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2203 - Allowances and Travel Reimbursements (Historical View)

** Effective: 5/12/2020 11:33:31 AM - Present **

Status: Active

Change Notes

Added Tips language.

Category

Travel/Relocation

Audience List

Synopsis

This policy:

Introduction

Provisions in the following programs authorize the reimbursement of authorized out-of-pocket expenses such as receipted lodging, meals and/or incidentals (per diem) that are reasonably, actually, and necessarily incurred as a result of conducting state business:

Statement

Eligibility Criteria for Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

All excluded and represented employees may be eligible for reimbursement of receipted lodging and per diem for authorized business travel. The circumstances of travel will determine eligibility and the rate allowed.

Eligibility Criteria for Reimbursement of Moving and Relocation Expenses

All excluded and represented employees may be eligible for reimbursement of receipted lodging and per diem for authorized employee relocations. The circumstances of travel and the specific relocation will determine eligibility and the rate allowed.

Business and Travel Policy

For bargaining units (BUs) with an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

Each state agency shall determine the necessity for and the mode of travel to be reimbursed. In accordance with CalHR policy, reimbursement shall be for actual, necessary, and appropriate business and travel expenses incurred fifty (50) miles or more from home and headquarters.  HR Manual section 2201 – Travel and Relocation Policy provides information on reimbursement for approved travel less than 50 miles from home and headquarters. Lodging and/or meals included in hotel expenses, conference and registration fees, transportation costs such as airline tickets, or otherwise provided shall not be claimed for reimbursement. Employees who are unable to consume meal(s) provided by the state as noted above due to time constraints or other considerations, such as reasonable accommodation, may be reimbursed in accordance with the rates established in policy, provided an alternate meal was purchased. Snacks and continental breakfasts such as rolls, juice, and coffee are not considered to be meals.

When employees are required to obtain lodging due to state business, reimbursement will be for actual receipted lodging plus applicable mandatory taxes and fees, in accordance with policy and the published lodging maximums. Employees shall only use commercial lodging establishments such as hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, public campgrounds, or short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) that cater to the general public. Lodging will not be reimbursed without a valid receipt.

Reimbursement of lodging expenses in excess of specified amounts, excluding taxes, requires advance written approval from CalHR. CalHR may delegate approval authority to departmental Appointing Powers or increase the lodging maximum rate for the geographical area and period of time deemed necessary to meet the needs of the state. Employee may not claim lodging, meal, or incidental expenses within 50 miles of his/her home or headquarters.

Airline Rewards Credits 

State employees shall not receive reimbursement for using airline rewards credits (credits, points, etc.) while conducting approved state business. Airline rewards credits do not translate to a cash value to be reimbursed by the state.

Hotel Rewards Credits 

State employees shall not receive reimbursement for using hotel rewards credits (credits, points, etc.) while conducting approved state business. Hotel rewards credits do not translate to a cash value to be reimbursed by the state.

Alcoholic Beverages

State employees shall not receive reimbursement for purchasing alcoholic beverages while conducting approved state business.

Receipt Policy

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

Reimbursement will be claimed only for actual and necessary business, travel, and relocation expenses. Regardless of any exceptions to receipt policy, the approving officer may require additional certification and/or explanation from an employee to determine expenses were actually and reasonably incurred. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, the expense shall not be allowed.

Receipts shall be submitted for every item of expense of $25 or more. When receipts are not required to be submitted with a travel expense claim, it is the employee’s responsibility to maintain receipts and records of their actual expenses. Receipts must be made available for audit upon request by employing departments, state control agencies and/or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Receipts are required for every item of transportation and business expense incurred as a result of conducting state business.

The following actual expenses are an exception to the receipt policy:

Reimbursement for Meals, Incidentals and Lodging

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

Employees on authorized travel status may be reimbursed for receipted lodging and per diem. Reimbursement rates for meals and incidentals are as follows:

Reimbursement Rates
ExpenseReimbursement for Actual Expense
BreakfastUp to $7
LunchUp to $11
DinnerUp to $23
IncidentalsUp to $5

Tips for Allowable Meal and/or Transportation Expenses

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

Tips for Allowable Meal Expenses

Effective May 11, 2020, state employees may receive reimbursement for tips related to allowable meal expenses incurred while conducting approved state business as follows:

A meal expense may be an allowable expense if the employee is eligible to claim a meal in accordance with state policy.

State employees submitting claims for tips associated with allowable meal expenses shall only receive reimbursement up to the maximum amount allowed for meal expenses. Expenses in excess of the maximum amount allowed for meal expenses are not reimbursable. For example, if the maximum allowable reimbursement for dinner is $23.00, then the maximum allowable reimbursement for a $23.00 dinner plus tip is $23.00.

Tips for Allowable Transportation Expenses

Effective May 11, 2020, state employees may receive reimbursement for tips related to allowable transportation expenses incurred while conducting approved state business as follows:

For example, for an allowable $20.00 transportation expense, such as a transportation network company (such as Uber or Lyft) or taxi expense, the maximum allowable tip is the greater of $2.00 or 20% [$4.00]).

Allowable transportation expenses may include transportation network company fare or taxi fare, plus applicable mandatory taxes and fees. A transportation network company (such as Uber or Lyft) expense or a taxi expense may be an allowable expense if it is:

Please note that department paid direct bill accounts should be the primary method of payment for transportation network company expenses.

Receipts for Meals and Incidentals

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

Employees must maintain receipts to substantiate the amounts claimed were not in excess of the amount of the actual expense.

Incidentals

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

CalHR must comply with current IRS policy. The term “incidentals” includes fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships. No other items may be claimed as incidentals.

Travel Timeframes

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

For travel lasting 24 hours or more, employees may claim meals (at the rates noted above), based on the following timeframes:

Short-Term Lodging Reimbursement Rates

For BUs with an existing MOU, if the MOU contains state business, travel and relocation language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

HR Manual section 2201 – Travel and Relocation Policy provides additional information about short-term lodging and the excess lodging rate request process.

Lodging Reimbursement Rates
CountyMaximum Lodging Reimbursement Rate
All counties except those listed below$90
Sacramento, Napa, Riverside$95
Marin$110
Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura & Edwards AFB, excluding the city of Santa Monica$120
San Diego, Monterey $125
Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara$140
City of Santa Monica$150
San Francisco$250

Application

Not Applicable.

Authorities

Resources

Forms

PML

Related Policies

Web Pages

Contact Person

Theresa Reid
Benefits Program Analyst , Travel/Relocation
Phone: 916-324-0526
Fax: 916-324-3213
Email: travel.manager@calhr.ca.gov

Authorized By

Milly Romero-Salas
Program Manager, Benefits Division