Gifts, Entertainment, & Food

Gifts, Entertainment, & Food

POLICY OF BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PEARL RIVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE 
Thursday, June 14, 2022 
Financial Resources

College policy is to refrain from paying for gifts with College funds. The Business Services Office is not authorized to pay for gifts charged on the College credit card or otherwise, regardless of the source of funds. Gifts should be purchased with private funds, either personal or from the College Development Foundation.

Categories and descriptions of allowable entertainment expenditures

Guests, Prospective Employees, and Others

It is the policy of the College to invite appropriate prospective faculty or staff, including spouses, to visit the campus. Travel and all other reasonable and necessary expenses are reimbursed. When entertainment occurs on a reasonable basis associated with a recruitment visit, it is recognized as a proper expenditure. The faculty and staff involved in this type of entertainment should be essential to the interview process. When the prospective candidate’s spouse accompanies him/her and it is deemed necessary to have the spouse of a College faculty or staff member present, entertainment expenditures for the spouse may also be reimbursed.

In certain cases, it is recognized that entertainment of official College guests is essential. Administrative officials, deans, department heads, or senior faculty members should usually undertake this entertainment. Examples of official guests include, visiting lecturers, visitors from foreign countries, representatives of research organizations, visitors from other colleges, individuals interested in college programs and development of new programs (both paid and non-paid consultants), and business and community leaders within the Pearl River Community College district, and the State at large who are on campus for specific business on behalf of the College. The relationship between the visitor and the college faculty or staff members attending the function or their areas of responsibility must be clearly indicated.

In the case of conferences, workshops, meetings, and seminars conducted by the college and supported by income from registration fees, allowable entertainment expenses will be reimbursed. “Covered by Program Income” should be notated on the Request for Payment form. Conferences, workshops, meetings, seminars, retreats, etc., that are not supported by fees may be organized around college groups in combination with outside persons or groups limited to college personnel. Meal or refreshment expenses associated with these groups will require assurance, through appropriate documentation, that the function is essential to the operation of the college and that provision of meals/refreshments must be incidental to the function rather than the primary purpose of the function. Meals held subsequent to a business function are not allowable uses of college funds.

Retirement Receptions

College funds may be used, at the discretion of the appropriate department head, to purchase refreshments for employee retirements. All college employees must be invited to attend. College funds can also be used for campus-wide notification of the event. College funds cannot be used to purchase gifts for retiring employees.

Official College Functions

Official College functions are functions and receptions which are held by the President for employees, students, alumni, and friends of the College Official Student Functions

• Official college/school functions and receptions for students and their families in conjunction with academic achievements or recruiting shall be reimbursed as entertainment. Such occasions include, but are not limited to, graduation, Honors Day, and Homecoming.

• End-of-the-Academic-Year awards banquets or receptions given by college student groups whose emphasis is directed toward benefiting the general student population. Such groups include student governing boards, College Programs, etc.

• The College recognizes that student-housing residents have needs beyond those of commuter students. To support their needs, the Office of Residence and Student Life provide funds aimed at the development of the whole student. Entertainment expenses for residence hall functions addressing this goal are allowable, providing that Housing explains the relationship between the expenses and the criteria established for the development of the whole student.

Categories and descriptions of entertainment expenditures that cannot be reimbursed-

• Departmental social functions in celebration of an event or a holiday, or to promote fellowship among constituents are not reimbursable. Examples include introduction of new staff and Christmas parties.

• Entertainment expenditures are prohibited for alcoholic beverages, bartenders, golf green fees, boat rentals, private club dues, or civic group functions.

• Flowers, fruit baskets, or other related items for individuals.

• Expressions of sympathy.

This list is not exclusive, but is meant to suggest the types of expenditures that may be prohibited. To prevent potential reimbursement problems, the department might wish to consult with the Business Services Office before making an expenditure not addressed in these guidelines to determine if the expenditure is within the College’s fiscal policies.

General items that cannot be purchased using any funds controlled or maintained by the Pearl River Community College-

College funds may NOT be used for the following types of expenses:

• Alcoholic beverages, set-ups, bartender, and/or corkage fee

• Flowers as gifts or expressions of condolence

• Gifts or tokens of appreciation. The College policy is to refrain from paying for gifts with College funds. The Business Services Office is not authorized to pay for gifts charged on the Credit Card or otherwise, regardless of the source of funds. Gifts should always be purchased with private funds, either personal or from the College Development Foundation

• Unallowable Entertainment

• Entertainment of College employees except as allowed by the College Entertainment Policy. An example would be Christmas parties.

• Food or refreshments for individual office staff meetings or breaks where lunch breaks are allowed.

Define allowable food (meal and refreshment) purchases charged to College funds.

College funds cannot be used to purchase food items except under certain circumstances and with proper justification and required documentation. Employees should complete a meals and entertainment request form and have it approved by his/her supervisor prior to the expenditure. The authorized form should be submitted with itemized receipts and voucher for reimbursement to the employee’s supervisor and subsequently to the Business Services Office.

Allowable Food Purchases: As noted in the Allowable Entertainment Expenditures Policy, College funds can be used to purchase food for the following:

• Official College functions

• Official student functions

• Official College guests, prospective employees, and others

• Retirement receptions

• Conferences, workshops, meetings, and seminars

Please review the Allowable Entertainment Expenditures Policy for additional specific requirements.

In addition, College employees may be reimbursed for the cost of group meals while carrying out their employment duties. A group meal is defined as a meal for one or more College employees and one or more individuals that are not College employees. The request for reimbursement for group meals should include an itemized receipt for the cost of the meals. The memorandum should indicate the names of the persons in attendance, the nature of the meeting, and a sign-in sheet for all attendees. The average cost should not exceed $25.00 per person. A Meals and Entertainment Form should be completed and approved by the appropriate Vice President prior to the expenditure.

Group meals should be approved by the appropriate Vice President prior to the meal. Meals that exceed the $25.00 per person limit must be approved by the President.

A business meeting involving only faculty and staff of Pearl River Community College may include a meal if the expense is in lieu of a break, is approved by the Vice President of that department prior to the meeting and does not exceed daily maximum in-state meal allowance per person for the meal that is being provided. Meals must be a necessity of carrying out the business of college and cannot be for employee appreciation/celebration. An appreciation meal is a personal expense. A Meals and Entertainment Form should be completed and approved by the appropriate Vice President prior to the expenditure.

Student banquets that are considered allowable entertainment in accordance with this policy and approved by the appropriate Vice President can be reimbursed/catered according to the daily maximum in-state meal allowance per person for the meal that is being provided. A Meals and Entertainment Form should be completed and approved by the appropriate Vice President prior to the expenditure.

Prohibited Food Purchases:

• Alcoholic beverages, set-ups, bartender and/or corkage fees

• Food or refreshments for individual office staff meetings or breaks where lunch breaks are allowed.

• Departmental social functions in celebration of an event or a holiday, or to promote fellowship among constituents, such as introduction of new staff and Christmas parties

• Fruit baskets or other related items for individuals

• Entertainment of College employees except as allowed by the Allowable Entertainment Expenditures Policy

See the Inappropriate Use of Funds – Spending Policy and the Unallowable Entertainment Expenditures.

Proper justification and required documentation must be submitted with credit card document, request for payment, purchase requisition or purchase order:

• List of names of the individuals in attendance including a statement regarding the non-College individual(s) and a clear explanation of the purpose for the expenditure and how it relates to the Mission of the College

• Original itemized receipt or invoice for the cost of the meals

• Pearl River Community College Cafeteria Purchases: If charged to a College account, the purchase must qualify as an allowable food purchase as described above. Required documentation noted above should be attached to the departmental copy of the invoice and maintained on file in the department for 7 years.

• If the average cost per person exceeds $25.00, excluding tip, the reimbursement must be approved by the appropriate Vice President or department chair.

• Any other specific requirements noted in the Allowable Entertainment Expenditures Policy

Other Information:

• Tips: The tip shall not exceed 20% of the pre-tax amount unless mandated by the restaurant.

This policy is not exclusive, but is meant to suggest the types of expenditures that may or may not be prohibited. To prevent potential reimbursement problems, the department may consult with the Business Services Office before making an expenditure not addressed in this policy to determine if the expenditure is within the College’s fiscal policies.

Updated on August 25, 2022