Business meals are governed under policy 2017-03 Travel and Entertainment. The below is excerpted from that policy and covers requirements, including approval from senior management.
Business meals, including those for guest travelers, require a Business Meal form prior to occurrence.
From time to time, it is necessary to the interests of UConn Health to host or provide meals to guests such as job candidates, visiting scholars or donors. Likewise, a meal may be an essential or important part of an event, such as a conference or workshop, which is conducted by UConn Health. In cases where UConn Health provides a meal (or reimburses the expense of the meal, as the case may be) to individual(s) who are not travelling on behalf of UConn Health (herein defined broadly as “business meals”), UConn Health will pay or reimburse the business meal under the requirements and procedures under this section.
As a public agency, UConn Health has an obligation to students, taxpayers and benefactors to use all of its funds as prudently as possible. Therefore, all employees and individuals with authority to request, control, or approve the use of UConn Health funds, including but not limited to travelers, shall use their best judgment in applying those funds towards business meals only when justified with a business purpose and a clearly identifiable benefit to UConn Health. The act of requesting, using or approving a business meal constitutes an individual’s official determination that, to the best of such individual’s knowledge, the expense was actually incurred, is justified by a business purpose, and serves the best interests of UConn Health.
UConn Health’s policy of paying or reimbursing for business meals is subject to the following general rules:
- UConn Health employees are generally responsible for paying for their own meals when they are not traveling.
- UConn Health funds may not be used for meals at social functions, such as parties or summer outings, attended entirely or primarily by UConn Health employees and/or their personal guests.
- UConn Health funds may not be used to purchase alcoholic beverages.
- In most cases, business meals may not be charged to sponsored awards (the responsible OVPR, SPS Grant Manager may provide more information or grant exceptions where appropriate).
Meals between faculty/staff and students, while allowable when there is a business justification, should be infrequent. In addition, units may purchase group business meals when a group meal is essential to the effectiveness and efficiency of the meeting. This is especially the case when multiple units are called together for a substantial meeting, or when stopping the meeting to allow employees to leave for a normal meal would be disruptive and inconvenient for UConn Health.
For the avoidance of doubt, this policy shall extend fully to business meals that are paid for by interdepartmental transactions, such as meals and catering purchased through Sodexo. Business Meals require the documented prior approval from UConn Health Senior Management. The approval request should include the purpose of the meeting or event; a formal written agenda including session times; a list of attendees with their associated departments/entities; and the expected cost of the meal per person. Set-up and delivery costs associated with the group meal shall not be included in the meal limit calculation.
For all business meals, including group meals, organizers should limit attendance to essential guests only. Without proper justification on the Business Meal Detail Form, UConn Health will not reimburse expenses for spouses or partners or non-essential guests. Under no circumstances may the cost of the meal for each guest (including taxes and tip) exceed three times the appropriate GSA Per Diem meal amount for the location (currently $78 for Hartford and surrounding areas as of 2017).
For the purposes of this policy, business meals shall not include refreshments, such as snacks or nonalcoholic beverages, which are made available to guests outside of the context of a meal. Such refreshments may be provided in appropriate business contexts, provided that the cost of providing refreshments, when combined with any meals served, is less than the applicable GSA meal rate (inclusive of incidental costs, such as set up, delivery, and service charges). For example, refreshments provided before a morning meeting on campus cannot exceed the allowed breakfast per diem expense. Refreshment transactions must also be justified by a business purpose and require the attendee list, total costs, and per person breakdown before the costs may be paid or reimbursed.