Georgia Perimeter College Business Procedures Manual

Per Diem Allowance for Meals

Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel Within Georgia (General Rules)

Employees traveling overnight may be paid a per diem amount designed to cover the cost of meals (including taxes and tips), based on the number of meals per day for which the employee is eligible.  

The daily meal limits shown below may be considered as a single daily total:  

Number of Meals Reimbursed

Meals Reimbursed

Maximum Allowable Expense (1)

3 meals per day

breakfast/lunch/dinner

$28.00

2 meals per day

breakfast/lunch

$13.00

 

breakfast/dinner

$21.00

 

lunch/dinner

$22.00

1 meal per day

breakfast

$ 6.00

 

lunch

$ 7.00

 

dinner

$15.00

Note 1: Taxes and tips are allowable expenses. However, they should be included in the total expense for the meal.

Employees may only receive per diem for meals occurring while officially on travel status.  

Employees traveling overnight generally are eligible for per diem amounts designed to cover the cost of three (3) meals per day for all days on travel status other than day of departure and the day of return.

(For example, if an employee departs at 3:00 p.m., the employee should not claim breakfast or lunch expenses for the day of departure.)  Employees may be reimbursed for meal expenses incurred within the 50-mile radius, provided the travel destination is more than 50 miles.

There are specific instances, however, in which an employee may be eligible for the three (3) meal per diem rate on departure/return days, as noted below:

Day of Departure

  1. If an employee departs on an overnight trip prior to 6:30 am, the employee is eligible for per diem for breakfast on the day of departure, along with being eligible for lunch and dinner per diem on that day.

  2. If an employee departs on an overnight trip prior to 11:00 am, the employee is eligible for per diem for lunch on the day of departure, along with being eligible for per diem for dinner on that day.

  3. If an employee departs on an overnight trip prior to 5:30 pm, the employee is eligible for per diem for dinner on the day of departure.

 Day of Return  

  1. If an employee returns from an overnight trip after 6:30 am, the employee is eligible for per diem for breakfast on the day of return.

  2. If an employee returns from an overnight trip after 1:30 pm, the employee is eligible for per diem for lunch on the day of return. 

  3. If an employee returns from an overnight trip after 7:30 pm, the employee is eligible for per diem for dinner on the day of return.

Meals included in Conference Registrations, etc.

If any meal is included as a part of the cost of a conference registration, etc., such meal(s) should not be considered eligible in the calculation of per diem and an employee may not receive per diem for the normally eligible number of meals. For example, if conference registration includes breakfast and lunch, the employee will only receive per diem for the dinner meal ($15 or $20 for high cost areas).  Because most conferences, etc., accommodate a variety of dietary needs/restrictions, employees are expected to participate in such meals.

In rare circumstances, an employee may be unable to participate in a conference meal. In such a case, the employee may request the per diem amount associated with the meal purchased in lieu of that provided. If requesting such reimbursement, a receipt documenting the meal purchase must be attached to the travel expense statement, and a justification for the meal purchase must be indicated on the statement. 


Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel within High-Cost Areas in Georgia
 

In some areas of Georgia, employees may experience high costs that cause the employee to exceed the general meal limits. In recognition of this fact, certain areas, as defined in the Glossary, have been designated “high-cost areas.” As is true with the general meal limits, the daily meal limits for high cost areas may be considered as a single daily total. When working and spending the night in lodging in the designated high-cost areas, the following meal limits apply: 

Number of Meals Reimbursed

Meals Reimbursed

Maximum Allowable Expense (1)

3 meals per day

breakfast/lunch/dinner

$36.00

2 meals per day

breakfast/lunch

$16.00

 

breakfast/dinner

$27.00

 

lunch/dinner

$29.00

1 meal per day

Breakfast

$ 7.00

 

Lunch

$ 9.00

 

Dinner

$20.00

 Note: (1) Taxes and tips are allowable expenses. However, they should be included in the total expense for the meal.

Employees are considered traveling in high-cost areas of Georgia when their official responsibilities must be performed at a location in the high-cost area.  Employees who are not both working and spending the night in lodging in a designated high-cost area are subject to the general meal limits. 


Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel Outside Georgia
 

Employees are considered traveling outside Georgia when their official responsibilities must be performed at an out-of-state location.  

Note: Employees who are working in Georgia but spending the night in lodging in another state are not traveling outside Georgia. Travel to points just beyond the state border necessary for the accomplishment of in-state business shall not be construed as out-of-state travel for the purpose of these regulations.  

Employees traveling outside of Georgia should make every effort to remain within the meal limits prescribed in these travel regulations. However, employees may experience some high- cost areas that cause the employee to exceed the authorized meal expenses. 

Employees traveling outside of Georgia may receive meal per diem amounts up to the federal per diem rates, at the discretion of the approving official.  

Note: These meal per diem amounts will not include the $3 federal “incidentals” allowance. Reimbursement of such incidental expenses is covered in the section “Reimbursement Procedures.” 

The federal per diem rates and meal amounts are located at the following Internet addresses:

Per diem rates associated with travel to high-cost, out-of-state areas should be approved by the approving official prior to the trip, in order that the employee might plan meals accordingly.


Per Diem Allowance for Meals Not Associated with Overnight Travel

Employees who are required to travel for their jobs and do not stay overnight may be reimbursed for certain meal expenses under the following situations.

  1. An employee acting as an official representative for his/her department may receive per diem for meals that are an integral part of a scheduled, official meeting. Per diem is only authorized, however, if the meeting is with persons outside an employee’s department and if the meeting continues during the meal. Employees are not authorized to receive this per diem if they leave the premises of the meeting site.

  2. An employee may be reimbursed for lunch if the meal is part of a required registration fee that is paid by the employee.

  3. An employee on college business who travels more than fifty (50) miles from his/her home campus or place of residence on a work assignment, and is away for more then thirteen (13) hours, may receive per diem for lunch, even when there is no overnight lodging.  In addition to lunch:

  • An employee who departs prior to 6:30 a.m. is entitled to per diem for breakfast,

  • An employee who returns later than 7:30 p.m. is entitled to per diem for dinner

Note: Statewide Travel Regulations do not authorize employees to receive a per diem-based reimbursement for meals purchased during a “lunch meeting” in which the meal and the meeting are one and the same.  The registration fee serves as the basis for reimbursement, not the per diem allowance. 

An employee must meet the eligibility requirements outlined above for per diem related to lunch before per diem for breakfast and/or dinner will be considered.

Employees who are reimbursed for any of these circumstances still are expected to remain within the authorized meal limits.  Expenses which exceed the authorized amounts should be explained on the Travel Expense Statement. Individuals responsible for approving travel expenses should review these explanations to determine whether the costs are justified and allowable.

Note: Statewide travel regulations do not authorize employees to be reimbursed for meals purchased during a “lunch meeting” in which the meal and the meeting are one and the same.


Meal Expenses Incurred While Taking Leave

Employees who take annual leave while on travel status may not be reimbursed for meal expenses incurred during the period of leave.


Required Documentation of Meal Expenses

Receipts for meals are not required, except as discussed in the section Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel within Georgia.” Times of departure (for the day of departure) and return (for the day of return) should be noted on the employee’s Travel Expense Statement to substantiate meals eligible for payment of per diem. All meals included as a part of conference registration fees, etc., should be noted on travel form. Meal expenses incurred that exceed the authorized per diem amounts due to travel in high-cost areas or out-of-state should be itemized separately and explained on the Travel Expense Statement, and are eligible for reimbursement as determined by the approving official. Individuals responsible for approving travel expenses should review these explanations to determine whether the higher meal costs are justified and allowable.