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Travel Overview

 
   

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

  • Operate a Government Owned Vehicle (GOV) only when preauthorized in writing by your monitor.  However, riding in a GOV or a vehicle rented by a federal employee is permissible.
  • Drive a Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) only when preauthorized in writing by your Monitor.
  • Use the most economical means of transportation available.
  • 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: 12 hours or less

Definition
Business travel that does not involve an overnight stay.

Authorization
Your position description should reflect travel expectations. All travel must be budgeted for in advance by your ACES State/Center Coordinator and receive the prior approval of your Monitor.

If your position description did not initially reflect travel requirements but business needs dictate a change in that status, your Monitor must request a modification to your position description through your ACES State/Center Coordinator.  The State Coordinator is responsible for informing NOWCC of any travel status changes and for budgeting accordingly.

Ground Transportation
Allowable means of transportation include limousines, taxis, buses, or subways.  Preauthorization by your State Coordinator is required for the use of Government Owned Vehicles (GOVs), Privately Owned Vehicles (POVs), and rental vehicles.  Rental vehicles may not be used unless budgeted for in advance by your ACES State/Center Coordinator and authorized in advance by your Monitor.

If your PD states that travel is included, you have prior authorization to drive a POV, GOV or a rental vehicle.

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

  • be signed and dated by the enrollee and the Monitor,
  • have all necessary documentation attached,
  • be completed in ink with no use of correction fluid or tape,
  • have all corrections initialed by both signatories;
  • be submitted within thirty (30) days after travel to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters, 3811 N Fairfax Dr. #900, Arlington, VA 22203; and
  • be the original form. Faxed copies are not acceptable.

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:

  • vehicle rental receipt
  • gasoline receipt (vehicle rental)
  • single item receipt of $25.00 or more (i.e., taxi, parking)
  • pre-approval authorization from monitor

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Local Travel: 12 to 24 hours

Important! For continuous travel of more than 12 hours, but less than 24 hours with no lodging required, reimbursement for 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" form instead of the Enrollee Local Travel and Expendable Supplies Expense Statement form.

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Travel with Overnight Stay

Definition
Business travel that involves an overnight stay.

Authorization

  • Prior to travel: even if an advance is not being requested, Enrollee Travel Authorization and Advance Request form must be filled out, signed and dated prior to travel. Hold on to it until after travel.
  • After travel: Send Travel advance, expense statement and receipts (all originals) to Accounts Payable. Keep copies of everything that you send.
  • Call Field Office for instructions and use of AXIOM website for air fare only: https://nowcc.gbtconnect.com

Advances
Enrollees may request travel advances up to 85% of anticipated expenses or $1,000 (whichever is smaller) to help defray costs of preauthorized 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, 3811 N Fairfax Dr. #900, Arlington, VA 22203 no earlier than forty-five (45) days in advance and no later than thirty (30) days before date of travel (exceptions considered on 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.

Ground Transportation
Enrollees are urged to use mass transit systems whenever available rather than rental cars or taxis to keep costs to a minimum.

Reimbursement
A completed enrollee Travel Expense Statement must:

  • be signed and dated by the enrollee and the Enrollee's Monitor,
  • have all necessary documentation attached,
  • be completed in ink with no use of correction fluid or tape,
  • have all corrections initialed by Enrollee and Monitor, 
  • be submitted within thirty (30) days after travel to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters, 3811 N Fairfax Dr. #900, Arlington, VA 22203; and,
  • be the original form. Faxed copies are NOT acceptable.

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), 
  • pre-approval authorizations from monitor

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.

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Travel Outside the lower 48 States

Definition
Business travel in Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Possessions and territories.
Please follow instructions in the Travel With Overnight Stay section. 

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Personal Travel with Business Travel

When combining personal travel with business travel, additional non-business overnights and expenses will be considered personal expenses.  A note of explanation (such as “personal” or “provided”) must be made on original receipts and expense forms to break out personal costs.

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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.

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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

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GOV - Government Owned Vehicle

Read this section thoroughly regarding your personal insurance requirement before you agree to drive a Government Owned Vehicle (GOV). In every case, you should contact your insurance professional to make sure that you, your family, and your assets are adequately protected.

As a general rule, Enrollees with business travel requirements will be authorized by their Monitors to operate a Government Owned Vehicle (GOV).  Thus funds need not be budgeted for travel expenses.

Enrollees must provide proof of a valid state driver’s license before driving a GOV.

  • NOWCC will request a Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) Report for each Enrollee who is designated to drive a GOV. NOWCC will also require a copy of the Enrollee's personal automobile insurance declaration page.  This helps ensure that only those with safe driving records will be driving GOVs. A negative MVR outcome or failure to provide a copy of the required declaration page may be cause for termination of enrollment in NOWCC older worker programs.

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Explanation of Insurance Coverage with GOV Usage

It is important to recognize that there is nothing to prevent another person from suing whomever they want.  Having personal liability insurance is strongly recommended for all Enrollees who drive GOVs.  It is wise to check with your insurance professional to ascertain whether you have adequate protection.  Although laws vary from state to state, in general, if you are involved in an accident that caused injury to another or their property, one or more of the following may apply:

  • Injuries received by you during assigned duties would be covered by NOWCC’s Workman’s Compensation and/or your personal health insurance
  • Damage to the GOV would be covered by the government agency that owns the vehicle
  • Consult your insurance professional to determine that you have adequate protection for injury to an occupant of your vehicle or to others caused by an accident in which you were involved while driving a GOV for business purposes. 
  • Consult your insurance professional to determine that you have adequate protection for damage to another person’s property caused by an accident in which you were involved while driving a GOV for business purposes.     

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POV - Privately Owned Vehicle

As a general rule, the use of POVs for business purposes is discouraged and should be a rare occurrence. Reimbursement from NOWCC for POV usage must be budgeted for by the NRCS State/Center Coordinator in advance of Monitor approval for such travel.

When operation of a POV is required for business use, the Enrollee must carry valid liability and property damage insurance that covers BUSINESS use of the vehicle. Enrollees need to consult with their insurance professional to ensure they have adequate coverage to include:

  • valid bodily injury, property damage and liability insurance to meet the state minimum requirement.  You may wish to elect a higher level of protection. Consult your insurance professional to determine the extent of additional coverage needed to protect you, your family and your personal assets while driving your POV for government business purposes.
  • comprehensive and collision insurance for physical damage to your personal vehicle is suggested, and
  • no-fault and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in those states where required.

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Air Transportation

Enrollees who are preauthorized to use a commercial airline for business travel may either:

  • Use the American Express Business Travel Center to direct bill their airline tickets to NOWCC, or
  • Purchase the airline tickets directly 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 the NOWCC Field Office must be submitted with the expense report.

Direct Billed Tickets
Enrollees who want to direct bill airline tickets are required to register with American Express Business Travel Center.  For instructions on how to register, please contact the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters by telephone (703-558-4200).

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 about 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, usually via E-mail, 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 ASAP.
  • Send a copy of the cancelled electronic 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 ASAP through the source from which the airline ticket was purchased,
  • send the cancelled ticket (non-refundable or otherwise) to the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters, and
  • 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, NOWCC will hold the ticket for re-issuance. When rescheduling the trip, the Enrollee should call the NOWCC Accounts Payable Specialist for assistance.

Enrollee Responsibility for Cancelled Tickets
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.

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Rental Vehicle

Rental of cars by NOWCC Enrollees can be utilized only within the context of preauthorized business assignments.

When rental cars are necessary, the Enrollee must rent from a nationally recognized 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. NOWCC will reimburse these additional charges. No other additional insurance charges, such as medical insurance, will be reimbursed.

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.

Enrollees on business travel outside of the 50 States or the District of Columbia 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.

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Phone Calls

Personal phone calls may be reimbursed to a maximum of $6.00 for each overnight stay and should be itemized on the Enrollee’s expense form.

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.

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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 allowed, must be approved by the Monitor in advance of travel.  The Monitor’s written approval and justification must be submitted 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-location 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
     


Travel for 12 hours or less
No M&IE allowed

N/A N/A N/A
B
Continuous Travel
> 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

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Per Diem Rates

NOWCC 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 NOWCC 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 outside the “lower” States, 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 (Continental United States) 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, U.S. Possessions and foreign locations, contact the Accounts Payable Specialist at NOWCC Headquarters by telephone (703-558-4200).

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