[Purchasing] [Purchasing Manual] Special Expenses
Definition: Special expenses are expenses incurred in connection with work-related responsibilities or official functions not generally supported with public funds.
Policy: Except in emergency situations, approval is required before any special expense is incurred and before commitments involving special expenses are made.
Employees must obtain approval of special expenses before incurring such expenses or the payment may be denied. Requests received after the event or too late to provide a proper review must include an explanation why the request was not provided in a timely manner.
The following expenses are covered where the benefits of the employee's attendance or participation will accrue primarily to the state:
- Full cost of a meal when it is part of the structured agenda of a conference, workshop, seminar, or meeting which the president, or his or her designee, has authorized the employee to attend, whether or not the employee is in travel status.
- Meals and related expenses, or non-alcoholic refreshments and food served when conducting business with citizens; members of boards, commissions, task forces, or workgroups; foreign, federal, state, or local governmental officials and/or employees.
- Registration and tuition fees for conferences, seminars, workshops, or education courses. Education courses provided through a tuition waiver are not special expenses. Prior approval is required only if the cost exceeds $1,000 per participant.
- Non-alcoholic refreshments and food for University sponsored meetings, receptions for speakers, performers, and commencements; conferences; workshops; and other similar University sponsored meetings or activities that have predominantly non-state employees.
- Non-alcoholic refreshments, food and other conference costs for University sponsored events where registration fees are charged and the majority of the participants are non-state employees.
- Non-alcoholic refreshments and food for meetings that consist primarily
of state employees when the non-alcoholic refreshments and/food are
an integral part of the event and are necessary to sustain the flow
of the meeting and to retain captive audience and meet one of the following
- a meeting with participants from many geographic locations where the majority of the participants are in travel status
- a department-wide or division-wide annual/quarter/semester staff meeting for all employees
- a department or division senior management planning or organizational meeting
- a department, division, college, university wide meeting regarding a topic(s) with department, division, college, university wide impact
- a structured training
session, available to employees generally and conducted by persons
outside the Minnesota State College and University System, provided
it has been approved by the University.
The above meetings shall be scheduled to minimize the inclusion of meals.
- Lodging if an employee is not in travel status:
- when weather conditions or other unforeseen occurrences warrant lodging;
- when University business or contract negotiations prevent the employee from returning home; or
- when the president, or his or her designee, authorized overnight participation in an approved event. Authorization should be based on the benefit of such participation to the University.
- Expense reimbursement for lodging, travel, and meals for one attendant for an employee with a disability that requires daily assistance in performing various personal tasks or who has special mobility needs.
- Expenses as follows for employees assigned to work at the State Fair:
- Fees and admission to the fairgrounds;
- One meal during each shift of fewer than ten hours or two meals during each shift of ten hours or more, subject to the meal allowances for in-state travel collective bargaining agreements or compensation plans;
- Taxi fare for employees with a disability who are unable to drive or use other means of public transportation between their normal work station and the fairgrounds.
- Expenses as follow for individual employee and board member awards
and system, board, college, and university recognition events:
- Awards for individual or group achievements, which are limited to non-cash/non-negotiable items of nominal value as, provided for under IRS guidelines. Items of nominal value are those that have no market or retail value such as promotional or advertising items.
- Up to 100% food and non-alcoholic refreshment reimbursement for employees being recognized at annual employee recognition events. Reimbursement for travel in accordance with System Procedure 5.19.3. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
Expenses Not Covered
- Refreshments or meals for routine staff meetings.
- Private club memberships.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Employee parties (including holiday parties).
Procedure: Complete a Request to Incur Special Expense Form prior to the event. The form should identify the account number and be signed by the person responsible for that account. Submit the form to Business Services at least one week prior to the event. The Director of Business Services has the final approval on the form. All special expense forms are returned to the originator unless there is a PO pending awaiting the approved special expense form.