Gift Policy Reminder

Following is an Office of Government Ethics summary of policies governing gifts between executive branch employees.

Subpart C of 5 C.F.R. part 2635 governs gifts between executive branch employees.

Note: The rules and exceptions in Subpart B of 5 C.F.R. part 2635 govern gifts from outside sources.
Under Subpart C:

An employee may not give (or contribute toward) a gift for the employee’s official superior.
An employee may not accept a gift from another employee who receives less U.S. Government pay, unless the employee is not the employee’s subordinate and a personal relationship justifies the gift.

An employee may not ask another employee for a contribution toward a gift for the employee’s own official superior or for the other employee’s official superior.

These rules do not prohibit an employee from giving a gift to another employee, or accepting a gift from another employee, as long as a personal friendship justifies the gift and the employees are not in the same supervisory “chain of command.” Even if a supervisory relationship exists, the official superior may choose to pay market value for the gift, or an exception may apply:

On an occasional basis (including for a birthday or annual holiday), an employee may give, and the official superior (or person receiving more pay than the employee) may accept:

On “special infrequent occasions,” an employee may give, and his or her official superior (or person receiving less pay than the employee) may accept, a gift appropriate to the occasion. These occasions include:

In addition, notwithstanding the limitations in Subpart C concerning solicitations and contributions, an employee may solicit or contribute–on a strictly voluntary basis–nominal amounts for a group gift to an official superior for:

items such as food and refreshments to be shared in the office among several employees; or
a “special infrequent occasion.”