Travel Update 15-02

TO: Agency Travel Coordinators
FROM: Simone McNeil, Chairman
DATE: November 21, 2014
SUBJECT: Commuting Mileage Deductions by AFSCME Council 31-Represented Employees

The purpose of this Travel Update is to make you aware of an important arbitrator ruling impacting the application of Section 2800.235 of the administrative (JCAR) rules. As set forth in Travel Update 14-06, Section 2800.235 was amended, effective July 1, 2014, to provide that employees seeking mileage reimbursement must deduct their ordinary commuting mileage, regardless of whether or not they traveled through headquarters. However, an arbitrator ruled last week that, because AFSCME Council 31 was not given notice of the rule change in the manner required under the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the State must suspend enforcement of the amendment to Section 2800.235 as it applies to employees represented by that union. The arbitrator’s ruling also requires that the State “[make whole those [AFSCME Council 31-represented employees] who have not received reimbursement for commuting mileage under circumstances where it would have been granted prior to the amendment of Section 2800.235.”

The effect of the arbitrator’s ruling is twofold.

First, effective immediately, all AFSCME Council 31-represented employees are exempt from the requirement that they deduct their ordinary commuting mileage from otherwise reimbursable mileage for days that they did not travel through headquarters. (To be clear, under the prior version of Section 2800.235, employees were required to deduct commuting mileage for days that they did travel through headquarters. That requirement still applies unless the employee is otherwise excepted from doing so.) Moving forward, any AFSCME Council 31-represented employee seeking mileage reimbursement for days when he or she did not travel through headquarters should clearly indicate on all relevant travel vouchers that he or she is represented by AFSCME Council 31.

Second, any employee represented by AFSCME Council 31 who submitted one or more travel vouchers covering travel on or after July 1, 2014 on which commuting mileage that would have been reimbursable prior to the amendment of Section 2800.235 was deducted, may now seek reimbursement for such additional mileage by:

  1. submitting a new travel voucher seeking reimbursement for the previously deducted mileage and indicating clearly that the employee is represented by AFSCME Council 31, and
  2. attaching to the new voucher any previously submitted travel voucher(s) on which he or she had deducted commuting mileage that would have been reimbursable under the old rule.

We emphasize that the arbitrator’s ruling applies only to employees who are represented by AFSCME Council 31.

As the appointed Travel Coordinator for your agency, it is your responsibility to disseminate this information to all appropriate personnel within your agency. If you have questions, please contact Kelley Wells, State Travel Coordinator at (217) 782-4705 or by email at Kelley.Wells@illinois.gov.

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