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2011 Federal Employee Travel Per Diem Rates
The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency charged with establishing per diem rates for federal travel, released per diem reimbursement rates for fiscal year 2011, which will take effect on Oct. 1.
Per diem is the allowance provided to government employees for lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses incurred while on official government travel. Federal government per diem rates, calculated based on widely accepted industry measures, provide effective stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
The daily rate is a commonly used performance indicator in the hotel industry that represents the average rental income per occupied room in a given time period. FY2011 rates reflect an overall decrease of 3.85 percent when compared to FY2010 rates.
In establishing per diem rates, GSA sets two different kinds of rates --- a standard per diem rate and a non-standard per diem rate. Most areas, approximately 2,600 counties, are covered by a standard per diem rate. The standard rate, which is reviewed every three years, is an aggregate of rates for locations across the country, not including those locations that are considered non-standard. For FY2011, the standard per diem rate has been adjusted upward to $77 to reflect the average daily rate for lodging across the country. Reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses remain unchanged from FY2010 ranging from $46 through $71 for meals per day depending on the location and $5 for incidental expenses.
GSA also sets per diem rates for 378 "Nonstandard Areas" in the United States. Nonstandard areas are frequently traveled by the federal community and are reviewed annually. Of these 378 areas, 310 will see decreases in their FY2011 rates, 50 will increase, and 18 will remain the same. The per diem rate is the maximum allowable reimbursement rates for federal travelers. Agencies may authorize actual expenses consistent with the Federal Travel Regulation.
GSA has statutory responsibility to establish actual and necessary expense reimbursements and per diem allowances for federal employees traveling on official business.