Allowable Expenses


When an employee entertains on behalf of UC Berkeley, the entertainment activity must be directly related to UC Berkeley business and should not personally benefit the host or other employees. Please read the guidelines below to learn which entertainment expenses are reimbursable.

Entertainment-Related Expenses

University Employee on Travel Status

Such expenses should be itemized and submitted with the Travel Expense Report to ensure that the meals associated with travel are separate from those meals associated with hospitality. Note: This is for entertainment expenses only, not to make up the difference of the maximum daily travel allowance should the traveler exceed the limit.

Prospective Donors, Employees and Student Appointees

The University may provide meals and light refreshments at an event for generating good will of prospective donors and to prospective employees and students who are under consideration for positions that required specialized training and/or experience of a professional, technical or administrative nature.

Visitors, Guests and Volunteers

The University may provide meals, coffee and other light refreshments if the hospitality is necessary to the conduct of official University business to visitors from other educational institutions, members of the community, University employees visiting from another work location, medical center visitors and similar guests, campus volunteers and research subjects.

Spouse/Partner of a University Guest or University Host

Exception: The cost of meals or light refreshment may be provided if the expenditure serves a bona fide University purpose.

Cash Contributions Included in a Fundraiser Fee

Exception: If a non-profit community or charitable fundraising event includes a cash donation as part of the meal or registration fee, an exception must be granted BEFORE the fee can be paid by the University. The exception request must certify that the employee's participation in the event has a documented business purpose or fulfills the University's role within the community.

Business Meeting Hospitality

Reimbursement of expenses for meals or light refreshments provided in connection with business meetings involving University employees are allowed when:

a. The expenses occur infrequently (not on a routine basis)

b. The expenses benefit the University and are reasonable and appropriate to the purpose and nature of the business being conducted

c. Meal taken with individual colleagues at the same work location generally may not be reimbursed by the University unless the business purpose of the meal could not be conducted during working hours.

Employee Morale-Building Activities

The cost of meals or light refreshments for official employee morale-building activities that serve a University business purpose may be reimbursed as an EXCEPTION. Such occasions are:

a. To honor a departing employee who is retiring or who is separating from the University after at least 5 years of service

b. Employee recognition receptions

c. Annual faculty/staff picnics

d. Holiday gatherings


The University may furnish meals to certain employees during work hours when the employees are required to be at their work stations during a normal meal time. These meals can be provided when the department requirements necessitate that meals be provided as a condition of the employee's appointment.

a. The meal must be approved by an authorized official

b. The meal must be taken at the employee's work location during his/her working hours

Meals Provided to Students

The University may provide meals or light refreshment in support of the University's educational program, such as:

a. Meals for an athletic team, including training table meals, game related meals

b. Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with the recruitment of student-athletes

c. Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with a class, study hall or other academic-based activity

d. Meals or light refreshments in connection with student orientation programs, commencement

e. Meals or light refreshments provided in connection with a student government meeting, association meeting or other student meeting

f. Meals or light refreshments may be reimbursed for meeting between students and faculty or administrators

Quantity Purchases

Supplies of food, beverages, and related items may be accumulated in connection with official entertainment functions and other activities in order to simplify the planning of individual events and to take advantage of favorable pricing on quantity purchases.

a. An Inventory Record for Quantity Purchases should be maintained by the department.

b. Purchases should be limited to the amount that will be used within the fiscal year.