2012 Federal Per Diem Rates For California

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the Fiscal Year 2012 Federal Per Diem Rates for California, which will take effect on October 1, 2011 and run through September 30, 2012.

GSA establishes per diem rates providing the maximum reimbursement allowances up to which federal employees are reimbursed by their agencies for expenses incurred while on official travel. The per diem rate for an area is actually three allowances in one - the lodging allowance, the meals allowance and the incidental expense allowance. The average per diem rate in California is $179, which is comprised of $114 for lodging, and $64 for meals & incidentals. The lodging average for California is 48% above the national average of the $77 CONUS rate (the average within the Continental US). In California, there are 33 Non-Standard Areas (NSA) that have per diem rates higher than the standard CONUS.

How the Federal Per Diem Rates are established: For the past several years, GSA rates have been based on the Average Daily Rate (ADR). This data is obtained through a GSA contract with a leading provider of lodging industry economic data, Smith Travel Research. (CH&LA is proud to provide members with monthly California Lodging Industry Performance reports and special CH&LA Member discounts on Smith Travel Research industry reports.) For rate setting, GSA is required by law to use only properties that are certified as being "fire safe" and in compliance with the Hotel & Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990. This requires smoke detectors and automatic sprinkler systems in each guest room. Specifically, the GSA utilizes:

  • Only "fire safe" properties;
  • Properties that fall within the mid-price range. This range includes all properties from the lowest to the highest of the mid-price, upper and upper-upscale properties in an area;
  • Data from the prior 12 month period. For FY 2012, this is from April 2010 through March 2011;
  • Business travel week data (Monday through Thursday); and
  • Ceilings and floors (which is pretty obvious).