265 FW 9
Temporary Duty Travel

Extended Assignments

Supersedes 265 FW 7, FWM 334, 11/03/98

Date:  December 10, 2009

Series: Finance

Part 265: Travel

Originating Office: Division of Financial Management

 

 

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9.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides guidance for employees on extended temporary duty (TDY) travel on behalf of the Service.

 

9.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter covers extended TDY travel. The policy for completing a permanent change of station (PCS) is in Part 266 of the Service Manual. Information on a temporary change of station (relocation to perform a long-term assignment and return to the previous official station after completing the assignment) is in the Department of the Interior Implementing Instructions and Part 302, Subpart E of the Federal Travel Regulation.

 

9.3 What is the policy?

 

A. An employee's travel is an extended assignment if:

 

(1) The employee is in TDY status for 30 consecutive calendar days or longer at one location, and

 

(2) The TDY location is further than 50 miles from both the employee's permanent duty station and residence.

 

B. We may cover the costs for transportation, lodging, meals, and incidental expenses (M&IE) up to 100% of the General Services Administration (GSA) per diem rate for travel to an extended assignment location to begin the assignment and for travel home at the end of the assignment (see 265 FW 5 and 265 FW 6).

 

C. During the extended assignment, we reimburse the employee for lodging and M&IE at a reduced rate (up to 55% of the GSA per diem rate). We expect employees to stay in weekly or monthly rentals (e.g., apartments, extended stay hotels) during extended assignments whenever possible.

 

D. Approving Officials must:

 

(1) Authorize extended assignments under Trip-by-Trip Authorizations, and

 

(2) Not authorize an extended assignment (e.g., detail, training assignment) under a Limited Open or Unlimited Open Travel Authorization (see 265 FW 4).

 

E. The employee must file a travel voucher for costs associated with the extended assignment at least once every 30 calendar days. The employee must file a final voucher within 5 business days of completing the extended assignment.

 

9.4 Is the reduced per diem rate for extended assignments always 55% of the GSA rate? No, Approving Officials may further reduce the per diem rate if they can determine in advance that the employee's total costs will be lower than 55% of the per diem rate. To do this, the Approving Official must include a written justification in the travel authorization. It is the Approving Official's responsibility to ensure that any further reduction in per diem is on the employee's travel authorization before the start of the extended assignment.

 

9.5 Can an employee get an exemption to the extended per diem rate of 55%?

 

A. If the employee is not able to obtain lodging and meals at 55% of the maximum per diem rate, we may authorize the employee to claim up to 300% of the per diem rate. Approving Officials may authorize an increase in lodging, meals, or incidental expenses, or a combination of these.

 

(1) In order to claim per diem at 56-100% of the per diem rate, the employee must send a written request for approval to their supervisor and Regional Director or Assistant Director before the extended assignment start date. The Regional Director or Assistant Director may not delegate this approval authority lower than the Deputy Regional Director or Deputy Assistant Director.

 

(2) In order to claim per diem at 101-300% of the per diem rate, the employee must send a written request for approval to their supervisor and Regional Director or Assistant Director before the extended assignment start date. This approval authority may not be delegated.

 

B. An employee's request for per diem reimbursement at 56-300% of the maximum per diem rate must include evidence that he or she researched available lodging and meal options. The employee must include a copy of the approval with the receipt packet and send a copy to the local Budget and Finance Office.

 

C. Employees' families may accompany employees on extended TDY travel, but we do not cover any costs associated with their travel. Family members' presence during extended assignments is not a justification for an increased per diem reimbursement.

 

9.6 What happens when an employee on an extended assignment has to travel to an alternate location? When an employee on an extended assignment must travel to an alternate location, we may cover the cost associated with transportation to and from the alternate TDY location. We may also reimburse the employee for per diem under the Lodgings-Plus method for the duration of the TDY trip.

 

A. The employee may not claim "overlapping" M&IE allowances.

 

B. On travel days, we may reimburse employees for a partial day of extended assignment M&IE (25%) and a partial day of TDY travel M&IE (75%). See Chapter 9 in the Temporary Duty Handbook: A Guide to the TDY Process for an example of how to complete this calculation.

 

C. On all other days of the TDY trip, we may only reimburse travelers for TDY M&IE and they must suspend the extended assignment M&IE reimbursement.

 

D. If employees incur lodging costs in both the extended assignment duty site and the alternate TDY location, we may reimburse them for lodging costs at both locations. We will cover up to 100% of the maximum lodging rate at the TDY location and up to 55% of the maximum lodging rate at the extended assignment location, unless they get an exemption to the 55% rate in accordance with section 9.5. There are also circumstances in which we may cover dual lodging during shorter trips (see 265 FW 6). To receive reimbursement for both locations, employees must:

 

(1) Prepare a written justification (e.g., FWS Form 3-2388) of why there are dual lodging costs and send it to the Approving Official before incurring the costs, and

 

(2) Include a copy of the written approval with the receipt packet.

 

E. If employees are unable to obtain pre-approval to incur dual lodging costs (e.g., emergency travel), they may send the costs to the Approving Official after the trip. Employees should not assume that the Service will approve the costs after the trip.

 

9.7 What is the policy on travel to and from the permanent duty station or residence during an extended assignment? We may reimburse employees for an occasional return trip to their permanent duty station or residence during an extended assignment when an Approving Official determines that the trip is advantageous to the Government. Employees must create a Trip-by-Trip Authorization in the electronic travel system and obtain the required approvals before traveling.

 

A. When employees obtain authorization from an Approving Official, the Service will reimburse transportation costs for travel to and from the permanent duty station or residence.

 

B. On travel days, we may reimburse employees for a partial day of extended assignment M&IE (25%). Employees must suspend their extended assignment M&IE allowance for days spent at the permanent duty station or residence (non-travel days). We use the employee's travel status and location at 12:00 AM (Midnight) to determine per diem eligibility for the day.

 

C. We may pay for lodging at the extended assignment location for the duration of the return trip, if incurred in compliance with section 9.6D.

 

9.8 Where is the policy for reimbursing individuals on Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignments? You can find more information about reimbursement for individuals on IPA assignments in 265 FW 8.

 

9.9 Where can employees find additional information about extended assignments? Chapter 9 of the Temporary Duty Handbook: A Guide to the TDY Process has more information about extended assignments, including examples and screenshots from the electronic travel system.

 

9.10 Who should employees contact with questions about extended assignments? Contact your Regional Travel Coordinator with questions about extended assignments. There is a list of the Regional Travel Coordinators in the Temporary Duty Handbook: A Guide to the TDY Process.

 


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