A group of more than two dozen House members is pushing for repeal of a 2014 policy change in which DoD employees on extended assignments receive a reduced per diem rate. In a letter to appropriators, the group said the policy has resulted in civilian DoD employees “having to pay out of their own pockets for basic necessities while on official travel.”
Under the policy, for long-term temporary duty of 31 to 180 days, the authorized rate is 75 percent of the locality rate (lodging plus meals & incidental expenses) payable for each full day of temporary duty at that location; for TDY greater than 180 days, it is 55 percent. In making the change, DoD said that for assignments of 31 days or more, savings can be achieved by staying in extended-stay type lodgings that cost less per day than daily rates.
Language in the defense budget for the current fiscal year allows the military services to make exceptions if the reduced rate “is not sufficient under the circumstances.” That was a compromise to a similar request for repeal made last year by opponents of the lower rate, who also argue that it dissuades employees from taking temporary assignments for long-term projects such as ship overhauls.
Several other agencies also pay lower rates for long-term assignments; details of those policies vary.