Business Meal Policy

Generally, meal expenses must involve an overnight stay to qualify for reimbursement. In these instances, the traveler must adhere to the travel regulations outlined earlier for meal reimbursement. Individuals who are not in a travel status are eligible for meal reimbursement if they participate in a business meal. Individuals in travel status may occasionally attend meals that qualify as business meals. Departments must use Chrome River for business meal expenses incurred during travel and non-travel status.

Such meals occur while the individual is on official business and must:

  • Include Agency Head or Designee approval. Department approvals will be routed in Chrome River based on the designated Chrome River approver of the allocation and overage exceptions.
  • Involve substantive and bona fide business discussions and include the original, itemized receipt.
  • List by name all persons involved in the meal and affiliations (up to 10 persons) and the reason for the meal. For a group of more than 10 people, a description of the group/attendees are required. If the reimbursement is for a group of conference participants, identify the number of people fed and an explanation of additional meals, if necessary (example: Coverage of walk-ins).
  • Be reimbursed for actual expenses up to the amount shown for the applicable meal in the M&IE Rate Table, excluding the incidental allowance.
  • For the individuals in travel status, the per diem allowance applicable to the business meal must be clearly excluded from the daily reimbursement.
  • Delivery costs and a reasonable tip (up to 20%) are reimbursable as long as the total cost does not exceed the allowable per diem for the meal.

In order for an employee to receive reimbursement for a business meal, there must be two or more attendees on the business meal form.  All business meal receipts must be for two meals or more.  If an employee attends a meeting in whereas each person is paying for his or her own lunch, it is not considered a business meal and it is not reimbursable under the guidelines for State Funds.  If the business meal falls under Grant funding, which restricts employees from being reimbursed for business meals (allows only guest meals to be reimbursed), a statement from OSP specific to the employee's reimbursement voucher must be provided which states the grant does not allow business meal reimbursement for employees.  If the business meal falls under non-grant funding, but the department only wants to reimburse the guest's meal and not the employee's meal, the reimbursement will be processed only if an original, detailed receipt showing 2 meals or more is provided.

Business Meal Exceptions

Business meals that exceed the meal allowance rate require an approved justification statement for up to 150% of the meal allowance and are allowable expenses to charge to State Funds.  Meals that exceed 150% of the allowance up to 200% of the standard rate with Dean or VP approval are allowable with University Local Funds.

Appropriate Food and Beverages Functions

The functions or events at which it is considered appropriate for food and beverages to be served to College personnel are listed below as 5 allowable business meal types:

  • Business Meals Involving External Parties: Food and beverages may be provided at business meetings that involve substantive and bona fide business discussions with an outside party or parties in attendance. The primary beneficiaries of such functions are not William & Mary employees. Meals at which interview candidates are hosted are included in this category. Additionally, there are campus-wide and/or departmental activities where it may be appropriate for food and beverages to be provided, such as annual school start-up planning meetings.
  • Internal Training and Related Business Functions: Food and beverages may be provided to participants of a formal training session when business is conducted through the time of the meal and the training session lasts for a minimum of two hours. The determination of whether a departmental retreat is an appropriate internal training function at which food and beverages may be provided will require consideration of the factors surrounding the event. Departmental retreats must be conducted primarily as training functions, are at least two hours in length, and do not occur more frequently than once per semester. The type of training provided will depend on the particular department involved.  In order to limit expenditures for rental facilities, retreats should be held at properties owned or leased by William & Mary. Retreats held at off campus locations require advance written approval- Travel Authorization- by the approving authority (either the Senior Vice President, Associate/Assistant Vice President, Dean, or Associate/Assistant Dean). University employees are the primary beneficiaries at such events.
  • Events with Students: Food and beverages may be provided at student functions that contribute to the academic mission of the university. Current and prospective students are the primary beneficiaries at such events. Food and beverages provided at commencement or annual award ceremonies are examples of this category.  Food and beverages may be provided at student programming/club functions that contribute to student engagement and support the mission of the university. Current students are the primary beneficiaries of such events. Food and beverages provided at residence hall programs or club programming events sponsored by student activities fees are examples of this category.
  • Employee Retirement and Appreciation Events: Allowed up to 200% of the standard meal rate.  This expense is allowable under Local Funds only.  Note: Appreciation events should be limited to no more than once per quarter.
  • Meals, Food or Beverages for One University Employee: Allowed up to standard per diem rates if the employee is meeting with a non-employee who is covering his or her own meal expenses.  The expense must be approved by the responsible Dean or Vice President and must be handled on a reimbursement basis.  This expense is allowable under Local Funds only.  These expenses are prohibited on the University Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC).  
Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages, including tax and tip may not be provided at College expense on state funds.  Alcohol is allowable under local funds only at the cost of $30 per person, including tax and tip.  The alcohol is not part of the per diem cap and it must be excluded from the per diem rates.

Spouses and Children

Spouses and children of a business meal participants may attend a business meal, but their portion of the expense will NOT be reimbursed from State Funds.  Only meal expenses for job candidates' spouses are allowable under the same rules as business meal exceptions with university local funds.