Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

Section 9.8 - Restrictions on Gifts to Employees

Date: April 2006 - Revised September 2012
Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance


Employees of the University should avoid accepting any kind of gratuities, tips or gifts. (See Section 7.2, Purchase of Goods and Services: Gratuities.)

Gift Ban

The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (Ethics Act), (5 ILCS 430/10) bans the solicitation and acceptance of gifts from prohibited sources to University employees. Gifts from prohibited sources to a University employee's spouse or immediate family also are banned.

Gift - any gratuity, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other tangible or intangible item having monetary value, including but not limited to, cash, food and drink, and honoraria for speaking engagements related to or attributable to government and employment or the official position of an employee, member, or officer.

Employees - faculty, academic professionals, civil service workers, student workers, temporary workers, and members of the Board of Trustees. Board members are viewed as University employees with respect to the Ethics Act.

Prohibited Source - any person or entity who:

  • seeks official action by the University;
  • does business or seeks to do business with the University;
  • conducts activities regulated by the University;
  • has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the official duties of the University; or
  • is registered or required to be registered under the Lobbyist Registration Act (25ILCS170).

The Ethics Act is not intended to impact the donor development activities of the University, University of Illinois Foundation or University of Illinois Alumni Association.


An employee who receives a gift prohibited by the Ethics Act has the option of:

  • paying the market value for the gift;
  • returning the gift to the donor; or
  • giving the gift (or an amount of its equal value) to an appropriate charity (for example, a 501 (c) 3 organization).


Some exceptions are allowed by the Ethics Act. The most common exception allows employees to accept any item or items from any one prohibited source during any calendar year having a cumulative total value of less than $100. A full list of exceptions follow:

  1. Opportunities, benefits, and services that are available on the same conditions as for the general public;
  2. Anything for which the employee pays market value price;
  3. Any contribution that is lawfully made under the Election Code or activities associated with a fundraising event in support of a political organization or candidate;
  4. Educational materials and missions (Note: Use of this exception must be approved in advance by the University Ethics Office);
  5. Travel expenses for meetings to discuss state business;
  6. A gift from a relative;
  7. Anything provided by an individual on the basis of personal friendship;
  8. Food or refreshments not exceeding $75 per person in value on a single calendar day;
  9. Food, refreshments, lodging, transportation, and other benefits resulting from outside business or employment activities of the employee or his/her spouse;
  10. Bequests, inheritances, and other transfers at death;
  11. An intra-governmental or inter-governmental gift; and
  12. Any item or items from any one prohibited source during any calendar year having a cumulative total value of less than $100.

For Assistance - University Ethics Office

The University Ethics Office is tasked with interpretation of the Ethics Act. Questions related to the acceptance of prohibition of gifts should be directed to the toll-free help line at: 1-866-758-2146 or by email at: Additional information may be found on the University Ethics Office website.


Please send questions regarding this policy manual to

Last Updated: November 8, 2012