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Financial Services

Hosting, Retreats, and Teambuilding Policy

The University can pay for appropriate Teambuilding experiences, Retreats, and common business courtesies that involve the provision of Refreshments (snacks) or Meals to employees of the University. This policy defines the parameters within which University funds may be used to pay for reasonable Hosting, Retreats, and Teambuilding activities.

Subject to budgetary constraints and the parameters established by this policy, department heads may allocate funds for payment of the cost of Hosting, Retreats and other Teambuilding activities for employees and guests of the University.


The following terms (Capitalized hereafter in the text) have the specific definitions given.

Extension of common business courtesies, including providing Meals, to guests of the University or in the conduct of official University business with persons who are not employees. Pounders Restaurant at the PCC and the Bistro at the Courtyard Marriott offer a 10% discount off of their menus for BYU-Hawaii employees with a valid university ID card. It is recommended that hosting be done at these two venues whenever possible. Meals are subject to regular per diem amounts for the state of Hawaii and the other mainland states.

A catered or restaurant provided breakfast, lunch, or dinner for employees or other individuals while engaged in the conduct of substantial and bona fide University business. Meals are subject to regular per diem amounts for the state of Hawaii.

Bottled water, juice, soda, hors d’oeuvres, food items such as pastries, fruit, chips, cookies and cake and other light refreshments.

A shared experience away from the work place that facilitates work team conversation about strategic directions, plans, and process improvements or to provide practical training in concepts, methods, and tools intended to increase unit effectiveness and productivity.

Social Activity
Informal work site gatherings held to recognize personal or group milestones and encourage friendliness among the members of a work team.

Structured activities involving the members of a work team designed to enable experiential learning about trust, communication, creativity, and cooperation that will carry over into the work place.

Work Team
A group of employees operating in the same location and having frequent interactions with one another to accomplish assignments that depend on their collective efforts.

Excessive Meals and Refreshments
Meals or Refreshments are deemed to be excessive when they become a regular (more than once a month) occurrence for employees for the sake of providing a meal when a meeting occurs.


The cost of Hosting may be paid or reimbursed out of University funds. By way of illustration and not limitation, Hosting events could include entertaining a visiting lecturer, a potential donor, a prospective employee, or other official guest of the University. Any request to use University funds for Hosting purposes must include an explanation of the business purpose. Meals are subject to regular per diem amounts according to Travel Services’ per diem rates.

Retreats and Teambuilding Exercises

University managers may schedule a Retreat or Teambuilding activity when deemed necessary to achieve the work team’s organizational development goals. These events must observe the following constraints:

Attendance is mandatory and the agenda does not address routine, ongoing activities of the work team.

Allowable expenses

Allowable expenses include:

  • The reasonable cost of Meals and Refreshments
  • The production costs of handouts and training materials
  • Honoraria or facilitator fees
  • Rent or usage fees for purpose-built Teambuilding facilities (requires cognizant vice president specific approval)

Planning for Teambuilding exercises and Retreats must be accommodated to these limitations

Location: Unless the specific objectives of a planned event simply cannot be achieved without going off campus, all Teambuilding exercises and Retreats must be held at a University facility. A request to do otherwise must be supported by written documentation and approved by the cognizant vice president prior to reserving the location.

No overnight events: Teambuilding experiences and Retreats must be contained within normal working hours. University resources may not be used to pay for overnight activities.

Frequency: Teambuilding experiences and work team Retreats may only be scheduled once per calendar year.

Cost: The all-in cost of a Teambuilding experience or Retreat cannot exceed $25 per participant.

Employee compensation: All non-exempt employees will be paid for the time while in attendance at department retreat. Student employees will be paid for the number of hours they participate in the Retreat. If a dinner following the Retreat is provided, attendance is considered voluntary and will not be paid as time worked.

Social Activities

The University authorizes the use of University funds for employee social activities as follows:

University-wide social events

The University may hold an annual dinner social for all its employees in appreciation for their service to the institution. This event may serve as the venue for presentation of awards or recognitions. Retired personnel and spouse/guest, as well as spouse of deceased employees may be invited.

Departmental or work team social events

In addition to the institution-wide socials, each academic or administrative unit is allowed to sponsor one dinner each year. For academic units, this dinner should be in conjunction with the graduation dinners each semester, if it is within the department/college budget. Student employees may be invited to attend at the discretion of the chairman/director, but the amount of funds budgeted for the dinner is determined excluding student employees.

The amount the academic or administrative unit may spend from University administered funds for all costs of the occasion (including Meals, decorations, entertainment, etc.) is equal to $18 per-full time or permanent part-time employees and their spouse/guest. . Funds for this purpose are included in the budget of the unit involved. If the cost of the occasion exceeds the amount provided by the University, the participants must pay the extra cost. Revenue-producing areas may use their funds for the annual dinner, but these units also must stay within the University dollar limitation.

In addition to an annual Retreat, departments may hold an annual party subject to the same dollar amounts as noted above.

Approved Event: University Event Ho’omai’kai

  • Employees & spouse/guest
  • Retiree & spouse/guest
  • Spouse of deceased employee


Approved Event: Academic/Admin Dinner

  • Employees
  • Student employees

Budget: Hawaii per diem X non-student employees

Approved Event: Retreat

  • All Employees & Missionaries

Budget: $25 per participant

Approved Event: Annual Party (e.g. Christmas)

  • Employees & spouse/guest

Budget: $18 per employee and spouse/guest

Departmental or Work Team Meetings

Refreshments (snacks) or Meals may not be provided in conjunction with ordinary or recurring staff meetings lasting fewer than three hours. Refreshments of this nature are to be provided on a personal basis. However, if business necessity requires employees to meet during the lunch time period, the department head may authorize an exception. Judgement should be used to determine whether these expenses are reasonable and prudent as to the frequency and cost of such events. Departments must show on all invoices, receipts or other documents for such Meals stating the “business purpose” and a list of those who attended. Certain circumstances may exist that warrant Refreshments at a staff or workplace meeting, but must be done on a very infrequent basis.

Gifts & De Minimis Incentives

In the context of a planned initiative to reinforce and promote attention to a Work Team’s priorities, values, and performance objectives, managers may use University funds to purchase gifts (e.g., pens, pins, desk accessories) with a value of less than $50.00. Receipt of such gifts must be linked to desired employee behavior and the stated purpose be documented. Approval must be obtained from the cognizant vice president. This type of activity is limited to an annual occurrence.

University funds may not be used to provide cash or cash equivalents (i.e. gift cards, debit cards, credit cards, or gift certificates that are denominated in cash amounts instead of specific items of merchandise) to employees for any purpose.

Welcome Baskets/Gifts and Retirement/Missionary Departures

Departments may choose to provide welcome baskets or gifts, up to a value of $25 to university guests, missionaries, and new employees. The process for coordinating welcome baskets for missionaries and new employees will be coordinated by the university Senior Missionary Coordinators. Departments will not provide additional welcome baskets for missionaries. New employee welcome baskets or leis along with those for university guests, will be the responsibility of the receiving organization and must fall within the prices outlined in this policy. Exceptions must be approved by the cognizant vice president prior to the purchase of these items.

It is appropriate for Senior Missionary couples to be taken to dinner one evening as they complete their mission. One individual and their guest from the department, along with the missionary couple, can be paid for using department funds.

Lei Giving/Special Occasions

Department general funds up to $25 may be used for purchase of a lei for University guests and ohana (family) for specific occasions. If a University purchasing card is used to purchase leis, the person(s) or group(s) receiving the lei, as well as the purpose or occasion must be indicated in the transaction receipt.

Exceptions: Commencement Speakers and Executive Committee members may receive a reasonably priced special lei, costing up to $40. Departmental funds are not to be used to purchase treats, food items, gifts/leis for department personnel and special occasions, such as terminations, retirements, farewells, birthdays, birth of children, wedding, bosses/secretary day, remembrances, etc. These type of events and expenses should be purchased from funds contributed by co-workers and friends.

General Provisions

The following general rules must be observed:


All food sold and served at events will be governed by Food Services policies (see policy #GAOP-004, Catering Food on Campus).

Prepared food (i.e. pizza, sandwiches, and plate lunches) may be obtained from local vendors and brought in by employees. Any on-campus event that is catered must be provided by a vendor holding proper food permits and who is pre-approved through Food Services. It is the preference of the University that all catered food be provided by the University’s Food Services department.

Departments must provide the following documentation of incurred Hosting, Retreat, or Teambuilding expenses:

  • Original invoices, receipts, and other documents for Meals and Refreshments
  • An explanation of the business purpose served
  • A listing of those who attended

Prohibited expenses
Alcoholic beverages may not be provided at University expense in any setting on or off campus. Any expenditures of alcoholic beverages will be charged to the employee’s university account and the employee may be subject to disciplinary action.


The President’s council may authorize exceptions to the requirements of this policy if there is a documented finding that doing so is in the best interests of the University. Exceptions to the policy will be submitted to and tracked by Human Resources.


The Purchasing and Internal Audit departments will review questionable purchases and communicate with departments when hosting, meals, and refreshment expenses become excessive. Any employees found to knowingly aid in processing transactions violating any provision of the policy may also face disciplinary action.