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A temporary duty assignment (TDA), also known as "temporary additional duty" (TAD), "temporary duty travel" (TDT) or "temporary duty" (TDY), refers to a United States Government employee travel assignment at a location other than the employee's permanent duty station. This type of secondment is usually of relatively short duration, typically from two days to two months in length. Not all agencies use this designation. A temporary duty assignment can be to any location, be it 50 or 5,000 miles away, and some government agencies including the Defense Department mandate they be less than six months in duration. Those agencies that do not mandate a six-month limit consider longer durations to be a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).
Temporary duty assignments usually come with per diem pay, covering lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. Many employees value the per diem aspect of a TDA, since that money is guaranteed, even if they spend less than their allotted daily value. However, some agencies handle the lodging per diem separately from the meals and incidentals, and employees may not make money by staying at cheaper accommodations, or putting more than one person in a room. Typically, an employee may request a cash advance of 60-80% of the total value of the meals and incidental expenses before the TDA per diem takes place, in order to prevent the employee from having to use his or her own money, or putting money on a personal credit card. Government travel cards are also typically available, though these sometimes carry restrictions on the types of goods or services that can be purchased with them.
Some locations have furnished apartments for long-term stay. These apartments have fully equipped kitchens so TDA recipients have the option to cook rather than always eat out, and some may have free washing machines and clothes dryers.