Relocation Pay Changes

Federal employees who are relocated on temporary assignments can prevent headaches for themselves and save money for their agencies under new pay and expense options issued by the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management.

IRS auditors, Department of Energy inspectors and Justice Department attorneys are among the many federal employees who are assigned to temporary duty away from home for extended periods of time. Under old regulations, agencies had two options when sending employees on temporary assignments of six to 30 months:

  • Designate the temporary workplace as the employee's permanent station and pay the employee for all the costs of relocating. The employee would have to completely move out of his or her permanent residence and into a new one at the temporary workplace--and then repeat the process when moving back to the permanent station.
  • Consider the temporary assignment a long-term business trip and pay the employee a per diem. This option is costly for agencies. If an employee received per diems of $60 every day for a year, the agency would dish out more than $20,000, in addition to the employee's normal salary. The employee would also get hit--after a year, he or she would be required to pay income tax on the per diem allowance.

The new options allow an agency to pay an employee for limited relocation costs--including house-hunting trips, transporting belongings and in some cases the transportation of the employee's car. The agency may also pay for property management services if the employee wants to keep his or her permanent residence. When the employee returns to the permanent station, the agency pays for the return home.

Agencies can also pay an employee the locality pay of the temporary assignment's area while the employee is stationed there and then return the employee to his or her normal pay rate upon returning home. So an employee from Huntsville, Ala., on temporary assignment in Washington, D.C. would receive the higher locality pay of the D.C. area while stationed there. Conversely, an employee from Washington on temporary assignment in Huntsville would receive its lower locality pay while there.

The new options stem from travel reinvention proposals drafted by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program, which were enacted into law as part of the Federal Employee Travel Reform Act of 1996. Another piece of legislation currently under consideration, H.R. 930, would reimburse federal employees for taxes incurred on per diem allowances.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.