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Holiday Parties and Gatherings

Find out about approval, allowances, and reimbursement guidelines for UC San Diego holiday parties.

Types of events:

  • Employee appreciation events with only employees in attendance
  • Special and social events with employees and spouses, significant others, or guests in attendance

Both types of events are special entertainment, requiring approval by the vice chancellor or the chancellor's designee. The approval authority should evaluate the event in terms of cost, benefit, availability of funds, and alternatives that would be equally effective in accomplishing desired business objectives.

Events should be:

  • Cost effective
  • In accordance with the proper use of public funds
  • Directly associated with the conduct of official UC San Diego business
  • In service of a clear UC San Diego business purpose with no personal benefit derived by either the official host or attending employees

Employee appreciation events

Functions, such as holiday parties or gatherings, can be approved as special entertainment if costs are:

  • Limited to only the employees in attendance
  • Within the allowable cost per person
  • Permitted under the fund source

If expenses exceed the per-person meal maximum, justification is required, including reasons why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve a business purpose.

To request a payment or reimbursement, use MyPayments (login required).

If the employee appreciation event includes tickets to a sporting or cultural event (season tickets excluded), process the tickets through Payment Authorization. If the tickets include a meal component, use MyPayments (login required).

Special and social events

For holiday parties and gatherings not limited to employees (attendees include employee's spouse, partner, or other invited guests), typically there is no bona fide UCSD business purpose served by the non-employee’s attendance. Unless the non-employee guest is a donor, each employee should pay his/ her guest’s portion – which is common practice.

For events with extenuating circumstances, please contact UCSD Travel.

To request a payment or reimbursement, use MyPayments (login required).

For special and social events:

  • Provide a guest list including names, titles, and either the occupation or business relationship.
  • Provide written justification if expenses exceed the per-person meal maximum, including reasons why the higher costs were unavoidable and necessary to achieve a business purpose.

Functions at private residences should follow all applicable entertainment policy:

  • Follow IRS policy when making payment for services to individuals such as servers or cooks.
  • Remember that payment for these services is considered income to the recipient and must be reported to the IRS for tax purposes.
  • Collect names and Social Security numbers of recipients of payments for personal services. Include your contact information in the request so that Travel staff can obtain the Social Security numbers and enter this data directly into a secured application at the time of processing.
Note: this page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/holidays

Notice: UC San Diego policy for meetings, entertainment, and hosted events, as published in Blink, is decisive. It has been adapted to UC San Diego's organization, delegation of authority, terminology, chart of accounts, and processing applications. The source is UC Expenditures for Business Meetings, Entertainment, and Other Occasions.