New civil service travel and subsistence rates published

travelandsubThe Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has published revised motor travel and subsistence rates for civil servants. Unions and management agreed the new rates following last December’s arbitration hearing on a new system to calculate rates for officers required to undertake travel in the course of their duties.

The new rates will apply from 1st April, the first time there has been an increase in the motor travel rates since they were cut by 25% in 2010 (changes to the home subsistence rates were agreed in 2015*), and the first time the calculating formula has been revised since 2005.

IMPACT national secretary Andy Pike said the revised system takes account of both overhead and running costs of using a vehicle for official purposes. “It also provides a methodology that can be easily updated with new data. The intention is to create a more transparent method for the review of motor travel rates in future,” he said. Andy said the parties have agreed that the formula will be set for a period of three years.

The new rates also take into account the need to encourage the use of more environmentally efficient vehicles and methods of travel, in keeping with policies to reduce carbon emissions as part of the Government’s National Policy on Climate Action. The circular says that this approach will be applied in subsequent revisions of the formula for determining motor travel rates.

The new formula uses four distance bands of motor travel rates (the current formula uses just two bands), and these provide a different rate-per-kilometre based on the overhead costs of running a car. The overhead costs formula takes account of the following:

  • A replacement rate that assumes that an officer’s car is replaced every four years
  • Insurance costs
  • Car costs calculated with reference to the top 10 best-selling cars
  • Car tax costs based on the C02 emissions of the top 10 best-selling cars
  • Servicing and repair costs based on the figures given in the AA Cost of Motoring report each year
  • Fuel costs.

Bands and rate-per-kilometre

Engine Size

0 – 1200cc

1200 – 1500 cc

1500cc and over


Km Range

Cents per km

Cents per km

Cents per km


0 to 1,500





1,501 to 5,500





5,501 to 25,000





Over 25,000




Andy explained that the 1500km band rate will be calculated from January 2017, which means that officers who have already travelled the initial 1500km at the old rate can move into the higher band without penalty.

Andy added, “The new rates will ultimately be of greater benefit to those whose work obliges them to make extensive use of their own vehicle, and provide a greater proportionate increase for those using smaller, more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles.

“The new rates and formula give greater recognition to the cost of replacing a car. There are a number of grades – for example social workers or tax inspectors – who end up having to replace their cars more often due to heavier use incurred in the normal course of their work.”

Under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement, the Government signalled its intention to conduct a review of how the rates are calculated. The agreement committed unions and management to cooperating with the review, and with the implementation of a standardised system of travel and subsistence across the public service.

Revised subsistence rates

The circular also outlines revised subsistence rates for travelling officers.

The ‘five hour’ and ‘ten hour’ rates remain unchanged, but a new overnight rate of €133.00 will apply from 1st April, in recognition of the increasing costs of overnight accommodation.

Due to the exceptionally high cost of hotel accommodation in Dublin, especially at peak periods, a new vouched rate for Dublin will be applied, up to a maximum of €167 – consisting of the overnight rate plus the ’10-hour’ subsistence rate – for which a hotel receipt must be provided.

Foreign Subsistence Rates

Rates of subsistence for officers travelling abroad have been unchanged since 2009. An extensive review of the rates undertaken by unions showed that they were well overdue increases. The latest set of negotiations includes increases in all of the rates for overseas travel.

*In 2015 the Domestic Overnight Subsistence Rate was increased. See more information here.

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