20. 1. 2020

Changes to expenses for official travel abroad

The regulation (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, nr. 76-3317/2019, Regulation) governs expenses for official travel abroad claimable by civil servants, functionaries in state bodies, self-governing local communities, public agencies, public funds, public institutes, public commercial establishments and bodies governed by public law.

The provisions of this Regulation have also found their way into several private sector collective agreements, making the Regulation applicable to all employers bound by any of the collective activity agreements listed below.

The following collective agreements include a direct reference to the Regulation and make provision for its application with regard to claiming expenses for official travel abroad:
    • Collective Agreement for the Hospitality and Tourism Industries;
    • Collective Agreement for the Agriculture and Food Processing Industry;
    • Collective Agreement for Slovenian Electricity Industry;
    • Collective Agreement for the Newspaper, Publishing and Bookselling Sector;
    • Collective Agreement for the Paper and Paper-converting Industry;
    • Collective agreement for the metal products and foundry Industry;
    • Collective agreement for public utility services;
    • Collective Agreement for the Construction Industry, etc.

A key change is an increase in the per diem rates for individual countries and destinations. A number of years ago the Government of the Republic of Slovenia reduced the per diem rates for certain countries and cities in order to make budget savings. The Regulation reverses this earlier decision and will see these rates increase. For example, from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020, per diem rates of EUR 36 (for trips longer than 14 hours) will be payable for trips to Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, EUR 49 for Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, and from 1 January 2021 they will increase to EUR 40 for Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and EUR 55 for Italy, Austria, and the United Kingdom.

The Regulation also reinstated the travel allowance for journeys lasting between 6 and 8 hours, payable at 25% of the per diem rate, with workers entitled to a one-meal allowance during these trips. For travel abroad lasting between 8 hours (previously 10 hours) and 14 hours, workers shall be entitled to 75% of the per diem rate and two-meal allowance.

Undoubtedly, advancements in modern travel had an influence on the adoption of the Regulation, evidenced by the fact that workers must also be reimbursed for costs by of toll, tunnel, and vignette charges, etc. For the most part, employers reimbursed workers for these expenses, whereas now they have a statutory obligation to do so. This can also be seen in the slightly amended provisions concerning the reimbursement of health insurance premiums with medical assistance abroad, which, according to the new Regulation, is now refunded in the amount of insurance costs for the basic sum insured, except where an employee requires a business visa or an insurance policy with a higher or minimum coverage (e.g. for Argentina, Ukraine, Turkey, etc. insurance must cover costs of EUR 30,000.00).

The Regulation only applies to expenses for travel from and including 1 January 2020 onwards. However, expenses incurred before that date fall under the provisions of the old regulation, irrespective of when the expenses are to be calculated and paid.

Author: Ana Porenta Vran, Attorney at law
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