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NPS Permanent Change Of Station Employee Handbook

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National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorApril 2010Permanent Change of StationEmployee HandbookPermanent Change of Station Handbook

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorAbove: Zion National Park, Utah; credit: NPS photoCover: Canyon Visitor Education Center at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming; credit: NPS photoPage 2NPS, Permanent Change of Station Handbook

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorPermanent Change of StationEmployee HandbookProduced by theNational Park ServiceAccounting Operations CenterHerndon, VirginiaU.S. Department of the InteriorWashington, DCApril 2010NPS, Permanent Change of Station HandbookPage 3

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorZion Lodge at Zion National Park, Utah; credit: NPS photoPage 4NPS, Permanent Change of Station Handbook

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorTable of ContentsEmployee Relocation Information . 9Employee Relocation Checklist . 91.General Information . 112.Employee Relocation Agreement . 123.Employee Questionnaire . 124.Travel Authorization . 125.Advance of Funds . 126.Allowable Expenses . 13A.Dual Career Moves . 13B.Advance House Hunting Trip . 13C.En Route Travel Expenses to New Duty Station . 15D.Temporary Quarters at New Duty Station . 17E.Transportation of Household Goods. 20F.Shipment of Professional Books and Equipment . 22G.Transportation of Mobile Homes. 22H.Transportation of Privately Owned Automobile . 22I.Temporary Storage of Household Goods . 23J.Non-Temporary Storage of Household Goods . 23K.Residence Transactions . 23L.Property Management Services . 24M. Settlement of an Unexpired Lease . 25N.Miscellaneous Expense Allowance . 257.Intra-Area Moves . 268.Temporary Change of Station . 269.Reimbursement Procedures . 2710.Treatment of Relocation Allowances for Income Tax Purposes . 2811.Most Frequently Asked Questions . 30Appendices. 33Appendix A - PCS Support Documents and Forms. 35Exhibit 1 - Summary of Relocation Entitlements and Eligibility. 36Exhibit 2 – Employee Relocation Agreement for within the 48 Continental United States . 37NPS, Permanent Change of Station HandbookPage 5

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorExhibit 2A – Employee Relocation Agreement Outside of the 48 Continental United States. 38Exhibit 3 – Employee Transfer Questionnaire . 39Exhibit 4 – Shipment of Household Goods Questionnaire. 41Exhibit 5 – Advance of Funds Application and Account - Standard Form (SF) 1038. 43Exhibit 6 – Employee and Immediate Family Subsistence Expenses while OccupyingTemporary Quarters. 45Exhibit 7 – Cost Comparison for Shipping Household Goods - GSA Form 2485. 47Exhibit 8 – Application for Reimbursement of Expenses . 49Exhibit 9 – Travel Voucher SF-1012 . 51Exhibit 10 – Relocation Income Tax Allowance Certification . 53Exhibit 11 – Dual Career Move Election . 55Exhibit 12 – Temporary Quarters Subsistence Expense Agreement . 57Exhibit 13 – Travel-Related Taxable Income Summary Sheet (Memorandum) . 59Exhibit 13a – Schedule of Reimbursable Moving Expenses – Cover . 60Exhibit 13b – Schedule of Reimbursable Moving Expenses – Worksheet . 61Exhibit 13c – Permanent Change of Station Expenses Form . 62Appendix B. 63Exhibit 1 – Destination Area Services . 65Appendix C. 67Exhibit1 – Mobile Home Preparation Checklist. 69Appendix D . 71Exhibit 1 – GSA: Shipping Your Household Goods . 73Page 6NPS, Permanent Change of Station Handbook

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorYellowstone National Park, Wyoming; credit: NPS photoNPS, Permanent Change of Station HandbookPage 7

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National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorEmployee Relocation InformationEmployee Relocation ChecklistEmployee Relocation ChecklistIn connection with your move, we are enclosing the following documents to be checked off as applicable and/orcompleted:Employee Relocation Allowance AgreementEmployee Transfer QuestionnaireShipment of Household Goods QuestionnaireSF-1038/Advance of Funds Application and AccountSubsistence Expenses While Occupying Temporary QuartersGSA Form 1485/Cost Comparison for Shipping Household GoodsEmployee Application for Reimbursement of Expenses Incurred Upon Sale or Purchase(or Both) of Residence Upon Change of Official Station.SF-1012/Travel VoucherRelocation Income Tax Allowance CertificateBefore incurring any relocation expenses, the following documents must be completed and returned to the gainingRegional Office/Park: the Employee Relocation Allowance Agreement, the Employee Transfer Questionnaire andthe Shipment of Household Goods Questionnaire. If an advance of funds is desired, also submit the completedAdvance of Funds Application and Account. The travel authorization cannot be prepared until the gaining RegionalOffice/park receives these documents.The PCS Employee Handbook provides guidelines for completing and submitting the above forms. Do not incur anyrelocation expenses until you have received an approved written Travel Authorization (DI-1020) or other writtennotification. Costs incurred before the official travel authorization is prepared may result in your incurring extranon-reimbursable costs if the wrong method of moving household goods is selected or if other costs are incurredwhich are not authorized.This handbook provides guidance and information, but the final determination of relocationreimbursement/entitlement will be made based on the existing Federal Travel Regulations and NPS ResourceManual, Relocation Policies allowances are wide-scoped, complex, and subject to occasional change. They aredetailed in the Federal Travel Regulations. These regulations, together with the NPS Resource Manual, RelocationPolicies and amplifying decisions of the Comptroller General and/or the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, are theauthoritative sources for determining the allowable relocation expenses.Permanent Change of Station HandbookPage 9

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National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorEMPLOYEE RELOCATIONINFORMATION1.General InformationThe regulations covering reimbursement forexpenses incurred in a permanent change ofstation are contained in the Federal TravelRegulations, 41 CFR Chapter 302, and may befound at www.gsa.gov .DO NOT INCUR ANY RELOCATIONEXPENSES IN ANTICIPATION OFRELOCATION UNTIL WRITTENNOTIFICATION AND/OR AUTHORIZATIONOF TRANSFER HAVE BEEN RECEIVED.It is the responsibility of the gaining RegionalOffice or park to provide this handbook to theemployee. Once a selection is made, the gainingoffice should forward an SF-52, Request forPersonnel Action, to the Servicing PersonnelOffice.Employees who are moving to a new official dutystation may be authorized applicable relocationallowances when the move is in the interest of theFederal Government and not primarily for theconvenience or benefit of the employee.Allowances for moves within the same generallocal or metropolitan area generally will not beauthorized.A. The current federal employee or transferringemployee should complete the EmployeeRelocation Agreement with original signatures(Exhibit 2 or 2a); an Employee TransferQuestionnaire (Exhibit 3); Shipment ofHousehold Goods Questionnaire (Exhibit 4);SF-1038, and Application for Advance ofFunds (Exhibit 5). The employee should returnthese documents to the Regional Office orpark within five days of receiving this packet.The Travel Authorization (TA) cannot beprepared until these documents are received inthe Regional Office. Procurement officialsresponsible for arranging the shipment ofhousehold goods will then be able to providethe necessary data to GSA or a GSA servicePermanent Change of Station Handbookcontract for the subsequent preparation of abill of lading. The commuted rate may beauthorized where a savings of 100.00 ormore is attained between the estimated bill oflading costs and the commuted rate asdetermined on the cost comparison form.Always allow at least four weeks prior to thedesired shipping date.B. New hires or appointees may be authorizedsome limited relocation allowances. Newappointees include not only individuals whoare entering the Federal Government servicefor the first time, but also individualsappointed after a break in service.Allowable Expenses for New Appointees1. Transportation of household goods andpersonal effects.2. Temporary storage of household goods andpersonal effects not to exceed 90 days. Anadditional 90-day extension may be requested.3. Transportation of mobile homes, in lieu ofshipment or storage of household goods andpersonal effects.4. Extended storage of household goods ifappointed to an isolated location.5. Per diem allowance for the appointee only.6. Transportation costs for the family of theappointee.The following allowances are not allowable tonew appointees:1. Per diem for family2. Cost of house hunting trip3. Subsistence while occupying temporaryquarters4. Miscellaneous expense allowances5. Lease-breaking expenses6. Residence sale and purchase expensesThe new appointee should fill out the EmployeeRelocation Agreement in duplicate with originalsignatures (Exhibit 2 or 2a) - one to be retained bythe employee for his or her records; an EmployeeTransfer Questionnaire (Exhibit 3); Shipment ofPage 11

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorHousehold Goods Questionnaire (Exhibit 4); andthe Application for Advance of Funds, SF-1038(Exhibit 5) if an advance is needed. Thesedocuments must be returned to the gaining park orRegional Office before the travel authorization canbe prepared and arrangements made for theshipment of household goods.An official change of station involves some verycomplex questions of legality for a multitude ofproblems and situations. The purpose of thisdocument is not to address every possible problemor set of circumstances, but to briefly advise thetraveler on major issues. If there are any travelquestions that are not addressed in this document,please direct them to the park or regionaladministrative staff.2.Employee Relocation AgreementWhen an individual has been formally notified ofand has accepted the job offer, he or she must agreein writing to remain in government service fortwelve (12) months following the effective date oftransfer (Exhibits 2 or 2a). No transfer costs may beincurred before the agreement is signed.3.Employee QuestionnaireThe Employee Transfer Questionnaire (Exhibit 3)is to be completed, not only to facilitatepreparation of the travel authorization, but alsoto obligate funds for the move, as well as toissue an Advance of Funds when required. Theform must be completely filled out. Indicate “notapplicable” (N/A) where information requested isnot pertinent to your move. Incomplete informationwill delay your move.4.Travel AuthorizationThe employee should not incur any expenses untilhe or she has received the approved written travelauthorization or is officially advised that theauthorizationhasbeenapproved.Theauthorization will state the specific relocationallowances for which the employee is entitled.The gaining Regional Office or park will preparethe travel authorization. A copy of the followingPage 12documents must be sent to the AccountingOperations Center (AOC):1. Personnel Action (SF-50)2. Travel Authorization3. Employee Relocation Agreement4. Employee Transfer Questionnaire5. Shipment of Household Goods Questionnaire,6. Application for Advanced Funds, (ifapplicable, and )7. Either an updated Direct Deposit sign up form(SF-1199A) or a confirmation that existingvendor information is correct in the FederalFinancial System (FFS).A copy of these forms must be received priorto the issuance of an advance of funds orpayment of relocation claims.5.Advance of FundsThe government-issued charge card may be usedfor en route travel, advanced house hunting trip,and if authorized, for temporary quarters on apermanent change-of-station move. However, itshould be noted that the card has a predeterminedmonthly credit limit established for travel purposes;this limit is established in the individual’s chargecard user agreement. An advance of funds may berequested for the move.The amount of the travel advance on form SF-1038will be based on the expected entitlement of anemployee for reimbursement of the followingexpenses:1.2.3.4.5.En route mileage and per diem foremployee and members of theimmediate family to new officialstation.Advanced house hunting trip (if authorized)Temporary subsistence expenses.Transportation and temporary storage ofhousehold goods (when bill of lading is notused).Transportation of a mobile home (when a billof lading is not used).No advance of funds allowance may be obtained forthe following categories:NPS, Permanent Change of Station Handbook

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior1.2.3.4.Real estate transactions.Settlement of unexpired lease.Miscellaneous expense allowance.Shipment of household goods when shipped bybill of lading.If a travel advance is desired, an SF-1038,Application and Account for Advance of Funds(Exhibit 5) must be submitted to the AOC at leastthree weeks prior to incurring the costs to assurereceipt of the funds. The employee will typicallyreceive the advance within three business days, ifthe funds are transferred to the employee’s bank viaelectronic funds transfer (EFT). If a Treasury checkneeds to be issued, the employee will generallyreceive the funds within ten business days. Theamount of the travel advance authorized will bedependent upon whether the employee has agovernment issued charge card.Advances will be made in increments. The initialadvance may not exceed 80 % of authorized out ofpocket expenses for an advanced house huntingtrip, en route per diem and the first 30 days oftemporary quarters. Funds will be advanced forsubsequent 30-day periods, as authorized, with theemployee’s understanding that a travel voucher willbe forthcoming. In no instance will a thirdadvance request be issued, if the employee has notsubmitted a voucher for their en-route and first 30days of temporary subsistence expenses. Theemployee should understand that when an advanceis needed for a second and subsequent authorized30-day period(s), the request should be submittedin time to allow for processing, approval, andissuance of the funds. All subsequent requestsmust be submitted with an amended travelauthorization and letter of approval from theirauthorizing official, authorizing an extension oftemporary quarters.Please note that the travel advance represents aloan and as such must be adequately justified for aspecific travel purpose and must be repaid. Anyamounts outstanding, when no vouchers are filed,Permanent Change of Station Handbookfor more than 30 days are considered delinquentand will be subject to a salary offset.6.Allowable ExpensesA. Dual Career MovesWhere more than one member of the sameimmediate family is employed and transferred inthe interest of the Federal Government, each mayreceive separate relocation benefits. This isgenerally on the premise that both are beingtransferred to the same location but at differenttimes. The employee members have two options(Exhibit 11). They must elect either:1. Forboth members to be paid separaterelocation allowance; or2. For only one member to be paid separaterelocation allowances, in which case the otherswill be paid allowances as a member of theimmediate family.Non-employee members of the same immediatefamily (i.e., children) may not receive duplicateallowances when the employee members electseparate allowances; nor may the employee membersreceive duplicate payment for the same expenses.When separate relocation benefits are elected, eachemployee may be reimbursed temporary quarterssubsistence expenses based on his or her ownseparate entitlement for actual expenses incurred,including each employee’s claim for one-halftheir total lodging cost. Each also may be paid aseparate full mileage allowance for drivingseparately to the new station. However, only onemiscellaneous expense allowance is payable sinceonly one residence was disestablished andreestablished (Comp. Gen. B-255 824, May 23,1994) and only one household goods move isallowed as there is only one residence involved.B. Advance House Hunting TripAdvance house hunting trips apply only toemployees transferring from one federal agency toanother or within the same agency. An advancehouse hunting trip for the employee and spousetraveling together can be authorized whenPage 13

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interiorcircumstances indicate the need for such a trip.Under no circumstances should an advance househunting trip be authorized verbally. The round tripmust be accomplished prior to the employeereporting to his or her new official station. If theemployee is authorized an advance house huntingtrip, temporary quarters subsistence allowance shallnot exceed 30 days. The specified time limits aremaximum periods, and the normal length ofnecessary occupancy of temporary quarters isexpected to average much less. Temporaryquarters should only be used for as long asnecessary until the employee can move intopermanent residence quarters.Under extenuating circumstances only, extensionsof no more than 15 days may be requested, not toexceed (NTE) a total of 45 days of TQSE. All suchrequests must be made prior to the end of the first30-day period.An advance house hunting trip will not beauthorized under the following circumstances:1. When the employee has not yet formally agreedto transfer to the new duty station.2. When Federal Government or other prearrangedresidence quarters are assigned to the employeeat the new duty station.3. When either the old or new duty stations arelocated outside of the continental UnitedStates. However, travel by employee andspouse to seek residence quarters at the newduty station when the employee transferred toAlaska or Hawaii is allowed if authorized bythe agency.4. When the distance between the old and the newduty stations is less than 75 miles apart viausually traveled surface routes.5. When the trip is for any other purpose than toseek permanent quarters.The employee must submit to your region’sdelegated authority, or as authorized in yourregion’s Delegations of Authority, a memorandumPage 14indicating that a house hunting trip is desired for theemployee and spouse, employee only, or spouseonly; dates of travel; mode of transportationdesired; and that he or she is aware that theadvance house hunting trip is in lieu of temporaryquarters in excess of 30 days.Only the employee and/or spouse may travel on ahouse hunting trip at government expense.Dependents are not eligible for a house huntingtrip expense allowance. The employee and spouseare entitled to claim per diem not to exceed 10calendar days (including travel time) andtransportation costs in full. The maximum perdiem entitlement for the employee orunaccompanied spouse is the locality rate in effect,as prescribed by GSA, for the area where thehouse hunting trip is made. The maximum dailyper diem entitlement for an accompanied spouse is75% of the employee's rate.The employee and spouse may be offered a fixedamount per diem rate to make a house hunting tripfor a period not to exceed ten days. The purpose ofthe fixed rate reimbursement is to reduce theadministrative process expenses and theGovernment’s overall cost for relocating anemployee.If authorized, the employee may be offered analternative to be reimbursed a fixed amountwithout requiring receipts for house hunting tripsubsistence expenses instead of the per diemallowanceunderthelodgings-plusreimbursement method. The fixed amount willbe determined by whether one person or twopersons will perform the house hunting trip. Whenonly one person will perform a house hunting trip,the amount is determined by multiplying theapplicable locality per diem rate by 5. When boththe employee and the spouse perform a househunting trip, a single amount is determined bymultiplying the applicable locality rate by 6.25.However, if the employee and the spouse takeseparate trips, the first voucher will be limited to 5times the locality rate and the second voucher willbe limited to 1.25 times the locality rate. The fixedNPS, Permanent Change of Station Handbook

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interioramount option should not be offered withoutweighing the cost of each reimbursement option ona case-by-case basis.When the two alternatives are authorized, and theelection has been made for either the fixed amountor the per diem, the method of reimbursement maynot be changed once travel has commenced to eitherincrease or decrease the entitlement. Where theemployee and spouse take separate trips, onlyone method of reimbursement may be authorized.One cannot take the fixed amount while the othertakes the per diem under the lodgings-plusreimbursement method.Generally, the mode of transportation authorizedfor the house hunting trip should afford aminimum of travel time and a maximum amountof time at the new duty station. Usually, commoncarriers are the most effective means oftransportation.Use of a privately ownedautomobile (POV) should only be authorized whenconsidered advantageous to the FederalGovernment.Relocating employee should consult with the PCSCoordinator on whether a POV should beauthorized for a house hunting trip when thedriving distance between the old duty station andthe new duty station is more than 350 miles.Mileage reimbursement for the house hunting tripis based on the moving expense mileage rateestablished by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).IRS guidance is available on the internet atwww.irs.gov.Air travel arrangements should be made by thegaining office and must be procured at the coachclass. Payment should also be made by thegaining office on a corporate Government issuedcredit card. If the total cost of the ticket is lessthan 100, the employee should pay cash for theticket (s). Airline ticket receipt(s) are to besubmitted with the reimbursement voucher.When using common carrier transportation for thehouse hunting trip, a compact rental car may bePermanent Change of Station Handbookauthorized. Taxi fare reimbursement is limitedonly to transportation between the common carrierterminals and the residence at the old duty stationor place of lodging at the new duty station.Mileage reimbursement to the airport will be at thecurrent POV mileage rate in effect at the time ofthe trip.C. En Route Travel Expenses to New DutyStationTransportation and subsistence expenses will be paidfor a one-way trip for the employee and immediatefamily members from the old duty station to thenew duty station.1.Per Diem Allowance - Per diemallowance for a move is based on the standardCONUS rate as set by GSA. The accompanyingspouse is entitled to 75% of the employee’s rate.Each of the employee’s dependent children over12 years of age is entitled to 75% of theemployee’s rate. Each of the employee’sdependent children under 12 years of age isentitled to 50% of the employee’s rate. The spousemay be entitled to the same per diem rate as theemployee when the spouse does not accompanythe employee and separate travel has beenauthorized and approved on the travel authorization.However, if the spouse travels separately on thesame days and along the same general route, he orshe is entitled to three-fourths of the employee’srate. If travel is less than 24 hours where lodging isnot required, the rate is reduced.The standard CONUS rate does not apply for movesto Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, or the AmericanSamoa. Per diem rates for those locations are basedon the statutory rate established specifically forthose locations.No per diem allowance is payable for transferswhen en route travel time between the old and newduty station is 12 hours or less.If there is an interruption of travel for annualleave, the per diem will not exceed that whichwould have been incurred on an uninterruptedPage 15

National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interiortravel by the usually traveled short-line route.Leave should be arranged prior to departure fromthe old duty station. Per diem is not allowed for aday where no travel was made, even though thetotal trip may average to 350 miles per day.Immediate family is defined as a member ofemployee’s household, such as dependentparents, siblings, spouse, children, (includingstepchildren and adopted children), unmarried andunder 21 years of age, or physically or mentallyincapable of supporting themselves regardless ofage. When claiming dependent parents, siblings, orchildren over 21, legal documentation must beprovided to support that claim. Please note thatreceipts are required for all lodging and laundrycosts. Receipts are also required for any otherexpenses such as meals costing 75.00 or more.2.Transportation by Privately OwnedVehicle (POV) - The use of a POV fortransportation requires a minimum driving distanceof 350 miles per day. Annual leave is charged for alltravel time (exclusive of lieu days) in excess of thetime required for the trip based on continuoustravel averaging 350 miles per day. An exceptionto this requirement must be adequately justifiedwith an explanation of the circumstances and thevoucher must be approved by the officialauthorized to approve the transfer. The employeemust fully explain and justify any mileage claimedin excess of the short-line distance reflected in theStandard Highway Mileage Guide or MapQuestguide located at www.mapquest.com. An employeemay claim up to 10% in excess of the short-linemileage, if fully justified and odometer readings aresubmitted with the claim. An example of justifiede

card user agreement. An advance of funds may be requested for the move. The amount of the travel advance on form SF-1038 will be based on the expected entitlement of an employee for reimbursement of the following expenses: 1. En route mileage and per diem for employee and me