Harvard University units may occasionally spend modest amounts from appropriate funding sources to recognize employees or nonemployees under certain circumstances. Allowable employee recognition may take the form of celebratory events or gifts for the following occasions:
• Work-related achievement
• Employee morale-building events
• Sympathy upon the death or serious illness of an employee or employee’s immediate family member
Gift certificates are always considered taxable to an employee.
Allowable nonemployee recognition must be for a legitimate Harvard University business purpose and should be motivated by detached or disinterested generosity or respect, admiration, charity or like sentiment. Gifts to nonemployees may not be given in lieu of payment for services or as a quid pro quo.
Schools and Units must use prudent judgment and also follow the IRS rules documented in the Gifts and Celebratory Events for Employees and Nonemployees Policy and FAQs.