Frequently Asked Questions Regarding
Reimbursement of a Meal
without Overnight Travel as Authorized by K.A.R.
Q. Can an agency pay for an employee's lunch every day provided one of the qualifying conditions
A. No. The intent of the regulation is to reimburse for meals on an infrequent
basis when official duties require that the employee's regularly scheduled work
day be extended three hours or more.
Q. What is the employee's regularly scheduled workday?
A. The regularly scheduled workday is the time the employee is
scheduled to work on a given day, and assumes a meal break of ½ - 1 hour. For
many employees, the regularly scheduled workday is 8 - 5, with 1 hour for
Q. How do agencies determine which meal to allow for
reimbursement - Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?
A. Any meal purchased during the travel period would qualify.
Example: Employee leaves at 6:30 AM and returns
at 6:30 PM. Employee's regularly scheduled workday is 8 - 5. At the agency head's
discretion, this employee could be reimbursed the allowance for breakfast, lunch,
Q. An employee reports to work at 5:00 a.m. and travels to a
point where official business is conducted which is over 30 miles from the
official station. The employee returns to the office around noon, and remains in
the office until 5:00 p.m. The employee's regularly scheduled workday is 8 a.m.
- 5 p.m. Is this employee entitled to meal reimbursement?
A. Yes. Any day that extends the employee's work time three hours
or more and includes travel over 30 miles is eligible. In this situation, if the
employee's normal lunch break begins at noon or later, breakfast would appear to
be the reimbursable meal.
Q. Is there a requirement that the additional time be all at
the beginning or all at the end of the workday?
A. No. An employee's workday must be extended by at least 3
hours to qualify for the meal reimbursement at the discretion of the agency
head. If the additional time is all at the beginning of the day, then breakfast
or lunch reimbursement seem to be reasonable. Likewise, if the additional time
is at the end of the workday, then dinner reimbursement seems to be reasonable,
or possibly lunch depending on the departure time.
Q. Can the Agency Head decision to allow meal reimbursement be
applied on a "case by case" basis, or does it have to be an
agency-wide policy that must apply in all cases?
A. Either method is acceptable and should be stated in your
internal travel policies.
Q. If an employee normally works 8 - 5, and changes his
regularly scheduled workday to 12:30 PM - 10:00 PM for one day to accommodate
a work assignment at a different location, will the change in work schedule
qualify the person for meal reimbursement under the provisions of this
A. By adjusting the workday as described,
the employee has not exceeded his workday by 3 hours or more. Therefore, the
employee is not entitled to payment for a meal.
Q. If a staff member travels
from Topeka to Salina to make presentations but does not work more than 8 hours,
can the employee be reimbursed for lunch?
A. This may qualify under item number 2
in Informational Circular No. 02-A-009 which states: "when an employee is
required to attend a conference or a meeting as an official guest or
participant, and a meal is served during the required attendance time. "
The employee could be reimbursed if a meal was served at the presentation,
and the employee was required to pay for it. However, no reimbursement is
allowed when a meal is provided at no cost to the employee.
Q. If a board
member lives more than 30 miles away from the location of a board meeting (the
official station is the member's home) and the travel extends more than three
hours over the normal workday, is the board member entitled to meal
A. As long as the normal work schedule (as determined by the agency
head) is exceeded by 3 hours, and the meeting is 30 miles or more from the board
member's home, it is at the agency head's discretion whether to reimburse for
a meal or not. It seems reasonable to include driving time in the calculation of
the normal workday since the board member is returning to the official station
from the point of business that particular day.
Q. If a board meeting is conducted on Saturday, and the board and
staff members required to attend pay a fee to have food brought in at noon, is
anyone eligible for meal reimbursement?
A. Only those board members living 30 miles or more from the meeting location would
be eligible for meal reimbursement at the agency head's discretion. The requirement
that the employee's workday be extended by three hours or more does not apply in this
situation. Meals received at no cost to Board Members cannot be reimbursed.
Staff members attending the meeting would be eligible for meal reimbursement
ONLY if the meeting were held more than 30 miles from their official station.
Q. A group of employees are required to attend a quarterly meeting at a central
location to all attending which lasts from about 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The
meeting is held in the conference room of a motel. At the meeting they are
served a "working lunch" in order not to lose any meeting time. Under
condition number 2 (as stated in Informational Circular 02-A-009) can the
employees be reimbursed for this lunch on the day of the meeting?
A. Provided that the point where the official business is conducted (the meeting
location) is more than 30 miles from the particular employee's official
station, the employees would qualify for the meal (at the discretion of the
agency head) based on provision number 2. Since some employee's may be stationed
within 30 miles of the meeting location, it is possible that all employees may
not qualify for meal reimbursement.
Q. Do these meal reimbursement provisions apply to regular part-time employees?
If so, are there any special rules to follow?
A. Although it was not within the
original intent of the amendments to the statutes and regulations to allow
part-time employees to claim meal reimbursement when not travelling overnight,
there is nothing to prohibit an agency head from making the decision to allow
reimbursement. Part-time employees are subject to the same restrictions as other
employees, but as long as the travel is over 30 miles from the official station,
and the employee's regular work schedule is extended by three hours or more,
one meal may be paid at the agency head's discretion.
Example: The employee's regular work schedule is 8 -
noon each day. The employee is asked to travel with a group (to a location over 30
miles away) and work 8 - 5 on a particular day. Since the employee is working 8 hours
that day, and this exceeds their normal work schedule by three hours, the employee could
be paid for one meal at the agency head's discretion (probably lunch). However, any
other full time staff (assuming their normal work schedule is 8 - 4:30) traveling with
this employee would not be eligible for meal reimbursement since the normal work schedule
was not extended by three or more hours.
Q. If an employee is regularly scheduled to work twelve hour days, would the
employee ever be eligible for meal reimbursement?
A. Yes, but only if the work day was extended to 15 or more hours. The employee
must meet the criteria "three hours or more beyond the employee's regularly
Q. When an employee is in overnight travel status they are
not eligible for meal allowance for the quarter in which they return. Can
they claim a meal for that quarter under this provision?
A. No. The provisions for reimbursement of a meal without
overnight travel do not apply in this situation since the traveler remains in
overnight travel status until their return to their domicile or official
Q. Employees are attending a conference from 7AM-10PM more
than 30 miles from their station. During this time period, they are
furnished a dinner free of charge. However, lunch was not provided.
Can they claim lunch under the same-day meal provisions?
A. Yes, the reimbursement for one meal per day is optional, at
the discretion of the agency head or designee. However, if the agency paid the
employee's conference registration, one meal has already been paid for that day,
and the intent of the regulation is to pay for one meal per day.