Q & A Session – Travel Documentation


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I am a federal employee and on occasion request travel compensation, including for time spent travelling to the airport and waiting at the airport. I am not aware of any established policy on documentation required to support the compensation. Is this type of documentation required and are there any regulations that show whether my department can or cannot ask for this?


Per 5 C.F.R. § 550.1404(b)(1), “travel status” includes the “usual waiting time” that precedes or interrupts travel, such as waiting for an airplane, train or bus, and/or travelling to/from the airport or terminal. Moreover, the determination of what amount of time constitutes “usual waiting time” is at the agency’s discretion. See 5 C.F.R. § 550.1404(b)(1). Given that one cannot necessarily document how much time was spent travelling to/from the airport or other time spent waiting before and after travel, and that the agency may determine at its discretion the appropriate “usual waiting time,” it should not be necessary, or likely, that an agency would require you to produce documentation to show the total amount of time spent travelling. However, the agency may require you to produce basic documentation to show your travel schedule or itinerary.

 Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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