Travel Expenses While on Leave

B-200262: Jan 6, 1982

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A Federal employee appealed the action of the Claims Group which denied her claim for transportation expenses which were incurred while taking annual leave for personal business during a temporary duty assignment. The travel plans had been known by the employee's manager prior to departure for the temporary duty assignment. The agency denied the employee's claim for travel expenses because the trip had been for personal reasons. The employee contended that the applicable agency regulations were inconsistent with the authorizing statute, arbitrary, and unreasonable because if the claim had been for per diem or subsistence expenses it would have been approved. Federal travel regulations allow reimbursement of travel expenses only from temporary duty stations to an employee's residence or official duty station on a voluntary basis. In this case, the employee was traveling to another location. Since the location at which an employee chooses to spend nonworkdays while in a travel status is of no particular interest to the Government, the employee's entitlement to per diem and actual subsistence expenses continues unless otherwise restricted. However, this does not entitle an employee to reimbursement of transportation costs incurred for personal reasons. The employee did not demonstrate that the agency regulation was inconsistent with applicable Federal regulations, nor that it was arbitrary or unreasonable. Therefore, GAO would not question the agency's implementation of the Federal travel regulation as being beyond the agency's authority. Accordingly, the original denial by the Claims Group was sustained.

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