Anyone who works as a judge, teacher or employee in a federal authority must adhere to certain guidelines when settling their travel expenses. These are regulated by the Bundesreisekostengesetz. You can find out more about its scope and contents here.
The benefits of the Bundesreisekostengesetz
The Bundesreisekostengesetz (Federal Travel Expenses Act) was amended for the last time on 28 June 2021. Introduced as early as 1965, the Act details which components of a business trip can be accounted for and how. With the introduction and entry into force of the BRKG, the legislator attempted to bundle various previous regulations in order to make travel expense reports in the administration simpler and more transparent.
Important questions about the Bundesreisekostengesetz
What is regulated in the BRKG?
According to section 1 BRKG, the law refers to the reimbursement of travel expenses for federal civil servants. This also includes judges and soldiers as well as employees of the federal administration.
Which travel expenses are taken into account?
The Bundesreisekostengesetz refers to journeys undertaken to attend to official business. Accordingly, the BRKG applies to business trips. Travel expenses can be reimbursed if this business trip was ordered in writing on paper or digitally by a superior and the relevant official business is only possible on site at another workplace and could not be done via video conference.
Who is affected by the regulations of the BRKG?
In addition to federal civil servants, employees under the collective agreement of the public service (TVöD) can also settle travel expenses under the BRKG. In most cases, provisions in collective agreements refer directly to the Bundesreisekostengesetz.
Structure and sub-areas of the Bundesreisekostengesetz
Section 1, paragraph 2 of the Bundesreisekostengesetz regulates the reimbursement of travel expenses for seven areas:
1. Reimbursement of travel and flight costs (§4 BRKG)
According to the BRKG, the costs for air or rail tickets or for other so-called "regularly scheduled means of transport" are reimbursed in the lowest class of transport. Anyone with a degree of disability of 50 per cent can have the journey reimbursed in the next higher class. This also applies to Deutsche Bahn train journeys if the journey takes longer than two hours.
After sufficient justification, reimbursement of a taxi or rental car via the BRKG is also possible.
2. Travel allowance (§5 BRKG)
If civil servants use their own car, they can be reimbursed 20 cents per kilometre travelled. The maximum reimbursement is 130 euros, in exceptional cases up to 150 euros.
Important: If you travel with a colleague, you cannot claim a travel allowance. The same applies if federal employees are allowed to use a company car.
3. Daily allowance (§6 BRKG)
The Federal Government shall reimburse the additional expenses for meals during the business trip. If the distance to the place of work is "short", no daily allowance is granted. Those who "receive free meals ex officio" cannot claim a daily allowance or the daily allowance is reduced accordingly.
4. Accommodation allowance (§7 BRKG)
For overnight stays, business travellers receive a reimbursement of 20 euros per night. Higher reimbursements are possible. No overnight allowance is paid if the means of transport can be used for sleeping, e.g. the sleeping car of a train.
5. Reimbursement of expenses in case of longer stay at the place of business (§8 BRKG)
If federal employees are on a business trip for more than 14 days, the daily allowance is reduced by 50 per cent from the 15th day. Overnight allowances are then no longer customary.
6. Reimbursement of expenses and per diems (§9 BRKG)
If the costs of a business trip are lower than usual, business travellers may receive an expense allowance in the form of a per diem. According to the BRKG, this can be determined e.g. via hourly rates.
7. Reimbursement of other costs (§10 BRKG)
As in the case of travel expense claims in companies, ancillary costs of the business trip are also reimbursed for federal government employees. These include, among others, parking fees or tolls. In principle, these costs are all those that cannot be covered by the items listed so far.
The Bundesreisekostengesetz has simplified the settlement of expenses for a business trip. Nevertheless, there can be some pitfalls. With the Circula travel expenses app, authorities ensure that federal employees can correctly account for the costs incurred on business trips in accordance with the BRKG.
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