Generally, meal and incidental expenses are reimbursed at a per diem rate and only if the traveler qualifies for lodging-expense reimbursement based on overnight stay.  See also criteria (below) for One-day trips. 



SOU requires receipts for overnight stay and reimburses lodging at (reasonable) rates.  To find qualified lodging in State of Oregon, visit Search High Cost Cities Search Rates by City.    When making lodging reservations, travelers should identify themselves as state employees to obtain any available government discounts.

Meals & Incidental Expenses

There are high and low per diem amounts to differentiate between cities that are expensive and those where more reasonable rates are available.   Click here for Summary of Travel Reimbursement Rates .  No meal receipts are required for meals that fall within the allowable rates.

Incidental expenses are combined with meals into a single rate. The term incidental expenses typically includes:

  • Fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops/hotel maids
  • Transportation between places of lodging (or business) and places where meal is taken
  • Mailing costs associated with payment of employer-sponsored charge card billings

Incidental expenses do not include expenses for laundry, cleaning/pressing of clothing, lodging taxes or costs of telephone calls (see Miscellaneous Expense).

Proration of Meals & Incidental Expenses

Travelers are entitled to per diem for partial days of travel.  Meal per diem for initial day of travel and final day of travel will be based on the following schedule and reimbursement allowed depends on departure and/or arrival times:

Initial Day of Travel


Prior to 7:00 a.m.

7:00 am to 12:59 p.m.

1:00 p.m. and after

Meal Allowance:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lunch, Dinner


Final Day of Travel


Prior to Noon

12:00 Noon to 5:59 p.m.

6:00 p.m. and after

Meal Allowance:


Breakfast, Lunch

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

For the day the traveler leaves on a trip, the per diem rate specified for where the traveler will spend the night is used. For the day the traveler returns from a trip, the per diem rate specified for the last location where the traveler stayed overnight is used.

Applicable meal and incidental expense per diem may not be claimed if a meal is provided at a hosted function (e.g., a conference registration fee includes a meal).   Per diem rates are used vs. actual cost reimbursement, which is typically allowed only when hosting official guests and groups or for athletic team and student group meal expenses. 

The per diem rate for a full day's meal and incidental expenses is apportioned as follows:

  • Breakfast 25%
  • Lunch      25%
  • Dinner     50%


On the occasions when a traveler departs and returns the same day, meal expenses are reimbursed in certain cases:

  • When a meal at a convention, conference or meeting is part of the agenda and the cost of the meal has not previously been paid with the registration fee.
  • When directed to attend a meal-time business meeting.
  • When employee leaves the official work station two or more hours before regular work shift, s/he will receive the breakfast allowance.
  • When employee returns two or more hours after work shift, s/he will receive the dinner allowance.

Note that the IRS considers breakfast and dinner allowances to be taxable to the employee.  If these allowances are paid, they are considered "overtime meal allowance" and is taxable income.


Travel Office: Service Center, Suzanne Homes Building 1250 Siskiyou Blvd.

Operating Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (541) 552-6700