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National Restaurant Association - Federal government to keep per-diem rates at 2012 levels

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Federal government to keep per-diem rates at 2012 levels

The federal government is keeping per-diem travel rates for its employees at 2012 levels for fiscal year 2013, the General Services Administration has announced.

The GSA had suggested earlier this year that it was considering a new formula for reimbursing federal employees for lodging, meal and incidental expenses that would have dropped some hotel reimbursement rates by as much as 30 percent.

By keeping levels frozen at 2012 rates, the agency appears not to be moving ahead with the new formula -- for now, at least.

A broad tourism-industry coalition led by the U.S. Travel Association made the case that reducing hotel reimbursement rates would add to the government's total travel costs by shifting hotel stays further from meeting locations. U.S. Travel also estimated the change could cost the lodging industry $885 million in annual revenue and thousands of jobs.

The GSA's standard reimbursement rate for hotel rooms is $77 per day and roughly $46 for meals. However, reimbursement rates are higher for travel to many cities, based on the average room price for mid-priced hotels and restaurants.

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