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Travel


Overview

 
   

When travel is required in the regular performance of your duties as a NOWCC SEE Program enrollee, established NOWCC SEE Program policies will apply. These policies are based on excerpts from the federal regulations governing travel under federally funded grants. Enrollees should:

  • Use the most economical means of transportation available.
  • Never operate any federal vehicle or a vehicle leased by a federal employer. However, riding in a federal vehicle or one rented by a federal employee is permissible.
  • Report expenses for business purposes only.
  • Submit a separate travel expense statement for each trip.

Enrollees are not to represent themselves at any time as government employees to obtain discounts.

Local Travel

Definition: Business travel that does not involve an overnight stay.

Authorization

Your position description should reflect travel expectations. All travel must receive prior approval of your Monitor or in unusual circumstances, the NOWCC Field Office.

Ground Transportation

Allowable means of transportation include Privately Owned Vehicles (POVs), buses, taxis or subways.

Rental vehicles may not be used unless authorized in advance by your monitor and the NOWCC Field Office.

Reimbursement

A completed "Enrollee Local Travel and Expendable Supplies Expense Statement" must:

  • be signed and dated by your Monitor,
  • have all necessary documentation attached,
  • be completed in ink (no white out),
  • have all corrections initialed by both signatories, and
  • be submitted within thirty (30) days after travel to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC, and
  • be the original form. Faxed copies are not acceptable.

Click here to access a fill-in online "Enrollee Local Travel and Expendable Supplies Expense Statement" or to print a blank copy using the Adobe Acrobat reader.

Original documentation, to be included with the travel expense form, is listed below. Reimbursement will be delayed when appropriate documentation is not attached, such as:

  • itemized phone bill,
  • vehicle rental receipt,
  • gasoline receipt (vehicle rental),
  • single item receipt of $25.00 or more (i.e., taxi, parking), or
  • pre-approval authorizations from Monitor and/or NOWCC Field Office.

Important! For continuous travel of more than 12 hours, but less than 24 hours with no lodging required, Meals & Incidental Expenses (M&IE) is allowed. In these instances, enrollees must submit both the "Enrollee Travel Authorization and Advance Request" form and use the "Enrollee Travel Expense Statement" instead of the "Enrollee Local Travel and Expendable Supplies Expense Statement."
 

Travel with Overnight Stay

Definition: Business travel that involves an overnight stay.

Authorization

A completed "Enrollee Travel Authorization and Advance Request Form" must:

  • be submitted for each trip,
  • be signed and dated by the enrollee's monitor BEFORE any travel may be initiated,
  • be submitted to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters immediately after approved travel arrangements have been made. Remember, this form must be submitted regardless of whether a travel advance is being requested, and
  • be the original form. Faxed or emailed copies are NOT acceptable.

Click here to access a fill-in online "Travel Authorization and Advance Request Form" or to print a blank copy using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Advances

Enrollees may request financial advances up to 85% of anticipated expenses or $1,000 (whichever is smaller) to help defray costs of approved travel.

A completed "Enrollee Travel Authorization and Advance Request Form" must:

  • be signed and dated by the enrollee's monitor BEFORE the travel date
  • be submitted to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters no earlier than forty-five (45) days in advance and no later than thirty (30) days before date of travel (exceptions considered on a case by case basis), and
  • be the original form. Faxed or emailed copies are NOT acceptable.

Travelers must submit receipts within 30 days of the conclusion of travel.  Enrollees are also required to return to NOWCC any unspent portion of the advance within 30 days. 

Non-compliance

If any unspent monies are not returned within the 30-day time limit, the enrollee and the Accounts Payable Specialist will then establish a payment plan under which the amount owed is deducted from the enrollee's paycheck(s) when necessary. If for any reason a payment plan cannot be established (e.g. separated enrollee), the amount(s) in question will be recorded as taxable income to the enrollee.

This policy is designed to comply with the accountable plan rules of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Treasury Department.

Direct Deposit for advances is available. Click here to print a copy of the Direct Deposit Form. If you need assistance, please contact your NOWCC Field Office.

Enrollees are urged to use airport shuttles or buses rather than rental cars or taxis to keep costs at a minimum.

Reimbursement

A completed travel expense form must:

  • be signed and dated by the enrollee's monitor,
  • have all necessary documentation attached,
  • be completed in ink (no white out),
  • have all corrections initialed by enrollee and monitor,
  • be submitted within thirty (30) days after travel to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters, and
  • be the original form. Faxed copies are NOT acceptable.

Click here to access a fill-in online "Enrollee Travel Expense Statement" or to print a blank copy using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Original documentation, to be included with the travel expense form, is listed below. Reimbursement will be delayed when appropriate documentation is not attached, such as:

  • airline ticket stub,
  • itemized hotel bill,
  • itemized phone bill,
  • vehicle rental receipt,
  • gasoline receipt (vehicle rental),
  • single item receipt over $25.00 (i.e., taxi, parking), or
  • pre-approval authorizations from monitor or NOWCC Field Office.

Items not reimbursable: club memberships, personal phone charges in excess of the $6.00 allowed per overnight, gifts, family/friends' expenses, entertainment, pay-for-view movies or other personal expenses other than transportation, food, lodging and business expenses.
 

Travel Outside Continental U.S.

Definition: Business travel in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas and US Possessions.

Please follow instructions in the Travel With Overnight Stay section.
 

Personal Travel with Business Travel

Enrollees are responsible for all personal expenses incurred when combining personal travel with business travel. A note of explanation must be made on original receipts to break out personal costs.
 

Mileage Rates

Effective January 1, 2019, the rates for the use of the following modes of transportation are:

Privately Owned Reimbursement Rate
Automobile .58 cents per mile
Motorcycle .55 cents per mile
Airplane $1.26 per mile
 

 

Calculating Work Hours During Travel

Enrollees should:

  • Count travel time during normal work hours (weekday and weekend) as paid time.
  • Not count travel time before or after normal work hours (weekday and weekend) as paid time.
  • Count all hours spent WORKING (weekday and weekend) as paid time.
     

POV - Privately Owned Vehicle

When access to a POV is required for the position, the enrollee must carry valid liability and property damage insurance that covers BUSINESS use of the vehicle. This should include:

  • valid bodily injury and property damage liability insurance at a minimum combined single limit of $300,000,
  • comprehensive and collision insurance for physical damage to insured vehicle, and
  • no-fault and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in those states where required.
     

Air Transportation

Enrollees may either:

  • Use American Express Business Travel Center to direct bill their airline tickets to the NOWCC SEE Program.
  • Purchase them locally and be reimbursed through their expense report.

Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) vs. Air Travel

To assure the most cost effective method of travel is utilized, documentation must be submitted with the expense report to verify that travel by the POV does not exceed the cost of a round trip coach class airfare. When a POV must be used and the expected cost of mileage exceeds the cost of a round trip coach class airfare, advance approval from the enrollee's Monitor and NOWCC Field Office must be submitted with the expense report.

Direct Billed Tickets

Enrollees who want to direct bill airline tickets are required to submit a completed "Travel Profile" form to the NOWCC Field Office before their first airline reservation. This one time submission gives the American Express Business Travel Center authorization to direct bill the NOWCC SEE Program for the enrollee's business related air travel.

Important!

Enrollees may not purchase airline tickets more than thirty (30) days in advance of the travel departure date through the American Express Business Travel Center.

Your NOWCC Field Office will have the details on how to contact the American Express Business Travel Center.

The American Express Business Travel Center will:

  • offer the lowest available fare that accommodates the requested schedule,
  • send the ticket directly to the enrollee,
  • use Federal Express delivery when necessary, or
  • fax an electronic "e" ticket to the enrollee when necessary.

To cancel direct billed airline tickets:

  • Call the American Express Business Travel Center to cancel the reservation.
  • Send the cancelled ticket (non-refundable or otherwise) to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters.

If airline policy allows the cancelled ticket to be applied to a future trip, the NOWCC Accounts Payable Specialist will hold the ticket for re-issuance. When rescheduling the trip, the enrollee should call the NOWCC Accounts Payable Specialist for assistance.

Enrollee Purchased Tickets Enrollees are required to:

  • seek the lowest possible fare, and
  • pay for the airline tickets with their own funds.

To cancel enrollee purchased airline tickets:

  • cancel the reservation through the source the airline ticket was purchased from and follow the procedures as advised.
  • send the cancelled ticket (non-refundable or otherwise) to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters.
  • submit the cost of the ticket for reimbursement on the "Enrollee Travel Expense Statement."

If airline policy allows the cancelled ticket to be applied to a future trip, the NOWCC SEE Program will hold the ticket for re-issuance. When rescheduling the trip, the enrollee should call the NOWCC Accounts Payable Specialist for assistance.

Important!
When cancellations are not attended to promptly, the enrollee could be liable for the ticket charge and in that case, the ticket becomes the property of the enrollee.
 

Rental Vehicle

Rental of cars by NOWCC SEE Program enrollees can be utilized only within the context of the EPA SEE assignment.

When rental cars are necessary, the enrollee must rent from a nationally recognized rental agency to avoid service problems often associated with smaller local rental firms. Travelers are directed to always accept both the rental agency's Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance, which will cover collision damage to the vehicle and the additional liability coverage which covers injury or damage to the other party in case of an accident. The NOWCC SEE Program will reimburse these additional charges. No other additional insurance charges such as medical insurance will be reimbursable.

The enrollee is expected to make advance reservations for economy model automobiles and to compare rental plans carefully in order to obtain the most economical package. The enrollee should estimate anticipated mileage to be driven before opting for more costly rates offering "free mileage."

Enrollees on business travel outside of both the Continental U.S. (Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands) and U.S. possessions should purchase additional rental car insurance coverage for damage to or loss of the vehicle and pay the additional fees. If rental or leasing agency requirements, foreign statute or legal procedures of the foreign country could cause extreme difficulty to an enrollee involved in an accident, an enrollee on foreign business travel should purchase the full insurance coverage offered by the rental car company.
 

Phone Calls

Personal phone calls may be reimbursed to a maximum of $6.00 for each overnight stay.

Business phone calls may be reimbursed by submitting a documented phone bill with the business calls highlighted.

NOTE: When a phone bill arrives after submitting your travel expense report, a memo referencing the appropriate trip/dates attached to the phone bill will suffice for reimbursement purposes.
 

Per Diem Instructions

Lodging:

  • Taxes are treated separately as a miscellaneous expense and not part of the room rate.
  • Expenses (excluding taxes) which exceed the maximum lodging amount, may be approved for up to 300% of the maximum. A written statement of approval and justification from the Monitor must be included with the travel expense statement.

Meals and Incidental Expenses:

  • are based on the traveler's overnight stay location, and
  • are affected according to how long the travel lasts as depicted in the chart below.

NOTE: When travel is to multiple locations with different M&IE rates and NO LODGING is required, the allowance will be based on the highest M&IE rate.

NOTE: For computing M&IE allowances, official business travel begins at the time you leave the office, home or other point of departure and ends when you return to the point of origin at the conclusion of the trip.

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
A Travel 12 hours or less
NO M&IE allowed
N/A N/A N/A
B Travel continuous > 12 hrs < 24 hrs
ELIGIBLE for 75% M&IE
N/A N/A N/A
C Travel Begins
ELIGIBLE for 75% M&IE
Full Day Travel
ELIGIBLE for 100% M&IE
Full Day Travel
ELIGIBLE for 100% M&IE
Travel Ends
ELIGIBLE for 75% M&IE
D Travel Begins
ELIGIBLE for 75% M&IE
Travel Ends
ELIGIBLE for 75% M&IE
N/A N/A

Furnished Meals reduce your M&IE as detailed in the following chart. If ALL meals are furnished, you receive a daily amount of $5.00 for incidental expenses.

  M&IE Amount
Meal Furnished $46.00 $51.00 $56.00 $61.00 $66.00 $71.00
Breakfast $7.00 $8.00 $9.00 $10.00 $11.00 $12.00
Lunch $11.00 $12.00 $13.00 $15.00 $16.00 $18.00
Dinner $23.00 $26.00 $29.00 $31.00 $34.00 $36.00
Incidentals $5.00 $5.00 $5.00 $5.00 $5.00 $5.00

For Example:
The per diem rate is $71.00
If the breakfast was provided, subtract $12.00 ($71 - $12 = $59)
If breakfast was provided on the 1st or last day of travel, apply 75% to the per diem, then subtract $12 for breakfast ($71 x .75)= $59 minus $12 = $41.25


If all meals are furnished, enrollee only receives $5.00 for incidentals
 

Per Diem Rates

The NOWCC SEE Program follows the Federal GSA and Department of Defense per diem (lodging and M&IE) rates for travel within the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.

Although SEE Program enrollees are to use these government standard per diem rates, enrollees are not Federal employees and must not represent themselves as Federal employees while traveling.

Click here to access per diem rates for travel within the United States. On this page, select the year your travel is occurring (the GSA page can display both current and past per diem rates), and then click on the state you are visiting on the map. If you are visiting a "non-contiguous" location such as Alaska, Hawaii, or Guam, click on the link just below the map.

Important Note: Travel to a location not listed in the above per diem rate tables requires an enrollee to use the Standard CONUS rates for lodging and M&IE listed at the beginning of each state's rate table.

Travel to Foreign Locations

To obtain the approved per diem rates covering Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas, US Possessions and foreign locations, contact the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters either by telephone (703-558-4200).