Finance and Operations Food & Recognition Program

April, 2012 (updated February, 2015)

Prepared by:                   Suzanne Hilleman, Senior HR Representative, Finance and Operations

Campus Address:           105 Jessup Hall         Phone:  319-335-0012

Department Head:          Rod Lehnertz, Senior Vice President

Purpose of Program

To ensure an open, planned process to recognize the efforts of staff who support the UI mission and accomplish departmental goals.

Description of Program

Use of University funds for food, beverages, flowers, gifts and incidental expenses for approved events, employee recognition, training and university business meetings must have a clear University business purpose for incurring the expense.  A business purpose may be defined as an effort that is of primary benefit to the University and its mission. Examples of business purposes include: to recognize unit goal accomplishments, to acknowledge performance that supports unit goals, to celebrate the success of a major change initiative, to recognize improvement in processes and services, etc.


Funding for the events is evaluated based on the current budget, the type of event and the justification of the expense.  Non-General Education Fund resources are preferred where available.  Departments that do not have access to non-GEF resources should contact the Senior HR Rep, Finance & Operations (F&O).  Typically, spouses/significant others or family members of employees (who are not also employed within the department or division and eligible for recognition as an employee) are not to be funded by  this program.  They may, however, be invited to attend departmental recognition /retirement/going-away events as appropriate and approved by the department.

Generally, food and incidental expenses are limited to $10 per employee , unless otherwise specified below.

Examples of Approved Events

  • Individual or Team Recognition Events:
    • Recognition for length of service within a department or division
      • F&O longevity award program centrally provides/funds the following for UI years of service:
        • 5, 10, 15 years of service – certificate
        • 20 years – certificate plus lapel pin
        • 25 years – certificate plus pen
        • 30 years – certificate plus lapel pin
        • 35 years --  certificate plus paperweight
        • 40, 45, 50 years – certificate plus item purchased/funded by dept ($50 range)
      • F&O will host an annual Division-Wide Service Luncheon to recognize individuals employed in the division that have reached a service milestone of 20 years or above as well as individuals within the division recognized through the IOWA Award or other UI Awards Programs.
    • Recognition for behind the scenes support, innovation-based process improvements, results-based project completion, customer satisfaction based, results based on cost savings or people working together etc.
      • Individual non-organized P&S staff members may be eligible for Spot Awards of $75 or less or lump-sum flex pay awards (up to 10% of salary) per UI and F&O guidelines:
      • Individual non-organized merit supervisory/confidential staff may be eligible for extra - meritorious pay per Board of Regents merit rules:  681-3.39(10) Pay for exceptional performance:
      • Staff represented in collective bargaining are not eligible to receive cash rewards or gift certificates for personal use.
    • Unit/Departmental Staff Appreciation Luncheons or Annual Celebrations, Support Staff Day, Celebrations for training graduations, etc.
  • Project and Business Meetings, Departmental Retreats or All-Day Training Events that are scheduled to include lunch or dinner to better utilize the time of all parties involved.
    • In addition to a clear business purpose, the request for reimbursement or payment should include an explanation of why food or beverage was required at the meeting and, rationale if it was necessary to exceed a $10-15/person limit.
  • Recruitment of senior P&S job candidates (typically pay level 6 and above) – up to $55 per person if food only or $75 per person for food and alcohol combined.
  • Retirements/Departures – Events for employees with at least 10 years of service to the University or 5+ years of service within the department, or when special circumstances apply:
    • Food, decorations and supplies: typically $150 limit for all per event.
    • Gift/Item: typically $100 limit (gifts > than $100 in value must receive prior approval through Senior HR rep or Budget Officer)
      • Cash or gift certificates of any value and non-cash gifts valued at greater than $100 are considered taxable and should be reported to Payroll.  A non-cash retirement award may qualify as a non-taxable benefit provided all of the following requirements are met:
           •  The employee has at least five years of service with the University,
           •  The employee has not received a length-of-service award valued at more than $100 in the past
               five years,
           •  The award is presented as part of a meaningful ceremony and should not be determined based
               on an employee's classification.  (In no instance should any award exceed $1,600)
      • Staff represented in collective bargaining are not eligible to receive cash rewards or gift certificates for personal use.
  • Flowers for the funeral of an F&O staff member or their spouse/domestic partner, children, parents or siblings is typically limited to $50 dollars.  Departments may choose to fund flowers for funerals through a personal donation process.
    • Note: Hospitalization – F&O encourages departmental get well cards but does not reimburse for this expense.

UI Resources:  Guidelines for Recognition at The University of Iowa:


Approved by Senior HR Representative:  (Print Name) _____Suzanne J. Hilleman___

_______Suzanne J. Hilleman__________________________________________________ __02/2015___________

Signature (Electronic)                                                                                                                                   Date

Approved by Budget Officer:     (Print Name) ______________Susan A. Klatt___

________Susan A. Klatt________________________________________________________ _02/2015___________

Signature (Electronic)                                                                                                                                     Date