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Travel Policies and Procedures

Meal Reimbursement and Incidental Expenses

Reimbursement for meals and incidentals will be based on current GSA rate broken down as specified in the “Federal Travel Regulations, Allocation of M&IE Rates to be Used in Making Deductions from the M&IE Allowance” as per Exhibit E Appendix A for continental United States travel and Exhibit E Appendix B for all other travel; or appropriate collective bargaining agreement. To obtain the most up to date M&IE Allowance please refer to www.gsa.gov. In-state meal allowances are not authorized within the limits of any employee’s official duty station. In-state meal reimbursement is not authorized for travel within the CSU System (excluding grants). For in-state travel, the meal policy is as follows:

• One-day Seminars/Workshops/Conferences – No meal reimbursement will be allowed unless it is included in the registration fee, or, if charged separately, the meal is considered a formal part of the conference (i.e. awards luncheon with keynote speaker).

• Overnight Seminars/Workshops/Conferences – When the registration fee for a conference includes a meal(s), it must be noted on the Travel Authorization and the daily subsistence allowance must be reduced accordingly. Deduction is based on the Allocation of Meal & Incidental Expenses rates, as per Exhibit E. An exception will be made for the following:
• Continental Breakfast – When only a continental breakfast is served, reimbursement for breakfast will be provided.
• Reception – If there is only a reception provided in the evening, reimbursement for dinner will be provided.

For other than the above-specified instances, the following policy applies:
If a traveler is on a recruitment trip but is not hosting a candidate, the traveler may be reimbursed for meals up to the GSA rate.
For both in-state and out-of-state meal reimbursement, eligibility for meal allowance
reimbursement is determined by the following schedule:


When travel is:   Your allowance is:
More than 12 but less than 24 hours   75% of the applicable M & IE rate
24 hours or more, on: The day of departure 75% of the applicable M & IE rate
Full days of travel 100% of the applicable M & IE rate
The last day of travel 75% of the applicable M & IE rate

For example, if a traveler departs at 7 AM (no overnight stay involved) does not receive any meals as part of the conference registration fee and returns home anytime prior to 7 PM, no reimbursement for meals is allowed.

If a traveler departs at 7 AM (no overnight stay involved), does not receive any meals as part of the conference registration fee and returns home anytime after 7 PM, the traveler will receive 75% of the destination M & IE rate.

If a traveler departs for a conference at 7 AM (no overnight stay involved) and receives lunch as part of the conference registration fee and returns home anytime after 7 PM, the traveler will receive the following reimbursement for that day’s travel.
Assume: Per diem = $42 ($9 breakfast, $9 lunch, $22 dinner, $2 incidentals)
Calculation of reimbursement is $42 x .75 = $31.50, less $9 = $22.50

In the case of a traveler claiming actual meal expenses documented with receipts, for both instate and out-of-state meal reimbursement, eligibility for meal allowance reimbursement on the days of departure and return is determined by the departure and/or arrival time according to the following schedule:

Breakfast: Departure from Official Duty Station or home BEFORE 7:00 a.m.
Arrival at Official Duty Station or home AFTER 9:00 a.m.

Lunch: Departure from Official Duty Station or home BEFORE 11:00 a.m.
Arrival at Official Duty Station or home AFTER 2:00 p.m.

Dinner: Departure from Official Duty Station or home BEFORE 5:00 p.m.
Arrival at Official Duty Station or home AFTER 7:00 p.m.

Computation of meal allowances for travel greater than twenty-four (24) hours is made in the following manner:

1. Day Travel Begins:

a) if lodging is required, use 75% of the applicable Meal and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) rate prescribed for the location of the lodging.
EXAMPLE: The traveler is traveling from Hartford overseas to Hungary, and must change planes in Paris. The flight from Paris to Hungary does not leave until the next day. Therefore, the traveler must stay overnight in Paris. The maximum M&IE rate for Paris is $50.00, and the maximum M&IE rate for Hungary is $40.00. The maximum M&IE rate used by the traveler in this situation for the first day of travel (Hartford to Paris) is $50.00 x .75 = $37.50.

b) if lodging is not required, the per diem allowable is 75% of the destination M&IE rate.
EXAMPLE: The traveler is traveling from Hartford to Los Angeles via Amtrak. The train travels all night, with no overnight stop involved. The per diem allowable is 75% of the M&IE rate for Los Angeles.

2. Full Calendar Days of Travel:

a) if lodging is required, use applicable M&IE rate prescribed for the location of the lodging

EXAMPLE: The traveler is attending a conference in Princeton, NJ (M&IE rate of $34.00), but the traveler’s hotel is located in Edison, NJ (M&IE rate of $38.00). The allowable per diem for the traveler is the Edison rate, or $38.00.

b) if lodging is not required, the per diem allowable is the destination M&IE rate
EXAMPLE: The traveler is traveling from Vienna to Istanbul on the Orient Express. The train travels all day and night, with no overnight stop involved, the employee has the option to purchase a roomette car, however, the per diem allowable is the M&IE rate for
Istanbul.


3. Returning from Travel:

a) if lodging is required at an en route location, use the applicable M&IE rate prescribed for the location of the lodging
EXAMPLE: The traveler is traveling from Hungary back to Hartford, and must change planes in Paris. The flight from Paris to Hartford does not leave until the next day. Therefore, the traveler must stay overnight in Paris. The maximum M&IE rate for Paris is $50.00, and the maximum M&IE rate for Hungary is $40.00. The maximum M&IE rate used by the traveler in this situation for this day of travel (Hungary to Paris) is the Paris rate, $50.00

b) if lodging is not required, the allowable per diem is the M&IE rate used on the preceding calendar day
EXAMPLE: The traveler is returning from Hungary to Hartford. The return flight takes all night, arriving the next morning, but no interim lodging is required because the traveler is in the air. The allowable per diem is the M&IE rate for Hungary.

c) on the day travel ends, the allowable per diem is 75% of the M&IE rate used on the preceding calendar day, prorated as provided above
EXAMPLE: The traveler is returning from San Diego to Hartford. The trip takes one afternoon. The allowable per diem is 75% of the M&IE rate for San Diego. Maximum applicable rates for meals and incidental expenses allowed include tax and gratuities. GSA per diem rates are available on the Internet at www.gsa.gov. Consult this web site to determine the applicable per diem rate for the specific locality.

Meal reimbursement may be claimed in two different manners:
• up to the allowable per diem (no receipts)
• actual expenses as documented with original itemized receipts for all meals. If an itemized receipt is not submitted the expense will be denied.

The same method must be used for the entire travel period. Per diem payments at or below the federal rate are non-reportable. Actual meal expenses are also non-reportable if they fall at or below the per diem rate. Any actual meal expenses reimbursed that exceed the federal per diem rate are considered reportable wages and are subject to withholding and the payment of employment taxes.
When the registration fee for a conference includes a meal(s), it must be noted on the Travel Authorization and the daily subsistence allowance must be reduced accordingly. Deduction is based on the Allocation of Meal & Incidental Expenses rates, as per Exhibit E. An exception will be made for the following:

• Continental Breakfast – When only a continental breakfast is served, reimbursement for breakfast will be provided
• Reception – If there is only a reception provided in the evening, reimbursement for dinner will be provided

Incidental expenses are part of the meal per diem and include:
• fees and tips for porters, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards or stewardesses and others on vessels and hotel servants in foreign countries. Note that tips are voluntary and based upon judgment; therefore tips exceeding the incidental expense allowance will not be reimbursed
• laundry and cleaning and pressing of clothing
• transportation between places of lodging and where meals are taken
• telegram and telephone calls necessary to reserve lodging accommodations


Expenses for liquor (including beer and wine) and floor cover charges billed with food are not reimbursable.

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