Office of Ethics
United States Department of Agriculture

Discounts

Employees may:

Employees may not:

Take advantage of general Government discounts offered by hotels or car companies if:

• the discount is available to all Federal

employees, and

• the discount is available for personal use

(not while on official business)

Masquerade that they are on official travel if they are not otherwise eligible to obtain the benefit of a discount.

Request special rates that were negotiated for a specific event (such as a conference) that are exclusively for official use. However, conference organizers may build-in a provision for the extension of that rate a couple of days before or after the event that may be acceptable for personal use (must tell the hotel that you are no longer on official duty).

Take advantage of general Government rate discounts offered by airlines if:

• the discount is available for all Federal

employees, and

• the discount is available for personal use

(not while on official business)

Ask for contract air fares for personal use that are the product of a negotiation between the Government and the carrier exclusively for official use.

Examples - Acceptable

Examples - Unacceptable

1. Employees may accept discounts on automobile rentals, hotel rates, or cell phone rates that are offered to all Government employees.

1. Employees may not participate in discounts or benefits to subgroups of employees, i.e., free magazine subscriptions only to employees located at HQ; or discounts on automobiles if the offer is extended only to scientists employed at the Office of National Programs or a particular Agency or Division.

2. All uniformed military personnel, regardless of rank or other distinguishing characteristics, may accept discounts at a fast food chain.

2. Employees may not participate in discounts or benefits offered to them if their agency has a contractual relationship with the business offering the discount.

If you have any questions, please contact your Ethics Advisor.

June 2014