Mobile Phone Policy

University departments often have a business need for cellular/wireless service. Information Technology (IT) establishes contracts with cellular/wireless service providers for reduced-rate service and assists departments in managing those services. Departments are responsible for identifying those employees who require the use of cellular/wireless telephones or other wireless services in order to carry out their assigned duties.

Personal use of University cellular/wireless phones is discouraged. Faculty and staff must reimburse the University for any personal usage of University-provided cellular/wireless services.

Contracts for Equipment/Service

IT establishes contracts for equipment and service with a variety of providers in order to ensure availability of a wide range of plans at economical prices. University-paid plans will provide call detail. Faculty or staff-paid calling plans must include call detail and nationwide long-distance service if the employee will be requesting reimbursement for business use.

These contracts will be available for faculty and staff use, if the vendor agrees. Departments will coordinate with IT when establishing new service or changing existing service. IT also will assist departments, and faculty and staff in sizing the calling plan and working with vendor on contract-related issues.

Division Responsibilities

Deans, directors, and department chairs are ultimately responsible for the use of wireless phones/services in their respective divisions. They should designate an individual to have primary responsibility to oversee commercial wireless services, including:

  • Make the initial recommendation on whether a phone is provided to an employee and on what basis.
  • Work with IT to size the calling plan and select appropriate services based on business use.
  • Monitor usage on a regular basis for policy compliance, continued business need and appropriate use.
  • At least annually, review existing plans to ensure they are needed and represent the best available plan given the business use.
  • Ensure that when a faculty or staff changes departments or leaves the University, all equipment (including chargers, extra batteries, hands-free devices, etc.) is returned and service is canceled, transferred to another faculty or staff, or transferred to another department.

Business Need

The department is responsible for determining the business need for a wireless/phone service. Examples include:

  1. A requirement to travel frequently to do business, across a geographic area away from the home office, and great amounts of time are spent in a vehicle.
  2. A need for others to communicate with the faculty or staff about University business when the faculty or staff is away from their home office.
  3. A need for the faculty or staff to communicate with others regarding University business when the faculty or staff is away from the home office.
  4. The faculty or staff supports or is otherwise responsible for programs, services or systems that necessitate frequent and immediate communications throughout the day or after-hours.

When the University is providing the phone/service, the lowest cost plan available to accommodate the particular business need shall be utilized. IT will assist the departments in assessing business need and finding a plan appropriate for customer requirements.

Providing the Phone/Service

For any faculty or staff a department identifies as having an ongoing business need for a wireless telephone/device or wireless data services, the department has two options.

  1. University-provided Phone/Service – The University acquires the cellular/wireless phone/service and assigns the phone to a specific individual who agrees to limit non-University business calls to no more than 15% on an annual basis. The faculty or staff must sign an agreement regarding use of the phone/service and reimburse the University for personal use, as discussed later in this policy. At termination, the faculty or staff must return the phone and repay any unpaid personal use the faculty or staff incurred.
  2. Faculty or staff-provided Phone/Service with reimbursement for business use – As a condition of employment, the faculty or staff obtains the cellular/wireless phone/service and makes the phone number available for calls from the University. Departments may allow the faculty or staff to request reimbursement for business use of the phone. However, reimbursement for business calls from a personal phone my never exceed 90% of the total plan cost for the phone in any given month. If business usage of the personal phone exceeds 90%, the faculty or staff should use option #1 instead. Reimbursements must be appropriate, reasonable, and approved by the faculty's or staff's administrative superior.

Note: Reimbursement to a faculty or staff for business use of a personal phone is considered an Accountable Plan payment and must be submitted for reimbursement no more than 60 days after the expense was incurred.

Personal Use of University-provided Phone/Service

Personal use of University-provided phones/services is discouraged. It is the responsibility of the faculty or staff to identify personal calls on each billing statement, and to submit reimbursements to the University within 30 days of the receipt of the bill. Departments should deposit the reimbursement through a Cash Receipts Report as a reduction of expense using the same PeopleSoft account used to record the phone's monthly expense.

On an annual basis, personal may not exceed 15% of the minutes used. Departments may set lower limits or prohibit personal use entirely. When the department determines there has been excessive personal use, the service should be canceled and the equipment returned to the department. The faculty or staff may obtain a personal phone at their own expense, and with administrative approval, may seek reimbursement from the University for business calls placed on the faculty's or staff's personal phone.

Note: Federal regulations prohibit use of grant-funded wireless phones for personal calls.

Reimbursement Calculation

Personal Use of University-provided Phone/Service - When a faculty or staff is reimbursing for personal use of a University-provided phone/service, the reimbursement will be calculated (much like the vehicle mileage reimbursement) by multiplying the number of minutes attributed to personal usage by an aggregate per minute charge for cellular service. This aggregate per minute charge will be calculated by totaling the amount spent for all University-owned phones for a given period, and dividing by the number of minutes used on all University-owned phones during that same period. This number will be calculated annually by IT and will be made available to all faculty and staff with University-owned cellular phones.

For example, a faculty or staff who uses a University-owned phone for 20 minutes of personal airtime would reimburse the University for 20 x the prevailing per minute rate posted by IT.

Business Use of Personal Phone - When the University is reimbursing for business use of a personal phone/service, the reimbursement amount must be reasonable, appropriate, and will equal the number of minutes used for business use multiplied by the aggregate per minute charge from the previous paragraph. If the faculty or staff is requesting reimbursement for additional costs incurred, the request should document the nature of these costs and explain why these costs were necessary for business purposes. The University will not reimburse an individual for any costs exceeding 90% of their total plan cost in a given month.

Note: Faculty and staff must submit expenses for reimbursement within 60 days of the date the expense was incurred.