Gas ReimbursementJohn Sanders
The global recession has pushed gas prices to new, unforeseen heights. Federal Employees’ Union is trying to tackle raising prices by urging the Internal Revenue Service to issue a new update on gas reimbursement amount. Midyear updates are rare, but it is the need of the hour for federal employees who utilize their own transport to travel to work.
It falls under the responsibility of the General Service Administration to use gas reimbursement rates for federal employees who travel to work on their cars. However, the administration tracks the maximum mileage rate, which is allowed as a deductible expense per the IRS. The rate for 2022 was decided in December, before the global recession hit, and was set at 58.5 cents per mile. Though the new rate was increased by 2.5 cents from the previous year, gas prices have soared.
Under the ongoing general inflation and the aftereffects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tony Reardon, the National Treasury Employees Union National President, was forced to take this rare step. He sent a letter to IRS Commissioner advocating the need for an increase in the set rate per mile.
According to Reardon, the typical practice for IRS is to set the rate right at the beginning of the new year. However, issuing a mid-year increase is not an unprecedented practice. There have been many occasions in the past where rates changed due to a sharp rise in gas prices. Reardon considers the current situation to warrant a similar action. He wrote, “I urge you to make a mid-year adjustment to the mileage reimbursement rate…..to reflect the actual costs an employee will pay to operate their privately owned vehicle.”
Considering the circumstances, The Biden Administration also decided that white house interns need a stipend for their time in office. As per new directives issued by the Biden Administration, white house interns will be paid for their labor. The move is a step towards making internships in the federal government more effective and impartial.
Collage Students and recent graduates usually take part in internships the White House offers. For Fall 2022, these internees will be designated a weekly stipend of $750 – or $18.75 per hour.
The move to make internships paid is not surprising. Several officials have been arguing about the unfairness of unpaid internships and consider them to perpetuate a cycle of inequality. Unpaid internships hinder the effects of improving diversity as other ethnic groups might not be able to afford an unpaid internship program, unlike their wealthy and white counterparts.
Several actions have been undertaken to try and improve the described situation. In 2021, the Office of Personnel Management issued new regulations. The objective was to make hiring interns and college students for temporary jobs leading to a permanent positions as easy as possible. Further work on this initiative is listed as a priority for the upcoming fiscal year of 2023.