Meals & Entertainment Policy: Summary of Changes
The BPTF expanded the existing policy for business meals, entertainment and department functions to provide more specific guidance regarding the proper expenditure of University funds for these activities. BPTF members benchmarked the proposed policy against meal and entertainment policies from other private research universities and also compared it to the Internal Revenue Service's accountable plan requirements.
The following list highlights significant changes from the original policy:
- The revised policy permits the reimbursement of business meal expenses involving solely University personnel only when the meal represents a necessary and integral part of the conduct of business, and is not simply a matter of convenience. Business meals with University colleagues that are frequent and reciprocal are prohibited.
- The University may deny the reimbursement or payment of these expenses if it finds either the frequency of such meals or the reimbursement amounts excessive.
- The policy permits the provision of refreshments and modest meals at department-wide meetings or student gatherings, so long as the meetings or events are important for the business of the University. In other words, a clear business purpose must exist for these functions. The continual provision of food for departmental consumption is prohibited.
- The expense of modest meals or light refreshments provided at student-oriented functions that are designed to enhance campus life and/or instill a sense of community is allowable. The frequency and related costs of events must be appropriate to the situation and the nature of business conducted by schools and departments.
- Expenses for entertainment are reimbursable provided that they are directly related to or associated with the active conduct of official University business, are reasonable, and serve a bona fide business purpose.