Hospitality Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and answers are provided to assist departments in the use of the hospitality guidelines.
They are consistent with the intent and spirit of ICSUAM policy number 1301.00 (Hospitality Payment and Reimbursement of Expenses), but should not be construed as a strict interpretation.
What paperwork is required by Purchasing to procure and/or pay for hospitality expenses?
A Hospitality Expense Justification Form (pdf) is required to be completed and submitted along with supporting backup documenation. At a minimum, each request or purchase requires an itemized quote, receipt or invoice that includes:
- Description of services
- Unit prices
- Extended totals
Do I have to provide a written justification to Purchasing with my request to procure and/or pay for hospitality expenses?
Yes. Supportive documentation (i.e., receipts, invoice, and quotes) and the Hospitality Expense Justifcation Form (pdf) must be submitted when requesting and/or paying for hospitality expenses. It is also important to record who attended the event and whether or not they were official guest(s) of SJSU.
Approving officers signify that events or purchases meet the criteria for allowable hospitality expenses when they approve transactions. Approving officers are also responsible for signifying that the correct funds have been used.
Are department files subject to audit or review?
Yes. As necessary, files must be accessible to internal and external auditors.
When is it appropriate to present a gift to a non-SJSU individual or organization?
It must be determined that the gift benefits SJSU or is clearly necessary to the fulfillment of SJSU's mission. Gifts cannot be paid from CSU Operating Fund and CERF.
Examples of individuals or organizations that may be presented with a gift include:
- A visiting dignitary or scholar.
- A donor or potential donor.
- A volunteer, to honor the contribution of time or other resources.
- An organization, to promote goodwill.
Can a donor gift be given to an SJSU employee who donates to SJSU?
Is there a dollar limit for gifts to non-SJSU individuals or organizations?
The level of contribution to SJSU determines the level of gift.
Gifts to donors must follow IRS guidelines that specify that a gift may not exceed 2% of the donor's contribution.
Gifts to foreign dignitaries should thoughtfully reflect the culture of gift giving in the recipient's home country.
Gifts cannot be paid from CSU Operating Fund or CERF.
Under what circumstances can gifts be purchased with special SJSU funds to recognize employees?
Under what circumstances can an award be purchased at the department level to recognize employees?
An award can be bestowed to an employee if department has a formal (documented) employee awards and service recognition program.
Can nominal motivational or inspirational items be purchased for employees from Successories and other similar vendors?
Yes, as long as the products are purchased for use or display in the office.
Ordering office supplies with motivational or inspirational messages is allowed.
How are promotional products purchased?
All other promotional products will involve new custom printing and, therefore, must be purchased using the web requisition process. Submit completed web requisitions (including suggested vendors) to Purchasing. SJSU's Print Buyer will place the order with an appropriate vendor.
Can promotional products be given to SJSU employees?
Can tickets be purchased with SJSU funds for employees to attend SJSU events like the College of Business Banquet?
Yes, with department approval use one of the following processes:
- Direct Payment Voucher if payment is to be made to an Auxiliary (Associated Students, Research Foundation, Spartan Shops, Student Union, and Tower Foundation)
- Web Hospitality Payment in FTS if payment is to be made to another campus department
Tickets for staff and faculty may be purchased for:
- Community relations
- Fund raising
- Outreach events (if attendance serves a promotional purpose)
For example, promoting SJSU by:
- Enhancing visibility in the community
- Promoting legislation
- Soliciting donations and scholarships
Can tickets be purchased with SJSU funds for an employee's spouse or partner to attend SJSU events like the College of Business Banquet?
Yes, with department approval and provided that the presence of employee's spouse or partner serves an SJSU business purpose.
Employee's spouse or partner must have a significant role in the proceedings or makes an important contribution to the success of the event. Official functions to which spouses or domestic partners are invited as a matter of protocol or tradition such as ceremonial functions, fundraising events, alumni gatherings, athletic games, and community events may be considered business related. An agenda, invitation or similar documentation should be included with the payment record.
Are students considered official University guests?
Students enrolled at SJSU are not considered SJSU guests.
Potential students (elementary, middle school, high school and non-SJSU students) are considered official guests.
Can I use University funds from the Faculty Mentor Program to purchase student gift certificates or event tickets?
Yes, nominal non-cash gifts can be given to student participants.
As a means to develop the mentor/student relationship, event tickets for the mentor and student may be purchased with non-CSU operating funds.
A student assistant who has worked for our department is graduating. Can we use University funds to pay for a farewell gathering and/or gift?
No, SJSU funds cannot be used to pay for farewell gatherings or farewell gifts to student assistants.
Can I use University funds to pay for a retirement reception?
Yes, a retirement or farewell reception can be paid for with university funds only if the employee being honored has had five years of service at SJSU. The reception expense includes the costs for decoration supplies, food and room rental (if applicable).
Can I use University funds to pay for a retirement gift?
Yes a retirement gift may be purchased if the employee being honored has had at least five years of service at SJSU. Gifts cannot be paid from CSU Operating Fund or CERF.
Can I purchase paper plates, cups, plastic utensils and napkins in bulk quantities for future use?
Yes, as long as the products will be used for approved hospitality events.
Can I purchase decorations such as balloons and flower centerpieces for a reception?
Yes. Balloons and other nominal, disposable decorations can be purchased for approved hospitality events using CSU operating funds or other University funds.
Because flower centerpieces can also be categorized as gifts (given to honorees or guests at the reception's conclusion), they should be purchased for approved hospitality events using non-CSU operating funds.
We are conducting an off-site office retreat. How do I proceed?
Allowable expenses include:
- Meeting room rental
- Equipment rental
- Food and light refreshments
Select a retreat location and submit a Web Requisition. Include a completed Hospitality Expense Justification Form (pdf) along with any supporting documentation (i.e., quote and correspondence) with your requisition.
The requisition should detail the specifics of the event, including:
- Per person charge or a not to exceed dollar amount
- A department point of contact (employee name, phone and email)
Do not sign any agreements directly with the hotel or conference site provider. Purchasing will sign any necessary agreements and process any required deposits.
The department point of contact has the responsibility of verifying satisfactory service and approving the final payment.
Can my department hire an entertainer to perform at our staff retreat?
Speakers and other forms of entertainment can be compensated for attending a staff retreat. Entertainment services cannot be paid with CSU Operating Fund or CERF.
Is paid entertainment allowed at any event?
Paid entertainment is allowed for events or activities with a business purpose or promotes the mission and goals of the university. Examples of such events or activities are outreach, special university-wide events, ones with official guests, and fundraising. Entertainment services cannot be paid with CSU Operating Fund or CERF.
Contact Us (Purchasing) at 408-924-1560 for additional assistance or information.
What is the definition of a qualified business meeting?
To satisfy the requirement that the meal is part of a business function, a qualified meeting should:
- Take place over an extended period of time.
- The agenda should include a working meal.
The expenditure of state funds is not permitted when:
- 2 or more employees choose to go to lunch together to continue their business.
- The meeting could have been scheduled during regular work hours.