Clark Paulsen, Division Chief
State Travel Policy
Reference: California Code of Regulations, Administrative Code, Title 2 (DPA) Sections 599.615 and 599.615 (1), State Administrative Manual (SAM) 0700, Personnel Management Letter (PML) 2005-051 and PML 2005-21, California Government Code Section 19990, and Director's Policy DP-02-R2.
State agencies shall provide reimbursement for the actual and necessary out-of-pocket expenses incurred by state officers and employees because of travel on official state business. The state agency is responsible for determining the necessity for travel and that such travel represents the best interest of the State. Each state agency may determine the time and method of travel, location and lodging. Once the necessity and method of travel, location and lodging has been determined, reimbursement shall be governed by the applicable California Code of Regulations Administrative Code, (CCR) Title 2 sections and the appropriate Bargaining Unit Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) referenced in this guide.
The signature of the officer approving travel and payment is certification that the approving party has authorized the travel and that expenses were incurred to conduct official state business and the items claimed are appropriate and in keeping with CCR rules, the applicable MOU, and this guide.
It is the intent of California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) that state agencies shall not have the discretion to provide reimbursement at a lower amount than contained in CCR sections unless such discretion is specifically authorized by rule. Language of CCR sections providing a specific time, distance or amount shall be rigidly interpreted. Language such as "not more than" or "up to" a specified amount shall be interpreted as a rigid ceiling with departmental discretion below such ceiling.
The State's general travel policy can be summarized as follows:
- California Code of Regulations, Administrative Code, Title 2 sections, the appropriate Bargaining Unit Memorandums of Understanding, and departmental policy will govern travel and travel reimbursements, unless otherwise specified.
- Travel payments and reimbursements will be made in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service requirement of an "accountable plan" that satisfies three conditions: business connection, substantiation, and return of excess payments.
- Use travel when personal contact is the most economical way of conducting official business.
- No per diem expenses will be allowed at any location within 50 miles of home or headquarters as determined by the normal commute distance (the most direct route).
- Limit attendance at conferences and meetings to those directly concerned with the topic.
- Use the most economical method of transportation. Consider the time employees will be away from the office and the direct cost of the methods that may be used.
- Avoid back tracking and duplicate travel whenever possible.
- State employees may use frequent flyer miles and/or points for personal use; however, use of any other vendor incentive is not allowed.
- In general, State employees are not allowed to use state contract rates for personal business. See the Department of General Services – Statewide Travel Management Program for information on rental car discounts for state employee personal use.
- Third party vendor (Priceline.com, Expedia.com, etc.) receipt and reimbursement criteria as established by the Department of Personnel Administration will be strictly adhered to. For more information, see Third Party Vendors.
- Receipts are required for each item of expense of $25.00 or more, unless otherwise specified.
- Director's Policies Number DP-02-R2 titled "Ethics" states that "Ethical conduct is an organizational, as well as an individual, responsibility. Decisions are made in the best interest of the organization with the overall public interest in mind." Employees should be familiar with the policy.