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265 FW 12
Local Travel

Supersedes 265 FW 12, 4/26/2018

Date: November 14, 2021

Series: Finance

Part 265: Travel

Originating Office: Branch of Financial Policy and Analytics

PDF Version

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Topics

Sections

OVERVIEW

12.1 What is the purpose of this chapter?

12.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

12.3 What are the authorities for this chapter?

12.4 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

RESPONSIBILITIES

12.5 What are the responsibilities related to local travel requirements?

Local Travel

12.6 What are the basic distinctions between local travel and Temporary Duty Travel (TDY)?

12.7 What documentation is required for local travel?

12.8 May approving officials dispute the local mileage amount claimed on an OF-1164?

12.9 How does a traveler’s telework status impact local travel?

12.10 How do travelers calculate commuting costs to deduct from a local travel claim?

Multiple Residences and Duty Stations

12.11 What if a traveler has multiple residences?

12.12 What if a traveler has multiple duty stations?

TRAVEL CHARGE CARD

12.13 May an employee use their Government-issued travel charge card for local travel expenses?

RENTAL CARS

12.14 How does an employee rent a car for local travel?

12.15 Can an employee seek reimbursement for renting a car for local travel when their Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) is being shipped because of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move?

12.16 When employees rent cars for local travel, can they add the rental car company’s collision damage waiver to the contract?

12.17 When employees rent cars for local travel over multiple days, can they drive them to/from their residence?

VOLUNTEERS

12.18 How does the Service reimburse volunteers for local travel and miscellaneous expenses?

Firefighters

12.19 How does the Service reimburse “casual hire firefighters” for local travel and miscellaneous expenses?

 

OVERVIEW

 

12.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter provides policy and procedures for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees and non-employees (called “travelers” throughout) who travel locally in and around their permanent duty station for work-related duties. See sections 12.4D and E for the definitions of “local travel” and “permanent duty station.”

 

12.2 What is the scope of this chapter?

A. This chapter applies to local travel in and around a permanent duty station.

 

B. This chapter does not cover:

 

(1) Temporary Duty Travel (TDY) (see 265 FW 1 - 10);

 

(2) Local travel in and around a TDY location (see 265 FW 5);

 

(3) Permanent Change of Station (PCS) travel (see 266 FW 1); or

 

(4) Temporary Change of Station (TCS) travel (see Federal Travel Regulation, Part 302, Subpart E).

 

12.3 What are the authorities for this chapter? See 265 FW 1 for a list of the authorities for all the chapters in Part 265.

 

12.4 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter?

 

A. Approving officials are supervisors, Directorate members (i.e., Regional Directors; Assistant Directors; Director, National Conservation Training Center (NCTC); Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS)), and other officials who approve travel-related transactions (e.g., authorizations and vouchers).

 

B. Commuting cost is the primary expense of traveling to and from a permanent duty station. Costs may include Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) mileage, tolls, and parking expenditures. POV mileage to a bus stop, park-and-ride lot, etc. is excluded from commuting costs.

 

C. Commuting residence is the location where a traveler commutes to and from work the majority of the time. It is not always the location listed on the traveler’s personnel forms.

 

D. CONUS is the acronym for the 48 contiguous states in the United States (i.e., all the states except Alaska and Hawaii).

 

E. Local travel is travel that does not meet the distance requirement for TDY travel. It includes Government and commercial flights to locations 50 miles or less from the traveler’s permanent duty station and commuting residence.

 

F. OCONUS is the acronym for outside the contiguous United States.

 

G. Permanent duty station, for the purposes of local travel, means the street address to which the traveler most commonly reports (i.e., the majority of the time). There are permanent duty stations that cover a large contiguous area of more than 50 miles, and that Service employees must regularly maintain or patrol. For such duty stations, traveling from one area to another, regardless of distance, is part of the employee’s regular duty and does not qualify as TDY travel. 

 

H. TDY travel is travel that is performed for official purposes and is over 50 miles from the traveler’s permanent duty station and commuting residence.

 

I. Travel Management Center (TMC) (i.e., Duluth Travel Incorporated and El Sol Travel, Inc.) is responsible for assisting travelers with booking and adjusting travel itineraries. The TMC charges higher fees to assist with booking travel and adjusting reservations than those associated with self-service booking through ConcurGov.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

12.5 What are the responsibilities related to local travel requirements? See Table 12-1.

 

Table 12-1: Responsibilities for Local Travel

This Employee…

Is responsible for…

A. The Director

Approving or declining to approve Servicewide policy.

B.  Joint Administrative Operations (JAO), Administrative Operations Center (AOC), Travel Team (i.e., Federal Agency Travel Administrators (FATA), Audit team, Help Desk team)

Providing travelers with guidance on the FTR and Department of the Interior (Department) and Service travel policies.

C. Approving officials

(1) Ensuring claims are properly prepared,

 

(2) Ensuring expenses are authorized and allowable and the associated amounts are accurate, and

 

(3) Ensuring required documentation (i.e., justifications) and receipts are attached.

D. Travelers

(1) Requesting approval to travel locally prior to leaving for a trip,

 

(2) Deducting normal commuting costs from the local travel reimbursement request (see Exhibit 1), and

 

(3) Traveling in compliance with the FTR and Departmental and Service policies.

 

LOCAL TRAVEL

 

12.6 What are the basic distinctions between local travel and TDY travel? See Table 12-2.

 

Table 12-2: Distinguishing Between TDY and Local Travel

Question

TDY Travel

Local Travel

What is it?

TDY travel is any official travel that is further than 50 miles from the traveler's permanent duty station and residence. There are permanent duty stations that cover a large contiguous area of more than 50 miles, and that Service employees must regularly maintain or patrol. For such duty stations, traveling from one area to another, regardless of distance, is part of the employee’s regular duty and does not qualify as TDY travel. This may be lowered to 30 miles for severe conditions like adverse weather, health or safety, training, or a meeting or conference if the traveler gets approval from their approving official and supervising Directorate member. If a trip takes less than 12 hours (including travel time) but is over 50 miles, it is considered TDY, but no per diem is paid.

Local travel is travel that does not meet the requirements of TDY travel because of the close distance of the location and typically occurs during normal duty hours. Travelers traveling locally for work are not entitled to per diem reimbursement.

How do I obtain approval to conduct travel?

Travelers must have a valid travel authorization before going on TDY travel (see 265 FW 4).

Travelers should follow their Regional or internal office policies for approving local travel to ensure approving officials will cover their travel expenses.

What mileage may I claim when I use my own vehicle?

We reimburse mileage for TDY travel by Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) at the applicable General Services Administration (GSA) mileage rate when your use of a POV is advantageous to the Government (see 265 FW 5).

We reimburse mileage for local travel by POV at the applicable GSA mileage rate when it is advantageous to the Government. For volunteers, the rate we reimburse is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) deductible amount of $0.14 per mile. If a traveler is assigned to travel as a passenger in a Government-Owned Vehicle (GOV) and they choose to drive their POV, they are not eligible for mileage reimbursement. Reimbursement is limited to costs in excess of normal commuting costs (see section 12.10). This limitation applies to all local travel, including travel to training and travel on a scheduled telework day.

How do I claim reimbursement?

The traveler must create a travel voucher in the electronic travel system (see 265 FW 2) to claim reimbursement (see 265 FW 7) for TDY travel.

The traveler must file a Claim for Reimbursement for Expenditures on Official Business (Optional Form (OF)-1164) to claim reimbursement for local travel (see 261 FW 4).

 

Do not use the electronic travel system to submit a claim for reimbursement for local travel.

 

12.7 What documentation is required for local travel?

 

A. Prior to local travel:

 

(1) We do not have Servicewide policy for the documentation required to get authorization to travel locally. Requirements are based on Regional, programmatic, or office policy.

 

(2) Departmental policy prohibits the use of the Travel Authorization form (DI-1020) or electronic travel system for anything other than TDY travel.

 

B. Cost comparisons: Although there is not a national requirement for preparing cost comparisons for local travel reimbursements (e.g., POV vs. ride hails/rideshares, such as a taxi, Uber, or Lyft), we recommend them for costs that exceed $100. Regional and local policies may require such comparisons.

 

12.8 May approving officials dispute the local mileage amount claimed on an OF-1164? Yes, your approving official may:

A. Determine which mileage software tool to use (e.g., Google maps, etc.) to calculate the number of miles to claim. When there are multiple routes available, the approving official normally uses the shortest distance for calculating reimbursement;

 

B. Limit reimbursement to the authorized mode (e.g., bus, shuttle) when you use your POV instead of that mode; and

 

C. Follow the Department’s 10% variance rule (see the Department’s Financial Management Memorandum (FMM)-2016-029, 7/11/2016). The Department allows up to a 10% variance between a traveler’s claim and what the approving official determines to be the correct mileage for both local travel and TDY. However, a traveler cannot use the 10% variance to classify local travel of less than 50 miles as TDY or vice versa.

 

12.9 How does a traveler’s telework status impact local travel?

 

A. If the traveler’s permanent duty station is a Service facility:

 

(1) The traveler cannot be reimbursed for reporting to their permanent duty station, even on days that they are not regularly scheduled to do so.

 

(2) The traveler may be reimbursed for local travel to an alternate work site that is 50 miles or less from their commuting residence or permanent duty station. The traveler must deduct their normal commuting costs from the claim (see section 12.10).

 

B. If the traveler’s permanent duty station is the telework location, the traveler may be reimbursed for local travel to an alternate work site that is 50 miles or less from the telework location, which includes costs for reporting to a Service facility. Commuting costs to a Service facility are not deducted from the claim. A teleworker’s official duty station is the telework location if the traveler is not scheduled to report at least twice a pay period to the official duty station (see Personnel Bulletin 21-07).

 

12.10 How do travelers calculate commuting costs to deduct from a local travel claim?

 

A. Following are scenarios describing how to calculate costs for commuting based on how the traveler travels to the duty station:

 

(1) POV: Include costs associated with the number of miles driven round trip, tolls, and parking expenditures (if applicable). To calculate the cost of POV mileage, see GSA’s online POV mileage reimbursement rate chart for current rates.

 

(2) Carpool/vanpool/shuttle: Regardless of whether there is a cost associated with a carpool, vanpool, or shuttle, calculate the commuting cost based on the number of miles that would be driven round trip if the traveler used their POV. Use this calculation even if the traveler pays some other rate for the carpool, vanpool, or shuttle.

 

(3) Mass transit: Regardless of whether there is a cost associated with the mass transit option, calculate the commuting cost based on the number of miles that would be driven round trip if the traveler used their POV. Use this calculation even if the traveler pays some other rate for mass transit.

 

(4) Bicycle: Calculate the commuting cost based on the number of miles that would be driven round trip if the traveler used their POV.

 

B. See Exhibit 1 for examples.

 

MULTIPLE RESIDENCES AND DUTY STATIONS

 

12.11 What if a traveler has multiple residences? If a traveler’s permanent residence that is listed on their Notice of Personnel Action (SF-50) is outside the commuting area of the assigned duty station, and they have a temporary residence (e.g., trailer, quarters, apartment) from where they normally commute, use the temporary residence to calculate local travel and TDY.

 

12.12 What if a traveler has multiple duty stations? If an employee reports to work at multiple sites (e.g., two different refuges within a National Wildlife Refuge System complex), use the street address of where they report to the majority of the time as their permanent duty station for travel purposes.

 

TRAVEL CHARGE CARD

 

12.13 May an employee use their Government-issued travel charge card for local travel expenses? An employee may use their Government-issued travel charge card for some expenses, but not all. See Tables 12-3 and 12-4.

 

A. Allowable expenses: See Table 12-3.

 

Table 12-3: Use your travel charge card as follows for these expenses for local travel…

Type of Expense

Must Use Travel Charge Card

Use Travel Charge Card when Practical

Rental vehicles

X

 

Fuel and oil for rental vehicles

X

 

Local ground transportation

 

X

Parking

 

X

Ride hails or rideshares to and from your permanent duty station to any work-related location other than your residence, including a maximum 20% tip

 

X

Tolls

 

X

 

B. Prohibited expenses: See Table 12-4.

 

Table 12-4: DO NOT use your travel charge card for these expenses for local travel…

·        ATM cash advance

·        Expenses for a person other than you

·        Fuel or repair services for your POV

·        Meeting space rental

·        Meals

·        Ride hails or rideshares for commuting to and from your residence (e.g., taxi, Uber, Lyft), including the tip

 

RENTAL CARS

 

12.14 How does an employee rent a car for local travel?

 

A. When renting a car for local, non-routine travel, employees must use the same Government car rental program agreement that we use for TDY travel (see the Defense Travel Management Office website for more information).

 

B. Employees may book a rental car for local travel by either:

 

(1) Calling their TMC and incurring a service fee. 

 

            (a) Do not use the electronic travel system to book rental cars for local travel; and

 

(b) Ask staff at the TMC not to “sweep” the rental car reservation into the electronic travel system; or

 

(2) Contacting a local rental car company directly, but that company must be able to use the Government car rental agreement.

 

            (a) Ensure the rental is booked under the Government’s car rental agreement and identify yourself as a Federal Government traveler.

 

            (b) If a local rental car company does not offer cars using our Government car rental agreement, you cannot use their services.

 

C. Employees must not use third party booking agents.

 

D. Employees must rent a compact size car unless they get an exception for a larger size car (see 265 FW 5).

 

E. The Government car rental program does not cover:

 

(1) Hourly rate “zip” cars,

 

(2) Recreational vehicles,

 

(3) Large passenger vans,

 

(4) Driving off of paved roads, or

 

(5) Routine local travel at or near (50 miles or less) the permanent duty station when a GOV is normally used. Our Government car rental agreement covers non-routine local travel only, such as a meeting or training in the local area.

 

12.15 Can an employee seek reimbursement for renting a car for local travel when their POV is being shipped because of a PCS move? No. An employee cannot seek reimbursement or use a travel charge card to rent a car to commute from their residence to a permanent duty station under any circumstances.

 

12.16 When employees rent cars for local travel, can they add the rental car company’s collision damage waiver to the contract?

 

A. No, not in most circumstances. Rental car companies using the Government’s car rental agreement provide full insurance coverage for property damage and injury or death to third parties resulting from an employee’s use of a rented vehicle within the Contiguous United States (CONUS) (i.e., all the states except Alaska and Hawaii) and most non-foreign, Outside the Contiguous United States (OCONUS) areas (e.g., Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands).

 

B. If an OCONUS rental car company that does not offer vehicles under the Government’s car rental agreement is the only practical vendor, and it requires purchase of the collision damage waiver, an employee may add it if necessary.

 

12.17 When employees rent cars for local travel over multiple days, can they drive them to/from their residence? Yes, but they must:

 

A. Obtain prior approval from their approving official, and

 

B. Reimburse the Government for the cost of their daily commute by writing a check payable to the Service and submitting it to a Collections Officer.

 

VOLUNTEERS

 

12.18 How does the Service reimburse volunteers for local travel and miscellaneous expenses?

 

A. Local travel expenses. The Volunteer Service Agreement (OF-301A), signed by both the volunteer and the Service representative, must specify the type of local travel expenses (e.g., mileage, taxis, tolls, parking) that may be necessary and the amount of reimbursement that is allowable (see 150 FW 3).

 

(1) When reimbursing volunteers for actual expenses, the volunteer must use FWS Form 3-2373, Claim for Reimbursement for Volunteer Expenses, and attach appropriate documentation.

 

(2) We use the IRS’s volunteer mileage rate to reimburse for travel to and from the duty station.

 

(3) We may reimburse volunteers for these types of transportation expenses regardless of the volunteer's place of residence and distance to the work site.

 

(4) Submit the form to an accounts payable technician for entry into the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS) (see 261 FW 3 for instructions).

 

B. Miscellaneous expenses. The approving official may decide whether or not to reimburse a volunteer for miscellaneous expenses.

 

(1) The expenses must be directly related to Service work (see 150 FW 3).

 

(2) We may reimburse volunteers for miscellaneous expenses regardless of the volunteer's place of residence.

 

(3) When reimbursing volunteers for actual expenses, use FWS Form 3-2373, and attach appropriate documentation.

 

(4) Submit the form to an accounts payable technician for entry into FBMS (see 261 FW 3 for instructions).

 

FIREFIGHTERS

 

12.19 How does the Service reimburse “casual hire firefighters” for local travel and miscellaneous expenses?

 

A. The hiring of “casual hire firefighters” is of uncertain and purely temporary duration and must be terminated when we can begin other employment methods.

 

B. These firefighters should use the Incident Time Report form (OF-288) to claim local travel and miscellaneous expenses. The casual hiring unit must document reimbursement requests on the Approving Official Batch Memo or Travel Worksheet and include it with the OF-288 before sending it to the Casual Payment Center for final processing (see the Department’s FMM 2016-10, Casual Hire Travel Expense Reimbursement Waiver, 2/17/2016).

 

For more information about this policy, contact the Financial Policy and Analytics Branch. For more information about this website, contact Krista Bibb in the Policy and Regulations Branch (PRB), Division of Policy, Economics, Risk Management, and Analytics.

 

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