SECTION 1. Employees shall not be required to travel except under conditions and procedures prescribed by pertinent laws and regulations. Management agrees that required travel on scheduled non-work days shall be compensated in accordance with current regulations.
Unless organizational needs require otherwise, Management should schedule travel during official work hours. For rotating shift workers, official work hours encompass all hours of the week. Non-shift workers normally work fixed shifts between 6 am and 6 pm Monday-Friday or Saturday according to the schedules contained in Article 21. If an employee would otherwise travel on their own time without compensation management should, where possible, adjust an employees schedule temporarily to accommodate training and/or travel requirements. This may result in the employee working more than 40 hours in one week. For example, if an employee works 48 hours (or whatever the combination of work and travel took) that time is shown on the T&A for that week, with 32 hours scheduled work for the other week in the pay period.
If travel occurs with the CONUS and the combination of travel time plus work time exceeds twelve (12) hours in any one day, travel shall be scheduled on the previous/next day if at all possible. Otherwise travel and work should be scheduled on the same day. If necessary, special arrangements may be made in the Pacific and Alaska regions to accommodate the longer distances and travel times within these regions.
If travel during non-duty hours is operationally necessary, the reasons for ordering such travel will be recorded and filed with the employee=s Time and Attendance Report (T&A) and, if requested, provided to the employee.
The content of all applicable travel laws and regulations are not grievable under this agreement. The implementation of changes to travel regulations are subject to the provisions of Article 8.
SECTION 2. Employees required to travel by Management shall receive per diem or subsistence expenses and other allowable travel expenses subject to applicable laws and regulations.
SECTION 3. An employee required to travel on official business shall be granted an advance of travel funds in accordance with applicable regulations. Current law requires an employee to use a Government travel card for official Government travel. Current regulations permit an employee to obtain an advance of travel funds via the employee’s travel card, but require use of personal funds if the employee’s travel card has been suspended or canceled.
SECTION 4. When an employee learns of a travel delay which will extend the originally authorized travel time, he/she shall notify management immediately of the circumstances and receive instructions and authorization to cover the emergency. Examples of such circumstances include flight cancellation, hazardous weather, automotive breakdown, illness, etc. The employee must receive authorization for the delay to be reimbursed and be covered by government insurance, workers' compensation and leave. In the event that such contact cannot be made on a timely basis, the NWS may approve payments, where applicable, after the travel has been performed.
SECTION 5. Gainsharing Program Policy
A. Policy: Under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 4501-4507, NWS agrees to pay a cash award for "efficiency" or "economy." The program will be known as the Gainsharing Travel Savings Program (GTSP). It will reward employees who save the NWS money while on official travel. These savings will apply to the use of less expensive lodging, from use of frequent flyer benefits for the purchase of airline tickets for official travel, and, to the extent permissible under agency travel contracts, Federal Travel Regulations, and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2002, as well as any applicable Federal Travel Advisories or waivers issued by the General Services Administration, for the purchase of less expensive airline tickets than the contract price. Employee participation in this program is optional.
The amount of the award for the employee will be 50 percent of the savings on lodging expenses and/or contract carrier airfare. Taxes will be withheld (Federal, State, local, FICA) on the award amount. In most cases, the cumulative savings to NWS must be at least $200.00 before the employee is eligible to receive an award.
Employees should not incur additional expenses in transportation or other miscellaneous costs in effort to reduce lodging expenses. Employees who incur additional transportation expenses must have those expenses deducted from their lodging savings.
All hotels/motels utilized by employees must meet the requirements of the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990.
When a room is shared while on official travel there may be a lodging savings. The employees should arrange to be billed separately. If this is not possible, a daily rate must be determined for each employee. Divide the total lodging costs by the number of employees and the number of nights to arrive at a daily rate for each employee.
B. Travel Covered:
1. All TDY travel with lodging expenses, foreign and domestic, will be covered under this program.
2. The first 30 days of extended TDY travel (e.g., a detail of more than 30 days where a reduced per diem amount is required).
3. Lodging Savings – Employees who participate in the program can receive cash awards for incurring lodging expenses at a daily rate which is less than the maximum lodging rate for the locality under the lodging plus method. Lodging savings will not be made when an employee is on travel where lodging was prepaid or prearranged through contractual arrangements with the hotel. However, any savings resulting from shared accommodations under such arrangements does qualify for the travel savings award. Additionally, Lodging savings will not be made for lodging savings at hotels identified under the GSA Value Lodging Program, or for lodging cost incurred on personal time such as annual leave during official travel or any other type of personal preference travel used in conjunction with official travel. Finally, lodging savings will be made to employees who stay with relatives or friends while on official travel and avoid lodging expenses. These employees will receive one-half of the lodging rate for the locality toward the travel savings award.
4. Frequent Flyer Benefits – Employees who obtain a free coach class ticket with frequent flyer benefits earned on official Government travel or personal travel are eligible for the travel savings program. Savings will be measured against the contract rate in effect at the time of the flight. If there is no contract rate, then the lowest available non-restricted coach fare will be used as the basis for measurement of the savings.
5. Savings from Contract Price – To the extent permissible under agency travel contracts, Federal Travel Regulations, and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2002, as well as any applicable Federal Travel Advisories or waivers issued by the General Services Administration, employees who obtain a ticket from another source are eligible for the travel savings program. Savings will be measured against the contract ticket rate in effect at the time of the flight.
C. Implementation of GTSP Program: Upon approval of the GTSP as part of the NWS/NWSEO Collective Bargaining Agreement, NWS and NWSEO will develop a Memorandum of Understanding covering regulations for implementing this program within one year from the time of approval.