Financial Administration

UW System Travel Regulations

X. MEALS

  1. Claims for meals shall represent actual, reasonable and necessary expenses. Tips are limited to 15%. Maximum amounts permitted, including tax and tip, are as follows:

    Effective Breakfast Lunch Dinner Total
    In-State
    7/1/13
    $8.00
    $10.00
    $20.00
    $38.00
    Out-of-State
    7/1/13
    $10.00
    $15.00
    $25.00
    $50.00
    Effective Breakfast Lunch Dinner Total
    In-State
    7/1/01
    $8.00
    $9.00
    $17.00
    $34.00
    Out-of-State
    7/1/01
    $10.00
    $10.00
    $20.00
    $40.00

    When an employee is entitled to, and personally incurs the cost for, two or more consecutive meals in a day, s/he may exceed the allowed maximum on one or more of those meal claims as desired, as long as the total allowable maximums for the consecutive meals are not exceeded and the costs were actually incurred. Each day is considered separately for application of this policy. If meal maximums are not reached on one day, the savings do not accrue and cannot be applied to expenses claimed on another day, nor toward other travel maximums such as lodging. Meals already included in the cost of conference registrations or lodging are not separately reimbursable and are not to be included in this calculation.

  2. Separate meal maximums apply for travel outside the U.S. Based on the dates of travel and the federal rate for local meals (international meal rates are available in the UW TravelWIse portal) at the business location, the daily maximum shall be prorated as follows:

    Breakfast - 20% Lunch - 30%Dinner - 50%

  3. Reimbursement for meals for employees who are on a day-shift (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will be allowed only on the following conditions:

    1. Breakfast, provided the employee leaves home before 6:00 a.m.

    2. Lunch, provided the employee leaves his/her headquarters before 10:30 a.m. and returns after 2:30 p.m.

    3. Dinner, provided the employee returns from travel status after 7:00 p.m. or departs his/her headquarters for overnight travel before 6:00 p.m.

    The time or time periods specified above may be modified to the extent necessary to provide equitable treatment to employees whose work schedule requires shift work or other than a day-shift basis. Time and dollar restrictions do not apply to athletes in team travel status.

  4. Meal claims must be structured on a "per meal" basis for the actual amount spent. Meal claims in excess of the maximums may be reimbursed if supported by a receipt and a written explanation of the reasonableness of the expense under the particular circumstances. Itemized slips from Travel Card/Credit Cards are acceptable receipts. To be considered reasonable, a cost must generally be incurred outside the control of the individual. Generally, if the employee has a choice in the selection of the restaurant or the menu items, s/he is expected to stay within the maximums.

  5. Where a consistent pattern of meal claims at the maximum is noted, the supervisor may require the employee to submit itemized receipts in the future to document the amount claimed.

  6. Meals in connection with UW-sponsored meetings and conferences which are attended primarily by UW employees must stay within the maximums.

  7. Employees must provide itemized receipts to support claims for reimbursement for meals purchased for other individuals while conducting UW institution business. The name of the individual, the reason for meeting over the meal period and the reason for paying the meal cost must also be indicated.

  8. Expenditures for alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable.

  9. Meals included in the cost of lodging or registration fees are not reimbursable. Exceptions may be granted only if an adequate justification is provided.

  10. Reimbursement for the cost of meals in connection with same day travel (no overnight lodging involved) are generally considered taxable income to the employee. The meal reimbursement might be considered nontaxable if the primary purpose for scheduling the meeting over the meal period was to transact UW business and the claimant documents the business purpose as well as the names of those who attended.