INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND TELECOMMUNICATION
University departments often have a business need for cellular/wireless phones. The Division of Information Technology 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.
Options for Establishing Service
For any employee a department identifies as having an ongoing business need for a wireless telephone/device or wireless data services, the department has four options for cell phones:
- University-Provided Phone and 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 as described in the “Personal Use” section below. The employee must sign a log, maintained by the division/department, of phones assigned to employees and upon termination the employee must return the phone.
- Employee-Provided Phone/Service With No Reimbursement for Business Use - As a condition of employment, the employee obtains the cellular/wireless phone/service and makes the phone number available for calls from the University. It is understood that the employee's compensation is sufficient to cover the cost of the phone/service. There is no reimbursement for business use.
- Employee-Provided Phone/Service With Reimbursement for Business Use - As a condition of employment, the employee obtains the cellular/wireless phone/service and makes the phone number available for calls from the University. Departments may allow the employee to request reimbursement for business use of the phone as described in the “Reimbursement for Use of Employee’s Personal Cellular/Wireless Device for University Business” section below.
- University-Provided PDA Device/Employee-Provided Service - The University acquires the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) (e.g. smart phone, Blackberry, etc.) and assigns it to a specific individual who agrees to pay for related service charges and to make the phone number available for calls from the University. It is understood that the employee's compensation is sufficient to cover the cost of the service. There is no reimbursement for business use. The employee must sign a log, maintained by the division/department, of phones assigned to employees and upon termination the employee must return the phone to their division/department.
NOTE: Where appropriate, a University-provided cellular/wireless phone may be made available on an as needed basis. However, one individual must be assigned primary responsibility for use of the phone. The individual with primary responsibility shall sign a log, maintained by the division/department, of phones assigned to employees and return the phone to the division/department upon completion of need.
The department is responsible for determining the business need for a wireless phone/service. A cellular/wireless phone or other telecommunications equipment (PDA’s) may be provided for an employee’s use to conduct University business. As departments determine who will be provided a phone, they should consider and document the business reasons for providing the employee with a wireless phone. These reasons could include:
- 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.
- A need for others to communicate with the employee about University business when the employee is away from their office.
- A need for the employee to communicate with others regarding University business when the employee is away from their office.
- The employee supports or is otherwise responsible for programs, services or systems that necessitate frequent and immediate communications throughout the day or after-hours.
A cell phone will not be provided to attract prospective employees, promote the morale or goodwill of an employee, or as a means of providing additional compensation. When the University is providing the phone/service, the lowest cost plan available to accommodate the particular business need shall be utilized.
Devices with Cellular/Wireless Capabilities
The policies for cellular/wireless phones also apply to devices with cellular/wireless capabilities (e.g. PDA’s, iPads, etc.).
If the University provides a cellular phone to an employee primarily for business reasons, the employee’s business use of the phone will be excluded from his/her gross income as a working condition fringe benefit (e.g. a nontaxable business expense), and any personal use will be excluded from gross income as a de minimis fringe benefit. A university-provided cellular phone is intended to be used substantially for business purposes with the expectation that personal us, if any, is minimal.
NOTE: Federal regulations prohibit use of grant-funded wireless phones for personal calls.
Reimbursement for Use of Employee’s Personal Cellular/Wireless Device for University Business
When the University is reimbursing for business use of a personal phone/service, the reimbursement amount must be reasonable and appropriate and cannot exceed the amount derived by dividing minutes used for business calls by the total minutes used, then multiplying the result by the plan cost for the period excluding any related federal excise tax and Missouri sales tax (documentation of usage and costs must accompany the request). If the employee 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 and be approved by an administrative superior.
Contracts for Equipment/Service
The Division of Information Technology 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 must provide call detail. Employee-paid calling plans must include call detail and nationwide long-distance service if the employee will be requesting reimbursement of business use.
These contracts will be available for employee use, if the vendor agrees. Departments will purchase from these contracts when establishing new service or changing existing service. The Division of Information Technology also will assist departments and employees in sizing the calling plan and working with vendor on contract-related issues. See the Division of Information Technology Cellular Services Web site.
- Services must be obtained from telecommunications companies under contract with the University unless the necessary service is unavailable from one of those carriers. The service plan must be based on anticipated business usage and the plan should provide call detail.Monitor usage on a regular basis for policy compliance, continued business need and appropriate use.
- At least annually, confirm that the business need for the cellular/wireless device still exists and review existing plans to ensure they represent the best available plan given the business use.
- Maintain a log of University owned devices assigned to employees
- Ensure that when an employee changes departments or leaves the University, all equipment (including chargers, extra batteries, hands-free devices, etc.) is returned and service is cancelled, transferred to another employee, or transferred to the new department.
See the Division of Information Technology Cellular Services Web site for information on contract pricing and vendor contacts.
Call 882-2000 for assistance with rate plan selection, billing discrepancies, etc.