University of California, San Diego

Disbursements Division

November 13, 2000


SUBJECT:  Holiday Gatherings - Employee Appreciation and
                     Special and Social Events

This notice is to highlight the importance of following entertainment policy and procedure when planning holiday events. UC policy considers events when only employees are in attendance as being for employee appreciation. Events when employees and their spouses/guests are in attendance are considered special and social events. Both employee appreciation and special and social events are exceptional entertainment. Entertainment refers to the per person cost of either the meal or refreshments and to costs such as nonfood cost for catering, rental of facilities, and extra household help.

When approving exceptional entertainment, the approval authority should evaluate the event in terms of cost, benefit, availability of funds, and any alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing the desired business objectives.

General Guidelines

Events should be cost effective and in accordance with the proper use of public funds, must be directly associated with the conduct of official UCSD business, and must serve a clear UCSD business purpose with no personal benefit derived by either the official host or attending employees.

Functions held at private residences should follow all applicable entertainment policy. It is important that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policy be followed when payment for services are made to persons such as for wait persons and cooks. The payment for these services is considered as income to the recipient by the IRS and must be recorded for tax reporting purposes. Therefore, the name and social security number of any recipient of a payment for personal services being reimbursed by UCSD to the host must be included on the request for reimbursement.

If the allowable per person meal costs are exceeded, a written justification must be included as to why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve a business purpose.

Employee Appreciation

UC policy allows for employee appreciation functions such as holiday gatherings to be approved as exceptional entertainment if costs are limited to only the employees in attendance, within the allowable cost per person, and permitted under the fund source.

All entertainment policy should be followed in requesting reimbursement on a Request for Reimbursement of Entertainment Expense form including providing the list of attendees.

Special and Social Events

UC policy does not allow expenses for either an employee's spouse (or equivalent) or for a guest unless such entertainment serves a bona fide UCSD business purpose. For example, an entertainment expense incurred for the purpose of generating the goodwill of prospective university donors is considered a legitimate business objective.

A guest list including the name, title, and either the occupation or the business relationship is to be provided.

A "Special and Social Events - Other" form is to be completed and approved by the appropriate approving authority and submitted with the Request for Reimbursement for Entertainment Expense.

Please visit the Travel and Entertainment web site for forms, allowable rates, approval authority, and policy:


Questions on this policy as well as on payment options including deposits to hold reservations may be directed to the Travel Office either at telephone extension 43734 or by email Travel@UCSD.edu.

                                                Faye E. McCullough
                                                Disbursements Division