A fed traveled for an agency to a Vegas conference, but before leaving he submitted a travel voucher for the projected cost of the trip.  For some unknown reason the agency took over three months to pay him. Consequently, he filed a supplemental voucher to cover his  $27.65 interest payment. The agency only gave him $21.68, arguing that interest accrues not from the date the employee enters the claim into its system, but from the date the travel office reviews it. To make a long story short, …

The CBCA  (Civilian Board of Contract Appels) wrote,

Consistent with the FTR, our cases have found that submission of the travel claim starts the thirty-day period in which the agency must reimburse an employee for travel expenses. See Michael G. Valle, CBCA 5409-TRAV, 17-1 BCA ¶ 36,762, at 179,151-52. In this case, the record shows that claimant submitted his claim through the agency’s electronic travel claims system on May 12, 2023. As such, claimant is entitled to interest payments that would have begun accruing thirty-one days after his claim submission on May 12, 2023. That the agency may have had additional administrative offices that the claim must pass through to be considered does not extend the thirty days the agency has to consider the claim. Dennis B., 19-1 BCA at 181,601.

Only those federal employee who do not have access to a negotiated grievance-arbitration process can appeal to the CBCA.  The rest must grieve.

We raise this case to suggest that unions ask what their own agency’s policy is as to the date on which the clock begins to run on interest payments.  If your office does what the DoD did in this case, you might be sitting on a very nice mass grievance that has solid attorney fee potential—not to mention money for a bundle of members and prospective members.

For more details, check out In the Matter of James A., CBCA 7925-TRAV (02/21/24)

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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