7/29/08: NTEU National President Colleen Kelley this week welcomed overdue action by the General Services Administration (GSA) to raise the mileage reimbursement rate to 58.5 cents per mile for federal employees using their personal vehicles on government business. At the same time, she expressed her clear disappointment that the increase is not retroactive to July 1, as NTEU had urged, and stated that the IRS rate should be even higher. GSA raised the rate effective Aug. 1.
Earlier, the Internal Revenue Service increased the rate allowable as a business deduction for business travel to 58.5 cents per mile, effective July 1. At that time, Kelley immediately called on GSA to follow the IRS in raising the rate for federal workers, and to make the increase effective on the same date as the IRS. GSA sets the rate for federal employees, and cannot exceed that established by the IRS.
“This action by GSA will provide some modest help for federal employees who regularly drive in the course of their work. However, it would have been more helpful for these dedicated public servants to have made the increase retroactive to July 1,” said President Kelley.
NTEU continues to press for approval of pending legislation in the House and Senate that would boost the reimbursement rate for federal employees to 70 cents per mile. Additionally, NTEU is supporting efforts that would make any future adjustments for federal employees automatically match the IRS rate, eliminating any need for GSA to act.
“Federal employees should not have to pay out of pocket to do their jobs. The reimbursement rate should adequately reflect workers’ costs so they do not have to subsidize the federal government,” said President Kelley.
Thousands of NTEU-represented employees routinely drive their personal vehicles on government business. Among many other agencies and occupations these include examiners at the SEC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Credit Union Administration. Many of these employees log tens of thousands of miles each year in the course of their duties.