NTEU informed FDA that several supervisory groups in the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) have not been reimbursing employees properly for the use of their privately owned vehicles (POV) while on official business in accordance with the CBA and federal travel regulations (FTR). We learned that some supervisors have granted employees approval to use POVs, however, they have stated that the Agency would not pay for mileage used while on official business and improperly denied the reimbursement that employees are entitled to under the contract and law. This practice is also evidenced by the POV Use Request Forms that employees have been required to complete and submit in various ORA office locations whenever they opt to drive a POV to perform official duties. These forms contain an option to deny any reimbursement whatsoever for use of a POV for official business, which violates the CBA and FTR. These forms were also not negotiated with NTEU, and we expect the Agency will soon work with the Union to correct this.
Per the CBA and FTR, an employee using a POV is entitled to either the full mileage rate or the established lesser mileage rate where a government owned vehicle (GOV) was available. The current 2017 POV Mileage Reimbursement rates is $0.535 (if use of a POV is authorized or if no Government-furnished automobile is available) and $0.17 (if Government-furnished automobile is available). When a POV is used in lieu of a commercial carrier, the employee is entitled to be reimbursed up to the constructive cost had the common carrier been used. These rates vary from year to year. For a list of previous years, please visit this GSA web page.
NTEU is working with FDA to set up a process whereby employees who have been improperly denied reimbursement for use of their POV on official business can receive proper reimbursement. Employees should be able to seek reimbursement for POV travel expenses, including interest, for up to six years from the time of the travel in accordance with the Back Pay Act. Therefore, and in order to rectify this mistake, if you believe that you were not reimbursed properly or not at all, please prepare to file your POV use reimbursement claims by securing any supporting documentation (e.g., POV Use Request Form, Travel Authorization, inspection reference, local voucher, supporting e-mails, etc.).
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or your local union representative.