|Effective Date:||Expiration Date:||Chapters:|
|Jan. 21, 2021||When Superseded||13 40|
In the modern workforce, organizations and employees benefit from the continuous attainment of new skills and abilities. Certain government functions may also require employees to travel. To support these ends, the District government provides travel reimbursement for appropriate expenses incurred by employees. This issuance provides guidance on travel requests, and the reimbursement process.
When incurring travel expenses, District government agencies and employees should be guided by principles of accountability, transparency, efficiency, and economy.
Agencies should only incur expenses when doing so would benefit the operations and services provided by the District government and should limit the number of travelers to the minimum necessary. An employee must exercise the same care in incurring travel expenses that a prudent person of modest means would exercise if traveling on personal business to keep costs as low as possible.
Ultimately, each agency’s Travel Officer oversees travel expenditure approvals and reimbursements. For this reason, each agency should designate a Travel Officer. In the absence of a specific designee, the agency head serves as the Travel Officer.
Travel can be a necessary expense for District government employees as a part of their positions. However, to receive reimbursement for expenses incurred during travel, it must:
While on approved travel, employees may experience an emergency that can interrupt their trip. Under these circumstances, employees may be eligible to receive reimbursement for expenses associated with the emergency trip. Reimbursable emergency travel must be a result of one of the following:
Employees who wish to engage in government travel to a destination more than 50 miles from the District of Columbia, must draft and give to their supervisor a Travel Justification Memo addressed to their agency Director that identifies:
If an equivalent or similar training is offered by the District government, the trainee or supervisor must also identify how the training differs from what is offered. If there is no legitimate business reason to incur the expense of outside training, the request will be denied. For a quick checklist for requesting travel and reimbursement requests, please refer to Attachment 2 (Request Checklist).
Local travel is defined as travel within 50 miles of the District of Columbia. Agencies, at their discretion, may choose to allow for oral requests and approvals for local travel in-lieu of a justification memo. However, employees must still complete a written Training and Travel Expense Authorization Form (see Required Forms).
All international travel on behalf of the District government must be approved by the Mayor’s Chief of Staff through the Mayor’s Office of the General Counsel. International travel requests and procedures must adhere to the guidelines provided in Mayor’s Memorandum 2017-001, dated May 2, 2017.
In addition to the Travel Justification Memo, employees must also submit a Training and Travel Expense Authorization Form (TR-1) to receive approval to incur training and travel expenses. If transportation or lodging expenses are projected to exceed the lowest rate available, the employee must also submit a Travel Exemption Request Form (TR-2) at the time of the request for training. These forms can be found in the Travel Forms Excel spreadsheet (Attachment 1).
In order to have a request for travel or training reviewed, employees must prepare and submit a TR-1. The form requires employees to identify their proposed method of travel, vendor information, method of payment, and estimated expenses. The employee may also use the form to request an advance on certain expenditures.
Employees should consult with their agency’s Travel Officer to obtain information on expenditure guidelines, allowances, and agency-specific travel rules before completing the form.
Employees must complete the TR-2 when travel-related lodging or transportation expenses are greater than the lowest available rate, or when an employee is unable to obtain lower rates for early conference training registration, or another item that requires exemption (if requested by the OCFO). If applicable, employees must submit this form with their requested advance or reimbursement.
If the total cost of the training is greater than $2,500, or will exceed 80 hours of duty over the course of a single training program, the employee must complete an Agreement to Continue in Service Form. The service agreement will require the employee to agree to remain in employment with the District government for a defined period of time and to acknowledge that the costs of training will be withheld from their final paycheck or recovered by alternate means should they voluntarily retire or resign before completing the required amount of service.
An employee who enters into an agreement must give their employing agency a notice of 10 workdays prior to separating from District government. Additional information on this topic can be found in Continuation of Service Agreement.
Employees must submit the following supporting documentation with each travel request:
Failure to submit required documentation may result in the denial of a request.
Travel approvals shall be processed as follows:
If authorized travel is cancelled for official purposes, or for a reason beyond the employee’s control, and the employee paid for the travel expenses with their own funds, the agency may reimburse the employee for nonrefundable expenses.
An employee must notify the travel officer of a cancellation of travel and submit a refund of any monies advanced in connection with the authorized travel. Advances that are not refunded to the agency within three business days shall be recovered by the agency, which may include an offset against the employee’s salary, a retirement credit, or other amount owed to the employee or any other legal method of recovery.
If authorized travel is cancelled because of an employee’s personal convenience, the employee will be solely responsible for any expenses incurred.
Employees must keep receipts of all transactions related to the costs of training and travel. Employees must keep physical receipts or use agency-approved expense reporting applications such as Expensify. For a complete guide on reimbursable expenses, please refer to Attachment 3 (Reimbursement Guide).
For air, train, rental car, and similar transportation expenses, receipts must show:
Lodging receipts must show:
Meal receipts must show:
Within ten business days of returning from training or travel, employees must submit a Request for Training and Travel Expense Reimbursement Form (TR-3) to their agency travel officer. In order to reconcile expenses associated with training and related travel, employees must still use this form if they received an advance and are not seeking additional reimbursement.
Employees who used a personal vehicle to travel locally, must also submit a Personal Vehicle Reimbursement Form (TR-4).
Employees must attach all receipts (or an expense report from an expense tracking application such as Expensify) to their TR-3 or TR-4.
Agency travel officers will review forms for accuracy, completeness, and applicability. If an employee submits an incomplete or inaccurate form, the travel officer must return the form to the employee for completion or correction. After verifying completeness and accuracy, the travel officer will sign the forms.
Each travel expense reimbursement form signed by the travel officer shall be submitted to the agency head, or the agency head’s designee. The agency head, or the agency head’s designee, must review and sign the form to authorize the reimbursement of the travel expenses.
Agencies will provide employees any authorized reimbursements within 30 calendar days after receiving a properly completed reimbursement form.
Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on Jan. 21, 2021, 4:29 p.m.