|Acceptance and Payment of Travel and Related Expenses|
Except when authorized by law, when an employee is on official duty (no leave status), all travel and accommodations shall be at Government expense.
When participation at a function is not in an official capacity, an employee may accept reimbursement of travel and accommodation expenses from a private source, provided that such acceptance is permitted by law and Federal regulations. Participation as a private citizen must occur on one's own time, such as while on leave. If participation should occur during the course of official travel (i.e., evening or weekend hours during official travel status), the travel voucher submitted for Government reimbursement of official duty expenses must be adjusted to claim only that per diem and travel attributable to official duty.
Exceptions to the Policy
(a) Realizing the generosity of the private sector to pay for Federal travel, Congress enacted a law (31 U.S.C. 1353) which allows Executive branch agencies to accept travel and related expenses from non-Federal sources for employee travel. An agency may also accept non-Federal payments to cover the travel expenses of the employee's spouse. To qualify, the conditions stated below must be satisfied.
(1) The travel relates to the employee's official duties;
(2) The travel, subsistence and related expenses are for the attendance of an employee (and/or the accompanying spouse of such employee when applicable) at a meeting or similar function. This includes a conference, seminar, speaking engagement, symposium, training course, or similar event that takes place away from the employee's official station, and is sponsored or cosponsored by a non-Federal source;
(3) The travel event is not required to carry out the Department's statutory or regulatory functions. Examples of statutory or regulatory functions that are essential to the Department's mission include investigations, inspections, audits, site visits, compliance reviews or program evaluations.
(4) The Department's acceptance of any payment from a non-Federal source under the authority of 31 U.S.C. 1353 shall not be approved when an Authorized Approving Official, determines that under the circumstances, acceptance of the travel expenses would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of all relevant facts to:
(i) Question the integrity of the work to be performed by the employee receiving the benefit; or
(ii) Question the integrity of the Department's other program operations.
(5) When making these determinations, an Authorized Approving Official shall be guided by all relevant considerations including, but not limited to:
(i) The identity of the non-Federal source and the source's relationship to the Department;
(ii) The purpose of the meeting or similar function and its relationship to the Department's programs or operations;
(iii) The identity of other expected participants and their relationship to the Department;
(iv) The nature and sensitivity of any pending Department matter which, when decided, may affect the interests of the non-Federal source;
(v) The significance of the employee's role in any such pending matter;
(vi) The monetary value and character of the travel benefits offered by the non-Federal source; and
(vii) The potential reaction from Department customers, including the public, if the acceptance of travel expenses was made known to them.
(6) An "Authorized Approving Official" means that Department official who has been delegated authority to approve the usual travel authorizations of the employee who will benefit from the non-Federal travel payment.
(7) The procedures stated below must be satisfied before the employee (and/or the accompanying spouse) begins his or her travel:
(i) Each employee (and/or the accompanying spouse) must have an approved Travel Authorization (Form DI-1020). Section 10 ("Purpose and Remarks") of this Form must contain a statement that the authority to accept payment from a non-Federal source for the specified travel event is 31 U.S.C. 1353, and the travel situation complies with the conditions for acceptance under 41 CFR 304-1.4.
(ii) The supplementary form entitled, "Report of Payments Accepted From Non-Federal Sources Under 31 U.S.C. § 1353" (Form DI-2000) must also be completed and signed by the employee and the Authorized Approving Official. A copy of Form DI-1020 and Form DI-2000 must be filed with the employee's Deputy Ethics Counselor.
(iii) Payment from a non-Federal source to cover the travel related expenses of an employee may be made in the form of a check or similar instrument made payable to the Department. Employees should not accept cash or negotiate checks or similar instruments payable to them. Any negotiable instruments received by an employee shall be transmitted immediately to the appropriate accounting office.
(iv) The agency may not accept reimbursement by the non-Federal source for the employee's travel expenses. In order to use the authority under 31 U.S.C. 1353, the non-Federal travel payment must be received by the employee's agency prior to the travel event. An optional and preferred method of payment is when no payment is made to the agency. Instead, the non-Federal source pays the Federal employee's transportation and lodging expenses directly to the provider. More Information on 31 U.S.C. 1353.
(b) Try to use this exception if the authority under 31 U.S.C. 1353 cannot be used. When an employee is on official duty, contributions and awards incident to training in non-Government facilities, and payment of travel, subsistence, and other expenses incident to attendance at meetings may be accepted by an employee when the payment is made by a nonprofit, tax exempt organization as described in 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) and when no real or apparent conflict of interest will result. Prior advice should be obtained from the employee's ethics counselor in this circumstance (5 U.S.C. 4111).
(c) Should the Director of the United States Information Agency, with the approval of the employing agency, assign an employee to a foreign government, reimbursement for the employee's pay and allowances shall be made to the United States in an amount equal to the compensation, travel expenses, and allowances payable to such person during the period of such assignment, in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 1451.
(d) Should an employee be detailed by the Secretary to an international organization which requests services, the employee is deemed to be (for the purpose of preserving his or her allowances, privileges, rights, seniority, and other benefits) an employee of the Department and the employee is entitled to pay, allowances, and benefits from funds available to the Department. The international organization may reimburse the Department for all or part of the pay, travel expenses, and allowances payable during the detail; or, the detailed employee may be paid or reimbursed directly by the international organization for allowances or expenses incurred in the performance of duties required by the detail without regard to 18 U.S.C. 209 (5 U.S.C. 3343).
(e) When a bureau is authorized by statute other than 31 U.S.C. 1353 to accept gifts, and 31 U.S.C. 1353 does not apply, the travel expenses incurred by an employee directed to participate in a convention, seminar, or similar meeting sponsored by a private source for the mutual interest of the Government and the private source may be reimbursed to the bureau and credited to its appropriation. The employee shall be paid by the bureau in accordance with the law relating to reimbursement for official travel and any accommodations and goods or services in kind furnished an employee shall be treated as a donation to the bureau and an appropriate reduction shall be made to the employee's reimbursement (46 CG 689 (1967)).