B-175378, JUN 19, 1972, 51 COMP GEN 828

B-175378: Jun 19, 1972

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A PUBLISHED TARIFF THAT OFFERS REDUCED AIR FARES TO FEDERAL CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS STATIONED OUTSIDE THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AND TRAVELING ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE IS NOT AVAILABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS TO BE REIMBURSED BY THE UNITED STATES. THE USE OF WHICH IS LIMITED TO TRAVEL CHARGEABLE TO THE U.S. EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE USED THE PLAN INCIDENT TO THE RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 5728(A) MAY BE REIMBURSED. IT IS IMMATERIAL IF AN EMPLOYEE DID NOT TRAVEL TO OR SPEND A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD AT HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR AUTHORIZED DESTINATION. HIS ENTITLEMENT IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL TO HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE. 1972: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 22.

B-175378, JUN 19, 1972, 51 COMP GEN 828

TRAVEL EXPENSES - OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES - "DISCOUNT 50 PLAN" REDUCED FARES ENTITLEMENT THE "DISCOUNT 50 PLAN", A PUBLISHED TARIFF THAT OFFERS REDUCED AIR FARES TO FEDERAL CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS STATIONED OUTSIDE THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AND TRAVELING ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE IS NOT AVAILABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS TO BE REIMBURSED BY THE UNITED STATES, NOR MAY A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, THE USE OF WHICH IS LIMITED TO TRAVEL CHARGEABLE TO THE U.S., BE ISSUED UNDER THE PLAN. HOWEVER, EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE USED THE PLAN INCIDENT TO THE RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 5728(A) MAY BE REIMBURSED, AND IT IS IMMATERIAL IF AN EMPLOYEE DID NOT TRAVEL TO OR SPEND A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD AT HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR AUTHORIZED DESTINATION, BUT HIS ENTITLEMENT IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL TO HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE, AND, FURTHERMORE, THE FACT THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS DID NOT TRAVEL WITH HIM DOES NOT DEPRIVE HIM OF ENTITLEMENT TO THE COST OF THEIR TRAVEL TO A DIFFERENT DESTINATION WITHIN THE U.S., LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVELING TO THE ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE.

TO THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, JUNE 19, 1972:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 22, 1972, WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE MARCH 2, 1972, BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE AND ASSIGNED FDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72 4. YOU REQUEST AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL PERFORMED BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS AT PERSONAL EXPENSE AND FOR SUCH TRAVEL TO PLACES OTHER THAN THE ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR AUTHORIZED ALTERNATE DESTINATIONS.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU STATE AS FOLLOWS:

INCIDENT TO OVERSEAS TOUR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL, AN INCREASING NUMBER OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ARE PERFORMING SUCH TRAVEL AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, USING WHAT IS REFERRED TO AS THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN. SEE LOCAL AND JOINT PASSENGER RULES TARIFF NO. PR-6, CAB NO. 142 (RULE 246). THE PLAN PROVIDES FOR REDUCED AIR FARES FOR TRAVEL ORIGINATING AND TERMINATING OUTSIDE THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AND INVOLVES REQUIRED STOPOVERS. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE TO TRAVEL UNDER THE PLAN IF THE EMPLOYEE IS STATIONED OUTSIDE THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AND TRAVELING ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. UPON COMPLETION OF TRAVEL UNDER THE PLAN, EMPLOYEES ARE CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THEIR TRAVEL AND THE TRAVEL OF THEIR DEPENDENTS PERFORMED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE INCIDENT TO RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL.

YOU FURTHER STATE THAT OTHER QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING INVOLVING TRAVEL TO A PLACE OTHER THAN THE ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR ALTERNATE DESTINATIONS AND THE AMOUNT OF TIME SPENT IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU REPORT THAT THE FOLLOWING TRAVEL SITUATION IS TYPICAL OF THE CASES WHICH ARE GENERATING DOUBTS AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSEMENT:

INCIDENT TO RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL, AN EMPLOYEE IS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL TO AN ALTERNATE DESTINATION, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. HIS HOME OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IS ALAMOGORDO, N.M. THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED TO ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., BUT REMAINED THERE FOR ONLY 5 1/2 HOURS. HE STATES THAT THE PURPOSE OF HIS TRAVEL THERETO WAS TO MEET WITH HIS FORMER EMPLOYER. THE EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS ACCOMPANIED HIM ON HOME LEAVE TRAVEL BUT PERFORMED TRAVEL TO EAST FLAT ROCK, NORTH CAROLINA, NOT ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., THE POINT SPECIFIED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS AS THE AUTHORIZED ALTERNATE DESTINATION. OF THE 26 DAYS THE EMPLOYEE SPENT IN A LEAVE STATUS, ALL EXCEPT 2 DAYS WERE SPENT AT EAST FLAT ROCK, N.C. THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS UTILIZED THE AFOREMENTIONED DISCOUNT 50 PLAN AT PERSONAL EXPENSE. IN THIS CASE THE COST OF THE PLAN WAS LESS THAN IT WOULD HAVE COST HAD THE EMPLOYEE AND DEPENDENTS USED TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS. THE PLAN REQUIRES THAT THE TRAVELERS MAKE AT LEAST THREE STOPOVERS BETWEEN THE POINT OF ORIGIN AND FINAL DESTINATION.

YOUR DOUBT CONCERNS WHETHER UNDER THE FOREGOING FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES EMPLOYEES ARE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND PER DIEM EXPENSES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5728(A) WHICH PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

(A) UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE, AN AGENCY SHALL PAY FROM ITS APPROPRIATIONS THE EXPENSES OF ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL OF AN EMPLOYEE, AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, BUT NOT HOUSEHOLD GOODS, FROM HIS POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACE OF HIS ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT OR TRANSFER TO THE POST OF DUTY, AFTER HE HAS SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED AN AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND IS RETURNING TO HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO TAKE LEAVE BEFORE SERVING ANOTHER TOUR OF DUTY AT THE SAME OR ANOTHER POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES UNDER A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT MADE BEFORE DEPARTING FROM THE POST OF DUTY.

SECTION 1.12B(3) OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A 56, REVISED AUGUST 17, 1971, STATES:

AN EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY MAY TRAVEL TO A LOCATION IN THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES OR POSSESSIONS, PUERTO RICO, THE CANAL ZONE OR ANOTHER COUNTRY IN WHICH THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IS LOCATED OTHER THAN THE LOCATION OF THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE, HOWEVER, AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE ACTUAL RESIDENCE IS IN THE UNITED STATES MUST SPEND A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF TIME IN THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES OR POSSESSIONS, PUERTO RICO, OR THE CANAL ZONE INCIDENT TO TRAVEL UNDER 1.12 TO BE ENTITLED TO THE ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED. THE AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES WHEN TRAVEL IS TO AN ALTERNATE LOCATION SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL OVER A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM THE POST OF DUTY TO THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AND FOR RETURN TO THE SAME OR A DIFFERENT POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AS THE CASE MAY BE.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING FACTS, LAW AND REGULATIONS, YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(A) IS REIMBURSEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT PROPER FOR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL PERFORMED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE UNDER THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN?

THE DISCOUNT 50 FARE IS APPLICABLE TO ROUND TRIP OR CIRCLE TRANSPORTATION WHOLLY WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL U.S.A. AND ALASKA AND TO OPEN JAW TRANSPORTATION WHICH ORIGINATES AT DESIGNATED GATEWAY POINTS. PARAGRAPH (A)(4) OF THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN, PUBLISHED IN LOCAL AND JOINT PASSENGER RULES TARIFF NO. PR-6, C.A.B. NO. 142, RULE 246, PROVIDES THAT SUCH FARE WILL APPLY TO UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, STATIONED OUTSIDE THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE TRAVELING ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE WHO DISPLAY PROOF THAT TRAVEL ORIGINATED AND WILL TERMINATE OUTSIDE THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. SINCE THE EMPLOYEES, ALTHOUGH TRAVELING ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, ARE BY LAW AND REGULATIONS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE FARE WAS NOT INTENDED TO APPLY IN SUCH CASES. THE FACT THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES PAY THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OUT OF THEIR OWN FUNDS INITIALLY FOR WHICH THEY ARE LATER REIMBURSED BY THE UNITED STATES MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS TRAVEL PERFORMED "AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE." EMPLOYEES CONTEMPLATING TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES SHOULD THEREFORE BE ADVISED THAT THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN IS APPLICABLE ONLY WHEN THE EXPENSES OF THE TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND ALASKA ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE. IF, AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER, SOME EMPLOYEES HAVE ALREADY USED THE DISCOUNT PLAN 50 AND ARE NOW SEEKING REIMBURSEMENT, NO OBJECTION THERETO WILL BE RAISED BY OUR OFFICE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

(B) IS IT PROPER TO ISSUE A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR TRAVEL UNDER THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN?

THE ANSWER HERE IS IN THE NEGATIVE. THE PURPOSE OF A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IS TO PROCURE FROM A COMMON CARRIER, TRANSPORTATION, ACCOMMODATIONS, OR OTHER SERVICES CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT. AS THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN IS STATED TO BE APPLICABLE TO GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL TRAVELING AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, THE ISSUANCE OF A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR SUCH TRAVEL WOULD BE IMPROPER.

(C) CONSIDERING THE REQUIREMENT FOR STOPOVERS UNDER THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN, IS AN EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL UNDER SUCH PLAN A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF JTR, C 4152-2C?

SINCE, FOR THE REASON STATED ABOVE, THE DISCOUNT 50 PLAN WAS NOT INTENDED FOR USE FOR TRAVEL SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED, NO REPLY IS NECESSARY AS TO QUESTION (C).

(D) IN THE TRAVEL SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN, HAS THE EMPLOYEE COMPLIED WITH THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF HOME LEAVE BY REMAINING AT ALBUQUERQUE FOR SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME?

(E) IF THE ANSWER TO (D) IS IN THE NEGATIVE, DOES THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE SPENT 26 DAYS OF A 28 DAY LEAVE PERIOD IN THE UNITED STATES, ALBEIT NOT AT THE AUTHORIZED ALTERNATE DESTINATION OR ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE, SATISFY THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 1.12B(3), OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 (NOW UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION) THAT THE EMPLOYEE MUST SPEND A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF TIME IN THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES OR POSSESSIONS, PUERTO RICO OR THE CANAL ZONE?

(F) IN REGARD TO THE TRAVEL SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN, WOULD IT BE PROPER TO RECOGNIZE EAST FLAT ROCK, NORTH CAROLINA, AS AN ALTERNATE DESTINATION IN LIEU OF THE ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE?

IN THE HYPOTHETICAL CASE YOU PRESENT IN YOUR LETTER, THE EMPLOYEE ELECTED ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AS HIS ALTERNATE DESTINATION. TRAVEL TO AN ALTERNATE LOCATION IS AUTHORIZED BY THE REGULATIONS, AND THE ONLY REQUIREMENT ATTACHED THERETO IS THAT WHEN THE ACTUAL RESIDENCE IS IN THE UNITED STATES, A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF TIME MUST BE SPENT IN THIS COUNTRY. MOREOVER, THE REGULATION DOES NOT SPECIFY THAT THE EMPLOYEE MUST TRAVEL TO HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR TO A DESIGNATED ALTERNATE LOCATION. THUS, THE FAILURE TO TRAVEL TO OR SPEND A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD OF TIME AT HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR AN AUTHORIZED ALTERNATE DESTINATION SUCH AS ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, IN THIS CASE, IS IMMATERIAL. REIMBURSEMENT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES IS ALLOWABLE IN AN AMOUNT NOT IN EXCESS OF THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL FROM THE POST OF DUTY TO THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AND FOR RETURN TO THE SAME OR A DIFFERENT POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. SEE B- 173226, AUGUST 2, 1971, COPY ENCLOSED. QUESTION (D) IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE; NO ANSWERS ARE REQUIRED TO QUESTIONS (E) AND (F).

(G) SINCE THE EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS, IN THE SITUATION DESCRIBED HEREIN, DID NOT PERFORM TRAVEL TO THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE OR THE AUTHORIZED ALTERNATE DESTINATION, IS THEIR TRAVEL TO EAST FLAT ROCK, N.C., PROPERLY REIMBURSEABLE?

AN EMPLOYEE PERFORMING RENEWAL AGREEMENT TRAVEL MAY TRAVEL ALONE OR BE ACCOMPANIED BY DEPENDENTS. SEE PARAGRAPH C4521B OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SINCE DEPENDENTS TRAVELED TO EAST FLAT ROCK, THE TRAVEL EXPENSES WOULD BE LIMITED TO THAT POINT NOT TO EXCEED COSTS OF TRAVEL HAD IT BEEN TO ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE.