• Record Type:
    OSHA Instruction
  • Current Directive Number:
    PER 02-00-001
  • Old Directive Number:
    PER 3.1
  • Title:
    Acceptance of Gratuities
  • Information Date:

July 30, 1971 OSHA Instruction PER 3.1 October 30, 1978



SUBJECT: Acceptance of Gratuities

1. Purpose. To inform all employees of the OSHA policy relating to the acceptance of gratuities.

2. Background. The rules governing the acceptance of gratuities, fees, entertainment and favors by regular Federal employees are contained in Subpart D of Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (copy attached). Generally, no employee shall solicit, accept, or agree to accept any form of gratuity where a conflict of interest situation may arise. There is, however, a degree of flexibility in the rules which allows for accepting certain forms of gratuities under certain circumstances.

3. OSHA Interim Policy

(a) The interim OSHA policy conforms generally to the policy of the department, however, OSHA considers it necessary to adopt a somewhat more restrictive application of the policy. Because of the sensitivity of the safety and health program, it is felt that this restrictive policy will tend to eliminate situations which ultimately though innocently lead to conflicts of interest. The attachment reflects OSHA's modification of the Departmental policy by lining through specific portions of the text.

(b) Attention is directed to the section of the modified policy which prohibits travel and lodging expenses being paid by nongovernment organizations in connection with speaking engagements. There are situations where the clause "at our expense" is included in invitations to speak. In such situations, OSHA, not the inviter, will pay the necessary travel and subsistence expenses on an actual cost basis up to a maximum of $25 per day. However, if estimated expenses are expected to exceed $25 per day up to a maximum of $40 per day, prior approval to incur such additional expense must be obtained from the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health.

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OSHA Instruction PER 3.1 October 30, 1978

4. Filing. This directive shall be retained until information herein is incorporated into a permanent directive reflecting the overall policy on ethics and conduct of OSHA employees.

Director, Office of Program Management Services



(Originator OMA)



o. 735-14 Acceptance of gratuities generally No employee shall solicit, accept, or agree to accept any direct or indirect favor, gift, loan, free service, gratuity, entertainment, or other item of economic value if acceptance of such item could affect the employee's impartiality, or give that appearance. An employee shall not accept a gift, present, decoration, or other thing from a foreign Government unless authorized by Congress as provided by the Constitution and in 5 U. S. C. 7342. No. regular Government employee may receive any salary or supplementation of salary from a private source as compensation for services to the Government.

o. 735-15 Payments, expenses, reimbursements, entertainment, etc., from nongovernment sources (a) In general, Decision B-128527 of the Comptroller General dated March 7, 1967, restricts receipt of reimbursement for travel, subsistence, or other expenses from private sources by an employee on official business under agency orders. An employee may not accept from nongovernmental sources any payments, expenses, reimbursements, entertainment, or other item of economic value incident to training, attendance at meetings of any kind, or other activities, if such training, meetings, or activities are attended or performed wholly or partially within periods when he is on duty or at such times as the Department pays any expenses incident thereto in whole or in part. An employee may not be reimbursed and payment may not be made on his behalf for excessive personnel living expenses, gifts, entertainment, or other personnel benefits.

o. 735-16 Contributions and Gifts to Superiors No employee may solicit contributions from another employee for a gift to an employee in a superior official position. An employee in a superior official position shall not accept a gift presented as a contribution from employees receiving less salary than himself. An employee shall not make a donation as a gift to an employee in a superior official position. This section does not prohibit voluntary gifts of nominal value or donations in a nominal amount made on a special occasion such as marriage, illness, etc.

OSHA Instruction PER 3.1 October 30, 1978


o. 735-17 Permissible Gifts (a) The prohibitions in this subpart do not preclude (1) Acceptance of unsolicited advertising or promotional material of nominal intrinsic value; (2) Acceptance of an award for meritorious public contribution given by a charitable, religious, professional, social, fraternal, nonprofit educational, recreational, public service, or civic organization; (3) Acceptance of gifts resulting from obvious family or personnel relationships when the circumstances make clear that it is those relationships rather than the business of the persons concerned which are the motivating factor; (4) Acceptance of loans from banks, or other financial institutions in customary terms to finance proper and usual activities; (5) Acceptance of scholarships, fellowships, and similar forms of assistance which are incident to education or training pursued by an employee on his own time and his own initiative; (6) Acceptance, without permission, of food, entertainment, and refreshments of nominal value on infrequent occasions in the ordinary course of a meetings, inspection tour, or training situation in which the employee is properly in attendance. (b) Notwithstanding any reference to generally permissible gifts in this subpart, employees are expected to avoid any conflict or apparent conflict between their private interests and those of the Department and to observe the other standards of conduct set forth in Subpart B of this part.