GSA has proposed to change its rules so that a waived or discounted registration fee provided by the non-federal sponsor of a meeting or similar function would not be a “payment in kind” for days an employee speaks, participates in a panel, or presents at the event.
A Federal Register notice notes that under the Federal Travel Regulation, agencies may accept payment of travel expenses from a non-federal source for employees to attend meetings and similar functions but the FTR “makes no distinction” between employees who participate by giving a speech, serving on a panel or delivering a presentation, and other agency attendees.
Those there to speak are attending as “a necessary and customary part of their work activities,” it said, and under the revised rules, a waived or discounted registration would not need to be reported. That applies only to days employees are participating in such a capacity, it adds, and other expenses paid by a non-federal party such as transportation or lodging still would be considered a payment in kind.
Also under the rules, employees who have been authorized to accept meals at such events would deduct the value of any meal they consume from their meals and incidental expenses per diem on their travel voucher using standard rates set by GSA rather than having to provide a breakout of the cost of the meal.