Spot Award

The Spot Award Program allows managers to give modest, non-cash awards to recognize individuals or teams for noteworthy work-related accomplishments.  Such awards must be within certain limited amounts and given with limited frequency in order to qualify for tax exemption by the Internal Revenue Service.

Spot Awards may take several forms, but a popular option is gift certificates or cards.  These must be non-negotiable gift cards in an amount greater than $10 but no more than $75.  They can be purchased using the Business Resource Center Gift Card Request form.

Gift cards must be stored-value bank, department store or other retail cards for tangible property rather than services.  The cards should be non-transferable, non-redeemable for cash and inscribed with the recipient's name if possible (if not, employees should simply be told not to transfer the card to another individual).

Such awards may be presented at any time during the year, and departments may purchase advance quantities of gift cards to have on hand for this purpose.  Only the number of gift cards that will be awarded during a fiscal year should be purchased, and departments should keep them in a secure place and maintain a record of the gifts issued.

Gift of other types may be given under this program to recognize performance, length of service, retirement and as sympathy gifts (for example, flowers, a plaque, a ticket to a sporting event).

For full details about the allowable gifts, limits on dollar amounts and frequency, procedures and related information, see University of California Policy BFB-G-41.

Additional information: