Federal Travel and Ethics - smartpay.gsa.gov

Federal Travel and Ethics - smartpay.gsa.gov

U.S. General Services Administration Federal Travel and Ethics GSA SmartPay Training Forum Last updated 8/9/17 presented by Jeremiah Strack Senior Assistant General Counsel GSA Office of General Counsel Todays Itinerary Paying for Travel

SmartPay Travel Card Non-Federal Source Travel Transportation Classes of Air Accommodation Privately-Owned Aircraft Rental Cars and TNCs Use of City-Pair Program (inc. Combined Travel) Promotional Benefits and Denied Boarding Compensation Conferences Preferred Lodging Programs (inc. FedRooms) For all slides: check the speakers notes for more info 2

Paying for Travel: SmartPay Travel Card What GSA says: Must use for all expenses directly related to official travel, unless impractical, imposes unreasonable costs, or employee is exempt Exemptions for employees with pending applications, when card would adversely affect mission or safety, or employee not eligible What your agency (may) say: Set specifics of use and penalties for misuse Agency can also make its own exemptions Why is use mandatory Its the law It helps the Government

3 Paying for Travel: Non-Federal Source Authorized by 31 U.S.C. sec. 1353 and implemented in FTR Chapter 304 The basic process Non-Federal source (NFS) offers Offer evaluated by high level agency official *Agency* accepts the offer After the fact authorization (FTR 304-3.13) is only for limited circumstances, when neither the agency or employee knew about the offer before travel began

4 Coach Class Air Coach class is the default Coach-class seating upgrade allowed subject to agency policy First class and business class airline accommodations can only be used in specific, limited circumstances. In most of these circumstances, the FTR gives agencies discretion to not authorize other-than-coach class travel 5 First Class Air Exceptions No coach class reasonably available within 24 hours

Accommodate a disability or special needs Medical certifications required Also covers attendants Exceptional security requirements Required for agency mission Upgrade at personal expense 6 Business Class Air Exceptions Accommodate a disability or special need Exceptional security requirements Inadequate sanitation or health standards in coach class on a foreign carrier

Regularly scheduled flights provide only other-than-coach class accommodations Non-Federal source pays costs 14-hour Rule Overall cost savings No coach class seats available in time to accomplish the mission Required for agency mission Upgrade at personal expense 7 Privately-Owned Aircraft What happens when agency employees decide to plane-pool on one of their private jets?

If common carrier is authorized, employee can use a privatelyowned vehicle (including an aircraft), but their reimbursement limited to the constructive cost of the authorized method of transportation. If more than one employee travels by the same POV, only one of them is reimbursed. 8 Rental Cars Should consider renting through the DTMO Car Rental Agreement Default is least expensive compact car, with exceptions for: Special need or disability Agency mission Cost of other classes is less Room for employees and/or Government material

Safety reasons (such as severe weather and rough terrain) No reimbursement for pre-paid refueling No reimbursement for insurance in CONUS OCONUS: if required by law, or agency policy permits 9 TNC Transportation network companies (TNCs) are reimbursable as a form of special conveyance More concrete regulations coming soon 10

City-Pair Program Required for official travel Exceptions: Space is not available to accomplish the mission, or would incur additional per diem, increasing the total cost of the trip Contract schedule not consistent with agency policy on travel during duty hours A non-contract carrier offers a cheaper fare available to the general public (still booked through agency TMC) Rail used instead Smoking flight Cannot be used for personal travel 11

Combined Travel Scenario 1: Authorized TDY is from Washington, D.C. to Phoenix, AZ from Monday through Thursday. Traveler wants to stay in Phoenix through Sunday for personal reasons. Traveler must use City-Pair fares for trip to and from Phoenix. Both legs are official travel. Reimbursement is limited to what Government would have paid for travel as authorized (Monday through Thursday). Scenario 2: Same authorized TDY. On Thursday, traveler goes to San Francisco for personal reasons, and returns to DC on Sunday. Traveler uses City-Pair fare for DC to Phoenix, and commercially-available fares for Phoenix to SF, and SF to DC. Reimbursement is still limited to what Government would have

paid for roundtrip to and from Phoenix (Monday through Thursday). 11 Promotional Benefits Promotional benefits earned on official travel may be retained for personal use. Does not apply to promotional benefits for planning and/or scheduling an official conference. Applies to promotional benefits offered to the general public, and with no additional cost to the Government. A promotional benefit includes anything that the travel service provider gives without it being mandated by the contract. This includes frequent flyer miles, seat upgrades, access to lounges, gift cards, and item/service vouchers.

12 Denied Boarding Compensation On overbooked flights, the airline is required to first request volunteers and offer compensation of the airlines choosing (voluntary vacating). Only after requesting volunteers may the airline deny boarding (involuntarily bumping). Airline must offer to compensate for involuntary bumping with cash/check. Govt traveler voluntarily vacates an overbooked flight: employee can keep the compensation. Employee bears costs of extra travel expenses, and may have to take leave for delay. Govt traveler is involuntarily bumped from an overbooked flight:

compensation must be in the form of a check payable to the Treasurer of the United States. 13 Conferences When lodging expenses are above per diem levels, the agency may authorize actual expense reimbursement Agency may provide meals and/or light refreshments at a conference when: (1) meals/refreshments are incidental to the conference, (2) attendance at meals/refreshments is important for employees' full participation in the conference, and (3) meals/refreshments are part of a formal conference that

includes not just the meals/refreshments, but also includes substantial functions occurring separately from when the food is served. 14 Preferred Lodging Programs Generally, an agency cant tell an employee where to stay on official travel, unless it is necessary for the mission or to protect Government property Exception: DoD Integrated Lodging Program For everyone else FTR says employees should consider using FedRooms Agency policy can say employee must consider, but still no

policy violation if a non-FedRooms property is chosen Agency can direct an employee who selects a FedRooms property to also select a FedRooms lodging rate Airbnb is non-conventionial lodging. Your agency must approve an exception from ETS for you to use on TDY. 15 Contact Information

Jeremiah Strack Email: [email protected] Phone: (202) 501-0496 Fax: (202) 501-0583 Thanks for coming, and have a great day! 16 GSA Starmark Logo 17

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