Carnegie Mellon University

Meal FAQs

You can include the group meal on the expense report using the "Meals Self/Others" object code.  You will need to deduct the meal from your per diem allowance based on the GSA rate for the applicable meal.  For example, if you are requesting reimbursement for a group dinner, you will need to subtract the dinner amount of the per diem rate for that day.  The per diem rates utilized should be in compliance with the GSA website.

See the Travel Per Diem Options - For Employees Only section of the Business and Travel Expense Policy for additional information.

Yes, if the conference occurs during a regular mealtime, an individual can be reimbursed for the cost of that meal and appropriate budget is in place.

See the Business Meals and Meetings When Not Travelling section of the Business and Travel Expense Policy for additional information.

The per diem rate of the destination should be used for first and last days of travel.
Example: if you are traveling from Pittsburgh to Chicago for a meeting, you would use Chicago's per diem meal rate on the travel days.

See the Travel Per Diem Options - For Employees Only section of the Business and Travel Expense Policy for additional information.

The GSA website provides a chart showing the breakdown of the per diem rate at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/101518).   Although not required, the last line of this chart provides a discounted rate that may be used on the first and last days of travel. 

Per diem calculations for the first and last day of travel must take into account departure and arrival times and must be prorated accordingly if the first and/or last business day of travel does not encompass at least 7.5 hours of travel and/or work time in the aggregate.  This should be clearly documented in the business justification, and the traveler's arrival and departure times should be noted.   Please note that an employee's regularly scheduled office hours do not count towards the per diem calculation.  For example, if an employee is in the office for their usual day of work, then travels in the evening following work, they are not eligible to receive a full day of per diem meals.  

Additionally, the university's meal and incidental expense per diem should be reduced to account for meals furnished at no cost to the employee. For example, if meal costs are provided in the cost of a conference, airfare or hotel, those meals should be deducted from the daily per-diem rate as defined on the GSA website.  

The GSA website has a table that shows the breakdown of breakfast, lunch and dinner components of the maximum daily per diem while on travel.

See the Travel Per Diem Options - For Employees Only section of the Business and Travel Expense Policy for additional information.

The international per diem rates.

See the Travel Per Diem Options - For Employees Only section of the Business and Travel Expense Policy for additional information.
No, IRS regulations do not allow for payment of per diem meal expenses incurred by employees who are not traveling away from home (e.g., their travel does not require an overnight stay). However, meal actuals can be charged for one day travel if the department approves.