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Business Office - Hosted Meals/Refreshments/Receptions

Expense Reimbursement Guidelines for Hosted Meals, Refreshment Breaks & Receptions from the SoHE Business Office.

For events that are catered, require a room/space rental, require a contract or charge a registration fee, see Hosted Events.  For events that are primarily social in nature, see Policy UW-3075 – Official Functions and Expenses.


Maximum Rates Allowed per Person are based on actual expenses incurred and include tax and tips or required gratuities. See below for specific rates.

Meal limits as of July 1, 2022

Please note that Hawaii and Alaska are considered part of “All Other Locations – Including International.”

BUSINESS MEALS

Business/Hosted Meal expenses include breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at University sponsored events or business functions that are not purely social in nature. Events such as: SoHE-hosted events, faculty and staff recruitments, visiting scholars, or for development purposes. A hosted meal is NOT travel per diem meal. Allowable alcohol purchases differ by types of meals/events. Approvals may be needed. Please consult the Business Office in advance on policy details.

For the full policy related to the above, please see Division of Business Services Business Meals

Business/Hosted Meals Checklist (click for printable checklist)

The following documentation and information is required for each Hosted Meal reimbursement:

  • Itemized vendor receipt, showing proof of payment (Solitary credit card slips are not sufficient)
  • Agenda, event flyer, itinerary, or other supporting documentation to substantiate the business purpose that includes: Name/description of the event, business purpose, beginning/ending date(s)/times and justification for holding the event over a meal period.
  • Events-Participant List  List of attendees, indicating the name and affiliation of each participant. (Separate lists for separate meals, otherwise indicate if the list applies to multiple meals)

Alcohol expenses ONLY: 

  • Approval in writing for alcohol expenses from Associate Dean Cody Loew of the Dean’s Office prior to the event at which alcohol will be served. Alcohol is not an allowable UW-Madison expense, and must be paid directly by UW Foundation. Please note that alcohol charged to Foundation funding will be limited to $50/person
  •  Alcohol should be billed separately from the food purchase, if possible.

Faculty/Staff recruitment searches ONLY:

  • Approval letter from Dean’s Office to bring in candidate
  • Candidate visit itinerary 


REFRESHMENTS

Expense Type to use in e-Reimbursement: Event-Fees/Refreshments/Food

Refreshment break expenses must be limited to one break each morning and afternoon. The break may consist of nonalcoholic beverages such as coffee, tea or soft drinks, and a small food item. The total cost must be reasonable and should not exceed $12.00 per person in WI or $15 outside of WI. Events that include a continental breakfast must not include additional food items at the morning break.

Note: Refreshment break expenses are allowable only in association with a business event that meets one of the following criteria:

  • Facilities are not available within the building or immediate area of the meeting where attendees could obtain and consume normal break items within a typical break period (10 to 20 minutes).
  • Having the attendees leave the meeting room would have an adverse effect on the continuity of the meeting, meaning it is expected that break items be consumed while the business meeting or program continues.
  • The majority of the attendees are not UW/State employees. For purposes of applying this provision, board members are not considered employees.

For the full policy related to the above, please see Planning a UW Event

 

Refreshments Checklist (click for printable checklist)

The following documentation should be submitted for each Refreshment/Break expense:

  • Itemized vendor receipt, showing proof of payment 
  • List the number of UW/State employees, non-employees, and students in attendance.  (Board members and students are not considered employees.)
  • Agenda, event flyer, itinerary, or other supporting documentation to substantiate the business purpose that includes the name and description of the event and beginning/ending date(s)/times.


RECEPTIONS

Expense Type to use in e-Reimbursement: Event-Fees/Refreshments/Food

A reception is defined as a gathering of individuals associated with an UW ­sponsored event that provides the opportunity for interaction in a setting that is not purely social in nature. Unlike a business meeting, a reception may not have a specific agenda or time frame. Like a business meeting, the purpose must be related to or promote the mission of the hosting department.

For the full policy related to the above, please see Planning a UW Event

Reception Checklist (click for printable checklist)

The following documentation should be submitted for Reception event expenses:

  • Itemized vendor receipt, showing proof of payment 
  • Agenda, event flyer, itinerary, or other supporting documentation to substantiate the business purpose that includes: 
    • Name/description of the event
    • Beginning/ending dates and times
    • Official business relatedness of the reception.  
  • Number of attendees: While an attendees list is not required for documentation, the number of attendees needs to be noted either in the e-Reimbursement itself, or as part of the documentation.

Alcohol expenses ONLY: 

  • Approval in writing for alcohol expenses from Associate Dean Cody Loew prior to the event at which alcohol will be served. 
    • Alcohol is not an allowable UW-Madison expense, and must be paid directly by UW Foundation. (Please note that the UW-Foundation has a limit of $50/person. If possible, reimbursements are simplified if alcohol is billed separately from other expenses.)


Official Functions

DEFINITION

  • This is a campus-wide policy regarding costs related to events that tend to be more social in nature, involve team-building, alumni events and other events or costs that may not appear to have a clear, direct business purpose.  Campus refers to these as “Official Functions”.

PRE-APPROVAL

  • The key to this policy is that pre-approval is required by the Dean’s Office for any Official Functions.  Campus is very strict on the “pre-approval” part of this policy.  The Official Functions Pre-Approval Form must be completed and submitted to Associate Dean Cody Loew PRIOR to the event. This form requires a description of the event, the funding source and an estimated event cost.

EXAMPLES

  • A Small Sample of Official Functions events/costs include:
    • Functions for parents of preregistering students.
    • Functions for graduating classes and their parents.
    • Functions for community leaders, prominent visitors, legislators and officials, or leaders of educational programs.
    • Functions related to opening of new facilities and dedication ceremonies. 
    • Recognition functions to honor distinguished faculty, staff and students for significant, meritorious achievements.
    • Nominal gifts, excluding gift cards and cash equivalents, related to employee major life events such as weddings, births, or death in a family.  Nominal gifts must be: 
      • Flowers
      • UW-logoed items less than $50.00

-- The house-hunting provision has been removed from Official Functions and Expenses policy. House-hunting expenses are no longer payable or reimbursable effective 07/01/2023--

  • If a Department or Division wishes to support a house hunting trip, the only way they may do so is to offer it as part of the relocation stipend (include an amount for house hunting) at/after job acceptance. The stipend is taxable, and as such it will meet tax reporting requirements for house hunting.
  • Job applicant interview travel may include a spouse/significant other/companion with a preapproved Official Function form.

If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not an event qualifies as an Official Function, please see the Business Office. Also see Offical Functions FAQ and Division of Business Services Official Functions Policy for more details and examples.



KeywordsHosted meals, refreshments, receptions, official functions, catering, restaurants, food, events, alcohol   Doc ID105269
OwnerAngela O.GroupSchool of Human Ecology
Created2020-08-25 11:30:26Updated2023-08-31 13:34:46
SitesSchool of Human Ecology
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