We’ve had this question multiple times in the last 2 weeks. Here is the scenario:
“My pay package includes a housing stipend because I am finding housing on my own. However, hotels are offering free stays for front-line workers, that is not provided by my company or the hospitals. At the hotel I do pay for parking. What will happen to the housing stipend if I accept the free stay at the hotel, considering I have to duplicate expenses?”
The answer is that you will need to duplicate expenses for lodging since the lodging is being provided by a third party. The solution is to pay SOMETHING to the hotel, maybe a tip to the housekeeping staff or for other amenities that they offer that you will use in the room. Parking does not count as lodging expenses, unless you are a hippie! : ) Under the rules there needs to be SOME expense to trigger the exclusion of the per diems.