PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES
(Use in conjunction with P&P 412.5 and Bulletin 03-402)
Although HRD works with selecting officials regarding the payment of travel and transportation expenses, these determinations are based on Federal Travel Regulations (41 CFR 302-1), Subpart A, not 5 CFR. Therefore, the guidance below has been developed in coordination with the Travel and Relocation Services Branch, Financial Management Division and must be followed when making these determinations. Answer the following three questions in the order listed.
Step 1) Who is a New Appointee and Who is a Transferee?
The following definitions must be used when deciding whether a selectee is considered a “new appointee” or “transferee” for payment of travel and transportation expenses.
- A new appointee to the Federal government regardless of the type of appointment (temporary*, excepted service, etc.).
- A former Federal employee with a break in service of three-days or more that was not separated from the government as a result of a reduction-in-force (RIF) or transfer of functions within the last year.
- A student trainee (STEP or SCEP) assigned to the Government upon completion of his/her college work regardless of the type of appointment to which they are being appointed (excepted service, temporary*, term, etc.).
- An individual who has performed transition activities under section 3 of the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 and is appointed in the same fiscal year as the Presidential inauguration.
- Except for an individual listed under 3 and 4 above, a current Federal employee or a Federal employee with less than a three-day break in service regardless of their current/former appointment (excepted service, temporary, term, etc.); the type of appointment to which they are being appointed (excepted service, temporary*, term, etc.); or hiring authority (DEU, DEMO, etc.).
- Former employees separated from the government as a result of a reduction-in-force (RIF) or transfer of functions within the last year.
* Since a 12 month service agreement is required for payment of travel and transportation expenses, the appointment must be for at least one year (e.g., an employee appointed to a six-month temporary position is not eligible).
Step 2) When is Travel and Transportation Paid?
Different criteria as outlined below are considered when paying travel and transportation for a new appointee and a transferee.
Per 5 CFR 572.102, travel and transportation expenses may be paid for a new appointee at management discretion. Such factors as availability of funds or offering a recruitment incentive to a particular candidate should be considered.
Travel and transportation expenses will be paid for a current Federal employee or former Federal employee with less than a three-day break in service, if the transfer is primarily for the benefit of the government. Expenses cannot be paid if the transfer is for the employee’s convenience and benefit. Availability of funds cannot be considered.
Comptroller General decisions (before 9/30/96) and (since 9/30/96) the General Services Board of Contract Appeals have ruled that absent agency policy to the contrary: (1) if the new position is a higher grade or has more promotion potential, the transfer is regarded as being for the benefit of the government, and (2) if the new position is the same or lower grade with no more promotion potential, the transfer is regarded as being for the employee’s convenience and benefit unless considerations related to labor market conditions or other factors result in a determination that a lateral transfer was in the interest of the government.
Therefore, it is critical that REE has established policy regarding the payment
of travel and transportation expenses and that HRD staff and selecting officials
understand and follow it.
REE’s current policy is found in P&P 412.5 and supplemental Bulletin 03-402. If a transferee meets one of the following criteria, the transfer is considered primarily for the benefit of the government and travel/transportation expenses must be paid:
- Initiated by Agency management (e.g., directed reassignment, pursuant to a mobility agreement, etc.);
- a reduction in force action; or
- selectee possesses unique competencies directly related to the position being filled as determined by management.
Step 3) What Expenses Are Paid?
Questions regarding what expenses are paid should be directed to the appropriate Agency travel office. Below is general guidance of expenses paid for both a new appointee and a transferee.
All new hires appointed under DEMO except former Federal employees with reinstatement eligibility and less than 180 day break in service may, at management discretion, be authorized and approved to receive any, all, or none of the travel and transportation expenses listed in the Federal Travel Regulations for a transferee.
All other new hires including former Federal employees with a break in service of three-days or more AND former Federal employees appointed under DEMO with reinstatement eligibility and a break in service of three- to 179-days, may be authorized and approved to receive travel and transportation expenses in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations for a new appointee.
A transferee who meets one of the criteria in Bulletin 03-402, as being primarily
for the benefit of the government is entitled to travel and transportation
expenses which must be approved and authorized in accordance with Federal Travel
Regulations for a transferee.