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Business Procedures Manual

4.4 Per Diem Allowance for Meals

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4.4.1 Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel Within Georgia

Modified: August 27, 2014

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. For overnight trips, travelers will receive 75% of allowable per diem on day of departure and return. For example on your first day of travel an employee has meals that consist of breakfast/lunch/dinner then the per diem allowance will be ($28.00 x 75%) = $21.00 Employees will no longer be reimbursed at a 100% per diem for the first and last day of travel. Meal per diem was amended for Non-Overnight travel to remove the 75% reimbursement restriction. When eligibility requirements are met, an employee may receive 100% of the per diem for single day travel: Employees on State business who travel more than 50 miles from their Residence and Primary Work Station on a work assignment, AND are away for more than twelve (12) hours, may receive the total day’s per diem rate, even when there is no overnight lodging. The per diem allowance must, however, be adjusted for any meals provided to the traveler. Georgia has adopted GSA rates for out of state travel, including $5 incidentals. The in-state per diem rates do not include incidental expenses.

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

Number of Meals Reimbursed Meals Reimbursed Maximum Allowable Expense
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.

Note 2: Meal limits apply to employees traveling to high-cost areas within Georgia, as defined in Section 4.1.8 are shown in Section 4.4.2.

Note 3: Employees may only receive per diem for meals occurring while officially on travel status.

Day of Departure and Return

Travelers are eligible for 75 percent of the total per diem rate on the first and last day of travel and on single day trips where continuous travel is equal to or greater than 12 hours. For example, if the per diem rate allows a $28 total reimbursement, $21.00 [($28 x .75) = $21] would be allowable on a travel departure or return day.

For trips involving multiple travel destinations, base the reduction on the per diem in effect for where the night was spent as follows:

  • Departure Day: Where you spend the night.
  • Return Day: Where you spent the night before returning to home base.

When meals are provided at no cost in conjunction with travel events on a travel departure or return day, the full meals per diem reimbursement rate is reduced by the full amount of the appropriate meals after the 75% proration. For example, if the per diem allows a $28 total reimbursement, and lunch was provided at no cost on a travel departure or return day, the total allowable reimbursement for that day would be $14 [($28 x .75) - $7 lunch = $14)].

Meal Per Diem During Non-Overnight Travel

Employees on State business who travel more than 50 miles from home or headquarters on a work assignment, and are away for more than twelve (12) hours may receive 100% of the total day’s per diem rate, even when there is no overnight lodging. Each Agency Head or their designees are to determine the reasonableness of when an overnight stay is justified.

Meals included in Conference Registrations, etc.

If any meal is included as a part of the cost of a conference registration, etc., such meal 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; $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. 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.


4.4.2 Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel Within High-Cost Areas in GA

Modified: August 27, 2014

Employees are considered to be traveling in high-cost areas of Georgia when their official responsibilities must be performed at a location designated as a high-cost area, as defined in Section 4.1.8. When working and lodging in the designated high-cost areas, the following meal limits apply:

Number of Meals Reimbursed Meals Reimbursed Maximum Allowable Expense
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.

Note 2: Employees who are not working and lodging in a designated high-cost area are not eligible for reimbursement under “high-cost” per diem guidelines.


4.4.3 Per Diem Allowance for Meals Associated with Overnight Travel Outside Georgia

Modified: August 27, 2014

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 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.

The federal per diem rates and meal amounts applicable to travel outside of Georgia can be found at: *

  • Federal per diem rates for locations within the continental United States: http://www.gsa.gov/perdiem
  • Breakdown by meal for federal per diem amounts: http://www.gsa.gov/mie
  • Federal per diem rates for foreign travel: http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp
  • Breakdown by meal for foreign per diem amounts: http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=114&menu_id=81
  • Federal per diem rates for Alaska, Hawaii, and US territories and possessions: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/perdiemrates.html
* Note: Use of federal per diem rates for an out-of-state location not defined in the PeopleSoft Financials software requires prior written approval by the institution.

4.4.4 Per Diem Allowance for Meals Not Associated with Overnight Travel

Modified: August 27, 2014

Employees traveling for their job who do not stay overnight may be reimbursed for meal expenses under the following situations.

  1. Employees acting as an official representative for their 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 the 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. Employees may be reimbursed for noon meals that are part of a required registration fee that is paid by the employee.

    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.

  3. Employees on state business who travel more than fifty (50) miles from home or headquarters on a work assignment, and are away for more than twelve (12) hours, may receive per diem for the noon meal, even when there is no overnight lodging. In addition to the noon meal, employees who depart prior to 6:30 a.m. are entitled to per diem for breakfast, and employees who return later than 7:30 p.m. are entitled to per diem for dinner. Employees must meet the eligibility requirements outlined above for per diem related to the noon meal before per diem for breakfast and/or dinner will be considered.

Employees who are reimbursed for any of these circumstances are still expected to remain within the authorized meal limits.


4.4.5 Meal Expenses Incurred While Taking Leave

Modified: August 27, 2014

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


4.1.20 Travel Expenses

Modified: August 27, 2014

TRAVEL EXPENSES means meal, lodging, mileage, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.


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