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Alabama GM Supplement No 250-AL08 Part 404-fiscal-Subpart B-travel

Title 250 General Manual
Alabama Supplement No. 250-AL08
Part 404-Fiscal, Subpart B- Travel

AL404.11 - Agriculture Travel Regulations

The Department of Agriculture supplements the General Services Administration Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) with Agriculture Travel Regulations (ATR). NRCS supplements the FTR and ATR as necessary. The following are guidelines for NRCS Alabama employees to use when in travel status.

Methods of Travel

Alabama NRCS travelers generally use three modes of travel travel by government owned vehicle (GOV), travel by privately owned vehicle (POV), or travel by common carrier (airplane, bus, taxi, shuttle, etc.) Mode of travel to be used is that deemed most advantageous to the government. Travel performed by POV will be at the discretion of the agency and approved by the Leadership Team member who either directly or indirectly supervises the employee in advance of the travel occurrence. The government preferred rate for travel will be approved only if no suitable GOV or common carrier is available for travel. The agency will determine the method of travel based on what is most advantageous to the government, or to accommodate special needs or requests by employees. Employees may be required to provide documentation supporting special needs or requests.

General Rules

* Temporary Duty Travel (TDY) allowances may be authorized when official travel is performed away from an employee’s official duty station.

* Travel allowances may only be authorized if an employee is in travel status for more than 12 hours.

* Travel allowances for employees attending training or conferences within commuting distance of their duty station or residence may be authorized TDY allowances at the discretion of the State Conservationist if deemed advantageous to the government and the traveler will be in travel status for more than 12 hours.

* Travel allowances will be approved for per diem under most circumstances. Allowances for actual expenses must have approval from the Regional Assistant Chief (RAC) prior to travel authorization approval.

* Receipts should be submitted within 3 work days of completion of travel, if possible.

* The agency will pay additional expenses for employees who have to perform emergency travel. If a situation arises when emergency travel may be required the employee should notify his/her supervisor as soon as possible.

* Travelers who have the opportunity to rearrange travel to return from a trip earlier than planned may do so if it is advantageous to the government.

* Travelers whose duty ends at 4:00 PM or after, and travel time back to the duty station exceeds two hours, or arrival would be past 6:00 PM, may be authorized for reimbursement for another day’s lodging and MI&E.

* Rental cars must be approved prior to occurrence of travel. Rental cars may be approved if travel exceeds six days, or there is documentation that no common carrier such as a shuttle or taxi is available, or as approved by the STC or SAO.

* Reimbursement for travel expenses including fuel and registration costs incurred while not in official travel status should be requested using an SF-1164.

In-state travel

* Travel authorizations must be given in advance by the Leadership Team member who either directly or indirectly supervises the employee. A verbal authorization must be followed by a written or electronic authorization. Electronic Authorizations may be completed at the time vouchers are processed, however this is at the discretion of the employee’s supervisor.

Out-of-state travel

Authorizations which include rental cars or common carriers (airplane) must be completed prior to travel.

Miscellaneous Expenses

The following miscellaneous expenses are allowable under the stated conditions:

* Laundry expenses may be approved in advance by an employee’s supervisor if the employee is in travel status for six or more consecutive nights. Laundry expenses may also be approved in emergency situations.

* Services such as internet, copier, fax, scanner, or other such services over $10.00 per trip require prior approval by an employee’s supervisor with sufficient justification, and will be made on a case-by-case basis.

* Employees are encouraged to use personal cell phones for personal calls. Employees who have government issued cell phones or blackberries should use these devices in lieu of using hotel phones for calls, either business or personal. Each employee will be allowed one personal call per day not to exceed 10 minutes if using a government issued cell phone. Employees who do not have government issued cell phones will be allowed $5.00 per day for personal calls while in travel status. Calling cards should only be used for government business. Calls to retrieve voice mail should be made at NRCS offices if possible.

* Miscellaneous expense estimates should be kept to a minimum when processing travel authorizations.

Registration Fees

Registration fees are considered miscellaneous expenses.

* If several employees are traveling to the same location at the same time, an effort should be made to pay registration fees for all employees on a purchase order (AD-700) prior to travel.

* If a purchase card can be used to pay registration fees it is preferable to have a section/team card holder (administrative coordinators or secretaries) to pay these fees as close as possible to travel occurrence. An employee may call from the registration site and the card holder may pay the fee over the phone using the purchase card if needed.

* If a purchase card cannot be used an employee should pay the registration fee using a personal check or cash and claim the fee as reimbursement as a miscellaneous expense on the travel voucher.

Unauthorized Expenses

* Expenses related to office supplies, conference fees, training fees, shipping costs, conference/meeting room rentals, and light refreshments are not travel expenses and are not authorized through the USDA travel system.

404.13 Use of travel (charge) cards for Official Travel

* All charges made to a government issued travel or charge card will be billed monthly and should be paid promptly by the employee.

* An employee who has a travel card should always use it for lodging, rental cars, and airline tickets.

* Travel charge cards should never be used to pay registration, training, or conference fees.