University Policies
Policy Contact
Accounts Payable Email 401-863-2716

Business Meals and Hospitality Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to state the requirements for the reimbursement of Business Meals and Hospitality Expenses.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all Brown University faculty, staff and students.

3.0 Policy Statement

Brown University reimburses Business Meal and Hospitality Expenses in accordance with the Expense Reimbursement Policy and the additional requirements below.

  • All expenses must comply with the Annual Spending Guidelines for maximum meal allowances. Meal expenses exceeding Annual Spending Guidelines require Senior Officer approval for reimbursement.
  • Non-routine Business Meals (holiday event, summer outing, etc.) may be reimbursed with a valid Business Purpose or with Senior Officer approval.
  • The number of Brown hosts accompanying a guest for a meal should not exceed six (excluding students), unless the event is hosted at the Faculty Club, in which case, the number of Brown hosts is not restricted.
  • Reimbursement for employees’ family members is not permitted unless there is a specific Business Purpose (i.e., not a personal or social reason) for the family members’ attendance, in accordance with IRS publication 463.
  • Alcoholic beverages may be reimbursed as part of a Business Meal but must be in compliance with the Alcoholic Beverages Policy. Since alcohol must be listed separately on a reimbursement, it is recommended that itemized meal receipts are provided.
  • Expenses incurred in relation to the following personal events are not reimbursable: birthdays, weddings, births, showers, etc.
  • Meals between two or more employees, with or without students, during which routine business issues are discussed are not reimbursable; however, Business Meals taken with employees when, to ensure privacy and confidentiality, business must be conducted off-campus, may be reimbursed.
  • When authorized by the department head, Business Meals may be taken for the purpose of employee recognition or reward.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Business Meal:

A meal taken with business associates, University guests, job applicants, professional colleagues, or donors, during which University business is discussed and there is a valid Business Purpose for the meal.

Business Purpose:

A statement that adequately describes the expense as a necessary, reasonable and appropriate business expense for the University. All expenses must support or advance the goals, objectives and mission of the University.

Hospitality Expenses:

The provisions of food, beverages, activities, or events for the purpose of promoting and furthering the mission of the University

Senior Officer:

A member of the President’s Cabinet.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors and employees with student oversight duties are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure and enforce compliance with it.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone, 877-318-9184.

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.2 Related Procedures

  • Create Expense Report for Self or Other Worker (if authorized) Job Aid
  • Creating Expense Report via Mobile App Job Aid
  • Expense Report Business Purpose Job Aid

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions

7.5 Other Related Information

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Policy Approved by: Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Contact Information:

Accounts Payable Email 401-863-2716

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

Updated links and contact information.

Prior policy versions superseded by this policy:

  • Business Meals and Hospitality, Effective Date: October 9, 2019


Webpage Updated January 17, 2024