Gifts and Gratuities

The Top 8 Things City Employees Need to Know about Gifts

 

1.  City employees cannot accept a gift worth $50 or more (also called a “valuable gift”) from a City vendor, meaning any person or firm who the City employee knows is, or intends to become, engaged in business dealings with the City.

 

2.  A “gift” is anything of value –including a meal, a ticket to an event, a gift card, a loan, a swag bag, or a holiday fruit basket.

 

3.  The $50 limit is calculated as “aggregate and cumulative” over a twelve-month period. This means a City employee cannot accept a single $50 gift from a City vendor and also cannot accept two $25 gifts from the same City vendor given during a twelve-month period.

 

4.  It is the City employee’s responsibility to figure out whether a gift-giver is a vendor. That can be found out by the checking the Doing Business Database or CheckbookNYC.com

 

5.  There are exceptions to the $50 valuable gift rule which allow City employees to accept gifts of certain types of meals or event attendance when the employee’s participation is connected with the performance of the employee’s official City duties. Acceptance of these types of gifts must be first discussed with and approved by your agency’s General Counsel or Ethics Liaison.

 

6.  City employees generally cannot accept gifts from City subordinates except for important life events, like a wedding or the birth of a child. For annual events, like a birthday or the winter holiday season, City employees can accept gifts from their subordinates only where the “thought of giving” has a greater value than the gift itself (meaning the gift is of minimal value).

 

7.  City employees may accept gifts from City superiors or colleagues in any amount.

 

8.  City employees may not accept “tips” – in other words, thank you gifts for doing one’s City job – in any amount.

 

Want advice? Click here or call (212) 442-1400 to speak to the Board’s Attorney of the Day. All calls are confidential.