A first reading of a proposed revised mileage policy (including regulations) was presented to the Central Rivers AEA Board of Directors at their May meeting. The policy will be considered for action in June. The rationale for adjusting the policy was to ensure compliance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations as well as improve and maximize our use of limited agency resources.
The current board policy was somewhat unstructured and resulted in annual costs that were significantly higher than comparable AEAs. The agency needed to make changes but also wanted to ensure that any changes were reasonable and fair to our staff. To that end, the Business and Human Resources departments worked with a mileage committee comprised of various staff members to help improve upon our thoughts/proposal.
The amended policy is a more fiscally responsible policy that better addresses some of the issues that we had previously. However, we do know that the revised policy will have a negative impact on some of our staff who were able to correctly apply the previous policy to their benefit.
Here’s how the new policy is different from our previous policy: For most staff, the old policy asked you to designate a permanent starting point for all of your professional mileage (e.g. the Cedar Falls Office). You started your professional mileage from that point even if you did not actually start from that location each day. For those that live close to their “starting point”, this allowed them to claim professional mileage with nearly no commute miles deducted. It wasn’t truly an accurate picture of the day’s professional travel.
The new policy dictates that the first point you travel to for work (from your home) is your commute. If that point is under 30 miles, those miles will not be considered reimbursable. Anything over 30 miles will be. The policy is based on an expectation that your drive from home to work is your commute and should not be a reimbursable expense for the majority of staff. Having a daily commute of 30 miles to and from work is in line with national averages, and is regarded as a reasonable expectation. If your first starting point is over 30 miles, those miles beyond the first 30 will be reimbursed at an “excess commute” rate of $.45 per mile.
From the organizational standpoint, paying for commute miles is not a standard practice that you would find in the large majority of public or private entities, and it needed to be adjusted. In many cases, the closer you lived to an office the greater your reimbursement. This was deemed to be unreasonable. Therefore, this practice has been discontinued. While the main intention of the corrected policy was not merely to save funds, it is realistic that it will provide cost savings to the agency. It is our intent that any savings will be applied to increasing FTEs and improving salaries and benefits for our staff.
The agency will continue to reimburse all intraday business mileage.
The above text is a brief introduction to the policy, additional information can be found below. Time will be devoted to the discipline meetings in May for further review of the new policy and procedures including time for questions. For those staff members not involved in discipline meetings, please see your supervisor for clarification. If you have any questions, please contact Sbrown@centralriversaea.org in the Business Office. We will be using your questions to create an FAQ.
Additional Resource: Mileage Policy PowerPoint Slides