS CONTAINING MANY PROVISIONS TO MEET NUMEROUS TRAVEL SITUATIONS ARE ONLY GUIDELINES FOR USE IN DETERMINING WHETHER IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION THE TRAVELER ACTED IN A REASONABLE MANNER. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED HERE BY INDORSEMENT OF JULY 30.

B-173756, DEC 9, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 364

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - DELAYS - REST STOPOVER AN EMPLOYEE WHO AT THE CLOSE OF A CONFERENCE AT 1600 ON FRIDAY REMAINED IN CHICAGO, DEPARTING FOR HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION IN LOS ANGELES BY AIR 10:05 SATURDAY, ARRIVING AFTER 4 HOURS AIR TRAVEL, IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR THREE-FOURTHS OF A DAY FOR SATURDAY SINCE IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF THE FRIDAY WORKDAY AND THE FACT THE RETURN TRAVEL BY AIR AND THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE AIRPORTS WOULD INVOLVE 6 HOURS, THE EMPLOYEE PRUDENTLY DETERMINED TO REMAIN OVERNIGHT IN CHICAGO. PARAGRAPH C1051-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A TRAVELER ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WILL EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS, AND PARAGRAPHS C1051-2 AND C10101-7 OF THE REGULATIONS CONTAINING MANY PROVISIONS TO MEET NUMEROUS TRAVEL SITUATIONS ARE ONLY GUIDELINES FOR USE IN DETERMINING WHETHER IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION THE TRAVELER ACTED IN A REASONABLE MANNER.

TO LIEUTENANT COMMANDER L. R. STILGEBOUER, DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, DECEMBER 9, 1971:

WE AGAIN REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17, 1971, DCRC-FA, REQUESTING A DECISION CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF MR. W. R. GRAHAM TO PER DIEM IN THE DESCRIBED CIRCUMSTANCES. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED HERE BY INDORSEMENT OF JULY 30, 1971, HAVING BEEN ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 71-33 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DCRC-M-547, DATED MARCH 29, 1971, MR. GRAHAM WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ON OR ABOUT APRIL 14, 1971, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING A PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE ON APRIL 15 AND 16, 1971, UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH HE WAS TO RETURN TO LOS ANGELES. THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED THE USE OF COMMERCIAL AIR AND STATED THAT PER DIEM WOULD BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE AGENDA FOR THE CONFERENCE SHOWS THAT IT WAS TO COMMENCE AT 0800 HOURS ON APRIL 15, 1971, AND WAS TO CLOSE WITH A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION STARTING AT 1300 ON APRIL 16, 1971, FOLLOWING LUNCH. MR. GRAHAM'S TRAVEL ITINERARY SHOWS THAT HE DEPARTED CHICAGO BY AIR AT 1005 ON SATURDAY, APRIL 17, 1971, AND ARRIVED AT LOS ANGELES AT 1220 THE SAME DAY. YOUR QUESTION IS WHETHER MR. GRAHAM IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR THREE-FOURTHS OF A DAY (18.75) FOR SATURDAY.

BY LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1971, YOU ADVISED MR. GRAHAM THAT, BASED ON THE AGENDA FOR THE CONFERENCE, IT PROBABLY ENDED AROUND 1600 ON FRIDAY WHICH ALLOWED TWO AND ONE-HALF HOURS TO CATCH THE 1830 FLIGHT TO LOS ANGELES, SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE IN LOS ANGELES AT 2036. YOU CITED PARAGRAPHS C1051-2 AND C10101-7 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND STATED THAT THE USE OF TIMES SUCH AS THESE IN CONSTRUCTING TRAVEL HAS BEEN A STANDARD PRACTICE AND THAT YOU BELIEVE IT IS REASONABLE IN THE PRESENT CASE. MR. GRAHAM, HOWEVER, CONTENDS THAT SINCE HE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO REPORT AT HIS DUTY STATION THE NEXT DAY IT WAS NOT UNREASONABLE FOR HIM TO REMAIN IN CHICAGO ON FRIDAY NIGHT AND RETURN TO LOS ANGELES ON SATURDAY.

YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER ARISES FROM CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. YOU STATE THAT SINCE PARAGRAPH C1051-2 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT "AN EMPLOYEE WILL NOT BE EXPECTED TO USE A CARRIER THE SCHEDULE OF WHICH REQUIRES BOARDING OR LEAVING THE CARRIER BETWEEN 2400 HOURS AND 0600 HOURS," IT WOULD SEEM LOGICALLY TO FOLLOW THAT AN EMPLOYEE REASONABLY WOULD BE EXPECTED TO BOARD OR LEAVE A CARRIER BETWEEN 0601 AND 2359 HOURS. HOWEVER, PARAGRAPH C1051-2 FURTHER PROVIDES THAT "IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO DEPART FROM A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION THE MORNING FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY NEAR THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS TO OBVIATE TRAVEL DURING OFF DUTY HOURS IF HE IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT AN EARLIER TIME." THAT IS THE SENTENCE ON WHICH MR. GRAHAM RELIES.

YOU EXPRESS THE BELIEF THAT SUCH PROVISION IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE GENERAL PHILOSOPHY OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN THAT IT WOULD PAY THE EMPLOYEE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM JUST FOR HIS CONVENIENCE. YOU SAY THIS COMPLICATES THE DETERMINATION AS TO REASONABLENESS AND SUGGEST A MORE EXPLICIT DEFINITION IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

ADDITIONALLY, YOU POINT OUT THAT THE SAID PARAGRAPH C1051-2 PROVIDES THAT "DELAY IN RETURN TRAVEL OVER A WEEKEND FOR THE PURPOSE OF AVOIDING TRAVEL DURING OFF-DUTY HOURS WILL NOT BE AN ACCEPTABLE BASIS FOR INCREASING PER DIEM OR TRAVEL STATUS ELIGIBILITY." YOU REQUEST COMMENT ON YOUR REASONING THAT IF DELAY FOR A COMPLETE WEEKEND IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR INCREASING PER DIEM THEN A DELAY FOR ANY PART OF THE WEEKEND LIKEWISE WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE. WE BELIEVE IT SUFFICIENT TO SAY IN THIS RESPECT THAT THE FACTS DO NOT ESTABLISH DELAY FOR THE PURPOSE OF AVOIDING TRAVEL DURING OFF -DUTY HOURS.

YOU MENTION THAT PARAGRAPH C10101-7 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT "NORMALLY, WHEN SHORT RETURN TRIPS ARE INVOLVED OR TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED ON CARRIERS WITH SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS, THE CONSTRUCTIVE TIME OF DEPARTURE WILL BE ON THE SAME DAY AS THAT ON WHICH THE TEMPORARY DUTY IS COMPLETED." YOU SAY THAT IN YOUR OPINION THE FLIGHT FROM CHICAGO TO LOS ANGELES WOULD FALL IN THE CATEGORY OF A "SHORT TRIP" TIME WISE; IF NOT, IT WOULD SEEM ADVANTAGEOUS TO DISBURSING OFFICERS TO HAVE THIS REFERENCE REWRITTEN TO DEFINE EXPLICITLY THE TERM "SHORT TRIP."

PARAGRAPH C1051-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A TRAVELER ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WILL EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. SEE 31 COMP. GEN. 278 (1952); 39 ID. 250 (1959) AND 46 ID. 425 (1966).

IN CONFORMITY WITH THAT REQUIREMENT PARAGRAPH C1051-2 OF THE REGULATIONS CONTAINS MANY PROVISIONS TO MEET NUMEROUS TRAVEL SITUATIONS. THUS, WHILE IT PROVIDES THAT TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE, MANAGEMENT WILL SCHEDULE NECESSARY TRAVEL TIME EN ROUTE WITHIN AN EMPLOYEE'S REGULARLY SCHEDULED HOURS OF DUTY, IT FURTHER PROVIDES THAT "DELAY IN RETURN TRAVEL OVER A WEEKEND FOR THE PURPOSE OF AVOIDING TRAVEL DURING OFF-DUTY HOURS WILL NOT BE AN ACCEPTABLE BASIS FOR INCREASING PER DIEM OR TRAVEL STATUS ELIGIBILITY." IN ADDITION, PARAGRAPH C10101-7 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT WHEN, FOR PERSONAL REASONS, AN EMPLOYEE DOES NOT RETURN IMMEDIATELY TO HIS PERMANENT STATION AFTER COMPLETION OF A PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY, PER DIEM WILL BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE TIME HE REASONABLY COULD HAVE LEFT THE TEMPORARY DUTY POINT AND ARRIVED AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. WHERE SHORT RETURN TRIPS ARE INVOLVED OR TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED ON CARRIERS WITH SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS, THE CONSTRUCTIVE TIME OF DEPARTURE WILL BE THE SAME DAY AS THAT ON WHICH THE TEMPORARY DUTY IS COMPLETED EXCEPT THAT TRAVEL BETWEEN 2400 AND 0600 HOURS IS NOT REQUIRED.

WE BELIEVE THE ABOVE PROVISIONS WERE INTENDED ONLY AS GUIDELINES FOR USE IN DETERMINING WHETHER IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION THE TRAVELER ACTED IN A REASONABLE MANNER.

IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE, AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED, THE EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE DEPARTED FROM CHICAGO AT 1830 AND ARRIVED IN LOS ANGELES AT 2036. ASSUME THE LATTER TIME TO BE PACIFIC STANDARD TIME AND THAT THE ELAPSED TIME FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN CHICAGO AND LOS ANGELES WOULD BE 4 HOURS. TO THIS WOULD BE ADDED AT LEAST 1 HOUR TO TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT IN CHICAGO AND 1 HOUR TO TRAVEL FROM THE AIRPORT IN LOS ANGELES TO THE EMPLOYEE'S HOME OR A TOTAL OF APPROXIMATELY 6 HOURS.

IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF THE EMPLOYEE'S WORK DAY WE DO NOT BELIEVE IT WAS UNREASONABLE FOR HIM TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN CHICAGO AND THEN TRAVEL ON TO LOS ANGELES THE NEXT DAY IN THE MANNER SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER.

THE SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER FORWARDED HERE IS RETURNED AND MAY BE PROCESSED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.