California Department of Transportation
 
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Clark Paulsen, Division Chief

Travel Exceptions
50-Mile Limit

References: Department of Human Resources (CalHR), Personnel Management Liaison Memorandum 93-28, California Code of Regulations, Administration, Title 2, (CCR) Section 599.616.1, Bargaining Unit Contracts, SAM 0715 and State Controller’s Office Payroll Procedure Manual, N 145.

Introduction

Required approvals: Appointing power and Division of Accounting (Travel Policy Section).

In cases where adherence to the 50-mile limitation creates an unusual or unavoidable hardship to the employee, an exception may be requested by the appointing power. The reimbursement for travel expenses within 50 miles of an employee's headquarters and primary residence may only be granted in rare instances, 15 calendar days prior to travel, and must clearly demonstrate an unusual and unavoidable hardship.

With an approved exception from the Division of Accounting's Travel Policy Section, the Department will reimburse actual, necessary and appropriate travel expenses incurred within 50 miles of an employee's headquarters and primary residence limited to the maximum State per diem reimbursement allowances.

The Internal Revenue Service classifies per diem expenses reimbursed for travel expenses within 50 miles of an employee's headquarters and primary residence as taxable income. All per diem expenses associated with an approved 50-mile exception will be reported to the State Controller's Office as taxable income. Tax adjustments will appear on a subsequent payroll warrant. See Tax Withholding and Reporting Requirements for rates.

Supervisor Responsibility

A supervisor requesting an exception to the 50-mile rule on behalf of an employee must provide a detailed justification explaining the unusual and unavoidable hardship and specific business need that would require an employee to incur per diem expenses within 50 miles of the employee's headquarters and primary residence.

Note the following considerations before initiating a request:

It is not unusual or extraordinary for state employees to commute 50 miles or longer from their homes to headquarters and back again on a daily basis.

Employees who do not live in the immediate vicinity of their headquarters are not eligible to receive per diem when required to work extended hours at their headquarters locations.

For state controlled functions, departments are expected to demonstrate that every consideration has been given to minimizing the cost to the State through responsible planning and scheduling.

The following requests for exception will not be approved:

Circumstances related to traffic congestion.

Expenses associated with networking.

Lunches for trips less than 24 hours.

Meals served at mandatory meetings.

Per diem at an employee's headquarters.

Per diem at an employee's primary residence.

Exception Criteria

All requests must be submitted in writing and include the following information:

Name of employee.

Address for each of the following:

  • Headquarters
  • Exception site
  • Home

Mileage for each of the following distances:

  • Home to headquarters.
  • Headquarters to exception site.
  • Home to site.

Description of the event or work to be completed.

Date(s) requested for exception.

Costs to be incurred by this request:

  • Meals
  • Lodging
  • Other
  • Total

Justification of need to provide meals and lodging. Cite the unusual and unavoidable circumstances and the business need that would require an employee to incur per diem expenses within 50 miles of the employee's headquarters and primary residence.

Sponsorship, if applicable. Include the name of state department or outside entity responsible for planning and scheduling the event. Copies of training or conference agendas and registration forms must be attached to the request.

Submit requests to the Travel Policy Section.

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