Financial Services

Hospitality Policy

The University recognises that the provision of hospitality can result in significant benefits to the institution through promoting its activities. The extension of hospitality by University staff in the furtherance of University objectives is therefore regarded as a legitimate professional activity.

Policy statement

The purpose of this policy and guidelines is to provide guidance to University employees in the expenditure of University funds for hospitality purposes. It is intended to establish a framework to ensure that:

  • There is a consistent approach to expenditure on official hospitality across the University;
  • Expenditure on official hospitality is in accordance with the University's objectives; and
  • Standards on accountability for the expenditure of public funds are maintained.

This policy and associated guidelines are not expected to cover every situation that may arise. Where there are queries the staff member should discuss the proposed hospitality with their supervisor prior to entering into any arrangements or incurring expenditure.

Definitions

For the purpose of this policy hospitality is defined as:

  • The provision of meals or refreshments to persons who are visiting the University for business reasons including the press and other media, representatives of government, business or industry, and recognised community organisations; or
  • The organisation of other functions that further the objectives of the University.

It is expected that, where practical, such hospitality will occur at the University Club although the provision of hospitality off campus or at a staff member's home is not precluded.

Other types of expenses considered reasonable as official hospitality expenditure include:

  • Tea/coffee, morning tea, or similar for official visitors;
  • Breakfast/lunch/dinner involving official visitors;
  • Tourist activities and entertainment events (such as concerts and exhibitions) which relate to the activities of the University; and
  • Light refreshments for internal meetings, conference workshops and seminars

Expenditure that is not normally considered appropriate includes:

  • Tips (within Australia);
  • Club membership fees;
  • Costs incurred by partners and/or relatives attending an official University functions; and
  • Incidental expenses related to home entertainment, travel and accomodation such as laundry and dry cleaning (excepting with prior written hierarchical approval.)

Responsibility

The Executive Director, Finance and Resources, has senior management responsibility for this policy.

The Director, Financial Services, is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of this policy.

Decisions on the expenditure of University funds on hospitality rest with Deans, Heads of Schools and other staff with delegated authority. The officer approving the expenditure incurred, or to be incurred, must be satisfied that:

  • It is in relation to official duties,
  • It is reasonable, appropriate; and
  • It is publicly defensible.

Staff delegated to approve hospitality expenditure are required to have a thorough understanding of the substantiation requirements and procedures surrounding the payment of such costs in order to ensure that the University is not in breach of taxation regulations.

Funding

Hospitality expenditure may be charged against business unit operating funds, research grants (where the conditions of the grant allows such expenditure) and other special purpose funds under the control of the Dean, Head of School, or manager.

Expenditure on hospitality must be approved in accordance with the University’s agreed list of delegations.

While it is not intended that managers are unduly restricted in incurring hospitality expenditure, there is an expectation of ‘reasonableness’. Generally this would be a maximum expenditure level of $80 per person where dining is involved. Ordinarily expenditure at functions involving finger food and drinks should be no more than $35 per person.

It is the responsibility of the manager/delegated officer to determine the nature and extent of hospitality provided. Where expenditure will be in excess of the recommended amounts, approval by the next senior level (eg Dean) is required.

Fringe Benefits Tax

Fringe Benefits Tax is imposed on that portion of taxable hospitality expenditure that relates to the provision of meals, refreshments, entertainment etc to University staff or associates. Fringe Benefits Tax on official catering may be payable even where the food and beverages are supplied internally. It is not, however, payable on morning or afternoon teas or light lunches where alcohol is not served; however, these would need to be consumed at the place of work rather than a specialised entertainment area.

Fringe Benefits Tax will be charged to account 682 in the Project Grant which the original expenditure is debited. Appropriate documentation to substantiate expenditure for hospitality and official functions must be maintained and the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Form forwarded to Financial Services with the payment documentation.

Detailed guidelines on application of Fringe Benefits Tax is available on the Financial Services website.

Payroll Tax

Payroll tax is imposed on fringe benefits (eg hospitality that is subject to Fringe Benefits Tax). Payroll tax will be charged to account 681 in the project grant which the original expense is debited.

Floral Tributes, Small Gifts and Tokens of Appreciation

As a general guide, School Managers/Equivalents and above (subject to hierarchical approval) may authorise expenditure on floral tributes, small gifts and other tokens of appreciation in the following circumstances:

  • The cost of a wreath or floral tribute and cost of an appropriate newspaper notice, if appropriate, on the death of a staff member or person with an identifiable relationship with the University;
  • Serious illness of a staff member or of a person with • an identifiable relationship with the University;
  • Special occasions of a work related nature such as an important official visitor to the University, graduation guest speakers, retirement or resignation of a long serving staff member.

Staff members who receive small gifts or tokens of appreciation may retain those items as personal property or donate them to the University. Small gifts are defined as having an estimated value of up to $100.00.

A recipient of a gift in excess of an estimated $100.00 value must obtain written hierarchal approval to retain the gift as personal property from a band 4a or higher officer.

Other

There are occasions when it may be appropriate to provide hospitality at functions attended only be University staff, and where there are clear benefits in terms of training and/or staff morale. Examples include:

  • Celebration of notable achievement by a staff member or a group of staff;
  • Farewells to retiring staff;
  • Training programmes; and
  • Recognised festivals such as Christmas.

Approval must be given by the relevant manager and the application for approval must:

  • Identify the groups of staff expected to attend;
  • Identify the benefits to be gained; and
  • Demonstrate that the cost to the University is appropriate to teh occasion.

The University's Internal Auditor will conduct periodic reviews of hospitality expenditure to ensure compliance with this policy.

For further information about this policy or matters not covered by it, please refer to the Director, Financial Services in the first instance.