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Hosting, Retreats, and Teambuilding

1. Purpose

Brigham Young University–Hawaii ("BYU–Hawaii" or "university") can pay for appropriate teambuilding experiences, retreats, and common business courtesies that involve the provision of refreshments (snacks) or meals to employees of the university. This policy defines the parameters within which university funds may be used to pay for reasonable hosting, retreats, and teambuilding activities.

2. Policy

Subject to budgetary constraints and the parameters established by this policy, department heads may allocate funds for payment of the cost of hosting, retreats and other teambuilding activities for employees and guests of the university.

3. Implementation

3.1 Definitions

3.1.1 Hosting

Extension of common business courtesies, including providing meals to guests of the university or in the conduct of official university business with persons who are not employees is appropriate.

3.1.2 Meals

A catered or restaurant provided breakfast, lunch, or dinner for employees or other individuals while engaged in the conduct of substantial and bona fide university business.

3.1.3 Refreshments

Bottled water, juice, soda, hors d’oeuvres, food items such as pastries, fruit, chips, cookies, cake, and other light refreshments.

3.1.4 Retreat

A shared experience away from the workplace that facilitates work team conversation about strategic directions, plans, and process improvements or to provide practical training in concepts, methods, and tools intended to increase unit effectiveness and productivity.

3.1.5 Social Activity

Informal work site gatherings held to recognize personal or group milestones and encourage friendliness among the members of a work team.

3.1.6 Teambuilding

Structured activities involving the members of a work team designed to enable experiential learning about trust, communication, creativity, and cooperation that will carry over into the workplace.

3.1.7 Work Team

A group of employees operating in the same location and having frequent interactions with one another to accomplish assignments that depend on their collective efforts.

3.1.8 Excessive Meals and Refreshments

Meals or refreshments are deemed to be excessive when they become a regular (more than once a month) occurrence for employees for the sake of providing a meal when a meeting occurs.

3.1.9 Excessive Gratuity

Tips exceeding 20% of the bill total are not allowed. Employees wishing to tip beyond 20% limitation may use their own funds to do so.

3.2 Hosting

The cost of hosting may be paid or reimbursed from university funds. By way of illustration and not limitation, hosting events could include entertaining a visiting lecturer, a potential donor, a prospective employee, or other official guests of the university; this may also include a guest(s) of the person being hosted/recruited by the university. University funds may be used to pay for a guest or spouse of the hosting employee provided there is a business purpose. Any request to use university funds for hosting purposes must include an explanation of the business purpose. Employees may be asked to reimburse the university if the business purpose justification is inadequate. Any guest or spouse of a university employee acting in a hosting capacity for the university will be expected to abide by university policies and standards. Alcoholic beverages may not be provided at university expense in any setting on or off campus.

3.2.1 Vendor Options

It strongly preferred that campus personnel use BYU–Hawaii Food Services when hosting visitors. However, if there are occasions when this is not practical, other food vendors may be used. Pounders Restaurant at the PCC and the Bistro at the Courtyard Marriott offer a 10% discount for BYU–Hawaii employees with a valid university ID card. Meals are subject to per diem per person rate as defined by the US government travel subsistence rate for the State of Hawaii. The 2024 rate for Hawaii is $72. Cost of meals. tips. etc. should not exceed the daily rate prescribed whether it is hosting for one meal or three meals

3.3 Retreats and Teambuilding Exercises

University managers may schedule a retreat or team-building activity when deemed necessary to achieve the work team’s organizational development goals. These events must observe the following constraints:

3.3.1 Criteria

Attendance is mandatory, and the agenda does not address routine, ongoing activities of the work team.

3.3.2 Allowable expenses

Allowable expenses include:

  • The reasonable cost of meals and refreshments.
  • The production costs of handouts and training materials.
  • Honoraria or facilitator fees.
  • Rent or usage fees for purpose-built teambuilding facilities (requires cognizant vice president-specific approval).

3.3.3 Limitations

Planning for team building exercises and retreats must be accommodated to these limitations:

1. No Overnight Events

Teambuilding experiences and retreats must be contained within normal working hours. University resources may not be used to pay for overnight activities.

2. Frequency

Teambuilding experiences and work team retreats may only be scheduled once per calendar year.

3. Cost

Funds for retreats and teambuilding exercises are included in the budget of the unit involved. However, managers must review their budget to ensure they have sufficient funds to pay for these events. If the cost of the occasion exceeds the amount proscribed by the university, participants must pay the additional cost. Revenue-producing areas may use their funds for this purpose, but these units also must stay within the university dollar limitation.
Budget=: $50 per participant

  • All full-time employees
  • Part-time employees, missionaries, and student employees may be invited at the discretion of the dean or director.
4. Employee Compensation

All non-exempt employees will be paid for the time while in attendance at department retreat. Student employees will be paid for the number of hours they participate in the Retreat.

If a dinner following the Retreat is provided, attendance is considered voluntary and will not be paid as time worked.


Excluding the Ho’omai’kai, funds for retreats and social events and activities are included in the budget of the unit involved. However, managers must review their budget to ensure they have sufficient funds to pay for these events. If the cost of the occasion exceeds the amount proscribed by the university, participants must pay the additional cost. Revenue-producing areas may use their funds, but these units also must stay within the university dollar limitation.

The university authorizes the use of university funds for employee social activities as follows:

3.4.1 University-Wide Social Events

The university may hold an annual dinner social for all its employees in appreciation for their service to the institution (Ho’omai’kai). This event may serve as the venue for presentation of awards or recognitions.

Budget: TBD by the President’s Council


  • Employees and spouse/guest.
  • Retiree and spouse/guest.
  • Spouse of deceased employee.

3.4.2 Departmental or Work Team Social Events

In addition to an annual retreat and the institution-wide socials, each academic or administrative unit is allowed to sponsor one dinner each year, if it is within the unit’s budget. If the cost of the occasion exceeds the amount proscribed by the university, participants must pay the additional cost. Revenue-producing areas may use their funds for this purpose, but these units also must stay within the university dollar limitation.

For academic units, this dinner should be in conjunction with graduation, unless no graduation dinner is sponsored. Academic units may choose to have two dinners as long as they are both in conjunction with graduation. The amount the academic or administrative unit may spend from university-administered funds for all costs of the occasion (including meals, decorations, entertainment, etc.) is described below.

Approved Event: Academic/Admin Dinner

Budget: Hawaii per diem (Dinner $36) X number of approved participants


  • All full and part-time employees.
  • Student employees and senior missionaries at the dean/director's discretion.
Approved Event: Annual Party (e.g., Christmas).


  • Employees and spouse/guest.
  • Missionaries and spouse at the dean/director's discretion.
  • Student employees and spouse at the dean/director's discretion.

Budget: Hawaii per diem (Dinner $36 or Lunch $25 or Breakfast $11) X number of approved participants

3.5 Departmental or Work Team Meetings


Refreshments or snacks may occasionally be provided at university meetings as long as the meeting have a specific business purpose. University funds should not be used for celebrations such as birthdays, departing employees, or other similar events. These expenses should be reasonable and must be authorized by the cost center manager/dean.

Meals for Internal Meetings

If business necessity requires employees to meet during a meal time period and no external individual is being hosted by the university, the cost center manager/dean may authorize university funds to be used for this purpose. University funds should not be used for celebrations such as birthdays, departing employees, or other similar events. Non-travel-related meals among employees should be rare, have a specific business purpose, and be limited to a cost suitable to the event. Receipts or other documents for these expenses must clearly state the specific business purpose and include a comprehensive list of all participants. Employees who violate this policy may be required to reimburse the university.


University funds should not be used for interdepartmental gifts (including Christmas cards) or for gifts from one individual employee to another. Personal funds should be used for such occasions.

In the context of a planned initiative to reinforce and promote attention to a work team’s priorities, values, and performance objectives, managers may use university funds to purchase gifts (e.g., pens, pins, desk accessories) with a value of less than $50.00. Receipt of such gifts must be linked to desired employee behavior and the stated purpose be documented. Approval must be obtained from the cognizant vice president. This type of activity is limited to an annual occurrence.

University funds may not be used to provide cash or cash equivalents (i.e. gift cards, debit cards, credit cards, or gift certificates that are denominated in cash amounts instead of specific items of merchandise) to employees for any purpose.

Purchase of cash cards such as prepaid debit cards are not to be used as gifts or awards for employees or students at any time. However, upon approval of the Purchasing Card Manager, pre-paid cards may be used for students for select defined business purposes (e.g., laundry cards, entrepreneur projects, etc.) A Cash Card Request Form must be submitted to Purchasing prior to any cash card purchase. This request must include the business purpose and the amount of the cash card. It is also required that the cash card is reconciled to match the dollar amount purchased by submitting a report to Any unreconciled amount within two months of purchase must be reimbursed by the cardholder.

3.6.1 Welcome Baskets/Missionary Departures

Departments may choose to provide welcome baskets or gifts, up to a value of $25 to university guests, and new employees. The process for coordinating welcome baskets for missionaries will be coordinated by Human Resources. Departments may not provide additional welcome baskets for missionaries.

New employee welcome baskets or leis along with those for university guests, will be the responsibility of the receiving organization and must fall within the prices outlined in this policy. Exceptions must be approved by the cognizant vice president prior to the purchase of these items.

It is appropriate for senior missionary couples to be taken to dinner one evening as they complete their mission. Two additional meals (two department individuals or one individual from the department and their guest), along with the missionary couple, can be paid for using department funds.

3.6.2 Lei Giving/Special Occasions

Department general funds up to $25 may be used for purchase of a lei for university guests and ohana (family) for specific occasions. If a university purchasing card is used to purchase leis, the person(s) or group(s) receiving the lei, as well as the purpose or occasion must be indicated in the transaction receipt. Exceptions: commencement speakers and executive committee members may receive a reasonably priced special lei, in excess of $25 with approval from a member of the President's Council or PC support team. Departmental funds are not to be used to purchase treats, food items, gifts/leis for special occasions, such as terminations, retirements, farewells, birthdays, birth of children, weddings, boss’s/secretary day, remembrances, holidays, etc. Items for these occasions should be purchased from funds contributed by co-workers and friends.

3.7 General Provisions

The following general rules must be observed:

3.7.1 Food

All food sold and served at events will be governed by Food Services policies (see Catering Food on Campus Policy). Prepared food (i.e. pizza, sandwiches, plate lunches) may be obtained from local vendors and brought in by employees. Any on-campus event that is catered must be provided by a vendor holding proper food permits and who is pre-approved through Food Services. It is the preference of the university that all catered food be provided by the university’s Food Services department.

3.7.2 Documentation for Expenses

Departments must provide the following documentation of incurred hosting, retreat, or teambuilding expenses:

  • Original invoices, receipts, and other documents for meals and refreshments.
  • An explanation of the business purpose served.
  • A listing of those who attended.

3.7.3 Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages may not be provided at university expense in any setting on or off-campus. Any expenditures of alcoholic beverages will be charged to the employee’s university account and the employee may be subject to disciplinary action.

3.8 Exceptions

The President’s Council may authorize exceptions to the requirements of this policy if there is a documented finding that doing so is in the best interests of the university.

3.8.1 Penalties

Financial Services will review questionable purchases and communicate with departments when hosting, meals, and refreshment expenses become excessive. Employees found to knowingly aid in processing transactions violating any provision of the policy may face disciplinary action.

4. Related Policies and Procedures

Catering Food on Campus
Corporate Card


Policy Owner: Administrative Vice President

Executive Sponsor: Administrative Vice President

Approved by President’s Council: 12/05/2019

Last Modified: 01/5/2024
Last Reviewed: 01/5/2024
Next Review: 01/01/2026

Full revision history maintained by Compliance & Ethics.