The General Services Administration published the second phase of 'plain language' revisions to federal travel regulations in the Federal Register Tuesday. GSA is rewriting its travel regulations to make them easier to use and understand by translating the rules from bureaucratese into plain English. Under the new format, rules are presented as questions and answers. GSA is rewriting the rules chapter by chapter. The first phase of the translation project was published in 1997. It includes three chapters, one on how to use the Federal Travel Regulation, a second on short-term, or "temporary duty" (TDY) travel and a third on death benefits. The second phase, which includes only one chapter, focuses on relocation allowances and clarifies such things as who is eligible for relocation expense allowances, whether employees can relocate to new official duty stations before they have a written travel authorization, and when to authorize reimbursement for relocation expenses In plain language, new appointees and employees transferred to an office more than 50 miles from their current work station are eligible for relocation expenses, employees must have the written travel authorization before they relocate to their new official duty station, and authorization for relocation reimbursement can only be given if the move is in the best interest of the government, the employee has signed a service agreement and the move is due to a change in work station. A third phase of the translation process is expected to be finished in the next year or so, according to GSA, and will cover the last chapter of the Federal Travel Regulation on accepting payments from non-federal sources. The new, easier-to-read version of the regulations can be accessed on GSA's Web site.
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