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Human Resources

Awards, Recognitions, and Employee Gift Policy

Date: May 2013

There are many occasions and circumstances where managers would like to recognize an employee or student employee. Monetary gifts of any kind (gift cards, cash, gift certificates) may be taxable to the employee. Please note: The College does not provide tax indemnification or gross-up payments to its officers, key employees, and highest compensated employees (as defined by the IRS). “Tax indemnification” and “gross-up payments” refer to the College’s payment or reimbursement of an employee’s tax obligations. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration/Treasurer.

This policy will serve as a guideline to managers and supervisors regarding rewards or gifts of any value.

Retirement Gifts (for employees retiring on or after July 1, 2013)

Employees who retire from the College will receive from the College one of the following gifts based on their years of service. An actual retiree of the College is an employee who has completed 15 years of service after attaining the age of 40. Employees with less than 15 years of service do not receive a College recognized gift.


For employees retiring with 25 or more years of service, there is a choice of

  • Custom Windsor Chair in solid cherry or cherry/maple styles (straight leg or rocker)
  • $500 Amazon gift certificate

For employees retiring with 20 years of service, there is a choice of

  • Piano wood finish Anniversary Clock
  • Solid brass Desk Clock
  • Solid brass Banker's Desk Lamp

For employees retiring with 15 years of service, there is a choice of

  • Men's Pocket or Ladies' Locket Watch
  • Men's/Ladies' wristwatches (various styles/finishes)
  • Pen and Ink Mirror featuring Massachusetts Hall

It is standard practice for long service employees and more senior members of the College to have a farewell reception. These receptions (with reasonable food and beverages provided by dining service), with the approval of the Senior Officer, may be paid for by the department or in combination of the department and individual contributions.

Outside of this practice, any other token gifts /receptions should be coordinated and paid for by the employee's colleagues.

Years of Service Awards

The College annually recognizes employees who have reached milestone (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30+) years of service with certificates, recognition pins and gifts listed below. The employee will be recognized in the calendar year following the milestone year anniversary date.  Only continuous regular employment is counted toward service recognition. Breaks in service and casual service are not considered for years of service awards.

5 years of service: Certificate and polar bear pin
10 years: Certificate, Bowdoin sun pin, and pewter-like polar bear figurine
15 years: Certificate, Mass Hall pin, and $75 College gift certificate OR $75 Amazon gift certificate
20 years: Certificate, and $150 College gift certificate OR $150 Amazon gift certificate OR $150 donation in employee's name to College Staff Emergency Fund, United Way or MaineShare
25 years: Certificate, and $300 College gift certificate OR $300 Amazon gift certificate OR $300 donation in employee's name to College Staff Emergency Fund, United Way or MaineShare

In recognition of employees with greater than 25 milestone years of service, the College will award a $100 College gift certificate or $100 Amazon gift certificate at the 30, 35, 40, and 45 milestone years of service.


Serious illness/Bereavement:

If an employee or their spouse or dependent of an employee is either seriously ill or dies, it is appropriate to send flowers on behalf of the College. At the discretion of the Senior Officer, he/she may authorize a reasonable flower expense from their department budget. The College has an established relationship with Flowers Etc. on Jordan Ave in Brunswick (725-2461) for this purpose. The College has prearranged the flower selection and pricing and the College will be billed directly. This florist will do local as well as FTD deliveries. The florist will ask for your department to note on the invoice. Under limited circumstances, if the employee is local, Dining Services may be able to arrange for a small delivery of food in an amount approximately that of the flower arrangement as an alternative.


Awards for work performance:

Annually at the discretion of the College, a small budgeted pool for gift certificates/card may be set aside for each division, for the Senior Officer (at his or her discretion) to recognize and reward individual employees for exemplary work performance, taking on the role of another in the case of a position vacancy, special project requiring extraordinary effort, etc. These awards will be purchased and coordinated through the Director of Human Resources so the appropriate taxability and potential gross-ups can be applied (see Tax Treatment of Awards, Gifts, and Prizes). These recognition awards (gift cards/certificates, tangible gifts) can generally range in value from $100 to $300.

While students play a significant role in many areas around campus, there is no pool or budget for recognition of students. Typically the Student Employment Office holds an annual recognition event for student employees with the opportunity for departments to recognize the contribution of their student workers.

Please refer to the Bowdoin Finance Policy regarding taxable awards, gifts, and prizes for additonal information.