GSA announces travel per diem rates, and more

Beginning Oct. 1, the agency will increase the base lodging rate from $96 per night to $98 per night.

Beginning Oct. 1, the agency will increase the base lodging rate from $96 per night to $98 per night. Johannes Kroemer/Getty Images

This news comes as a part of a weekly roundup on pay and benefits ...

The General Services Administration on Wednesday announced a slight increase in lodging per diem rates for traveling federal employees in fiscal 2023.

Each fiscal year, GSA updates the reimbursement rates it offers federal employees who travel on official business, based on the average daily rate at hotels in each region of the continental United States. After keeping rates flat for 2022 due to falling hotel prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning Oct. 1, the agency will increase the base lodging rate from $96 per night to $98 per night.

Conversely, after raising the standard daily reimbursement rates for meals and incidental expenses by $3 last year, GSA said it will maintain the current $59 base rate for fiscal 2023. Non-standard tiers likewise will remain within the range of $59-$79.

Currently, there are 319 locations within the U.S. designated as non-standard areas that are subject to their own per diem rates higher than the standard amount. But come October, GSA announced it will shed three of those regions and revert their per diem rates to the standard continental U.S. rate: Cromwell and Old Saybrook, Conn., El Paso, Texas, and Rock Springs, Wyo.

GSA offers a tool where federal employees can see the per diem rates throughout the continental U.S. in fiscal 2023 on its website.

OPM Establishes Leave Transfer Program for Feds Impacted by Kentucky Disaster

The Office of Personnel Management last week announced that it is establishing an emergency leave transfer program for federal employees who have been negatively impacted by the recent severe storms in Kentucky.

The heavy rain in the eastern part of the state led to flooding, as well as landslides and mudslides and killed 38 people. Last month, President Biden approved a national disaster declaration for the state in connection with the deluge.

In a memo to agency heads, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja encouraged agencies to set up leave banks so that employees in other parts of the country can donate unused time off to help workers to take paid time off to recover from the disaster.

“Agencies with employees adversely affected by the 2022 Kentucky severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides are in the best position to determine whether, and how much, donated annual leave is needed by their employees and which of their employees have been adversely affected by the emergency,” she wrote. “They are also in the best position to quickly facilitate the transfer of donated annual leave within their agencies.”

Agencies are expected to determine which employees need donated leave to recover from the storm and educate those employees on the availability of donated leave. Employees who wish to take advantage of donated emergency leave must apply in writing to their agencies. Those who are unable to do so may apply through a personal representative.

“Agencies should contact OPM for assistance in receiving additional donated annual leave from other agencies only if they do not receive sufficient amounts of donated leave to meet the needs of emergency leave recipients within the agency,” Ahuja wrote. “Based on the demand for donated leave, OPM will solicit and coordinate the transfer of donated annual leave among federal agencies.”

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