B-232406, Feb 23, 1989, 68 Comp.Gen. 268

B-232406: Feb 23, 1989

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His claim for the cost of the 6 days as part of his temporary quarters lodging expense is allowed since his taking of leave did not cause an unwarranted extension of the temporary quarters period. Absence on Annual Leave: This decision is in response to a request from the Director. Was transferred from Washington. He was authorized temporary quarters for 60 days. Temporary quarters are to be viewed as an expedient to be used only until the employee can move into permanent residence quarters (FTR. We have held that an employee need not continually occupy temporary quarters in order to be reimbursed for such expenses. An employee is entitled to reimbursement even while on annual leave if the employee's annual leave and travel away from his new duty station did not cause an unwarranted extension of the period of temporary quarters or a delay in occupying permanent quarters.

B-232406, Feb 23, 1989, 68 Comp.Gen. 268

Civilian Personnel - Leaves Of Absence - Annual leave - Eligibility - Temporary quarters - Actual subsistence expenses - Civilian Relocation Temporary quarters - Actual subsistence expenses - Eligibility - Annual leave A transferred employee, who occupied temporary quarters at his new duty station, took 6 days personal leave to return to his old duty station for the closing on the sale of his old residence. His claim for the cost of the 6 days as part of his temporary quarters lodging expense is allowed since his taking of leave did not cause an unwarranted extension of the temporary quarters period.

Donald J. Douin-- Temporary Quarters-- Absence on Annual Leave:

This decision is in response to a request from the Director, Office of Budget and Finance (Controller), Veterans Administration (VA). concerns the entitlement of a transferred employee to receive temporary quarters subsistence expense allowance (TQSE) while on annual leave during the period that he occupied temporary quarters. In the circumstances of the case, we conclude that the employee may be reimbursed.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Donald J. Douin, an employee of the VA, was transferred from Washington, D.C. to Togus, Maine. He was authorized temporary quarters for 60 days, plus an additional 60 days from February 2 to May 31, 1988. During the period April 13-18, 1988, Mr. Douin returned to his old duty station on personal leave to close on the sale of his residence.

Because of his extended period of residing in temporary quarters in Togus, Maine, he rented quarters there on a monthly basis. Mr. Douin claimed reimbursement for lodging for the full 30 days during April, but meals and miscellaneous expenses for only 24 days. The agency denied that portion of the voucher which represented lodging for the 6 day personal leave period.

OPINION

Under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5724a(a)(3), an employee may be reimbursed subsistence expenses for himself and his immediate family while occupying temporary quarters. The implementing regulations contained in the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), /1/ provide that the period of temporary quarters should be reduced or avoided if the employee has had adequate opportunity to complete arrangements for permanent quarters (FTR, para. 2-5.1). Temporary quarters are to be viewed as an expedient to be used only until the employee can move into permanent residence quarters (FTR, para. 2-5.2d).

We have held that an employee need not continually occupy temporary quarters in order to be reimbursed for such expenses. An employee is entitled to reimbursement even while on annual leave if the employee's annual leave and travel away from his new duty station did not cause an unwarranted extension of the period of temporary quarters or a delay in occupying permanent quarters. Jon C. Wade, 61 Comp.Gen. 46 (1981), and decisions cited.

The record before us indicates that at the time he requested an extension beyond the first 60 days of temporary quarters, Mr. Douin had already purchased a new residence with a June completion date. Clearly, the period of personal leave taken did not extend the period of temporary quarters or delay his entry into permanent quarters. Therefore, Mr. Douin may be reimbursed for the lodgings portion of temporary quarters for each of the 6 days he was on leave.

/1/ Supp. 4, Aug. 23, 1982, incorp. by ref., 41 C.F.R. Sec. 101 7.003 (1987).