Servicemembers, DOD civilians set to keep more in pockets for TDY expenses
By WILL MORRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 10, 2018
Servicemembers and Defense Department employees who travel a lot for work should see more money in their wallets soon thanks to the expected reversal of a policy that cut reimbursement rates for travel expenses on temporary duty assignments, a labor union said Thursday.
In the latest National Defense Authorization Act, Congress overturned a 2014 DOD policy that reduced per diem reimbursements for military and civilian workers who travel longer than 30 days at a time for work.
The cost-cutting measure was an attempt to save the DOD some $22 million each year by encouraging long-term TDY travelers to obtain less expensive extended-stay lodging.
“For nearly three years, DoD has been shortchanging our service members and civilian employees by taking money out of their pockets for legitimate travel expenses that the agency should have been covering,” J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a statement.
The old policy, which went into effect in November 2014, cut the per diem allowance for uniformed and DOD employees traveling for work longer than 30 days to 75 percent of the nationally established per diem travel rates. For employees traveling longer than 180 days, the per diem reimbursement rate was cut to 55 percent.
“This was a misguided attempt by the Pentagon to find cost savings at the expense of employees – mostly midlevel civilian employees outside of D.C. who frequently travel for work,” Cox said.
DOD was not immediately available for comment.
Congress passed the 2018 NDAA on Aug. 1. It is now awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.