B-1739, MARCH 8, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 701

B-1739: Mar 8, 1939

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SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM COMPUTATIONS - TRAVEL STATUS IN EXCESS OF 24 HOURS INVOLVING AN INTERMEDIATE PERIOD FOR WHICH GOVERNMENT REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT REQUIRED A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE NAVY ORDERED TO BE PRESENT ON BOARD A VESSEL CONSTRUCTED FOR THE NAVY DURING THE PRELIMINARY ACCEPTANCE TRIALS. WHOSE COST OF SUBSISTENCE DURING THE TRIALS IS BORNE BY THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR AND WHOSE PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM HEADQUARTERS IN EXCESS OF 24 HOURS IS BROKEN UP FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE PURPOSES. - THAT IS. - AND AS ENTITLED TO FRACTIONAL PER DIEMS FOR THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF THE TRIP EQUAL TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAD THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE NOT BEEN SO BROKEN UP AND THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT IS RELIEVED FROM PAYING FOR THE PERIOD WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON BOARD THE VESSEL.

B-1739, MARCH 8, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 701

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM COMPUTATIONS - TRAVEL STATUS IN EXCESS OF 24 HOURS INVOLVING AN INTERMEDIATE PERIOD FOR WHICH GOVERNMENT REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT REQUIRED A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE NAVY ORDERED TO BE PRESENT ON BOARD A VESSEL CONSTRUCTED FOR THE NAVY DURING THE PRELIMINARY ACCEPTANCE TRIALS, WHOSE COST OF SUBSISTENCE DURING THE TRIALS IS BORNE BY THE CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR AND WHOSE PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM HEADQUARTERS IN EXCESS OF 24 HOURS IS BROKEN UP FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE PURPOSES, BY THE EMBARKATION FOR THE ACCEPTANCE TRIALS, INTO TWO PERIODS OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS--- ONE PRIOR AND THE OTHER SUBSEQUENT TO THE EMBARKATION--- MAY BE CONSIDERED AS IN A CONTINUOUS JOURNEY STATUS--- THAT IS, ON THE BASIS OF THE TRAVEL STATUS EXCEEDING 24 HOURS--- AND AS ENTITLED TO FRACTIONAL PER DIEMS FOR THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF THE TRIP EQUAL TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAD THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE NOT BEEN SO BROKEN UP AND THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT IS RELIEVED FROM PAYING FOR THE PERIOD WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON BOARD THE VESSEL.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MARCH 8, 1939:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1939, IS AS FOLLOWS:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRIALS OF CERTAIN VESSELS UNDER CONSTRUCTION FOR THE NAVY, IT IS NECESSARY THAT A NUMBER OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY BE PRESENT ABOARD THE VESSEL DURING THE CONDUCT OF THE TRIALS. THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO THESE EMPLOYEES CONTAIN, AMONG OTHER PROVISIONS, THE FOLLOWING:

"WHILE ON THIS TEMPORARY DUTY YOU WILL BE ALLOWED TRANSPORTATION AND $5.00 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES EXCEPT WHILE ON BOARD THE JOUETT, IN CONNECTION WITH THE PRELIMINARY ACCEPTANCE TRIALS FOR THAT VESSEL, WHEN NO SUBSISTENCE WILL BE ALLOWED, AS THE COST OF THE SAME SHALL BE BORNE BY THE CONTRACTOR, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THE CONTRACT COVERING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THAT VESSEL.'

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AMENDED, APPROVED DECEMBER 10, 1935, DEFINE UNDER PARAGRAPH 51, THE PERIOD OF TIME CONSTITUTING A DAY UNDER WHICH SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ARE ALLOWED, IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"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 SIX HOURS OR FRACTION THEREOF. FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF LESS THAN 24 HOURS, CONSTITUTING A TRAVEL PERIOD, SUCH PERIOD WILL BE REGARDED AS COMMENCING WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAVEL AND ENDING WITH THE COMPLETION THEREOF, AND FOR EACH SIX-HOUR PORTION OF THE PERIOD OR FRACTION THEREOF ONE-FOURTH OF THE RATE FOR A CALENDAR DAY WILL BE ALLOWED:PROVIDED, THAT NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE DEPARTURE IS AFTER 8 A.M., AND THE RETURN ON THE SAME DAY IS PRIOR TO 6 P.M., OR FOR ANY ABSENCE NOT EXCEEDING THREE HOURS.'

THERE IS SOME DOUBT AS TO THE CORRECT BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES IN CASES SUCH AS INDICATED IN THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE:

LEAVE WASHINGTON, D.C., 3:45 P.M., FIRST DAY.

ARRIVE PORTLAND, MAINE, 6:35 A.M., SECOND DAY.

EMBARK ON JOUETT 7:00 A.M., SECOND DAY.

DISEMBARK AT BATH, MAINE, 6:00 P.M., THIRD DAY.

LEAVE BATH, MAINE, 7:00 P.M., THIRD DAY.

ARRIVE WASHINGTON, D.C., 3:30 P.M., FOURTH DAY.

TRAVEL PERFORMED ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS.

UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ORDERS AS ISSUED, THE TRAVELER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM 7:00 A.M., THE SECOND DAY, TO 6:00 P.M., OF THE THIRD DAY. TRAVEL TIME FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO PORTLAND, MAINE, AND FROM BATH, MAINE, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., ON BASIS OF SEPARATE TRIPS EACH WAY IS LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, WHEREAS CONSIDERING THE TIME OF THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTIRE ABSENCE FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS IT EXCEEDS TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES BASED ON CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OF MORE THAN TWENTY FOUR HOURS, CONSIDERING THE CALENDAR DAY (MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT) AS THE UNIT INVOLVING TWO DAYS' SUBSISTENCE, OR ON BASIS OF TWO TRIPS OF LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS DURATION INVOLVING ONE AND THREE-QUARTER DAYS' SUBSISTENCE?

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT SPECIFICALLY COVER A CASE SUCH AS YOU HAVE PRESENTED. THE INTENT OF THE REGULATIONS WOULD APPEAR TO BE MET BY CONSIDERING THE TIME OF THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTIRE ABSENCE FROM HEADQUARTERS AS ONE CONTINUOUS JOURNEY--- THAT IS, ON THE BASIS OF THE TRAVEL STATUS EXCEEDING 24 HOURS. ON THIS BASIS THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO FRACTIONAL PER DIEMS ONLY AT THE BEGINNING AND ENDING OF THE ENTIRE TRIP AND WOULD BE ENTITLED TO 3 1/4 DAY PER DIEM UNDER THE REGULATIONS HAD THE GOVERNMENT NOT BEEN RELIEVED OF 1 1/2 DAYS PER DIEM WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON BOARD THE JOUETT. ACCORDINGLY, THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 3 1/4 AND 1 1/2 DAYS PER DIEM OR 1 3/4 DAYS PER DIEM.