B-195602(2),L/M, MAR 10, 1980

B-195602(2),L/M: Mar 10, 1980

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THE REGULATIONS IN QUESTION ARE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATION (FPMR 101 7). THE REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE MAY NOT EXCEED THE PER DIEM AND ANY TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. "*** IN CASES OF VOLUNTARY RETURN OF A TRAVELER FOR NONWORKDAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. THE MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EN ROUTE SHALL BE THE NECESSARY TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.".

B-195602(2),L/M, MAR 10, 1980

OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

WILLIAM MCDADE, DIRECTOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

TODAY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ISSUED TWO DECISIONS, HOWARD S. JOHNSON, B-195602, AND INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, B-194791, CONCERNING THE METHOD OF DETERMINING THE APPROPRIATE REIMBURSEMENT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE VOLUNTARILY RETURNS HOME FROM A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION FOR THE WEEKEND. THESE SITUATIONS RAISE CERTAIN QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE APPLICATION OF TWO PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE REGULATIONS IN QUESTION ARE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATION (FPMR 101 7), PARAS. 1-7.5C, 1-8.4F (MAY 1973) WHICH RESPECTIVELY STATE IN RELEVANT PART:

"*** IN CASES OF VOLUNTARY RETURN OF A TRAVELER FOR NONWORKDAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE MAY NOT EXCEED THE PER DIEM AND ANY TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.

"*** IN CASES OF VOLUNTARY RETURN OF A TRAVELER FOR NONWORKDAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EN ROUTE SHALL BE THE NECESSARY TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION."

THE QUESTIONS WHICH AROSE CONCERNED THE MEANING OF THE WORDS: "WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE" IN BOTH PARAGRAPHS. WHILE IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THIS PHRASE SHOULD BE INTERPRETED TO MEAN THE AVERAGE COSTS OR AVERAGE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS THAT THE TRAVELER INCURRED PRIOR TO HIS VOLUNTARY RETURN HOME FOR THE WEEKEND, THE REGULATIONS ARE AMENABLE TO OTHER INTERPRETATIONS. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE HAVE INTERNAL REGULATIONS WHICH ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE RESULT IN THE SUBJECT DECISIONS.

BECAUSE THE REGULATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO OTHER INTERPRETATIONS, AGENCIES MAY BE APPLYING DIFFERING POLICIES OR REGULATIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, THE REGULATIONS COULD BE READ TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT UP TO THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM OR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE WHICH COULD BE PAID AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. ALTHOUGH IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THE AVERAGE METHOD IS NOW TO BE USED, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE LEGALLY PRECLUDED FROM ISSUING A REGULATION ALLOWING THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM OR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE AMOUNT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE COULD BE PAID AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. CERTAINLY A MORE INSTRUCTIVE REGULATION WOULD INSURE MORE UNIFORM COMPUTATION OF THE AMOUNT ALLOWABLE WHEN EMPLOYEE RETURNS HOME FOR WEEKENDS.

WE WILL BE GLAD TO MEET WITH YOU TO DISCUSS THIS MATTER. PLEASE CONTACT MICHAEL VOLPE ON 275-6410 IN THAT REGARD.