Hospitality

In accordance with CSU Hospitality Policy (ICSUAM 1301.00), hospitality expenses that are necessary, reasonable, appropriate to the occasion, and consistent with the mission and fiduciary responsibilities of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) for activities that promote the University to the public and in connection with official University business, are permissible, as defined by this policy.

Hospitality is defined to include the following:

  1. Entertainment Services – Reasonable expenditures as part of an event including but not limited to equipment and venue rentals, décor, music, and performers.
  2. Food and Beverage – The provision of meals (catered or restaurant) or light refreshments.
  3. Light Refreshments – Includes non-alcoholic beverages, hors d'oeuvres or appetizers, pastries, and cookies
  4. Awards and Prizes – something of value given or bestowed upon an individual, group, or entity in recognition of service to the University or achievement benefiting the University with the expectation of benefit accruing to the University, or for other occasions that serve a bona fide business purpose.
  5. Promotional Items – items that display the name, logo or other icon identifying the University such as a keychain, coffee mug, calendar, or clothing. When employees are required to wear clothing bearing the campus logo while working, e.g., during an event such as commencement, these expenses fall within regular business expense requirements and are not subject to the provisions of this policy.

Further details can be found below. This site is not intended to replace the policy; rather, to serve as a quick reference guide to the most common aspects of Hospitality. The full text of the policy is available on the linked PDF below.

Hospitality training is provided periodically throughout the year through CSULearn

PROCEDURE

Requests for payment or reimbursement of hospitality expenses must be accompanied by a Hospitality Expense form. The Hospitality Expense form must be approved by the Dean/AVP or Designee, Vice President or Designee and/or President (if applicable), and Chief Financial Officer (if applicable) before the event or before the expense is incurred. 

  1. Complete Hospitality form (and any additional accompanying documents as required) and submit for approval(s)
  2. Once fully approved, place your order (if catering through Campus Dining, read here)
  3. Process payment
    • Direct Pay - Submit completed and approved Direct Pay form, Hospitality form, invoice/receipt, and any other attachments required in relation to the type of Hospitality expense
    • Pcard - Attach invoice/receipt, Hospitality form, and any other and any other attachments required in relation to the type of Hospitality expense to your Pcard reconciliation
    • Purchase Order - Submit Hospitality form and any other attachments required in relation to the type of Hospitality expense as an attachment to your requisition and also submit a copy of the Hospitality form with each invoice.

EVENTS: Complete one Hospitality form per event. An "event" refers to a multi-day event consisting of consecutive days, such as a two-day conference. The Hospitality form for an event may include several types of Hospitality, such as a meal AND promotional items. If the same event occurs quarterly, a unique Hospitality form will be required for each quarterly occurrence.

EXCEPTION: Only one Hospitality form is required per recruitment.

HOSPITALITY OTHER THAN EVENTS: For non-events, such as promotional items being purchased to have on-hand to use throughout the year, each invoice being paid by Direct Pay or P-card must have its own unique Hospitality form. If purchasing goods via a blanket Purchase Order, only one Hospitality form is required but a copy must be submitted with each invoice in addition to being attached to the requisition.

FORMS OF PAYMENT

Hospitality expenses may be paid using the p-card, subject to the limitations of the Procurement Card Policy.

Hospitality expenses may be paid using the Direct Pay form, subject to the limitations set forth in the categories of the Direct Pay form. If the expense exceeds the limitations of Direct Pay, please submit a requsiition for a Purchase Order.

PROHIBITED EXPENSES

Activities where hospitality expenses are not allowed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Gifts (gift card, gift basket, flowers, cards, CSUDH promotional items) for anyone for bereavement, birthday, wedding, anniversary, baby shower, retirement, farewell, get well, thank you, appreciation, recognition, etc.
  2. Employee social events (birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, retirement, farewell gatherings)
  3. Memorial services, bereavement or get well flowers/cards
  4. Alcoholic beverages & tobacco products
  5. Membership in social organization
  6. Coffee or water bottles/water delivery service for employee convenience
AWARDS OR PRIZES (EMPLOYEES)

Employee Awards & Prizes

Awards and prizes provided to employees in conjunction with University-wide events for exceptional contributions and superior accomplishments and for length of service of five years or longer are permissible, as are awards and prizes provided to employees participating in University-wide morale building events and appreciation activities that serve a business purpose such as the annual staff appreciation day.

Awards and prizes should be infrequent and conservative in value. Cash and cash equivalent awards provided to University employees in conjunction with a University-wide event using State funds may not exceed $50. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide cash and cash equivalent awards and prizes above $50 to University employees for exceptional contributions and for other University business purposes in conjunction with a University-wide event or activity.

Cash and cash equivalent awards and prizes, including gift cards, gift certificates, and meal vouchers with a specific dollar value provided to employees are always reportable as wages, no matter how small the value. A non-cash award or prize may have a taxable consequence to an employee if it does not meet the IRS definition of de minimis (less than $100 and infrequent). Non-cash awards given to employees using State funds may not exceed $100 per award/prize. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide non-cash awards and prizes above $100 to University employees for exceptional contributions and for other University business purposes in conjunction with a University-wide event or activity.

It is the responsibility of the department conferring the award or prize to notify Payroll of cash and cash-equivalent awards given to employees, as well as non-cash awards or prizes that do not meet the IRS definition of de minimis. Furthermore, departments are required to complete forms STD 676P for cash & cash equivalent awards and STD 676V for non-cash awards, and submit them to Payroll for processing. The Payroll department will enter the employee's SSN information on these forms.

 

AWARDS OR PRIZES (STUDENTS)

Student Awards & Prizes:

Awards honoring student excellence are permissible. In addition, providing awards and prizes to students via University events and activities that serve a business purpose, such as via the CSUDH Athletics Toro Rewards program, is allowed, as is providing meal vouchers to students via the Toro Food Pantry (subject to Financial Aid reporting).

Cash and cash equivalent awards and prizes provided to students, including gift cards, gift certificates, and meal vouchers with a designated dollar value are always reportable to the Financial Aid office, no matter how small the value. Cash and cash equivalent awards provided to students using State funds may not exceed $50. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide cash and cash equivalent awards and prizes above $50 to students. It is the responsibility of the department conferring the award or prize to notify the Financial Aid Office of cash and cash-equivalent awards and prizes provided to students, including the student identification number of award recipients.

Departments also are responsible for reporting non-cash awards or prizes provided to students to Accounting Services staff, who are responsible for tracking the cumulative value of non-cash awards or prizes and notifying the IRS should the cumulative value of non-cash awards meet or exceeds $600 during a calendar year, which the University is required to report as income to the recipient. Non-cash awards given to students using State funds may not exceed $100 per award/prize. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide non-cash awards and prizes above $100 to University students for exceptional contributions and for other University business purposes in conjunction with a University-wide event or activity.

GIFT CARDS

Gift Cards

Subject to IRS tax laws and Financial Aid reporting (for students), gift cards are permissible only for the following:

  • Incentives to students to participate in a non-researched (grant) funded survey
  • Incentives to anyone, including employees, to participate in a research funded survey or study, within the terms of the grant and the grant serves an instructional purpose (subject to IRS tax laws)
  • Awards and recognition
  • Incentives to participate in the Athletics Toro Rewards program
  • Distribution of Campus Food Pantry meal vouchers
  • As the result of an opportunity drawing related to a University business activity

Written approval by both the respective Vice President or Designee and the University Chief Financial Officer is required to purchase gift cards or other cash equivalent awards or prizes. Once approval is obtained and cash equivalent items have been purchased, the receipt or vendor invoice for pcard or direct purchases must be submitted to Accounts Payable along with the pre-approved Hospitality authorization formGift Card & Cash Equivalent Purchase Pre-Authorization form, and all other required documentation.

Additionally, departments must hold gift cards, gift certificates, meal vouchers and non-cash awards and prizes in a secured location such as a locked cabinet or safe, per ICSUAM 6330.00.  See CSUDH policy on Cash and Cash Equivalent Security for additional detail.

INCENTIVES

Incentives may be provided to:

  • students to participate in a non-researched (grant) funded survey, 
  • to anyone, including employees, to participate in a research funded survey or study, within the terms of the grant and the grant serves an instructional purpose (subject to IRS tax laws), and
  • for participation in the Athletics Toro Rewards program.

Incentives provided to students:

Cash and cash equivalent incentives provided to students, including gift cards, gift certificates, and meal vouchers with a designated dollar value are always reportable to the Financial Aid office, no matter how small the value. Cash and cash equivalent incentives provided to students using State funds may not exceed $50. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide cash and cash equivalent incentives above $50 to students. It is the responsibility of the department conferring the incentive to notify the Financial Aid Office of cash and cash-equivalent incentives provided to students, including the student identification number of incentive recipients.

Departments also are responsible for reporting non-cash incentives provided to students to Accounting Services staff, who are responsible for tracking the cumulative value of non-cash incentives and notifying the IRS should the cumulative value of non-cash incentives meet or exceed $600 during a calendar year, which the University is required to report as income to the recipient. Non-cash incentives given to students using State funds may not exceed $100 per incentive. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide non-cash incentives above $100 to University students for incentives in conjunction with a University-wide event or activity.

Incentives provided to Employees:

Cash and cash equivalent incentives provided to University employees in conjunction with a University-wide event using State funds may not exceed $50. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide cash and cash equivalent incentives above $50 to University employees for incentives and for other University business purposes in conjunction with a University-wide event or activity.

Cash and cash equivalent incentives, including gift cards and gift certificates, provided to employees are always reportable as wages, no matter how small the value. A non-cash incentive may have a taxable consequence to an employee if it does not meet the IRS definition of de minimis (less than $100 and infrequent). Non-cash incentives given to employees using State funds may not exceed $100 per incentive. Subject to specific fund restrictions and availability of funds, non-State funds may be used to provide non-cash incentives above $100 to University employees for incentives in conjunction with a University-wide event or activity.

It is the responsibility of the department conferring the incentive to notify Payroll of cash and cash-equivalent incentives given to employees, as well as non-cash incentives that do not meet the IRS definition of de minimis. Furthermore, departments are required to complete forms STD 676P for cash & cash equivalent incentives and STD 676V for non-cash incentives, and submit them to Payroll for processing. The Payroll department will enter the employee's SSN information on these forms.

CAMPUS DINING MEAL VOUCHERS

Campus dining meal vouchers given to students are considered a cash equivalent and must be reported to Financial Aid. Please refer to the "Gift Cards" section for more information regarding the handling of campus dining vouchers.

ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS

Entertainment events include tickets for sporting and recreational events and require President or Designee approval.

ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES

Reasonable expenditures as part of a non-academic, non-student event including, but not limited to, equipment and venue rental, décor, music, performers, and performance support. 

Examples include:

  • Rental of chairs, canopies, generators, table linens, lighting
  • Balloon topiaries, centerpieces 
  • Musicians
  • Choreographers
  • Photographers/Videographers
  • Disc Jockeys
  • Rental fee for facility, use of audio video equipment
  • Royalty fee for use of music or video
  • Photo booth
FOOD & BEVERAGE

Maximum Per-Person Meal Expenses for Meetings & Events Attended by University Employees and Official Guests

Effective March 25, 2019, the following are approved maximum per-person meal and light refreshment expenses that may be incurred during meetings and events attended by University employees and official University guests:

Meal Type

Maximum Per-Person *

Breakfast

$30

Lunch

$35

Dinner

$60

Light Refreshments

$20

Employee Meetings

Food and beverage provided to employees may be permitted when doing so serves a University business purpose and if the expenses occur infrequently, are reasonable and modestly priced, and appropriate to the business purpose. When a meeting takes place over an extended period and the agenda includes a working meal, there may be justification that the meal is integral to the business function. Providing meals or light refreshments during meetings that occur on a regular or frequent basis are not permitted under this policy. Additionally, public expenditures driven by personal motives are an impermissible use of public funds.

Providing meals or light refreshments in support of a University business purpose must be limited to no more than twelve times per year, per group or department.  Meals or light refreshments provided to a group should be counted on an event basis, e.g., a two-day meeting should be counted as one event in determining policy compliance.

Coffee and bottled water may be purchased using any funding source that doesn’t specifically restrict these types of purchases, if purchased for an official University or Auxiliary business function (e.g. meetings, hosting guests, etc.). Coffee and bottled water services may not be purchased for employee convenience (i.e. daily use).  If a work location does not have accessible drinking water, bottled water may be purchased for daily use from any funding source that doesn’t specifically restrict this type of purchase.

Approval of meals or light refreshments by the respective Vice President or Designee is required when a meeting or event supporting a University business purpose is planned only for employees, with no official University guest attending. A written explanation of the necessity of the meal or light refreshments in support of the business purpose of the University must be provided via completion of a hospitality authorization form to the Vice President or Designee, who is responsible for determining the appropriateness of providing food and/or beverages during an employee-only meeting or event.

 

GIFTS

Gifts are not allowable using State funds.

Examples of gifts include (but are not limited to) gift card, gift basket, flowers, cards, CSUDH promotional items for anyone for bereavement, birthday, wedding, anniversary, baby shower, retirement, farewell, get well, thank you, appreciation, recognition, etc.

PROMOTIONAL ITEMS

Promotional items are those that display the name, logo or other icon identifying the University such as a keychain, coffee mug, calendar, or clothing. Promotional items are distributed to provide information and/or promote the name or image of the University.

Department campus logo clothing purchases are allowed for special events and are considered a regular business expense (not Hospitality), given that the recipients are required to wear them for safety or to be easily recognizable as staff, e.g. commencement etc.

SPONSORSHIPS

A sponsorship is a contribution to the cost of an event in return for advertising or promoting the University. This includes the cost of a vendor table at external events.

Payment or reimbursement for attendance at a community relations activity or fundraising event must include documentation of the individual names, affiliations, and direct or indirect benefit to the CSU to be derived from the expense.

FAQ

1. What constitutes a gift of “public funds”?

The California gift of public funds doctrine set forth in the California Constitution, Article XVI, § 6, prohibits the giving or lending of public funds to any person or entity, public or private. In determining whether an appropriation of state funds or property is to be considered a gift, the primary question is whether the funds are to be used for a “public” or “private” purpose. If they are for a “public purpose”, they are not a gift within the meaning of [§6 of art. XVI]. If an expenditure serves a primary public purpose, it is not a gift even if it incidentally benefits an individual.

2. Can I send gifts or flowers for a funeral, birthday or as a “thank you” with state funds?

No, gifts are not allowable using State funds.

3. What are Enterprise funds as defined by EO 1000?

All CSU funds within SCO fund 0948, State University Trust Fund, that are used to report activity for which a fee is charged to external users for campus goods or services. This includes, but is not limited to, State University Parking Revenue Fund (EC §89701(b)), State University [Health] Facilities Revenue Fund (Education Code §89702(c)), State University Continuing Education Revenue Fund (Education Code §89704(a)), and CSU Dormitory Revenue Fund (Education Code §90036).

4. Can I provide lunch for an all-day meeting?

When a meeting takes place over an extended period and the agenda includes a working meal, there may be justification that the meal is integral to the business function. Considerations include:

a) Meals or light refreshments provided to employees on a frequent or routine basis are considered taxable income by the IRS and are therefore not permitted under this policy.

b) Meals or light refreshments should be limited to no more than twelve times per year, per group.

c) Meals or light refreshments provided to a group should be counted on an event basis, e.g., a two-day meeting should be counted as one event in determining compliance with these guidelines.

Examples where food and beverage may be permitted include:

  • A meeting where there is a scheduled speaker during the meal period;
  • A meeting where the participants work through the meal period;
  • Circumstances where it would be too time-consuming or disruptive for participants to take a meal break away from the meeting location.

5. I have a person who is retiring. Can I use state funds to have a party where the expenses are paid for by the University?

No, Pursuant to the statute [EC §44015], an employee can be recognized for superior accomplishments, within specified guidelines. Awards maybe given to recognize years of service at the time of retirement, but the statutory authority to make awards does not authorize paying for a “retirement party.”

6. What activities are permissible with state funds?

The following activities may be permissible, with state funds, when it is determined that there is a business purpose for the expenditure.

a) Awards to students to participate in a non-researched (grant) funded survey. (Subject to IRS tax laws)

b) Incentives to anyone, including employees, to participate in a research funded survey or study, within the terms of the grant and the grant serves an instructional purpose. (Subject to IRS tax laws)

c) Awards and recognition to students.

d) Decorations purchased as part of a ceremony at a public event.

e) Expense related to Fundraising in support of providing a better student experience.

f) Employee recognition and official presentations in conjunction with University-wide events for exceptional contributions, or length of service awards for five years of service or longer.

g) Awards and prizes to employees for exceptional contributions, to students for excellence, and individuals to participate in a research funded survey or study.

h) Official employee morale-building and appreciation activities that serve a business purpose.

7. What activities are not permissible with state funds?

The following activities would NOT be permissible as they are deemed a personal benefit.

a) Gift card, gift basket, flowers or other non-cash gift as a thank you to consultants, guest speakers, or employees at another campus

b) Gifts for employee birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, etc.

c) Memorial services, and farewell gifts and gatherings

d) Bereavement or get well flowers/cards

e) Membership in Social Organizations

8. Can I pay for retirement luncheon expenses if I combine it with a department meeting or hold it right after a meeting?

No. Pursuant to the statute [EC §44015], an employee can be recognized for superior accomplishments, within specified guidelines. Awards may be given to recognize years of service at the time of retirement, but the statutory authority to make awards does not authorize paying for a “retirement party.”

9. How is “infrequent” defined?

Infrequent is defined by the IRS as no more than 12 times per year per group or department. Meals or light refreshments provided to a group should be counted on an event basis, e.g., a two-day meeting should be counted as one event in determining policy compliance.

10. If my student assistant is at my employee meeting, do I need VP approval?

Yes. A student who is in attendance in their capacity as a student assistant is considered an employee and not an official guest. This would be considered an employee-only event that would require VP (or Designee) approval.

11. If an ASI or Foundation employee is at my employee meeting, do I need VP approval?

Yes. Auxiliary employees are not considered official guests for hospitality purposes. This expense would be considered an employee-only event that would require VP (or Designee) approval.

12. When can I use a blanket Hospitality form?

EVENTS: Complete one Hospitality form per event. An "event" refers to a multi-day event consisting of consecutive days, such as a two-day conference. The Hospitality form for an event may include several types of Hospitality, such as a meal AND promotional items. If the same event occurs quarterly, a unique Hospitality form will be required for each quarterly occurrence.

EXCEPTION: Only one Hospitality form is required per recruitment.

HOSPITALITY OTHER THAN EVENTS: For non-events, such as promotional items being purchased to have on-hand to use throughout the year, each invoice being paid by Direct Pay or P-card must have its own unique Hospitality form. If purchasing goods via a blanket Purchase Order, only one Hospitality form is required (at the time of submitting the requisition), but a copy must be attached to each expense.

13. How many Hospitality forms do I need to submit for each event?

Only one Hospitality form is required per event. When completing only one form per event, each type of Hospitality being provided for the event must be selected. A copy must be attached to each expense.

14. Can I have a party for my student assistants at the end of the year?

Parties or celebrations do not have a business purpose and are not permitted using State funds.

15. Can I give my student assistants gift cards to recognize their hard work?

Student Assistants are campus employees. Awards and prizes provided to employees in conjunction with University-wide events for exceptional contributions and superior accomplishments and for length of service of five years or longer are permissible, as are awards and prizes provided to employees participating in University-wide morale building events and appreciation activities that serve a business purpose such as the annual staff appreciation day. VP (or Designee) and CFO approval is required for gift cards. Restrictions apply – please refer to the Hospitality Policy.

16. What are allowable employee morale and appreciation activities?

Examples include the CSUDH staff appreciation day and annual holiday celebration, employee recognition (such as annual service awards) and length of service award presentation (at least five years of service).

When meetings or events, including employee-morale and appreciation activities, are held for University employees only and no official guest is attending, a business purpose and a justification stating the meal is integral to business function must be provided, and approval from the Vice President or Designee is required. The Vice President (or Designee) will make the determination on the appropriateness of the meeting or event requiring food and/or beverage.

Division/Departments shall consider the use of non-State Operating Funds first before authorizing hospitality expenses for food/beverages with State Operating Funds (AADHT, ST001).

17. I do not see team building addressed in the policy. Can I take my team to an escape room?

Yes. However, on the Hospitality form you must explain the direct or indirect benefit to the CSU to be derived from this expense.

This would be considered an Entertainment Event. Hospitality expenditures for recreational, sporting or entertainment events must be approved by the President or Designee. 

18. Does the per-person meal maximum apply only to employee meals?

No, the maximum applies to everyone.