Recognition Awards for Employees and Non-Employees
Purchasing and Payment Processing
View policy pdf: Recognition Awards for Employees and Non-Employees Policy
For the purposes of this policy, an employee is any person paid through UGA payroll. Recognition awards must be given under an established written recognition program which has been authorized by the dean or vice president. The recognition awards template should be used to document the required minimum elements of an awards/recognition program; units may add other pertinent elements to the document as long as they do not conflict with the minimum requirements. Awards must have a business purpose and be consistent across the unit/department. Examples of recognition awards could be “employee of the year” or “outstanding customer service awards.”
When using institutional fund sources (defined below) for employee achievement or recognition awards, the following guidelines must be followed:
- Private fund sources (funds 20200, 20300, 20400, 20500) should be used to purchase
award items under this policy. These should be purchased using account code 714190.
When processing payment, users should first confirm that the underlying fund allows
for purchase of these awards; for example, the Example Fund, Class Code 67XXX (UGA Foundation - Fund 20400) only allows use for scholarships
and therefore cannot be used to purchase awards under this policy.
- In extraordinary cases where UGA Foundation or other private fund sources are not available, funds 12XXX, 14XXX, or 15XXX may be used to purchase award items using account code 714190. Use of these funds for purchasing these award items must be approved by a Dean or Vice President.
- Submit a copy of the established awards program documentation with any purchase requisitions or payment requests.
- The institution may not give cash or cash equivalent items such as gift cards.
- Cash awards are allowed under certain restrictions for UGA employees and students through the UGA Foundation.
- Award items such as plaques, pins, or UGA school items (t-shirts, tie, etc.) must
be purchased using UGA purchasing and payment processes. Do not submit these for direct
purchase/payment by the UGA Foundation.
- Items may be purchased in bulk and a list of employees receiving awards should be maintained at the department level.
- For tax purposes, the annual de minimis value (not taxable) per person is $75 or less.
Any awards that exceed $75 per person per year may have associated tax consequences
to the employee.
- The department is responsible for sending UGA Payroll a list of employees receiving awards that exceed the $75 per person annual de minimis value. The taxable portion may require tax withholdings during the calendar year and will be reported on the employee’s W-2.
- Units have the option of providing awards to recipients in the form of budgetary support for business-related travel to conferences and/or costs of other professional development activities when the event aligns with the duties and responsibilities of the award recipient. Units are not restricted to only use UGA Foundation or private fund sources for these travel or professional development expenses. Tax implications do not apply to business-related travel and professional development awards made under this policy for any amount. These expenses should be processed as travel and professional development expenses.
- P-cards cannot be used to pay for any type of achievement/recognition award.
Institutional fund sources cannot be used to purchase award items for non-employees or volunteers. For example, appreciation awards given to a speaker should be purchased directly through the UGA Foundation.
Academic awards, other than those specifically designated by the UGA Foundation trust agreement or UGA Endowment trust agreement, may be given to UGA students related to academic achievement. Award items must be purchased with tuition funds (fund 10500) or student activity fees (fund 13000) where allowed. Award items for student workers, who are receiving an award as an employee that is part of a documented employee recognition program, should follow the policy section on Employee Awards (above).
Award Recognition Event Expenses
Any institutional fund source that does not have restrictions can be used to pay for award recognition event expenses such as room and audio/visual equipment rental, speaker fees, printing costs, and decorations. Institutional fund sources cannot be used to purchase food or beverages for the event. These items may be eligible for reimbursement through the UGA Foundation.
Generally, institutional funds cannot be used to pay an individual’s registration fee for an awards recognition event if the event is solely for employee appreciation or in connection with volunteer appreciation or recognition. However, private fund sources (fund 20200, 20300, 20400, 20500) may be used to pay these registration fees unless the underlying fund agreement restricts it.
Responsible University Senior Administrator: Vice President for Finance & Administration
Responsible University Administrator: Associate Vice President – Finance Division
Policy Owner: Accounts Payable
Policy Contact: Jennifer Dunlap
Phone Number: 706-542-0202
Date Issued: 01/01/2016