Internal Gifts and Hospitality Policy

Introduction

All members of the University need to be aware that this is a sensitive area where public perception is very important and caution and prudence is expected. Compliance with this policy will assist the University in demonstrating responsible use of funds and resources. It provides parameters within which the University may provide gifts and/or hospitality at the discretion of a University Executive Committee (UEC) member.

All values contained in this policy are GST inclusive amounts.

Application

This policy applies to all members of the University.

Purpose

This policy governs the giving of gifts and hospitality within the University. The giving or receiving of gifts, hospitality, and donations or koha to or from third parties is covered by a separate policy.

Policy

1. The act of giving gifts and/or providing hospitality, internally, by nature, is sensitive expenditure and subject to high level of public scrutiny. This must be kept at the forefront when considering giving gifts and/or providing hospitality internally.

2. All gifts and hospitality provided to members are to have a direct relationship to the business activities of the faculty, service division or other university entity involved.

3. All expenditure on gifts and hospitality provided to members must be within budget.

4. All transactions subject to Fringe benefits tax (FBT) must be coded to the appropriate general ledger account to ensure the University meets its tax obligations.

5. All FBT costs incurred will be charged back to the cost centre that incurred the tax.

6. For all internal hospitality paid for by the University, the most senior member of the University in attendance is to pay by expense card or claim a reimbursement.

7. A University contribution will not be made for personal milestones (e.g. birthdays) unless it is specifically covered in this policy.

8. University venues must be used for functions wherever possible

9. It is expected that any alcohol or catering purchased will be in line with the University’s procurement and purchasing policies and procedures, and will be moderately priced.

Note – one or two glasses of wine or bottles of beer per person is considered moderate with a meal.

The price of a bottle of wine to be shared is not to exceed $100 NZD.

10. The use of unlimited/open tabs for catering and alcohol is to be carefully managed.

11. All functions for students being paid for from the University’s funds must be approved by an appropriate Delegated Financial Authority, as per the Financial Delegations Policy.

12. Gifts must not be in the form of cash and may not be exchanged by the recipient for cash under any circumstances.

13. No koha is to be given internally. Payments and/or vouchers made to individuals/organisations for assistance or participation with research projects or studies, University focus or consultation group activities does not meet the definition of koha. For guidance on reimbursement or compensation for research participants, refer to section 8.18 of the UAHPEC Applicants Reference Manual.

14. Any deliberate or material breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action, possibly including termination of employment, being taken.

Approvals

15. Gifts must be approved prior to the expenditure being incurred as follows:

  • Individual gifts up to $100 requires approval from a person with the appropriate delegated financial authority.
  • Gifts with a value between $101 and $250 must have written approval from a manager at Level 3 (or higher) of the University Organisational Structure (UOS).
  • Individual gifts with a value between $251 and $500 must have written approval from the relevant University Executive Committee (UEC) member.
  • Individual gifts over $500 must have written approval from the Vice-Chancellor or delegate.

Christmas/ Year-end functions

16. The total cost to the University for Staff Year-end Functions is not to exceed $100 per staff member for all activities, food and drink associated with the function. This limit may be supplemented by staff contributions. Partners may attend but their cost will be included within the $100 limit.

17. The University will only fund one year-end function per staff member, except for UEC members.

18. Approval needs to be obtained from the relevant UEC member if a staff member needs to attend more than one end of year function.

19. The University will only fund year-end functions for University employees. Independent Contractors may attend, but at their own cost.

20. Christmas gifts for members are not to be paid for by the University.

Farewell functions

21. The University may contribute to one farewell or retirement function per member. The amount contributed must correspond with the member's contribution and length of service.

22. A departing member may also invite their partner to their farewell function with prior approval from their UEC member.

23. Farewell gifts: The University may make a modest contribution to a farewell gift (including flowers and cards), commensurate to the member's contribution and length of service. The maximum University contribution is $100 unless there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. long service).

24. Contribution to farewell gifts for staff with long service (20 years or more of continuous service to the University) may exceed the maximum limit of $100, whilst remaining appropriate to the member’s length of service, as follows:

  • 20 years - $200
  • 30 years - $300
  • 40+ years - $400

Approval as per this item 13 of policy is still required on such gifts.

Other gifts and hospitality

25. Flowers may be given to a member for the bereavement of a close family member, or to the family for the bereavement of a member, up to a cost of $100.

26. Gifts, up to a cost of $100, may be given:

  • in celebration of the birth or adoption of a child; or
  • in celebration of a wedding/civil union of a staff member; or
  • in the event of a member undergoing a major surgery

27. In rare situations, the University may fund a morning tea or afternoon tea to mark key milestones or team achievements with approval from an UEC member if held outside of the University premises.

28. Lunches must only be catered for working meetings when all efforts to achieve a meeting outside of this time have been made. Catering for meetings are to be discouraged or avoided where possible.

Note - Alcohol will not be provided by the University at or after meetings, in accordance with the Event Management Policy.

29. Members are not to be given non-monetary rewards such as vouchers in lieu of, or in part payment for additional services or hours worked, as this may be construed as part of that member’s employment income, and triggering an obligation to deduct PAYE. This does not apply to staff reward and recognition schemes or staff excellence awards.

30. Gifts may also be arranged by private contribution from members to supplement, or in place of, the allowable University contribution. Private contributions towards the cost of a gift do not require approval.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Close family member means immediate family member including parents, spouse, partner, siblings and children.

Gift means a reward, gratuity or other consideration beyond remuneration and reimbursement. It may take the form of a tangible object or a benefit, for example, free use of a corporate box at a sporting event or privileged access to goods or services (Scholarships and Prizes awarded to members by the University are excluded from this definition).

Hospitality means catering and entertainment provided to members of the University.

Member means those persons who make up the University as set out in section 3(2) of The University of Auckland Act 1961 and includes University employees, students, Council committee members, contractors, sub-contractors and invitees.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Chief Financial Officer
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: December 2021
Review date: December 2024