Q & A Session – Reimbursement for Short, Local Travel


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.


My job requires my coworkers and I to frequently engage in local travel to evaluate work performed by contractors. We are expected to use our private vehicles for this. The distances are not long, but the five to fifteen miles a day adds up, especially the fuel cost. When we ask for reimbursement, we are ignored. Do we have a right to reimbursement? Could we refuse to use our vehicles and ask for government-owned vehicles to drive?


An employee in your situation, who must use a private vehicle for short, local travel, is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses under rates established by the General Services Administration. The current rate of reimbursement for use of a private automobile when no government vehicle is available is $0.51 per mile. However, employees who use their private vehicles when a government-owned vehicle is available are entitled to a much lower rate of reimbursement, currently set at $0.19 per mile.

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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