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  • When food, drink or recreation is entertainment

    Food or drink

    To determine whether providing food or drink is entertainment, the employer needs to look at the following factors. None of these on their own will determine whether providing food and drink is entertainment, but the first two questions are the more important.

    • Why are you providing the food or drink for employees?
      • Providing refreshments to enable the employee to complete the working day in comfort is not generally entertainment.
      • Providing food or drink in a social situation where the purpose of the function is for employees to enjoy themselves is likely to be entertainment.
    • What type of food or drink is being provided?
      • The more elaborate a meal, the more likely it is that entertainment arises from eating the meal.
    • When is the food or drink being provided?
      • Food or drink provided during work time, during overtime or while traveling for work is less likely to be entertainment. This is because the food or drink is generally provided for a work-related purpose rather than for entertainment.
    • Where is the food or drink being provided?
      • Food or drink provided on your business premises or at the employee's usual workplace is less likely to be entertainment.
      • Food or drink provided off your business premises, such as at a function room, hotel or restaurant, or consumed with other forms of entertainment is more likely to be entertainment.

    Example: Determining whether food or drink is entertainment

    Gabrielle is currently employed by Twinsprings Pty Ltd and will soon be leaving the company for an overseas position in Canada.

    In recognition of Gabrielle's loyalty and dedication to the company over the last six years, her employer, Paul, wants to host a late afternoon farewell function at a local hotel.

    Drinks including alcohol and light refreshments such as finger foods will be provided to invited staff, clients and Gabrielle's family members. Paul has hired a mini bus to take guests to the venue.

    • Why – the food and drink in this situation is being provided for a social situation where the purpose of the function is for employees, associates and clients to enjoy themselves.
    • What – while light refreshments are often not considered to be entertainment, as alcohol will be provided there is a social context.
    • When – although in this case food or drink will be provided during working hours, it has the character of entertainment as it is a social function.
    • Where – the food or drink is being provided in a private function room at the local hotel rather than on the employer's business premises, making it more likely to be entertainment.

    Decision – providing the farewell function for Gabrielle as outlined above would be classified as entertainment.

    End of example


    Recreation that is entertainment includes amusement, sport and similar leisure time activities such as:

    • a game of golf
    • a gym membership
    • memberships of sporting clubs
    • theatre or movie tickets
    • a joy flight or harbour cruise
    • accommodation and travel in connection with entertaining clients and/or employees over a weekend at a tourist resort.

    Next step:

    Last modified: 29 Mar 2019QC 58432