What Entertainment and Meetings are Reimbursable?

Newkirk Alumni Center Building

University of California Policy BUS-79 defines Entertainment as:

"Expenditures for meals or light refreshments and related services (e.g., labor charges, room rental, equipment rental, decorations, flowers, and similar expenditures) incurred in connection with events that are primarily social or recreational activities in support of the University’s mission. Such activities must support an underlying University business purpose such as promoting goodwill, donor cultivation, etc."

Expenses cannot be claimed when they personally benefit the host or other university employees. A legitimate business need must always exist in order to claim entertainment expenses and must be documented appropriately.

Reimbursable Entertainment Activities

The cost of light refreshments or meals is reimbursable when it falls under one of the following activities:

Business Meetings

Meals provided to employees, visitors from other educational institutions, members of the community, medical center visitors, or employees from another work location where there is a valid business purpose for the meeting. The meeting must have at least one UC Irvine employee present. Note: When two or more employees choose to dine together in order to continue business, or when a meeting can be scheduled during regular working hours, reimbursement for the meal is not allowed.

Programmatic Activities
  • Meals provided to volunteers and research subjects (clinical trials)
  • Athletic team meals, including training-table meals, game-related meals, and occasional meals provided in accordance with NCAA rules
  • Class, study hall, or other academic-based activities
  • Student orientation programs, commencement exercises, and similar activities
  • Student government meetings, association meetings, or other student meetings
Recruitment
  • Meals provided to prospective employees
  • Meals associated with the recruitment of student athletes and scholars
On-the-Job Meals
  • Employee is required to be on site in connection with a University business purpose
  • Meals provided to volunteers and research subjects (clinical trials)
Standard Entertainment Involving a Guest-Host Relationship

Standard entertainment includes meal or light refreshment expenses for:

  • Hosting prospective donors to generate goodwill
  • Hosting official guests, including:
    • Visitors from other universities
    • Members of the community
    • Employees visiting from another work location
  • Recruitment, where expenses are either:
    • Funded from a source designated for graduate student, athletic, or professional recruitment
    • Related to recruitment for positions requiring specialized training or specialized professional, technical, or administrative experience
  • Receptions in conjunction with conferences (receptions not included in the registration fee)

What is Not Reimbursable Under any Policy?

Employee birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or farewell gatherings (excluding celebrations for retirement or for employees separating from University employment with at least 5 years of service) are not considered official entertainment and are not reimbursable.

Entertainment Expenses that Require Additional Approval

These expenses are not considered exceptions to UCI guidelines. Instead these expenses are simply deemed to need a higher level of approval.

Employee Morale-Building Activities

Meals provided to employees as part of morale-building activity, including retirement and recognition receptions, etc., require additional approval.

Event Tickets

Additional approval is required to provide tickets to prospective donors, employees, or student appointees in connection with an entertainment event.

Meals for Spouses/Partners

The expense of providing meals to a spouse, domestic partner, or other partner requires additional approval and must serve a bona fide university business purpose.

Cash Contributions as Part of a Nonprofit Fundraising Event

Additional approval and other additional documentation is required if a nonprofit community or charitable fundraising event includes a cash donation as part of the meal or registration fee.

For more information on Additional Approval, see the Guide to Additional and Exceptional Approvals for Travel, Business Meeting, and Entertainment Expenses.