DATE: August 16, 2015
RE: Memo Reference Child Welfare Lodging Guidelines
This memorandum establishes Child Welfare Services practice for lodging reimbursement associated with conferences, meetings, trainings, business events and field related travel, including case visitation. These guidelines are effective August 16, 2015. Individual event memorandums and email messages must outline travel and lodging allowances for each event.
Field Related Travel
Overnight lodging for case related activities and/or case visitation will require email approval by the District Director/Field Manager/Program Administrator. The approval will adhere to mileage guidelines set forth in this memorandum.
Mandatory Conferences, Meetings, Trainings or Business Events
Mandatory events are required attendance by staff. Mandatory status will be stated in announcement of each individual training, meeting, conference or event. Lodging for attendance at a mandatory event is reimbursed at the designated hotel rate for single occupancy.
Optional Conferences, Meetings, Training or Business Events
Lodging for optional events is reimbursed at the single occupancy rate for the designated hotel or at the Internal Revenue Service Federal Reimbursement Rate for the Continental United States (IRS CONUS) approved rate for that particular region. Approval from the Supervisor and District Director/Field Manager/Program Administrator should be given by email prior to registration.
Domestic Maximum CONUS Per Diem and Hotel Reimbursements
The Internal Revenue Service sets the government Domestic Maximum reimbursement rate (CONUS) for hotel and per diem charges. These rates can change during the year; therefore, you should always check the INFONET for the current rate before filing for reimbursement charges for per diem or hotel expenses.
Conferences, Meetings, Training or Business Events Paid from Other Funds
Child Welfare Services may make available funds for CWS staff to attend conferences, meetings or business events. Lodging reimbursement information will be noted in CWS memorandums or email messages regarding these events. Events paid by Child Welfare Services may require filing for expenses on a separate travel reimbursement claim. Approval from the Supervisor and the District Director/Field Manager/Program Administrator should be given by email before travel arrangements are confirmed.
Conferences, Meetings, Training or Business Events Not Reimbursed
When funds have not been designated for staff to attend events, staff can be approved to attend at their own expense, and may be considered on duty if work related and approved by email by the Supervisor and the District Director/Field Manager/Program Administrator. These are usually events not sponsored by the agency, or when budget considerations prohibit CWS funding.
Conferences/meetings beginning prior to 9:00 a.m.: Staff traveling 90 miles one way from their home or duty station, whichever is less, are approved for lodging the night prior to the conference/meeting. Approvals for overnight stays during multi-day conferences will continue to be based on the 60-mile rule.
Conferences/meetings beginning at 9:00 a.m.: Staff traveling 120 miles or more one way from their home or duty station, whichever is less, are approved for lodging the night prior to the conference/meeting.
Conferences/meetings beginning at 9:30 a.m.: Staff traveling 140 miles or more one way from their home or duty station, whichever is less, are approved for lodging the night prior to the conference/meeting.
Conferences/meetings beginning at 10:00 a.m.: Staff traveling 160 miles or more one way from their home or duty station, whichever is less, are approved for lodging the night prior to the conference/meeting.
If the conference/meeting starts later than 10:00 a.m., mileage requirement for lodging approval will be modified as appropriate and will be detailed in the announcement information.
The starting time for a conference is the time of the opening general session and not when registration begins.
Unless otherwise noted in meeting/conference information or emails, professional attire is expected.
Staff are urged to share travel accommodations whenever possible. Unless otherwise approved, mileage for one vehicle per work location is approved. District Director/Field Manager/Program Administrator may allow an additional vehicle if more than four persons attend a conference/meeting, or if circumstances clearly warrant.
DHS Policy 340:2-11-121. Per diem
Direct Billing of Registration and/or Lodging
Whenever possible and appropriate, direct billing for registration fees and/or lodging will be through the finance system. Each conference announcement will include procedures to enroll for direct billing. Staff not enrolled on the finance system by specified deadlines cannot use direct billed. Staff will need to pay expenses and claim reimbursement using the Speedy Travel System. Last minute substitutes for staff who were enrolled will also need to claim for reimbursement.
The Deputy Director must approve all exceptions to these established guidelines.
Training and Inclement Weather
- Inclement Weather: Hazardous weather conditions are monitored by the training unit and agency. Decisions to delay start times, or to cancel/reschedule trainings will be conveyed via e-mail by the training unit/course coordinator as early as possible to the enrolled participant and/or their supervisor if enrolled in CORE. CORE participants are asked for phone numbers during enrollment and may be used as a back-up option.
- Employees are encouraged to enroll or subscribe for either/or email or text notifications of offices being shut down.
- When trainings are canceled, the employee is expected to communicate with their supervisor and/or be at his or her duty station unless otherwise communicated.
- While each day varies in our ability to evaluate if training is held, we attempt to make a decision by 5 pm for the following day. In some instances the plan is not made until the early morning hours, thus employees should check their e-mails.
- Employees should consult with their supervisor when they believe travel is unsafe
- Supervisors with Specialists enrolled in CORE who are not able to attend should notify the training unit to explore options. Supervisors may contact the CORE Coordinator via the folder CHILDWELFARETRAINING@okdhs.org , or Program Administrator (Guy Willis) /Supervisor (Kristie Anderson). They should closely monitor agency communications regarding delayed start times or closures.
- Specialists attending other Level trainings should notify their supervisor and the training unit e-mail folder or the course coordinator to cancel attendance.