Federal Employees Can Now Expense Sharing Economy Purchases

Earlier this month, President Trump signed a law expanding the acceptance of sharing economy purchases. Called the Modernizing Government Travel Act, it allows federal employees to use sharing economy transportation while traveling on business. These are services like Uber, Lyft and other transportation network operators.

About the Modernizing Government Travel Act

Originally proposed by Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, it passed the House in January. This month it passed the Senate.

Currently, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees civilian travel programs, has already given the go-ahead to reimburse travel network companies.
According to the April Senate report, this new act “codifies and reinforces the GSA’s existing policy to give certainty to agency officials regarding what types of travel can be reimbursed.”

The GSA in known for reimbursing federal employees for the more traditional forms of transportation costs. Things like train, bus or taxi cab. This act simply updates to include the additional transportation types.

Addressing uncertainty in travel policies

Because of the gradual use of  services like Uber or Lyft, business travel compliance has had quite a few gray areas. Both travel managers and travelers have at one time or another been unsure if these transportation services would be covered by their company travel policy. Essentially, this law eliminates that uncertainty of compliance when using sharing economy transportation, at least for federal employees.
Their decision seems to be in line with that of the private sector as well. A Global Business Travel Association survey recently found that reimbursement for sharing economy expenses has increased nearly 15% since June 2016. It is increasingly looking like the sharing economy is here to stay.

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