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Training and Development Policy

Training Policy Handbook

Membership in Professional Organizations

Under Title 5 USC §4109(b), the expenses of training do not include membership fees except to the extent that:

  1. the fee is a necessary cost directly related to the training, or

  2. payment of the fee is a condition precedent to undergoing the training, as is the case with Toastmaster's International. Comp. Gen. B-223447 (October 10, 1986).

Prohibition on Payment of Individual Membership Fees

Payment of annual dues for membership in a professional organization is a personal expense, not reimbursable to the employee, even if the Government would benefit from the employee's development as a result of the membership. Title 5 USC §5946 prohibits the use of appropriated funds for the payment of individual membership fees or dues of officers and employees of the Government, except as authorized:

  1. by specific appropriation;

  2. by express terms in a general appropriation; or

  3. in connection with employee training or meetings under Title 5 USC §4109 or §4110.

In some instances an individual membership is included in the conference fee and conference fee cannot be reduced by the cost of the individual membership. If the Governement pays for an employee to attend the conference, the employee may accept the membership as an incidental byproduct of the meeting.

Agency Membership

Under Title 5 USC §5946, an agency may become a member of an organization and pay the required dues if it is administratively determined to be necessary in carrying out authorized agency activities. See 52 Comp. Gen. 495 (1973).