Frequently Asked Questions
- Air Travel
- Booking Tool
- Per Diems
- Personal Travel Deviations
- Rental Cars
Yes, the traveler is required to book and pay for the entire cost upfront using a personal versus State form of payment, and the State will reimburse the employee for the full cost of the business travel when the travel authorization is finalized. The employee remains responsible for the costs associated with utilizing the coupon including the related fees and taxes. E-Travel must be used to determine the State portion of the trip prior to travel. AAM 60.080
02. An employee or non-employee traveling on official State business acquired an airline ticket by cashing in an airline mileage coupon and used the ticket for State business travel. May the State pay this individual the amount a similar ticket would have cost had it been purchased?
No, the employee or non-employee traveling on official State business is not entitled to any payment except to be "reimbursed" for actual and necessary expenses incurred. AAM 60.010
The State can require an employee to fly a particular airline. The State in making a decision about which airline to fly is to have considered cost, contracts and convenience of the schedule, etc. The ultimate decision rests on what is in the best interests of the State. (Source: AAM 60.050)
No, travelers will still receive "seat miles".
The rural air solicitation is sent out by the Department of Administration, Shared Services of Alaska to rural carriers throughout the state of Alaska.
The intent of the solicitation is to provide non-emergency rural air carrier service for Medicaid recipients. However, all State agencies may utilize the rural contract rates, at their option.
The state contract rates are primarily used for Medicaid travel because of the requirement for fully refundable, non-penalty fares that allow for multiple and frequent travel updates common to this group of travelers.
Regular or published fares are available to the public. These fares can fluctuate multiple times a day as an airline attempts to maximize revenue for a given flight. Prices may also vary by the source of booking (E-Travel, direct to carrier, or carrier website).
State contract rates and published fares may differ due to several factors. There are markets where the state rate is lower than the refundable published fare and markets where they are identical. The state contract rate may occasionally be higher than the published fare because rates are:
- Unrestricted (no penalties)
- Based on Intra Alaska Bush Service Mail Rates and the aircraft type flown in the designated market
- Billable to an account and paid after travel has commenced
Regardless of the booking source (E-Travel, direct to carrier, or carrier website), travel arrangers should always request the lowest available fare (refundable or nonrefundable). The state contract rate should be booked only when it is lower than or equal to the equivalent published fare.
E-Travel is the managed travel program within the Executive Branch of the State of Alaska. It is comprised of:
- Travel policies contained in AAM 60
- E-Travel Online, which is the online tool used for approving, purchasing, and reimbursing travel provided by the contracted travel agency
- Travel management contractor
- Other contracts with vendors in the travel industry including airlines, hotels, and rental car agencies
- E-Travel Management Team (ETMT), which includes the State Travel Manager, as well as others from the Division of Finance that support this program
- Travel coordinators, travel administrators, and travel planners within each department
- Employees and others traveling on official State business
Travel coordinators are the lead within each department for travel policy interpretation and enforcement. They act as liaisons with the E-Travel Management Team (ETMT) for departmental issues with E-Travel and provide input into policy development. Travel coordinators analyze travel data for their department for policy compliance and identify the need for traveler or travel planner education. Generally each department has one travel coordinator and a backup.
Travel administrators are department personnel responsible for maintaining the travel profiles for their department. They may or may not also be the department's travel coordinator.
Travel planners are individuals within each department that support travelers by making travel arrangements, explaining policies, ensuring travel is approved prior to purchase, and ensuring reimbursement occurs timely after travel is complete. Departments designate a sufficient number of travel planners to meet their business requirements.
- the name of the travel arranger, and
- the name of the approving official.
Departments document their internal approval processes (who can approve in what circumstances) on a per trip basis by entering the information when purchasing in E-Travel Online or by giving the information to the travel management contractor agent when purchasing by phone.
Yes. All employees with travel profiles can use E-Travel Online to choose air, car, and hotel options, and to save the research for their travel planner. Research can be emailed to the traveler's supervisor and/or travel planner for approval and purchase.
In addition, departments are encouraged to allow travelers or purchase their own reservations using E-Travel Online. Travel planners can monitor their travelers' purchases in the tool.
Yes. The travel management contractor can be reached at 866-762-8728 for travel agent assistance with itineraries.
All travelers can contact the travel management contractor for assistance as necessary during travel. The after-hours emergency number is 888-423-2434. For after-hours bookings, refer to your department's travel policies to determine the rules for booking emergency travel. In addition, any travelers or travel planners using E-Travel Online may call 877-500-4290 for assistance with the tool or send an email using the contact information located at the bottom of each page within the E-Travel Online tool.
Yes. E-Travel serves the entire Executive Branch including boards, commissions, witnesses, inmates, and others in State care. E-Travel should not be used for contractors or trainers whose travel should be included in their contract for services.
The fee is charged for a trip (any combination of air, ferry, rental car, and hotel) and consists of two components:
- The contractor's portion was established by competitive bid. The base rate for the contractor’s portion can be found on the E-Travel Fees page. There is no fee for voids processed in E-Travel Online.
- Department of Administration's recovery of E-Travel Management Team (ETMT) costs, which are subject to OMB approval (current fees can be found on the E-Travel Fees page).
Travelers may add personal information such as mileage plan numbers, seating preferences, personal phone numbers, secure flight and emergency contact information to their profile in E-Travel Online.
Charge card information will update automatically within two days once the cardholder activates their card.
Traveler name changes are systematically updated using the legal name in LDAP.
10. E-Travel reflects a sold-out flight, but I am able to get the last seat when I call the MVP Gold Desk. Can I make the change with the MVP Gold Desk or do I have to take what E-Travel has available?
Travelers with MVP Gold status are elite members with benefits coming directly from Alaska Airlines and they may call the MVP Gold desk when E-Travel is sold-out.
Travelers without Elite mileage status may request that an agent waitlist them for a flight. However, travelers with Elite status are given priority.
To simplify travel reimbursement processing by eliminating times and meal-by-meal construction on travel authorization expense reports.
The 75% rule applies to the M&IE rate for the first and last travel day in travel status and is applied to the M&IE rate for the travel destination.
Travel Status starts at the time a traveler leaves their duty station during normal work hours or their residence outside normal work hours and ends when a traveler returns to their duty station during normal work hours or their residence outside normal work hours.
No. The rate is 75% of the appropriate M&IE rate regardless of what time you depart or return.
The only exception are LTC members. LTC members will continue to follow contract section 15.03 that defines in-state M&IE allowance which will remain in effect through the current agreement effective date. Out of state meals will follow the AAM 60.250 with 75% on first and last travel days.
No. There are no exemptions or waivers to this rule. However, LTC members are an exception.
LTC members will continue to follow contract section 15.03 that defines in-state M&IE allowance which will remain in effect through the current agreement effective date. Out of state meals will follow the AAM 60.250 with 75% on first and last travel days.
Yes. The 75% M&IE rule applies to the first and last travel day in travel status when traveling out of state.
Yes. If travel begins and ends on the same day and is longer than 12 hours then the 75% rule applies to the M&IE rate for the travel destination.
When meals are provided, it is your responsibility as a traveler to accurately report meals consumed on the travel authorization expense report submitted for M&IE allowance. The signature of the traveler certifies the facts on the travel authorization form and is sufficient to process the claim for payment. AAM 60.250
Yes. The 75 % M&IE is reimbursed regardless of meals that were provided on the day of travel.
The following examples illustrate the simplicity of how the M&IE reimbursement rate is calculated for the first and last day while in travel status.
Example 1 (in-state travel):
- Day 1 (travel day) depart duty station - $60 x 75% = $45
- Day 2 - $60
- Day 3 (travel day, not returning to duty station) - $60
- Day 4 - $60
- Day 5 (travel day) return duty station - $60 x 75% = $45
- Total M&IE reimbursement = $270
Example 2 (out-state travel) where the federal rate for the destination is $64:
- Day 1 (travel day) depart duty station - $64 x 75% = $48
- Day 2 - $64
- Day 3 - $64
- Day 4 (travel day) return duty station - $64 x 75% = $48
- Total M&IE reimbursement = $224
Individuals approving travel may use judgment in determining what departure times best serve the State. For example, for travel crossing several time zones, it may be beneficial to begin the travel the previous day so travelers are rested for the purpose of the trip. AAM 60.040
The rental of a travel trailer would be considered commercial lodging under AAM 60.020 as long as the trailer is rented from a vendor in the business of renting travel trailers.
This depends on where the motor home is located:
- If at a commercial campground, traveler receives actual receipted lodging cost for first 30 days, then $45 per day long term-lodging allowance.
- If not at commercial facility, traveler receives $30 per day noncommercial lodging allowance for first 30 days. After the 30th day, traveler continues to receive $30 a day if in location where no commercial facilities are available. If commercial facilities are available but not used, no lodging allowance after the 30th day.
- In either situation, the employee also receives $33 a day M&IE allowance.
The purpose of the travel policies, per AAM 60.010, is to provide reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses incurred by employees because of travel on State business. If an employee travels to a location where it is known they will not incur lodging expenses consistent with the rate at which per diem was established, they are only allowed a per diem or reimbursement commensurate with the expenses they are likely to incur. Lodging per diem for noncommercial is $30 a day or receipted costs, whichever is higher. AAM 60.240
15. If an employee is temporarily assigned for a few months to a duty station away from the normal duty station and residence, and returns to the residence in the interim, should the State pay long-term lodging allowance while at the residence?
If the employee is incurring expenses to pay for lodging at the temporary duty station and it is necessary to do so to retain the lodging for the duration of the assignment, the State pays the long-term lodging allowance even when the employee is at the residence. AAM 60.240
16. Does an employee who works in Anchorage and is assigned to Juneau during the Legislative session receive the long-term per diem rate for the entire time they are in Juneau, or do they receive the short-term per diem rate for the first 30 days and then receive the long-term per diem rate for all days after that?
If it is known from the outset of the trip that the employee will be in long-term travel status (more than 30 consecutive days in a location with commercial facilities for long-term visitors), then the entire trip shall be at the long-term per diem rate. Short-term per diem would be used in circumstances where an employee travels to a location, begins the project, and then is required to stay longer than anticipated. Even in this example, at the point it is known the employee will be there long enough to incur expenses comparable to those arising from the use of establishments catering to the long-term visitor; the long-term per diem rate should be used. However, this interpretation applies only to employees subject to the administrative manual provisions, as some of the bargaining agreements have different rules regarding long-term per diem. AAM 60.240
17. A noncommercial lodging allowance is paid when travelers elect to stay in noncommercial lodging for short-term travel in state or out-of-state. Does this mean the traveler is to receive this allowance whether they ask for it or not, and even if they specifically state they do not want it?
If it is mandated by the collective bargaining agreement, noncommercial lodging must be paid unless a letter of agreement to the contrary is signed between the union and the Division of Personnel and Labor Relations. If not mandated by the collective bargaining agreement, an employee may decline the payment of noncommercial lodging.
Noncovered employees who wish to decline the noncommercial lodging option may do so. This choice should be documented as part of the final travel reimbursement.
Incidentals are included in the CONUS M&IE rate and therefore any proration includes the incidental. For full days, the total amount for the location is used. For days in which a traveler reports a consumed meal, the traveler is entitled to the sum of the remaining meal amounts and the full incidental portion of the M&IE. The traveler is not entitled to the incidental amount on days that all meals are provided.
19. If an employee (PSEA bargaining unit) leaves their duty station on a trip, but is not required to obtain overnight lodging that first night because they are traveling overnight by plane, are they entitled to the lodging portion of the per diem for that first day?
This was discussed with Labor Relations. The PSEA language is intending to reimburse costs for lodging. Therefore, if the employee incurs costs for lodging for that first day, they would be entitled to per diem for lodging. However, if no overnight lodging is required then they are only entitled to the applicable meal allowance.
20. Is an employee entitled to receive per diem upon arrival at the new duty station (under the moving section policies in the Administrative Manual) plus per diem while in business travel status during this same time period?
If it is reasonable to presume the employee is incurring expenses for lodging at their duty station related to the move to the new duty station in addition to expenses while in travel status, the employee would be entitled to the appropriate lodging and M&IE allowance while in travel status, plus the lodging portion of the per diem (which is related to the move) at the duty station. For example, the employee's spouse remains at the duty station location looking for housing while the employee is traveling on State business. AAM 60.240
21. An LTC employee is sent to a location for several days to perform inspections of a vendor's facilities. The vendor provides the employee with lodging and meals. Is the employee entitled to a per diem for lodging and meals?
The LTC contract, section 15.02, allows an LTC employee to receive a per diem for lodging if quarters are not furnished. Since quarters were furnished, the employee is not entitled to the lodging portion of the per diem. Section 15.03 allows an LTC employee to receive an M&IE allowance any time they are more than 50 miles away from their duty station in accordance with section AAM 60.250 of the Alaska Administrative Manual. AAM 60.250 states, "When a traveler is provided a meal in these or similar circumstances (meals provided by vendor), the traveler is not eligible for the related M&IE allowance unless sufficient justification is provided by the traveler and approved to obtain the M&IE allowance." The M&IE payments in this situation are treated as taxable compensation.
22. A GGU employee is sent to a location on long-term travel. The employee is staying in a commercial facility (hotel) for a week until their long-term lodging facility is available. What is the appropriate M&IE at this location?
The reason for long-term M&IE is to reimburse an employee for M&IE associated with staying in a facility which is catering to the long-term visitor. If the employee is staying in an apartment or other long-term stay facility, the employee would be entitled to the long-term M&IE. However, if the employee is staying in a hotel, it is usually expected that they will be eating their meals at a commercial facility and they would be entitled to the short-term M&IE. Therefore, in this instance, the employee is entitled to the short-term M&IE for the first week while staying in the hotel, and then the long-term after that. AAM 60.250
Although this is not specifically addressed in section AAM 60.250, if it is necessary for a witness to bring their dependent children with them, reimbursement should be at the rate allowed for dependents during a move, which is $25 per day.
24. What is the appropriate M&IE for the first 30 days of travel when a GGU employee is traveling in long-term travel status where they are provided with lodging by the State and only need to be paid an M&IE?
The GGU contract provides for an M&IE allowance in accordance with Administrative Manual section AAM 60.250. In this instance, we have knowledge the employee is in long-term travel status at the beginning of the travel. Therefore the appropriate M&IE allowance is the long-term rate.
Regardless of the flight time, the traveler is entitled to 75% of the daily M&IE allowance on the initial day of departure and final day of arrival. AAM 60.250
The M&IE allowance is the rate for the location from which the employee is departing. AAM 60.250
It is the responsibility of the traveler to accurately report meals consumed on the travel authorization expense report submitted for M&IE allowance. The signature of the traveler certifies the facts on the travel authorization form and is sufficient to process the claim for payment. AAM 60.250
No, in this particular case, the State has a contract with the vendor to provide meals for the travelers. This situation would fall under AAM 60.260, contracting for subsistence, and the issue of whether the meal was consumed would not be a factor.
No, this would be considered a "day trip" and no allowance for meals would be provided, except for LTC employee in travel status at least ten hours. AAM 60.250
A traveler staying at the traveler's residence in a travel destination is entitled to receive a meal allowance for normal workdays. No allowance would be paid for lodging and no meal allowance would be paid for regular days off.
Generally not as both of these locations are within the 50-mile radius used by the State of Alaska to define travel status. However, AAM 60.010 allows commissioners to approve policy exceptions for personnel within their departments based on documented circumstances or unique business requirements. Commissioners may make such exceptions to put employees in travel status for a business reason such as meeting or networking activities scheduled in the evening, or to avoid hazardous winter driving conditions. Exceptions of this nature must be in writing and include the justification. When exceptions are approved, the employee is in travel status and is entitled to lodging and an M&IE allowance. However, they would be considered taxable to the employee as they are not outside of their duty station boundary.
Hawaii per diem rates are listed on the Department of Defense Travel Per Diem query under OUTSIDE CONUS (OCONUS), Non-Foreign Overseas and Foreign. Select HAWAII and the radio button “EXCLUDE” for military installations. Verify that the applicable “PUBLISHED” date is selected. From the resulting per diem table, the M&IE calculation equals the Local Meals plus Local Incidentals.
The calculation example below assumes the employee was provided breakfast and lunch on two days. The Local Meal is prorated because the employee is not eligible for the full day meal allowance and the full Local Incidental is added. Travelers are entitled to the full incidental portion of the M&IE for that Hawaiian location for each day or portion of a day they are in travel status in Hawaii and M&IE is provided for one or more meals for that day. (The table for M&IE percentages is published on the Division of Finance website).
M&IE at OCONUS destination = $106
(Local Meal Rate) + $ 27 (Local Incidental)
|10/2/2013||B / L / D||$ 133.00 ($ 106 + 27)|
|10/3/2013||D||$ 83.00 [(53% x $ 106) + 27)]
Rounded to the nearest dollar
|10/4/2013||D||$ 83.00 [(53% x $ 106) + 27)]
Rounded to the nearest dollar
|10/5/2013||B / L / D||$ 133.00 ($ 106 + 27)|
Personal Travel Deviations
Approximately 10% of travel has some form of personal/deviated travel. Examples of common deviations include upgrading from economy class, extending the dates of a business trip, or choosing alternate routing from the official business location. All deviated travel requires a state authorized fare quote for the minimum business itinerary. Historically, 40–50% of deviated travel submitted to SSoA was missing a state authorized fare quote; resulting in either a returned submittal or an approximation of the quote. The AAM language was updated to implement an efficient and equitable policy that ensures the state is not paying more for personal/deviated travel. AAM 60.080
Any interruption or deviation from the most direct and efficient means of travel for Traveler convenience requires prior approval at the agency level. Travelers should be aware that personal deviations may have financial consequences if policy is not followed. AAM 60.080
- Traveler extends their stay in the official business location.
- Traveler deviates from the official business location.
- Traveler pays to upgrade from a coach class airfare to premium, first, or business class airfare.
- Traveler drives a personally owned vehicle claiming mileage rather than flying.
- Traveler uses personal companion ticket for official travel and brings a companion on the trip resulting in the travel being purchased outside of E-Travel.
- If a coach class airfare is unavailable and delaying the travel causes harm to the state. Traveler must provide an explanation approved by the department.
- A physician certified health condition exists and is documented and on file with the State.
A State-authorized fare quote is a quote that determines the cost of a State authorized business trip without any personal travel. The quote is used to determine the traveler’s reimbursement once the deviated travel has been completed.
A State-authorized fare quote may also be referred to as the Minimum Business Itinerary (MBI).
Effective on January 1, 2021, If the Traveler cannot produce a State-authorized fare quote, the Traveler will be eligible for a maximum allowance of $200 for a round-trip or multi-destination itinerary or $100 for a one-way itinerary. The state will reimburse the lesser amount of either the deviated ticket purchased or the predetermined allowance.
Per the AAM, 60.080 the State will reimburse the lesser amount of either the actual ticket cost or State-authorized fare quote after travel is complete. Effective on January 1, 2021, if a State-authorized fare quote was not properly obtained (before personal travel is booked or at the time the travel is approved, whichever is later), the Traveler will be eligible for a maximum of $200 for a round-trip or multi-destination itinerary or $100 for a one-way itinerary. AAM 60.080
The Traveler is also eligible for meals and expenses necessary to do business, for the minimum business itinerary. The following applies for deviated travel:
- State rental cars can’t be used, AAM 60.080 #4;
- Lodging for the personal portion is subject to all taxes and must be paid by the employee, AAM 60.065;
- Taxi or shuttle service to the airport during deviation travel is reimbursable if it normally would be considered as part of the minimum business itinerary.
- Obtain quote before personal travel is booked or at the time the travel is approved, whichever is later.
- Comply with travel policy rules: Quote is the lowest cost fare with the most direct route for the minimum number of days to transact the necessary business.
- Chose a method of obtaining a quote:
- CTM Assisted (fee applies): When requested CTM will provide a State-authorized fare quote and will email the itinerary information. The full agent fee will be charged and deducted from the employee’s reimbursement. CTM Contact: 866-762-8728
- E-Travel (no fee): Quotes created in E-Travel Online do not incur an agent fee. Refer to “Creating a State-Authorized Fare Quote” for additional instructions.
- Submit quote and request department approval for deviated travel.
- Retain quote and include with final trip receipts.
The quote will not be valid if it does not meet the above criteria.
When rural travel is not visible in E-Travel Online, you may call CTM for assistance for a fee. However, it is acceptable to obtain the quote on the rural carrier website if the carrier is listed on the E-Travel Services and Requirements webpage, and if the carrier website allows travel to be booked online. This quote must include the minimum business itinerary details, the fare amount, and the date and time the quote was obtained.
Not all rural carriers are current or have met DOT licensing requirements necessary to carrier State funded travelers and not all rural carriers have online booking available. In either case, the quote must come from an E-Travel agent.
If any portion of the travel includes Alaska Air or any other major air carrier, that portion of the State-authorized travel is required to be quoted through the travel program to ensure any contract discounts are applied. The two quotes together will equal the maximum allowance authorized.
- Obtain a proper State-authorized fare quote via E-Travel or by a CTM agent to ensure contract rates are applied.
- Book their deviated travel on their own time using a personal form of payment and not using E-Travel.
- Exception: If the personal deviation is an extended stay at some point in the State-authorized destination, departments may opt to pay for the combined trip (State-authorized portion including the personal extension) if the additional cost of the personal portion can be recovered from the traveler's reimbursement after travel is complete. If the amount cannot be recovered from the traveler's reimbursement, then the amount will be deducted from the traveler's following paycheck.
A State-authorized fare quote must be obtained as a basis for determining the reimbursement amount. If a State-authorized fare quote is not obtained the traveler will owe any additional amounts exceeding the $200 round-trip or multi-destination or $100 one-way allowance.
The airfare must be booked and purchased by the traveler on their own time outside of E-Travel Online using a personal form of payment (not the State One Card). A State-authorized fare quote must be obtained in E-Travel Online or by a CTM agent at the time the deviated travel is approved, to ensure contracts are applied. Once travel is completed the Traveler must present a copy of the ticket receipt or itinerary showing payment and the State-authorized fare quote to obtain reimbursement. Effective on January 1, 2021, if a State-authorized fare quote is not presented as instructed, the Traveler will be eligible for a maximum allowance of $200 for a round-trip or multi-destination itinerary or $100 for a one-way itinerary. The state will reimburse the lesser amount of either the deviated ticket purchased or the predetermined allowance. AAM 60.080 #2 & #3
- Exception: If the personal deviation is an extended stay at some point in State-authorized routing, departments may opt to pay for the combined trip (State-authorized portion including the personal extension) if the additional cost of the personal portion can be recovered from the traveler's reimbursement after travel is complete. A State-authorized fare quote must be obtained as a basis for determining the reimbursement amount.
Approvers should strive to take action quickly on requests to avoid increases of this nature. In cases of delayed approval, a new State-authorized fare quote may be obtained upon approval to provide the comparison fare for calculating the amount to be reimbursed the traveler.
If the personal deviation is an extended stay at some point in State-authorized routing, departments may opt to pay for the combined trip (State-authorized portion including the personal extension) if the additional cost of the personal portion can be recovered from the traveler's reimbursement after travel is complete. A State-authorized fare quote must be obtained as a basis for determining the reimbursement amount.
If the department cannot or chooses not to collect the additional cost of the personal travel from reimbursement, the traveler will have to book the trip outside of E-Travel using a personal form of payment, and after obtaining a State-authorized fare quote for determining the reimbursement amount. Once travel is completed, the traveler must present a copy of the ticket receipt or itinerary showing payment and the State-authorized fare quote to obtain reimbursement. Effective on January 1, 2021, if a State-authorized fare quote is not presented as instructed, the Traveler will be eligible for a maximum allowance of $200 for a round-trip or multi-destination itinerary or $100 for a one-way itinerary. The state will reimburse the lesser amount of either the deviated ticket purchased or the predetermined allowance. AAM 60.080 #2 & #3
Generally not. AS 39.20.140(d) authorizes travel only the least number of days necessary to transact State business, so cost comparisons of this nature are irrelevant.
Yes, with prior approval. Deviations for traveler convenience are allowable when approved by the applicable department in advance of the travel. Several conditions apply to personal time in conjunction with State travel:
- any additional cost for routing is borne by the traveler;
- State airfares cannot be used for personal travel routing and can only be used for deviations with extended stay when the department opts to pay for the combined airfare, AAM 60.080 #2;
- State rental cars must be returned, AAM 60.080#4;
- lodging for the personal portion is subject to all taxes and must be paid by the employee, AAM 60.065; and
- State per diem and reimbursements are allowed for the minimum itinerary that is required to conduct State business without regard for the actual itinerary that includes the deviation for personal convenience. AAM 60.080 #1
- Taxi or shuttle service to the airport during deviation travel is reimbursable if it normally would be considered as part of the minimum business itinerary.
14. An employee on State travel status concluded State business on Friday, but rather than return on Friday evening's flight, stayed on personal business for the weekend and was scheduled to return on Sunday. The Sunday flight was not able to return because of weather, and the employee incurred additional expenses for lodging and meals. May the State reimburse the employee for those expenses?
No. The employee is not entitled to reimbursement for these additional expenses. Any additional time or expense resulting from a deviation for employee convenience is the responsibility of the employee. AAM 60.080
15. A traveler must be at work in Dallas on Monday at 3:00pm. The minimum itinerary to conduct State business would fly to Seattle on Sunday evening, and into Dallas on Monday morning. The traveler chooses to go to Seattle on the previous Friday evening and stay with family for the weekend, flying to Dallas on Monday morning. Is the traveler entitled to the value of a hotel room?
No, but the traveler is entitled to the noncommercial lodging reimbursement for Sunday night.
Lodging is limited to a reimbursement of actual costs required for the minimum State business itinerary. The traveler is not entitled to the value of a hotel room because they stayed with family. If the traveler incurred lodging expenses in Seattle, the State would reimburse the cost of one night lodging at a moderately priced hotel as required by the minimum business itinerary.
16. A traveler is on duty through Thursday at 5:00pm in New York. Instead of flying home on Friday (minimum business itinerary), pre-trip the traveler requests and is authorized for a personal deviation to stay the weekend, and fly home on Monday. Is leave required for traveling during a work day as a result of this personal deviation? What if work ended at 5:00pm on Friday, and the traveler could have flown home on Saturday. Is leave required to fly home on Monday?
Yes, leave is required because in both scenarios it requires traveling outside the minimum business itinerary. It is irrelevant whether the minimum business itinerary would require flying on a work day or weekend. However leave is not required for Friday, when the first minimum business itinerary would have required travel.
Overtime-eligible employees are paid for required travel for the minimum business itinerary regardless of whether it occurs on Friday or Saturday. They would be paid for "travel as time worked" for the hours of travel within the minimum business itinerary without regard for the Monday flight times. Payroll costs cannot be increased by personal travel deviations.
The time worked calculations are not part of travel processing.
Supervisors are responsible for ensuring subordinate staff work or turn in leave slips appropriately regardless of travel status. AAM 60.080 #5
17. A traveler must attend a conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, and the minimum business itinerary requires travel on Tuesday and Thursday. Pre-trip, the traveler requests and is authorized for a personal deviation to fly on Monday and Friday, in order to spend extra time enjoying San Francisco. When is leave required?
Leave is required for Monday and Friday, as the minimum business itinerary requires travel on Tuesday and Thursday. The traveler would be in work pay status for the same period they would be eligible for travel reimbursements - two nights hotel stay and M&IE Tuesday through Thursday.
18. A traveler is working in Anchorage until Friday noon. Instead of returning home to Juneau Friday afternoon (minimum business itinerary), pre-trip the traveler requests and is authorized for a personal deviation to travel to Fairbanks for the weekend and return to work in Juneau on Monday afternoon. When is leave required?
Leave is required for the time related to flying home on Monday. Leave is not required for Friday afternoon, as the minimum business itinerary required flying home during that period.
"An identifiable deviation from a business trip for personal reasons takes the employee out of the course of employment until the employee returns to the route of the business trip, unless the deviation is so small as to be disregarded as insubstantial." ...
- Arthur Larson & Lex K. Larson, Larson's Workers' Compensation Law § 17, at 17-1 (2009).
When an employee is on a business trip, but sustains an injury during a personal deviation in either time, route, or mode of travel from that required for solely for State business itinerary, he may not be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The challenge is determining whether any particular personal errand or deviation by a travelling employee has distinctly departed from the course of employment. Each individual situation needs to be carefully weighed and measured. Pay status or payment of per diem at the time of the injury are just two of many factors considered. Each scenario is unique. The greater the personal deviation - the more likely the departure from the course of employment and thereby workers' compensation coverage. Risk Management will consult with the Assistant Attorney General who specialize in workers' compensation law before any final determination of workers' compensation remedy is determined.
Yes, with certain caveats. Traveler is opting for personal travel, so two limitations:
- May not volunteer for denied boarding on the outbound flight unless previously approved for personal travel at the beginning of the travel period.
- Cannot cause a delay in return to work. Consequences of voluntarily bumping that travelers need to understand: Travel status ends, no further per diem or reimbursement, and all State insurance coverage ceases for duration of the trip. AAM 60.080 #8
21. If an employee is on personal leave away from their duty station and it is necessary to bring them back to their duty station to conduct State business, may the State pay for the transportation to bring them to their duty station?
If it is in the best interest of the State and there are no other alternatives (such as teleconference, etc.), an agency may pay for transportation to bring the employee back to their duty station to conduct State business. Arrangements for continuing the personal leave depend on business circumstances, but agencies may, at their discretion, pay to return the employee back to the leave location.
22. If an employee has approved leave and plans personal travel, and it is subsequently determined must travel for State business during the same period, how much will the State pay for the business travel?
The State will only pay the additional costs for the traveler to deviate from their personal travel to the business location. This may include a ticket reissue, fees, and/or penalties, as well as lodging and meals and incidentals expense, related to the business portion of the travel.
23. If an extended-stay personal deviation request is approved and purchased, and then the traveler later chooses to not to exercise their deviation, what, if any, additional cost would there be to the State to reschedule the travel?
There should be no additional cost to the state. AAM 60.080 states that "any additional time or expense resulting from an interruption or deviation for traveler convenience shall be borne solely by the traveler." Assuming there is no change in the business need for travel, the state authorized fare quote from the original minimum business itinerary (created when the extended-stay deviation travel request was approved) sets the standard for the trip (airfare cost, need for lodging and rental vehicles, defines length of travel status for meal periods, etc). This original minimum business itinerary remains valid even though a traveler may withdraw their deviation request after travel has been purchased.
If a traveler withdraws their deviation request after a ticket is purchased, additional costs may be incurred to reschedule their travel including change fees, a difference resulting from a higher ticket cost than the original minimum business itinerary fare quote, or extra per diem costs resulting from full flights that do not allow the traveler to return per the original minimum business itinerary. These additional costs are a direct result of a personal deviation modification and should be borne solely by the traveler.
Official Travel Expenses that can be firmly determined may be considered in the quote. The price of a rental car and mileage can be firmly determined. Parking may not be as easy to determine as rates vary depending on arrival and departure; however, it is an official Travel Expense. Fuel costs cannot be firmly determined and therefore, cannot be considered in the State cost.
A Minimum Business Itinerary quote must come from the E-Travel Online and may include any Official Travel Expenses. Approval must be obtained prior to the booking of the actual travel and submitted to SSoA prior to the reconciliation. This will ensure SSoA has adequate time to process and reimburse the expenses in accordance to the AAM.
01. An employee, for personal reasons, departed on a scheduled State business trip two days before they would have had they only been traveling for State business. May they be reimbursed for the additional two days parking fees?
No. The cost of the additional two days parking is not a business-related expense. AAM 60.010 states "The purpose of the travel policies is to provide reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred by employees while traveling on State business." Also, AAM 60.080 specifies that any additional expense resulting from a deviation of travel for employee convenience shall be borne solely by the employee.
02. Is an employee entitled to reimbursement for mileage, parking, and/or other expense reimbursement if, for training or other job-related purposes, the employee must report to a different location while at their duty station?
Travelers are not eligible for privately owned vehicle mileage reimbursement unless approval under AAM 60.020, is obtained. The employee may be reimbursed for other actual and necessary business related expenses when assigned to a temporary work location.
The total costs of a trip are summarized on an expense report, exception expense report, or the Excel travel authorization form approved by the Department of Administration. Any travel advances are subtracted from the bottom line, and the difference is reimbursed to the traveler or to the State.
(a) Amounts due to travelers should be directly deposited to their bank accounts per AS 37.25.050
(b) Amounts due the State will be deducted from State payroll, so all employees must complete a Travel Advance Authorization form in order to receive an advance. Non-employees should include the payment for reimbursement due the State with travel receipts when the trip costs are summarized. AAM 60.210
04. An employee was advanced funds at the beginning of their State business travel that exceeded the amount of their reimbursable expenses and allowable per diem. The employee did not submit a personal check with the reimbursement form as required, and refuses to write a check to the State or otherwise submit the funds necessary to pay the amount owed. May we withhold the amount owed from their paycheck?
Yes. Under AS 39.20.150(b), a setoff against salary due the employee is one means of recovering amounts owed by an employee. Under State policy, all travel advances require employee notification that any monies owed the State of Alaska by the traveler shall be deducted from the employee's paycheck. AAM 60.070
Any item over $50 requires a receipt (or explanation as to why no receipt) for reimbursement. Reimbursement for unreceipted expenses are limited to $75 per trip. AAM 60.220
The State does not generally reimburse travelers for expenses associated with the care of dependents. Departments supporting boards have some latitude in this area for boards or board members with specialized needs, such as the Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education. AAM 60.010
No. The State does not reimburse travelers for expenses associated with the care of pets while they are traveling away from home. These are personal expenses and not reimbursable by the State. AAM 60.010
No. The State does not reimburse costs incurred by board members to free their time for board meetings. These are personal expenses and not reimbursable by the State. AAM 60.010
Generally no, the State does not reimburse for valet parking. However, there may be circumstances in which incurring this cost may be appropriate. For instance, if there are concerns of safety or a physical impairment exists, management has the discretion to approve or disapprove the valet parking. Also, if there is a valid business reason for incurring the costs, that may also be taken into consideration. Written justification for the valet parking should be submitted along with the request for reimbursement.
Per AAM 60.110 - Excess Baggage, the State will only pay for excess baggage necessary to carry out official State business. The answer to this question depends on the business requirements of the trip in relation to the baggage.
It has now become common practice for the airlines industry to charge customers additional fees, and some of these fees include baggage. A traveler may be charged an additional fee if their baggage exceeds a maximum weight, or for the number of pieces. The limitations vary by airline.
Generally, the State pays for the first checked bag. If the baggage carried by the employee is overweight, or the number of bags results in additional cost, the supervisor may approve the costs for payment by the State if the costs result from necessary business items in the luggage and it is not possible to include these items in another bag or within a carry-on. Necessary business items include all State property transported for a business purpose, as well as a reasonable amount of business clothing commensurate with the duration of the business travel.
Generally no, the State will not pay for premium seating fees assessed by the airlines. Per AAM 60.050, Alaska Statute AS 39.20.140(b) requires the State pay no more than the "lowest ticket class fare for the most direct route" unless specific exemptions are met. The seating choice is a personal preference.
However, if there is a medical condition documented by a medical professional that requires a premium seat selection, the supervisor may approve the State to pay for a premium seat fee. For additional guidance in this area, please see AAM 60.190.
No, the State will not pay for any fees associated with blankets and/or pillows made available by the airlines. AAM 60.050
No, the State will not pay for any fees associated with headphones made available by the airlines. AAM 60.050
No, the State will not pay for any costs associated with beverages, snacks, or meals. The M&IE given to the employee should be used for this purpose. AAM 60.250
No, the State would not purchase a passport for an employee for purposes of traveling outside of the United States. A passport is good for a number of years, and would personally benefit the individual far beyond the business use.
No, the state will not pay for the cost of a GPS. The use of a GPS is considered a personal choice, as alternative mapping options are available.
No. In accordance with AAM 60.050, the State does not reimburse excess costs unnecessary in the performance of official state business. TSA Pre-Check is a personal benefit for the individual traveler.
No. There is no mileage reimbursement for employees conducting state business using their own vehicle within the duty station. Exceptions, under AAM 60.020, may be approved by commissioners or designee based on a documented business requirement.
The M&IE reimbursement includes an incidental; therefore, tips should not be included in the rideshare bill. Travelers are responsible for ensuring surface travel charges do not include tips. Some rideshare companies have an option to set a zero tip amount on the rider's account.
No, using a rideshare application on a personal device is not justification for receiving a monthly electronic device allowance.
The State will reimbursement no more than the economy service. If a traveler chooses a level other than economy, no reimbursements for that surface travel segment will be made.
No, the State will not reimburse surface travel paid for in points. A traveler on official State business is not entitled to any payment except to be “reimbursed” for actual and necessary expenses incurred. AAM 60.010
No, the mileage reimbursement is not taxable if the mileage allowance has been approved in advance by a commissioner or designee and odometer readings are used to calculate no more than the federal mileage rate. If the rate reimbursed is higher than the federal rate, then the payment is taxable.
When processing a non-taxable mileage reimbursement for an employee, it is recommended that the payment is made in HRM using an OTPAY document.
If OTPAY is not possible, reimburse out of FIN with an existing employee vendor code or the miscellaneous vendor code. Use Object Code 2004, this object is not marked reportable and therefore allows the use of Miscellaneous vendor records.
When leaving State travel status, the traveler must assume all liability and taxes associated with the car rental. AAM 60.080
Capacity requirements. Either the passengers or the baggage do not fit into a mid-size car. AAM 60.120
Yes, non-employees may use the car rental contracts when:
- The individual is traveling on official State business;
- The State is financially responsible for any fees associated with the car rental; and
- All reservations are made through the E-Travel Office.
Yes, State of Alaska travelers are required to pay the current CFC. It is charged in addition to the contract rental rates.
No. This type of expense is under the control of the employee. Locksmith charges are similar to fines for traffic or parking violations that are also not reimbursed. AAM 60.220
This determination is made by the car rental company. The restriction code “J” means the driver is not allowed to purchase alcohol. This may not pose an issue to the vendor. However, if the restriction is “C” (requires a breathalyzer before driving) the vendor may not rent the vehicle because they do not have the equipment necessary to meet the license restriction requirement. If employees have any of these restrictions on their license, they are encouraged to verify the car rental policy prior to their trip.
No. It is a personal choice to be accompanied on business travel and to use the vehicle for personal use. Travelers are required to pay for the rental vehicle with a personal form of payment, and then seek reimbursement for the business cost. (AAM 60.120 Rental Cars, AAM 60.080 Deviation of Travel)
A rental car is considered a “state vehicle” (FAQ Vehicles #2) and is bound by the same policy when used for state authorized business and when purchased with a state form of payment.
A State Minimum Business itinerary and receipts are required. The state will reimburse the daily contract rate reflected on the State Minimum Business itinerary or the actual receipts of the rental rate, whichever is less. (AAM 60.120 Rental Cars)
No. Since the rental included personal use, the state will not reimburse for gas, insurance, fees, late returns, upgraded vehicles, or other miscellaneous charges that may be incurred.
Reimbursement is determined by the contract rate for the approved vehicle size in the city where the vehicle is rented. (The standard approved car size is Intermediate, unless otherwise approved.) For example:
- Contract rates in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau are calculated using the Budget contract rate (regardless of personal vendor choice). See Contract Award Manual, Statewide Vehicle Rentals [PDF].
- Contract rates for rentals in all other cities are calculated by using the NASPO ValuePoint car rental rates for Hertz, National, or Enterprise. The applicable city surcharge applies. See Contract Award Manual, Nationwide Vehicle Rental[PDF].
Reimbursement is calculated by the number of business days times the actual DAILY rate, not to include upgraded vehicles.
The state will reimburse the vendor contract rate (including applicable city surcharge) or actual receipts for the rental contract, whichever is less. The renter’s agency shall also be responsible for all damages to the rental vehicle that would have normally been covered under the vendor contract.
State insurance generally covers liability exposure in excess of the employee's liability coverage. It does not cover damage to the employee's vehicle. See Division of Risk Management memo [PDF] for a more detailed explanation. AAM 60.140
No. Only individuals on official State business may travel in State vehicles.
Yes, if the mileage round-trip is less than it would have cost using other modes of transportation or parking, the round-trip mileage would be reimbursed by the State.
Mileage incurred for commuting between an employee’s residence and normal work location is not reimbursable. If approval under AAM 60.020, is obtained, mileage incurred for commuting to/from a temporary worksite is reimbursable to the extent that it exceeds the distance from the residence to the normal work location.
Yes, any commuting activity in a State owned vehicle would be considered a taxable fringe benefit. The employee should fill out a daily trip log and forward this information to the departmental vehicle manager to be included in the payroll activity for that period. Please refer to the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities web page for policies regarding use of State vehicles.
06. If I am called out during my normal days off to travel to the work location, can that commuting activity be reimbursed through the mileage rate? Would it be considered a nontaxable trip if I drove a State vehicle?
No, any activity involving an employee driving from the employee's residence to the work location is considered commuting and the employee is not reimbursed for miles. Similarly, if a State vehicle is used, it would be a taxable fringe benefit whether the commute occurs during the normal work days or the regular days off.
Yes, a State email account can be used to create a rideshare account that is used only for official state business.