Business Meals

Official Business Meals (Non-Travel) Reimbursements

The employee must complete a Non-Travel Business Meal form and submit it to the Travel Office.  The form must include a specific business meal purpose.  An original, itemized receipt is required for reimbursement of all business meals. The M&IE allowance rate used will correspond to the location in which the individual purchases the official business meal.  The College will reimburse official business meals based on actual costs incurred up to the amount shown for the applicable meal in the M&IE Rate Table.  Business meals that exceed the meal allowance rate require justification and additional department approval 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.

 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 their own lunch, it is not considered a business meal and it is not reimbursable under the guidelines.  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.

Appropriate Expenses

The following are expenditure types that are considered appropriate for business meal expenses:

  • Supplies, Food & Drink -- Usually purchased from a grocery store. Food is unprepared (e.g. raw fruit or veggies).
  • Services, Catering -- Expenses for catered certified business meals. Requires forethought and a planned menu.
  • Meals, Business (Non-Travel) -- Expenses for non-catered certified business meals only, such as restaurant meals. Not for catered, day-trip, or travel meals.
Restrictions

There are additional restrictions on the types of meal expenses that can be paid from State funds:

  • Alcohol -- Any expenses for alcohol including tax and tip during a business meal will NOT be paid from State funds.  Alcoholic beverages up to $20 per person, including tax and tip are allowable with University Local Funds.  The alcohol is not part of the per diem cap and it must be excluded from the per diem rates.
  • Spouses or Children – Spouses or Children of business meal participants may attend a business meal, but their portion of the expense will NOT be paid from State funds.  Only meal expenses for job candidates' spouses are allowable under the same rules as business meal exceptions with University Local Funds.
Non-Travel Business Meal Reimbursement Documentation Process

Departments must use the College Non-Travel Business Meal Form for business meal expenses incurred during non-travel status. A properly completed form must be submitted with all required approval signatures.  The following must be disclosed or attached to the form before sending it to the Travel Office for Reimbursement.

  • Agency Head or designee approval.
  • Include the original, itemized receipt.
  • Describe the substantive and bona fide business purpose
  • List by name all persons involved in the meal (up to 10 persons) and the reason for the meal. If the reimbursement is for a group of conference participants, identify the number of people fed and an explanation of additional meals, if necessary (e.g., 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.
  • Calculate average amount spent per attendee.
  • 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.
  • If requesting a business meal exception, describe the justification for meals over the GSA Limit must be included and approved.
Non-Travel Business Meal Direct Bill Documentation Process

Departments must use the College Vendor Payment Request form for business meal expenses incurred during non-travel status that are direct-billed to the College.  A properly completed form must be submitted with all required approval signatures.  The documentation that must be disclosed or attached prior to sending the form to Accounts Payable for Payment is identical to the documentation required for business meal reimbursements in the previous paragraph.  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.

Other Business Related Food and Beverage Procedures

The procedures provided herein apply to all College departments, faculty, staff, students and all organizations and individuals that intend to provide food and/or beverages and any related services to CWM personnel (faculty and staff), students, or their guests at College expense.  There are limited circumstances in which it is considered appropriate to provide food and beverages to personnel who are not in travel status.

These procedures were created to provide guidance when using State funds to purchase food and beverages for official College business. Purchases from any College account (including E & G, Auxiliary, Local, and Grant funds) are subject to these guidelines. Purchases for food and beverages include, but are not limited to, business meals, catered events, meal tickets, finger foods, party platters, and refreshment breaks.

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 limited to the following:

  • Official Business Function: 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 the non-CWM 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 Function: 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 CWM. 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). College employees are the primary beneficiaries at such events.
  • Student Academic Function: Food and beverages may be provided at student functions that contribute to the academic mission of the College. 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.
  • Student Programming/Club Function: Food and beverages may be provided at student programming/club functions that contribute to student engagement and support the mission of the College. 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.
Requirements and Limitations

This procedure established the following requirements and limitations regarding appropriate expenditures for food and beverages:

  1. Food and beverages may be provided only at functions or events that meet the criteria listed in the above section of this procedure.
  2. For official business functions, the purpose/business reason must be included on the Non-Travel Business Meal form to verify the CWM employee is acting as an official representative of the College and would be exempt from tax reportable income for the cost of the meal. A listing of the names and organizational affiliations of each person in attendance at events at which food and beverages are provided must also be listed on the Non-Travel Business Meal form to support payment. If a listing is impractical to provide, a written explanation to that effect must be submitted instead.
  3. Food and beverages may be provided at official business meetings held during normal work hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Breakfast and dinner meals are generally not considered to be part of an employee's normal workday. A detailed justification is required for meals outside of normal business hours.
  4. Refreshments may be provided at official business functions.
  5. The actual cost per person for food and beverages, including any related service fees or gratuities, may not exceed the per diem amount allowed for business meals as established under College Travel Regulations. With sufficient justification and the approving authority (VP/AVP; Dean, Asst/Assoc Dean; or Director) meal expenditures may be authorized up to 150% of the applicable per diem meal rate with 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.
  6. Internal training retreats where food and beverages are served should include a description of the type of training provided as documentation to support the expenditures.
  7. Alcoholic beverages may not be provided at College expense.
Catering and Dining Services

CWM has a contract with Sodexo to provide catering and dining services. 

Local Vendors

For payment processing to the vendor when purchasing food and/or beverages, a Vendor Payment Request Form must be completed for each event along with the original itemized receipt to the Accounts Payable office for payment processing.

SPCC Payments for Official Business Meals

If the Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC) is used to purchase food from a local vendor; additional information must be uploaded with the business meal receipt.  The SPCC Business Meal Upload form should be used to ensure all required elements of the business meal have been provided.