Policy

Hospitality - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this policy is to establish key principles relating to expenditure on hospitality at The University of Queensland. It is intended to be read in conjunction with a number of procedures, including PPL 9.45.06b Hospitality – Procedures and PPL 9.45.06c Hospitality - Guidelines.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Hospitality generally includes:

  • the provision of meals and beverages (regardless of whether it is considered to be entertainment);
  • the provision of tickets to sporting events, cultural events and other functions;
  • the provision of travel and overnight accommodation; and
  • any costs incidental to the provision of the above such as venue hire and transport costs (such and taxi charges and bus hire).

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all staff, students and contractors of the University where the University provides hospitality.

4. Policy Statement

The University of Queensland (“the University”) is a statutory body that was established by the State Government (“the Government”).  It operates under its own enabling legislation, the University of Queensland Act 1998, which sets out its purpose and specific powers.

While it is recognised that statutory bodies may be established to allow a certain level of independence from Government, the Government is still responsible to ensure that taxpayer funds expended in the operations of statutory bodies are spent in the most efficient, effective and economic manner.

The Financial Accountability Act 2009 and the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 establish the high-level financial management and accountability obligations for all statutory bodies.

The University’s policy on hospitality is based on the best practice principles established by the Government that apply to all statutory bodies.

All expenditure on corporate hospitality must be:

  • essential to furthering the official business of the University, or of clear benefit in terms of staff morale; and
  • reasonable by community standards and able to withstand public scrutiny; and
  • authorised and approved by an appropriate officer; and
  • supported by adequate documentation verifying all of the above.

PPL 9.45.06b Hospitality – Procedures provide detail on what is considered reasonable and what approvals need to be sought.

Procedures

Hospitality - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 9.45.06a Hospitality - Policy. The procedures below provide detail on what is considered reasonable and what approvals need to be sought.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Hospitality generally includes:

  • the provision of meals and beverages (regardless of whether it is considered to be entertainment);
  • the provision of tickets to sporting events, cultural events and other functions;
  • the provision of travel and overnight accommodation; and
  • any costs incidental to the provision of the above such as venue hire and transport costs (such and taxi charges and bus hire).

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) is a tax payable by the University on the value of certain fringe benefits that have been provided to employees or to associates of those employees in respect of their employment.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a broad-based tax of 10% (also known as a value-added tax) on the supply of most goods, services and anything else consumed in Australia.

Internal Services Charge relates to a transaction that occurs between organisational units within The University of Queensland.

PPL means the University's Policy and Procedures Library http://ppl.app.uq.edu.au

Register of Reportable Gifts is a register maintained by the Accounting and Reporting Section, Finance and Business Services Division for the purpose of recording gifts made by the University and gifts received by Senators and staff members of the University.

Staff means full-time and part-time academic and professional staff of the University of Queensland.

Student means a student enrolled at the University of Queensland.

UQ Hospitality Calculator is the tool that helps facilitate the correct account, GST, and FBT coding and must be used to calculate an amount for all hospitality expenditure in the University’s Finance System (UniFi).

University Senior Management Group consists of the Vice-Chancellor, Provost, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Chief Operating Officer, Pro-Vice-Chancellors, President of the Academic Board, Executive Deans and Directors of Institutes.

Vice-Chancellor’s Committee consists of the Vice-Chancellor, Provost, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chief Operating Officer.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to the staff, contractors, and students of the University, where the University provides hospitality.

4. Procedures Statement

4.1 General information

Hospitality must not be provided to any spouses or family members of a University employee unless written pre-approval is obtained (via an email) from a member of the University Senior Management Group. This excludes spouses or family members who are attending in their capacity as a University employee.

Notwithstanding the upper dollar value limits detailed in this procedure, employees are reminded that hospitality expenditure should be incurred in an efficient, effective and economic manner. An organisational unit may introduce its own lower limits or exclude certain types of hospitality activities to ensure that its expenditure remains within budget.

The provision of hospitality may result in fringe benefits tax (FBT). This can significantly increase the cost of hospitality provided to University employees and their associates. FBT requirements outlined in PPL 9.65.02 FBT and the UQ FBT Guide must be complied with at all time for every hospitality expenses incurred by the University.

The conditions on allowable expenditure contained in grant/funding agreements should be reviewed before charging hospitality expenditure against a specific project.

This policy does not apply to food and beverages purchased by a commercial dining facility operated by the University (e.g. Customs House, Halls of Residence). However, if University employees use these dining facilities for a hospitality event and charge the cost to the University (whether by way of reimbursement or through an Internal Service Charge) then the policy does apply to such events.

Where alcohol is provided at a University function, the requirements of the University’s policy on Alcohol, Smoking and Other Drugs must be complied with at all times.

4.2 Categories of hospitality

For the purposes of this policy, hospitality has been split into the following categories:

  • Corporate Hospitality;
  • Fee For Service Hospitality;
  • Overnight Business Travel Hospitality; and
  • Employee Hospitality.

4.3 Corporate Hospitality

4.3.1 Definition and examples

Corporate Hospitality is expenditure incurred to entertain students, corporate customers, key stakeholders and interest groups where no fee is charged to participants.

For hospitality provided in the ordinary course of UQ’s business (such as conferences, conventions, lectures and seminars) where a fee is charged to participants, refer to section 4.3 Fee For Service Hospitality.

Examples of events that would constitute Corporate Hospitality include, but are not limited to:

  • A business lunch with potential donors/sponsors/granting bodies or other customers to help generate business for the University;
  • Fruits and juices provided in a free public lecture hosted by UQ;
  • Morning/afternoon tea and lunch provided at a free public seminar hosted by UQ.
  • Dinner with a guest speaker following a public lecture;
  • An afternoon tea with potential employees;
  • A free BBQ provided during promotional functions designed to attract students;
  • Canapés and drinks provided at a free UQ Art Museum opening event;
  • A free “thank you” dinner for those who donated generously during the year;
  • A free cocktail party at an alumni event; and
  • Dinner provided to a review committee with internal and external participants.

4.3.2 Limitations and exclusions

Corporate Hospitality should not be seen as a substitute for general business meetings that would ordinarily be conducted in the workplace.

Corporate Hospitality expenditure should only be incurred where it is essential to furthering the official business of the University. For example, hosting a lunch to thank a visiting professor for presenting at a University seminar is acceptable. However, hosting a lunch where there is no business objective other than to simply “catch up” with a visiting professor is not acceptable.

The attendance of University employees should be limited to those with a direct involvement in the business being conducted.

Corporate boxes and tickets to sporting and cultural events can be purchased if justifiable within the policies and procedures and if written approval is obtained from a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee.

Tipping is not allowable in Australia. However, it is recognised that tipping is the normal custom in some areas of the world and in those situations, an appropriate tip or gratuity may be given.

Small corporate events (10 or less attendees) – A limit of $120 per person per meal (excluding GST and FBT) applies to any single Corporate Hospitality event unless written approval is obtained from a member of the University Senior Management Group. This limit includes the cost of meals and beverages but excludes related travel, accommodation or event hire costs. As a general rule, the value of alcoholic beverages should not exceed the value of the meals.

Large corporate events (more than 10 attendees) – Where a large number of attendees are expected (e.g. a free public lecture, a free alumni cocktail party), the cost of Corporate Hospitality must not exceed $30 per person per meal (excluding GST and FBT) unless written approval is obtained from a member of the University Senior Management Group. In other words, it should take the form of a light meal, morning/afternoon tea as opposed to an elaborate meal. This limit includes the cost of meals and beverages but excludes related travel, accommodation or event hire costs.

4.3.3 Supporting documentation

All expenditure on corporate hospitality must be supported by a UQ Hospitality Calculator that includes:

  • the name and organisation of each attendee;
  • the venue;
  • the cost as per the invoice;
  • the reason for the hospitality;
  • the signature of the person who completed the form to certify that the hospitality expenditure was incurred in accordance with University policy and procedures; and
  • an attachment showing written pre-approval (via an email) where required.

4.3.4 Approval

The financial delegates authorised to approve Corporate Hospitality are contained in section 11 of PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

4.4 Fee for Service Hospitality

4.4.1 Definition and examples

Fee for Service Hospitality is expenditure incurred where hospitality is provided during the following events that are organised by the University and where revenue is generated (e.g. a fee is charged to participants, sponsored by a third party):

  • conferences, conventions, lectures, workshops, training or seminars that are attended by both employees and non-employees;
  • field trips as part of a subject that are attended by both employees and non-employees; or
  • other events where participants are charged a fee to attend including fundraising and alumni events.

For hospitality provided at events that are attended predominantly by University employees and associates (even if a fee is charged) refer to section 4.5 Employee Hospitality.

Examples of events that would constitute Fee for Service Hospitality include, but are not limited to:

  • Morning and afternoon tea during fee-paying workshops hosted by UQ with external participants;
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided during a week-long conference (fee is charged) hosted by UQ with external participants;
  • An industry dinner hosted by UQ that features guest speakers, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities for external participants (who are charged a fee to attend);
  • An industry dinner hosted by UQ that features guest speakers, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities for external participants (that is sponsored by industry partners);
  • A dinner as part of an alumni reunion function (where guests pay to attend);
  • A lunch as part of a fund raising event (where guests pay to attend);
  • A lunch pack provided during field trip (that is part of a curriculum and covered as part of the course fees); and
  • Drinks following the conclusion of a graduation ceremony (this is covered as part of the overall course fee).

If hospitality is provided at an education event as part of an all-inclusive registration fee and it is not organised by the University, this policy does not apply. This expenditure should be approved in line with other relevant policies and procedures.

An example would include University employees attending an external professional development seminar that includes a sit-down lunch and networking drinks (including some alcohol) at its conclusion.

If such activities are optional and a separate fee is charged, refer to section 4.5 Employee Hospitality.

4.4.2 Supporting documentation

All expenditure on Fee for Service Hospitality must be supported by a UQ Hospitality Calculator that includes:

  • the name and organisation of each attendee;
  • the venue;
  • the cost as per the invoice;
  • the reason for the hospitality;
  • the signature of a person to certify that the hospitality expenditure was incurred in accordance with University policy and procedures; and
  • an attachment providing evidence that a fee was charged to participants.

4.4.3 Approval

The financial delegates authorised to approve Fee for Service Hospitality are contained in section 11 of PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

4.5 Overnight Business Travel Hospitality

Overnight Business Travel Hospitality is expenditure where employees are required to travel away from their normal place of residence and stay overnight to conduct University business.

The University’s policy on allowable travel expenditure is contained in PPL 9.40.05 Travel.

A UQ Hospitality Calculator is not required for expenditure on overnight business travel hospitality unless the employee is paying for more than just themselves and/or the amount of alcohol consumed is considered excessive for FBT purposes (i.e. more than 3 drinks).

If employees entertain donors, sponsors, collaborators, students, granting bodies, or other customers while on overnight business travel and this is paid for by the University, refer to the Corporate Hospitality section. This will require a UQ Hospitality Calculator to be completed.

4.6 Employee Hospitality

4.6.1 Definition

Employee Hospitality is expenditure incurred to provide hospitality at events that are predominately attended by University employees for the purpose of employee sustenance, entertainment, celebration, enjoyment or award.

4.6.2 Basic sustenance

Light meals, morning teas and afternoon teas (excluding alcohol) are allowable where employees:

  • work through their normal meal periods;
  • work beyond their normal working hours;
  • attend employee-only meetings during normal meal periods;
  • attend internal employee-only training events (e.g. staff development programs); or
  • attend interview panels, working groups and committee meetings.

Hospitality provided in the circumstances above should not be a regular occurrence.

A limit of $20 per meal per person (excluding GST and FBT) applies to any light meal, morning tea or afternoon tea provided and must be approved by the Head of School /Department /Division. If the expenditure exceeds $20 per person, written approval must be obtained from a member of the University Senior Management Group.

4.6.3 Tea, coffee, biscuits and related consumables

Tea, coffee, biscuits and related consumables (e.g. milk, sugar) can be made available to employees in the kitchen area and during employee training events. Expenditure on such items should not be extravagant and is provided to employees solely for basic sustenance.

Coffee machines and related beans/pods is considered extravagant and should not be paid for by the University unless written approval has been obtained from a member of the University Senior Management Group.

4.6.4 Retreats and staff award nights

For employee-only retreats that involve only meals and beverages, please refer to Section 4.6.2 Basic Sustenance.

For employee-only retreats that involve recreation, travel more than 60km from the employees' primary work place and/or overnight accommodation, written approval is required by a member of the Vice-Chancellor's Committee, regardless of cost.

Staff award nights are allowable provided written approval is obtained from a member of the Vice-Chancellor's Committee, regardless of cost.

4.6.5 Celebrations

There are instances where it may be appropriate to provide hospitality at the following events:

  • Celebrations of key achievements, milestones and events;
  • Farewells to mark the retirement or departure of an employee who has made a significant contribution to the University; and
  • Christmas parties, end-of-year functions, and other events of a purely social nature that are of clear benefit in terms of staff morale.

Hospitality expenditure on the abovementioned special events is allowable provided that all of the following conditions are met:

  • Written approval is obtained from a member of the University Senior Management Group;
  • The cost to the University is no greater than $30 per person (excluding GST and FBT) unless written approval is obtained from a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee;
  • The event is accessible to all employees within the relevant area; and
  • The consumption of any alcohol is reasonable and appropriate.

4.6.6 Conference networking events

There may be social or recreational activities that form part of an external educational event (e.g. a field trip to a zoo, a black-tie dinner). If these are non-optional and form part of an all-inclusive fee, this policy does not apply. The expenditure should be approved in line with other relevant policies and procedures.

If these are optional and a separate fee is charged, written approval must be obtained from the Head of School / Department / Division, regardless of cost.

4.6.7 Other employee events

There are instances where it may be appropriate to provide hospitality at other employee events. Examples include:

  • The purchase of a table at a charity function hosted by a key industry partner (where the only attendees are UQ employees); and
  • A closing dinner post participation in a year-long staff development program (where the only attendees are UQ employees).

Hospitality expenditure on the abovementioned special events is allowable provided that all of the following conditions are met:

  • Written approval is obtained from a member of the University Senior Management Group; and
  • The consumption of any alcohol is reasonable and appropriate.

4.6.8 Liquor cabinets

Stocked liquor cabinets for small-scale entertainment may be maintained by members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee on the basis that they are provided primarily for the purpose of offering hospitality to external clients and are not used for functions exclusively involving University staff.

4.6.9 Supporting documentation

Unless otherwise stated above, all expenditure on Employee Hospitality must be supported by a UQ Hospitality Calculator that includes:

  • the name of each attendee;
  • the venue;
  • the cost as per the invoice;
  • the reason for the hospitality;
  • the signature of a person to certify that the hospitality expenditure was incurred in accordance with University policy and procedures; and
  • an attachment showing written pre-approval (via an email) where required.

Notwithstanding the above, a UQ Hospitality Calculator is not required for expenditure on tea and coffee made available to employees in the kitchen area.

4.6.10 Approval

The financial delegates authorised to approve Employee Only Hospitality are contained in section 11 of PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

4.7 Hospitality received from third parties

Hospitality can be received from a third party in connection with a person’s employment at the University.

This may be in the form of meals and beverages but may also include travel for leisure, accommodation, tickets to sporting or cultural events, the use of facilities or access to a corporate box.

Whilst there is no cost to the University, acceptance of such gifts can give rise to a real or perceived conflict of interest or future obligation for a University employee.

The University’s policy on the acceptance of gifts is contained in PPL 9.10.05 Reportable Gifts.

Guidelines

Hospitality - Guidelines

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The following guidance is provided to assist in interpreting PPL 9.45.06a Hospitality - Policy and PPL 9.45.06b Hospitality – Procedures

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

PPL means the University's Policy and Procedures Library http://ppl.app.uq.edu.au

UQ Hospitality Calculator is the tool that helps facilitate the correct account, GST, and FBT coding and must be used to calculate an amount for all hospitality expenditure in the University’s Finance System (UniFi).

University Senior Management Group (USMG) consists of the Vice-Chancellor, Provost, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Chief Operating Officer, Pro-Vice-Chancellors, President of the Academic Board, Executive Deans and Directors of Institutes.

Vice-Chancellor’s Committee (VCC) consists of the Vice-Chancellor, Provost, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chief Operating Officer.

3. Guidelines Scope/Coverage

This guideline applies to the staff, contractors, and students of the University, and its controlled entities, where the University provides hospitality.

4. Guidelines Statement

The following are provided by way of examples to be read in conjunction with all University Policies and Procedures (PPL).

Scenario 1 – Internal Panel Meeting

The University of Queensland has a panel of experts which is comprised of UQ employees only. The panel meet each month to discuss the progress of research and potential new research directions. The meeting is held from 4pm to 6pm. At the conclusion of the meeting, some light refreshments are provided. The cost of the refreshments amounts to $15 per person. Alcohol is not provided.

This scenario is Employee Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved by the relevant Head of School/Unit/Division.

If (1) alcohol was provided, or (2) the cost of the meal was more than $20 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the USMG.

Scenario 2 – Review Committee

A Faculty of the University is undertaking a review. To conduct the review a panel of experts has been assembled. There are five people on the panel and this includes both UQ staff and external consultants. The panel conduct interviews during the day and in the evening go out to dinner to discuss the review committee findings. The cost of the dinner amounts to $50 per person. Alcohol was provided, but the cost of the alcohol was not more than the cost of the meal.

The above scenario is Corporate Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

If the cost of the meal was more than $120 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the USMG.

Scenario 3 – Research Workshop

The University of Queensland organises a three day workshop to discuss the progress of a research program as well as its administration. Those who are collaborating on the research project are invited to attend the workshop. There are expected to be 100 attendees including UQ staff, UQ PhD students and visiting researchers from overseas and interstate. The catering is charged as an all-inclusive package which includes room hire, AV equipment hire, breakfast, morning and afternoon tea, lunch and dinner including some alcohol. The cost of the catering (food and drink component only) works out to be $100 per person per day or $20 per meal.

The above scenario is Corporate Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

If the cost of the meal was more than $30 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the USMG.

Scenario 4 – Free Public Lecture

The University of Queensland organises a free public lecture to present recent research findings. Anyone interested in the topic is able to attend. The event is advertised on the University’s website. The lecture will be held on-campus from 3pm to 5pm. Prior to the lecture, afternoon tea is provided. There are a large number of attendees. The cost of the catering is $15 per person.

This scenario is Corporate Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

If the cost of the meal was more than $30 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the USMG.

Scenario 5 – Entertaining a Potential Donor

The University identifies an external party who has an interest in donating to the University towards a particular research project. Three senior researchers take the potential donor out to a restaurant to discuss their work and how a donation could be used. The meal costs $110 per person and comprises a three course meal with alcohol.

This scenario is Corporate Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

If the cost of the meal was more than $120 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the University Senior Management Group.

Scenario 6 – Entertaining a Visiting Academic

The University is hosting a visiting academic from interstate who is taking part in collaborative research. At the end of the visit a fellow researcher hosts a dinner at a restaurant to entertain and thank the academic for his work. The meal costs $40 per person and comprises a three course meal with alcohol.

This scenario is Corporate Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

If the cost of the meal was more than $120 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the University Senior Management Group.

Scenario 7 – Entertaining a Visiting Academic

An academic who has previously worked with UQ staff is in Brisbane whilst on holiday and would like to visit colleagues whilst in town. They are not at UQ in any official capacity. They go to lunch at an on-campus café and the meal costs $20 per person.

This scenario is not allowed under the Hospitality Procedures. The meals should be paid for personally by the participants.

Scenario 8 – UQ-Organised Training Day (Fee Charged)

The University of Queensland organises a Research Day where the University’s research work and achievements are presented. It is targeted towards industry professionals who pay a fee and earn CPD points for attending. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea are provided to participants. The cost of the catering is covered by the fee paid to attend.

This scenario is Fee for Service Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations.

Scenario 9 – Externally-Organised Conferences

An academic attends an externally-organised conference. The University pays for the registration fee which includes the cost of catering consumed at the conference.

This scenario is not covered by the Hospitality Procedures. This expenditure should be approved in line with other relevant policies and procedures.

Scenario 10 – Externally-Organised Conferences (Optional Extras)

An academic attends an externally-organised conference. The conference concludes with a gala dinner which costs $150 and is charged as an optional extra in addition to the conference registration fee.

This is Employee Hospitality – Conference Networking Events. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in writing by the relevant Head of School/Unit/Division.

Scenario 11 – Overnight Business Travel

An academic is required to travel away overnight in order to conduct University business. Whilst away, the academic has dinner alone and consumes a sit-down meal including 2 glasses of wine.

This scenario is Overnight Business Travel Hospitality. It is permitted if it is within allowable travel expenditure contained in PPL 9.40.05 Travel.

If the academic takes a collaborator out to dinner and pays for both meals, this is Corporate Hospitality. It is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations and would require written approval from a member of the University Senior Management Group if the cost is more than $120 per person.

Scenario 12 – Staff Christmas Party

A school of The University of Queensland holds a staff Christmas party. The University pays for the catering and the cost is $25 per person.

This scenario is Employee Hospitality. This is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in writing by a member of the University Senior Management Group.

If the cost of the event was more than $30 per person, written approval would be required from a member of the Vice-Chancellors Committee.

Scenario 13 – Art Museum Opening

The UQ Art Museum holds an exhibition opening event. The University pays for the catering and the cost is $20 per person. Entry to the event is free and 80 people are expected to attend.

This scenario is Corporate Hospitality. This is permitted under the Hospitality Procedures where approved in accordance with PPL 1.10.02 Financial Delegations and would require written approval from a member of the University Senior Management Group if the cost is more than $30 per person.

Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts