Employee Gifts and Celebratory Events

Policy Statement

Harvard units may occasionally spend modest amounts from appropriate funding sources to recognize employees under certain circumstances.

Allowable employee recognition may take the form of celebratory events or gifts for the following occasions:

• Work-related achievement
• Employee morale-building events
• Sympathy upon the death or serious illness of an employee or employee’s immediate family member

Units must use prudent judgment and also follow the IRS rules outlined below. University funds may not be spent in recognition of personal events or achievements unrelated to work, such as birthdays, weddings, baby showers, housewarming, etc., or for gifts in recognition of holidays rather than work-related achievement.

Employee Gifts and Celebratory Events Policy Table of Contents

    1. Ensure the gift or event is for an allowable occasion 
    2. Comply with dollar limits
    3. Use an appropriate funding source
    4. Record the gift or event expenses to the proper object code
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    Taxability of Gifts to Employees and Other Individuals Affiliated with Harvard (PIN required)

    See also: Policy, Payment