Administrative Manual - 402 Travel
- Charging of Relocation Costs
Costs related to hiring or transfer of personnel shall be charged to the division directly concerned with these activities in accordance with JSA/JLab's travel policy.
New and transferred regular and term exempt employees whose term of employment is not less than twelve (12) months and who reside at least 50 road miles (one way) from JLab are eligible for reimbursement of relocation expenses in accordance with the terms of the employee's offer letter.
- Income Taxes on Allowances
The U.S. Treasury Department has ruled that non-deductible relocation expense allowances paid to new employees, transferees, or to third parties on behalf of the employee constitute income to the recipient and must be taxed and reported as Other Compensation on the annual W-2 form.
- Reimbursement of Relocation Expenses Due to Resignation
Employees who voluntarily resign within one year after start date shall be required to reimburse JSA for a full amount share of relocation expenses.
- Maximum Time Period for Claiming Relocation Expenses
The maximum time period for reporting and submitting a claim for relocation expenses is one year from the start date of employment, claims for reimbursement should be submitted to as soon as possible after the transaction occurred. The settlement dates for the sale and purchase or lease termination transactions for which reimbursement is requested must occur not later than 1 year after the day of reporting for duty at JLab. This one year term can be extended for a period not to exceed one additional year for reasons beyond your control and when approved by the Division Associate Director and the Chief Finance Officer no later than thirty (30) days after the expiration date.
- Expenses related to travel, temporary housing, storage and/or movement of household goods of new employees whose offer letter authorizes payment of relocation expenses are charged directly to the new employee's division.
- The Employment Office sends an attachment with the employee's offer letter outlining appropriate relocation provisions and providing points of contact for relocation, with copies to Travel Services and the primary relocation contact.
- The new employee shall contact the Division or Office Travel Coordinator to arrange travel and Travel Services to arrange movement of household goods.
- A Travel Authorization Form shall be prepared by the Division or Office Travel Coordinator and submitted to Travel Services before travel arrangements are made for any house hunting and/or relocation trip.
- The Division or Office Travel Coordinator makes travel arrangements and reservations, including providing for ticket delivery to the employee or arranging for tickets to be picked up at the departure terminals (if e-ticketing is not available).
- The new employee completes travel (house hunting, relocation, and/or purchase/sale of house).
- The new employee completes the Expense Report, (Exhibit 402-2), forwards it to the appropriate Cost Account Manager for signature, and sends it to Travel Services for processing.
- The Travel Expense Report shall be submitted with required receipts within 5 working days of completing a trip, unless expenses are ongoing.
- Ongoing expenses shall be expensed weekly.
- Original receipts are required for airfare, car rental, lodging, and other expense items exceeding $75.00 each.
- Expense Reports shall be prepared in ink or typed, and signed by the traveler who incurred the expense.
- Travel Services audits the Expense Report and processes it for payment.
- PROCEDURES: REGULAR AND TERM EMPLOYEES
- House Search
- Eligible employees who reside more than 75 miles from the new work location may be reimbursed for expenses associated with one house search trip for the employee and spouse prior to the employees start date. Trasnportation, lodging and per diem can be paid for a maximum of three (3) calendar days in length, excluding travel time to and from the new employment area.
- Reimbursable expenses include:
- The cost of less than first class airfare on U.S. Flag Air Carriers, plus associated transportation expenses, including the cost of renting a mid-sized automobile, and transportation to and from common carrier terminals, OR
- Mileage for driving a personal vehicle in lieu of flying, to be reimbursed at the current rate as published in the FTR in Chapter 301, plus parking fees and tolls for the employee's personal vehicle for all mileage associated with house hunting activity, based on actual odometer mileage for the most direct route, plus mileage in the local area.
- Lodging/Per Diem:
Actual lodging plus a per diem allowance for the employee and designated family member each day, not to exceed the applicable maximum allowances for the new location.
- Personal telephone calls are not reimbursable house search expenses.
- Travel and Temporary Living Expenses
Upon reporting for employment, the travel and living expenses of the employee, spouse and qualified dependents may be reimbursed as follows:
- One-way travel to the work site at less-than-first class airfare on U.S. Flag Air Carriers, plus associated transportation expenses.
- Allowance for driving one personal vehicle owned by the employee or a dependent in lieu of air travel.
- Upon prior written approval of the Division's Associate Director or Office Head, reimbursement may be made for driving a second personal vehicle for purposes of relocation of dependents if such use of a second personal vehicle is cost effective and in lieu of one-way travel by air. A Request for Approval of Designated Relocation Expenses (Exhibit 402-12) shall be submitted with the Travel Authorization Form. Under no circumstances shall relocation of more than two vehicles be reimbursed.
- Lodging and per diem expenses shall be paid for the actual en-route time or for an average of 300 miles per day (number of days equals total official mileage divided by 300), whichever is less. Lodging and per diem expenses en-route shall be reimbursed in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulation, Chapter 302.
- Mileage shall be reimbursed at the current POV rate published in the FTR, Chapter 302. The mileage is based on odometer readings for the most direct road mileage between authorized points. The mileage allowance is to cover all transportation costs (repairs, towing, tires, gasoline, oil, etc.) regardless of the number of passengers carried.
- Necessary tolls are allowed in addition to the mileage allowance.
- Temporary Lodging and Per Diem
Employees and qualified dependents may be reimbursed necessary and reasonable lodging in accordance with prevailing federal limitations, plus a daily meal allowance (per diem), after arrival at the new work location until permanent residence is occupied. Permanent residence is determined by date of actual movement of household goods into a residence.
- A daily meal allowance shall be paid to the employee and each qualified dependent as prescribed in Chapter 302 of the FTR.
- The daily meal allowance is based on the local per diem rate at the new location and the relationship to the employee.
- Dependent children under the age of 12 receive a reduced per diem.
- Per diem for the employee and all qualified family members is reduced after 30 days of temporary lodging and per diem subsistence.
- Reimbursement of lodging expenses shall not exceed a total of 45 days, including advance house search time.
- Per diem shall not exceed 45 days for each eligible family member, including advance house search time.
- Utilities are not a reimbursable relocation expense.
- Moving Expenses
- If the employee elects not to drive his or her personal vehicle to the work site, the cost of shipping one automobile shall be allowed.
- Motorcycles are considered recreational equipment and may be shipped inside the commercial van or rental vehicle, but are subject to the limitations in the following section of this policy.
- Household Goods
- National Carrier
Reimbursement shall be allowed for transportation of household goods as arranged by Travel Services, including:
- 15,000 lbs. maximum limitation, excluding automobile.
- Storage of household goods for up to 45 days.
- Reasonable insurance coverage as determined by prevailing JSA/JLab policy.
- Packing and unpacking of household goods.
- Recreational equipment transported inside the commercial van or rental vehicle (i.e., motorcycles, canoes) excluding any surcharge for such equipment.
- Self-Drive Trailers or Trucks
In lieu of a national carrier, reimbursement shall be allowed for rental of self-drive trailers or trucks from commercial establishments for movement of household goods by the employee as follows:
- If such cost exceeds $500 for a truck or $200 for a trailer, the claim shall be accompanied by at least three competitive bids, and reimbursement shall be made at the rate proposed in the lowest bid.
- The cost of packing materials, such as boxes, may be reimbursed when substantiated by receipts.
- If an employee moves household goods in lieu of national carrier by towing a utility trailer with his/her vehicle reimbursement will be for personal vehicle mileage at the current rate published in the Federal Travel Regulations for each of the two vehicles.
- Sale or Purchase of Residence
- Reimbursement shall be allowed for the following costs associated with the sale of an existing residence that is more than 50 miles from the new work site where the employee and/or immediate family resides at the time the offer of employment is made by JLab.
- Reasonable and customary closing costs on sale of existing residence in former location, not to exceed 5% of sales price.
- Real estate commission on sale of existing residence at former location, not to exceed 6% of sales price.
- Reasonable and customary closing costs on the purchase of a new residence, not to exceed 5% of purchase price will be reimbursed when the employee's former residence is more than 50 miles from the new work site.
- A completely executed copy of the settlement statement must accompany the Expense Report to claim reimbursement for statutory closing costs and real estate sales commissions. The settlement statement must be signed by the employee and closing agent.
- Lease Cancellation Charges
With the written approval (see Exhibit 402-12) of the Division Associate Director or Office Head, lease cancellation charges may be reimbursed. A signed, executed copy of the lease stating lease terms and cancellation policy must accompany the reimbursement request.
- Miscellaneous Expense Allowance (MEA)
Upon arrival at the new work site an MEA can be paid to a new employee when they are discontinuing a residence at a former location and establish a residence at the new work site.
- The old and new residences must be at least 50 miles from each other and within reasonable commuting distance of the new work location.
- The MEA can not be given in advance of the move.
- No supportive documentation is required when the amount does not exceed:
- $500 - if no immediate family is being relocated.
- $1000 - when immediate family is relocating.
- Any expenses incurred by JLab on behalf of the employee, such as temporary storage of a private vehicle, may be deducted from the MEA prior to payment.
- A request for additional MEA (Exhibit 402-12) submitted to the Division requires CFO approval.
Post Doc employees on assignments of not less than twelve (12) months who reside at least 50 miles one way from JLab shall be eligible for the same relocation reimbursement benefits and associated requirements as a regular employee except as noted below:
- Household goods and storage cost is limited to the dollar amount defined in the employee's offer letter and in no instances can exceed the limit of $7,500.
- Temporary lodging and subsistence is limited to 30 days unless otherwise stated in the employee's offer letter.
- Miscellaneous expense allowance (MEA) is authorized up to the limit specified in the employee's offer letter.
- There is no reimbursement for costs associated with the sale or purchase of a residence.
- Term and Post Doc employees who are eligible for relocation benefits may be reimbursed for return travel and moving expenses, excluding residential sale, purchase and lease cancellation charges, only if such reimbursement was a part of the original term appointment agreement.
- Allowances (defined as types of expenses, not cost of reimbursement) for return travel and relocation shall not exceed those of the original travel.