California Department of Transportation
 
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Clark Paulsen, Division Chief

Consultants / Contractors Travel Policy

References:California Code of Regulations, Administrative Code Title 2, Sections 599.615 through 599.638.1; Department of Human Resources (CalHR) PML 2013-043

Overview

The information on this web site contains travel guidelines for consultants and contractors (non-state employees) doing business with Caltrans.

Reimbursement provisions are limited to the subsistence rates for excluded/non-represented employees. The guidelines outlined below reflect the most common expenses associated with travel. The department will reimburse non-state employee travel at the non-represented lodging and per diem rate unless otherwise identified under contract.

Questions regarding allowable expenses should be directed to the Caltrans contract manager.

No allowance or payment will be made for moving and relocation expenses. In addition, no allowance or payment will be made for any non-business related expenses, which includes in-state, out-of-state and out-of-country travel, or when returning home during the course of an assignment.

Short-Term Travel

When the following conditions are met, short-term lodging and meals may be allowed if travel is:

  • No more than 30 calendar days (not paid per diem days)
  • At least 50 miles away from a consultant/contractor's headquarters and the permanent residence

NOTE: The consultant/contractor's return home for the weekends or non-business related travel, does not break up the continuity of the assignment.

Exceptions to these conditions must be approved by the Division of Accounting, Travel Policy Section, prior to travel. See Exception Guidelines

An itemized receipt is required for lodging reimbursement. The receipt must be pre-printed with the hotel name and address, include the consultant/contractor's name and indicate charges as paid in full (zero balance).

Short-Term Lodging Rates, effective July 1, 2013:

  • All Counties/Cities located in California (except as noted below):
    Actual lodging expense, supported by a receipt, up to $90 per night, plus tax.
  • Napa, Riverside, and Sacramento Counties: Actual lodging expense, supported by a receipt, up to $95 per night, plus tax.
  • Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties and Edwards AFB, excluding the city of Santa Monica: Actual lodging expense, supported by a receipt, up to $120 per night, plus tax.
  • Alameda, Monterey, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara Counties: Actual lodging expense, supported by a receipt, up to $125 per night, plus tax.
  • San Francisco County and the City of Santa Monica: Actual lodging expense, supported by a receipt, up to $150 per night, plus tax.

Short Term Meal, Incidental Rates and Requirements

Meals provided by the state when included in hotel expenses or conference fees, in transportation costs such as airline tickets, or otherwise provided shall not be claimed for reimbursement. Snacks and continental breakfasts such as rolls, juice and coffee are not considered to be meals.

Rates effective July 1, 2013 – August 31, 2013:

Breakfast Actual expense up to $8.00.
Lunch Actual expense up to $12.00.
Dinner Actual expense up to $20.00.
Incidentals Actual expense up to $6.00.

Rates effective September 1, 2013:

Breakfast Actual expense up to $7.00.
Lunch Actual expense up to $11.00.
Dinner Actual expense up to $23.00.
Incidentals Actual expense up to $5.00.

DEPARTURE AND RETURN TIME REQUIREMENTS

In computing reimbursement for continuous short-term travel of 24 hours or more and less than 31 consecutive days, the employee will be reimbursed for actual meal and incidental costs up to the maximums allowed for each meal and incidental expense for each complete 24 hours of travel, beginning with the traveler's times of departure and return as indicated below:

On the first day of travel on a trip of 24 hours or more:

Trip begins at or before 6:00 a.m. Breakfast may be claimed on the first day.
Trip begins at or before 11:00 a.m. Lunch may be claimed on the first day.
Trip begins at or before 5:00 p.m. Dinner may be claimed on the first day.

On the fractional day of travel at the end of a trip of more than 24 hours:

Trip ends at or after 8:00 a.m. Breakfast may be claimed.
Trip ends at or after 2:00 p.m. Lunch may be claimed.
Trip ends at or after 7:00 p.m. Dinner may be claimed.

TRAVEL LESS THAN 24 HOURS

Employees may not claim lunch or incidentals for one-day trips. When trips are less than 24 hours with no overnight stay, meals are reportable and taxable income. For continuous travel of less than 24 hours, employees may claim actual expenses for breakfast and/or dinner in accordance with the following time frames:

Trip begins at or before 6:00 am AND ends at or after 9:00 am Breakfast may be claimed.
Trip begins at or before 4:00 p.m. AND ends at or after 7:00 p.m. Dinner may be claimed.

Transportation

Private Vehicle Mileage Reimbursement Rates

For those authorized to use their personal vehicle for official State business are:

Vehicle type Effective 01/01/2014 01/01/2013-12/31/2013 07/01/2011 12/31/2012
Personal vehicle 56 cents per mile 56.5 cents per mile 55.5 cents per mile
Specialized vehicles 56 cents per mile 56.5 cents per mile 55.5cents per mile
Private aircraft 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile 50 cents per mile
Bicycle 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile 4 cents per mile

Commercial Rental Cars

If authorized by the contract manager, a commercial rental car may be rented. Consultants/Contractors are not required to rent from the State of California's contracted vendors however, reimbursement for a commercial rental car costs shall not exceed the rates paid to non-represented/excluded State employees. See Commercial Car Rental for more information.

Out-of State Travel

When authorized under the contract with Caltrans, short-term out-of state travel will be reimbursed at the following rates.

Actual lodging expenses supported by a receipt.

Actual meals will be reimbursed up to the maximum rates for in-state travel.

When Out-of-state travel exceeds 30 days at one location, see LTA guidelines for rates and policy.

Out of Country Travel

When authorized under the contract with Caltrans, short-term out-of-country travel will be reimbursed at the following rates.

  • Actual lodging expenses supported by a receipt.
  • Actual meals and incidentals in accordance with published Federal Government meal and incidental rates for foreign travel for the specific dates of travel.

Foreign per diem rates are available at the U.S. Department of State’s web site. Per Diem rates for meals must be claimed in accordance with a breakdown of meal and incidental allowance, Appendix B, by referring to the location of foreign travel.

Receipts are required to be submitted for meals and incidentals claimed in excess of $24.99.

NOTE: Valid documentation for foreign currency exchange rates must be submitted with the invoice to substantiate expenses claimed. If unavailable, the American Express Currency Exchange Converter may be used as adequate documentation

When out-of-country travel exceeds 30 days at one location, see LTA guidelines for rates and policy.

Long-Term Travel:

A long-term assignment (LTA) is any assignment:

  • Of 31 days or more in a single location.
  • A minimum of 50 miles away from a consultant's or contractor's headquarters.
  • A minimum of 50 miles away from a consultant's or contractor's primary residence.

A "single location"is defined as including a major metropolitan area, cities in the vicinity of one another, and locations that straddle country or state lines (within a 50 mile radius). These physical situations do not represent "different" locations.

Reimbursement for long-term meals and receipted lodging will be authorized when the consultant or contractor incurs expenses in a single location comparable to those arising from the use of commercial establishments catering to the long-term visitor. Commercial establishments are defined as, but are not limited to, apartments, rental homes and rooms, condominiums, and hotels that offer long-term amenities.

At the start of the assignment the Caltrans assigned contract manager for the consultant or contractor may authorize short-term per diem. Short-term per diem is limited to the time required to establish acceptable long-term accommodation or a maximum of 30 calendar days. Once long-term accommodation has been established, the consultant or contractor must claim long-term per diem.

Returning home for weekends or incidental short-term travel does not break the continuity of a long-term assignment.

Criteria:

To claim expenses for a long-term assignment, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The consultant or contractor's assignment must qualify as a long-term assignment as described in the Overview above.
  2. The consultant or contractor must complete and submit the "Long-Term Assignment Information and Certification of Subsistence Rates" Form FA1350 to his or her Caltrans assigned contract manager for approval. Contact the contract manager for a copy of the form.
  3. The Caltrans assigned contract manager must approve the FA1350.
  4. The consultant or contractor must continue to maintain a primary permanent residence that is occupied by his or her dependents or is maintained at a net expense to the consultant or contractor in excess of $200.00 per month.
  5. If no primary residence is maintained, per diem is one-half of the reimbursement normally allowed under the Daily Rate Method (see below).

Long-Term Reimbursment Methods and Rates:

When a consultant or contractor incurs expenses in a single location in establishments catering to the long-term visitor, reimbursement may be made by one of the following methods:

  • Daily Rate Method
  • Rent and Utilities Method

Daily Rate Method

  • Actual cost up to $24.00 for meals and incidentals and actual up to $24.00 for daily receipted lodging for travel of 12 to 24 hours at the long-term location;
  • OR

  • Actual cost up to $12.00 for meals and incidentals or actual up to $12.00 for daily receipted lodging for travel less than 12 hours at the long-term location.

Consultants or contractors who do not maintain a separate residence in the headquarters area may claim the following long-term per diem rates:

  • Actual up to $12.00 for meals and incidentals and actual up to $12.00 for daily receipted lodging for travel of 12 to 24 hours at the long-term location; and
  • Actual up to $12.00 for meals and incidentals or actual up to $12.00 for daily receipted lodging for travel less than 12 hours at the long-term location.

With approval of the Caltrans assigned contract manager, the reimbursement of long-term lodging under the Daily Rate Method may continue when the consultant or contractor is away from the long-term location on short-term business travel or other absence from that location. A short-term absence does not include returning home for the weekend.

When returning home on day(s) off, per diem terminates at the end of the work shift or at the end of the subsistence day proceeding the consultant's or contractor's day off. Per Diem resumes at the start of the shift when he or she returns to work.

Rent/Utilities

  • Reimbursement for actual expense substantiated by receipts, for lodging, water, sewer, gas and electricity, up to the maximum of $1,130 per calendar month while on the long-term assignment.
  • Actual expense up to $10.00 for meals and incidentals for each period of 12 to 24 hours at the long-term location; and
  • Actual expenses up to $5.00 for actual meals and incidentals for each period of less than 12 hours at the long-term location.

When a contract or consultant rents an establishment for a partial month, the full monthly rent and utilities up to $1,130 must be pro-rated.

With approval of the Caltrans assigned contract manager, the reimbursement of long-term lodging under the Rent and Utilities Method may continue when the consultant or contractor is away from the long-term location on short-term business travel or other absence from that location. A short-term absence does not include returning home for the weekend.

When returning home on a day(s) off, per diem terminates at the end of the work shift or at the end of the subsistence day proceeding the consultant's or contractor's day off. Per diem resumes at the start of the shift when he or she returns to work.

LTA Transportation Expenses

Reimbursement for transportation expenses will be allowed in the following instances:

  • Between the consultant's or contractor's primary permanent residence and the LTA location at the start and end of the assignment.
  • When the Caltrans assigned contract manager approves the consultant's or contractor's return to headquarters.
  • When authorized, actual private car mileage up to 25 miles per day for travel between a consultant's or contractor's living accommodations at the LTA location, the LTA job site, and to obtain meals.
  • With the contract manager's approval, in lieu of claiming per diem, private vehicle mileage may be reimbursed from the consultant's or contractor's primary residence or headquarters whichever is less.
  • The approved FA1350 must indicate "Commute mileage in lieu of subsistence".
  • Parking and tolls resulting from commuting to and from the LTA residence to the job site are not reimbursable.

TEC Reimbursement

An invoice or claim submitted for reimbursement of long-term travel expenses must include the following:

  • A copy of the approved "Long-Term Assignment Information and Certification of Subsistence Rates" Form FA1350.
  • The commercial lodging receipt when claimed as an expense. The receipt must be either preprinted or written and include the name, address, and phone number of the establishment, the 'to and from' dates of the stay, the amount paid, and the signature of the landlord or property manager. A copy of a canceled check or rental agreement does not meet the receipt requirement.
  • Utility receipts when claimed as an expense must show the item as paid before reimbursement can be claimed. Noting the check number paid to the utility company on the bill does not meet the receipt requirement.
  • LTA mileage and business miles to various job sites during the workday must be separated from mileage to and from the main job site and mileage to obtain meals.
  • The receipt for airfare, rental car, or gas for a rental car when claimed as an expense.
  • The receipt for train fare claimed when the expense exceeds $24.99.
  • The receipt for parking, taxi, shuttle, streetcar, local rapid transit, or toll claimed when the expense exceeds $10.00.

Questions regarding invoices or reimbursement claims should be addressed to the Caltrans assigned contract manager.

Receipt Requirements:

Type of Expense Receipt Required (YES) No Receipt Required (NO) Explanation

BUSINESS EXPENSES:
Business phone calls, faxes, office supplies, etc X   When over $5.00

PER DIEM EXPENSES:
Lodging (ALL types of lodging) X    
Meals   X  
Out-of-Country Meals X   When the cost exceeds $24.99

TRANSPORTATION:
Airfare X    
Train X   When the cost exceeds $25.00
Gas for rental car and State vehicles X    
Parking, taxis, shuttles, streetcars, local rapid transit, and road tolls X   When the cost exceeds $10.00
Rental Cars X    

Reimbursement of Third Party Lodging

To comply with the receipt requirements and receive reimbursement for appropriate lodging expenses, a traveler using a third party vendor must provide:
  • A receipt from the third party vendor indicating the employee's name, hotel establishment providing the service, the check-in date, checkout date, itemized expenses incurred, and

  • A receipt from the hotel that provided the service indicating the employee's name, check-in, and checkout dates.
The hotel receipt does not need to itemize the hotel rate or taxes to third party vendor.

There are no exceptions to the requirements listed above. A TEC for reimbursement of third party lodging without both of the required receipts will result in the rejection of the claimed expense.

Exceptions

Exceptions requests are reviewed on a case by case basis by the Division of Accounting, Travel Policy Section.

All requests must be made through the assigned contract manager. Once approved by the Division of Accounting, a memo will be forwarded to the contract manager. The memo must be attached to the invoice to substantiate the additional expense.

Upon the contract manager's approval, form should be faxed to the Division of Accounting, Travel Policy Section at (916) 227-9357 or mailed to the Division of Accounting, Travel Policy Section, Mail Station #25 at least 15 calendar days in advance or as soon as the circumstances are known.

Requests to extend short-term subsistence rate beyond 30 days

Short-term per diem is only allowed for a maximum of 30 consecutive days (not paid per diem days). Exception requests to exceed 30 days short-term per diem must be in writing from the assigned contract manager. Upon the contract manager's approval, the memo should be faxed to the Division of Accounting, Travel Policy Section at (916) 227-9357 at least 10 days in advance or as soon as the circumstances are known.

The memo should include the following information:

  • Name
  • Reason(s) why it is necessary to extend short-term rate
  • Dates covering the request
  • Efforts that have been made to secure long-term (weekly/monthly) rates
  • At least three quotes from establishments catering to the long-term visitor (apartments, houses, condos, etc)

Requests to exceed maximum lodging rate, excluding tax

Every effort should be made to use moderately priced commercial establishments that cater to the general public (avoiding resort areas, luxury hotels, condos, beach houses, cabins, etc).

Those requesting an exception to exceed the maximum lodging rate should complete an Excess Lodging Rate Requests.

Exceptions to the 50-mile rule

No per diem is allowed for travel less than 50 miles of a person's headquarters and/or primary residence. An exception may be granted when one or more of the following conditions are present:

  1. Public safety concerns
  2. Unavoidable hardships
  3. Unusual circumstances

The request must include the following information:

Name and address of Consultant (or Contractor); and

Location of headquarters /exception sites; Car mileage between each of the following:

  • Home to headquarters (# of miles)
  • Headquarters to site (# of miles)
  • Home to site (#of miles)
  • Name and description of the event or work to be completed.
  • Justification

The exception does not cover the following scenarios:

  • Attendance of mandatory meals
  • Lunch for trips of less than 24 hours
  • Meals or lodging at the headquarters or home location
  • Meals that do not meet the time requirements outlined in the meals and incidental rates and requirements section
  • Networking
  • Traffic Congestion

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