F-15, Travel and Relocation, August 1997.
• Updated with Postal Bulletin revisions through January 9, 2003 PDF
• Postal Bulletin revisions, FY-2010 travel per diem rates updates

Handbook F-15, Travel and Relocation (Postal Bulletin - 1/19/06)

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Use of Privately Owned Vehicles & Per Diem

2011 Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Mileage Reimbursement Rates

GSA has increased the mileage reimbursement rates for federal employees who use privately owned vehicles while on official travel. The rates for the use of these modes of transportation, effective January 1, 2011, are as follows:

Privately Owned Vehicle Reimbursement Rates:

- Airplane ..........             $1.29 per mile [
$1.29, no change]
- Automobile Rates...      0.51 cents per mile [0.505, change 1/2 cent]

- Motorcycle Privately Owned Rate ..... 0.48 cents per mile [$0.47, 0.01 cent change]

Also from GSA: * Airplane nautical miles (NMs) should be converted into statute miles (SMs) or regular miles when submitting a voucher using the formula (1 NM equals 1.15077945 SMs). You can also use the link to (a non-government website) to assist you in converting NMs to SMs or SMs to NMs.






Re: Use of Privately Owned Vehicles

The parties agree that the following represents the policy of the U.S. Postal Service and the American Postal Workers Union concerning the furnishing of privately owned vehicles (POV) by employees of the crafts represented by the APWU:


No craft employee represented by the APWU may be coerced into furnishing a vehicle or carrying passengers without the employee's consent. The use of a personal vehicle is the decision of the employee and it is not the intent of the parties to discourage such use of personal vehicles when transportation is needed from one postal facility to another or in the completion of the employee's assignment. When an employee begins his/her work day at one postal unit and is provided transportation to another unit to complete his/her tour of duty, that employee will be provided transportation back to the unit where his/her tour began if transportation is needed. If the employee ends tour at the new location the return trip will not be on the clock but transportation will be provided promptly by management upon request.

Date July 21, 1987

(The preceding Memorandum of Understanding, Use of Privately Owned Vehicles, applies to Transitional Employees.) 

note: The above Memorandum of Understanding also applies to City Carriers

From the Mail Handlers National Contract Agreement


Section 36.2 Travel, Subsistence and Transportation A The Employer shall continue the current travel, subsistence and transportation program.

B Employees will be paid a mileage allowance for the use of privately-owned automobiles for travel on official business when authorized by the Employer equal to the standard mileage rate
for use of a privately-owned automobile as authorized by the General Services Administration (GSA). Any change in the GSA standard mileage rate for use of a privately-owned automobile
will be put into effect by the Employer within sixty (60) days of the effective date of the GSA change.

Use of POV While Traveling


The issue in this case was whether the Postal Service violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement when it denied the grievant the right to use his vehicle to travel to Norman, Oklahoma, for a training class. 


In this case the Grievant had submitted a written request to four (4) Management officials that he be allowed to drive his personal vehicle to the training facility in Norman, OK. He cited as his reasons the following: “I am aware that an individual was allowed to drive to a detail in Texas.  Even though the Federal Government has taken over the security at the National airports I, still feel that the threat is very real and have no wish to put my life in harms way. Especially (sic) when I can drive and feel much safer for myself and give my family peace of mind.”


               The Postal Service denied the grievant’s request to use his POV by claiming in part that studies show that it is still much safer to travel by public air transportation than by personal vehicle. As you know, the Postal Service is responsible for your safety while you are traveling on official business. We believe it is much safer to fly to out-of-state training classes using a public air carrier than to drive our own personal vehicles. Therefore, your request to drive your personal vehicle is denied for that reason.  In addition to this action, the Postal Service terminated a local past practice that permitted employees to use their POVs for travel to off-site training.



               The arbitrator sustained the Union’s grievance by rejecting the Postal Service’s arbitrary application of the F-15 Handbook.  He found that the Postal Service’s “blanket policy” which prohibited the use of a POV for all employees to be arbitrary and order local management to rescind its policy.  The arbitrator’s ruling states in part:


Section 5-5.1 et seq. shows that the Postal Service, as a national organization that has installations and employees throughout the entire 48 contiguous states, Hawaii and Alaska, specifically allows for the option for an employee-traveler to receive approval to use his/her POV for official travel. Section 5-5.1.2 sets forth six (6) considerations that will be used by the approving official upon which to base his/her decision, however, the criteria need not be limited to those specified in the regulation. In this case, Plant Manager Tate added on his own authority a seventh criterion; i.e., that traveling by commercial air vice by ground vehicle was safer and therefore would be the default method of transportation. Mr. Tate strongly set forth an edict that he would not authorize employees to drive their vehicles to or from training classes in Oklahoma or other states and characterized the use of their POVs as a personal convenience. Mr. Tate cites vehicular accident statistics and costs related thereto in support of his cessation of approving the use of POVs by employees on official travel.


Mr. Tate’s concern for the safety of the employees who work in the P&DC Maintenance Operation may be laudable while at the same time is paternalistic and an abuse of managerial discretion in the manner that it has been used to deny employee requests to use their POV in official travel situations. First, it patently runs counter to the provisions of Handbook F-15, section 5-5.1.1, that states that an employee may receive approval to use his/her POV for personal convenience, provided the employee submits a cost comparison with the travel voucher and the cost comparison shows that the use of the POV was a method of transportation that was advantageous to the Postal Service. (Emphasis provided). Secondly, Arbitrator August, while denying the grievance cautioned Management that the policy was not to be a blanket denial for all such requests and that each employee’s request was to be handled on a case-by-case basis. It is clear that the approach taken by Mr. Tate, and executed by Mr. Norsworthy, is that if each case made a request to use the employee’s POV it would be disapproved because the request was contrary to the policy stated in Mr. Tate’s memorandum that he would henceforward disapprove all requests to use POVs. Such automatic disapproval cannot be said to constitute reviewing each employee’s request on a case-by-case basis. It does demonstrate an absolute approach contrary to the provisions of Handbook F-15. Thirdly, if the Postal Service as an organization believed that it was unsafe for employees to operate their POVs while traveling to alternate work sites such as the training facility in Norman, OK, used by employees from all over the country, the Postal Service would have included such a concern in its regulations. On the contrary, there is not a mention of road safety as a criteria or a consideration in any section of the Handbook F­15, despite the fact that the Postal Service has employees all over the country where traffic conditions can be quite difficult i.e., New York City, Washington, D.C. beltway, Seattle and its outlaying areas, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. or vast remote areas such as the deserts of California, Arizona, and New Mexico, the Salt Flats of Nevada, etc. In contrast; the drive from Baton Rouge to Oklahoma City may represent one of the least-trafficked thoroughfares as well as be accessible by well-built federal highways on the entire drive. Mr. Tate’s concern for road safety would have bad plausible validity had it been pertinent to the conditions of the Baton Rouge-Oklahoma City corridor and cited the vehicular accidents/fatalities/injuries/costs involved therein. Taking a broad sweep of the entire country when the area of Mr. Tate’s concern is so placid in comparison is not persuasive enough to construct a reasonable basis to automatically deny every employee’s request to use his POV for official travel. Moreover, the reliance on vehicular safety is overstated by Mr. Tate. The same source of his safety information, the NSC, also has sobering statistics about deaths and injuries in the workplace, where Mr. Tate has more control over the environment.  Additionally, the NSC cited specific problem areas related to vehicular accidents, none of which particularly applied to the Grievant.


In view of the foregoing, the October 27, 2000, policy and that the manner in which it is being used is an abuse of managerial discretion, resulting in arbitrary and capricious action. Lastly, the safety concern advocated by the Mr. Tate was obviated when be approved the use of a POV for Mr. Sihto. A safety concern is generally held to be a constant factor; not one that can be abandoned because the cost of a rental ca at the alternate work site would be greater than allowing the employee to use his POV.  If it was not safe for the Grievant to be on the road to drive from Baton Rouge to Norman, OK, it was no safer for Mr. Sthto to drive from Baton Rouge to Beaumont, Texas.