55.075: Cell Phones
SUPERCEDED as of January 10, 2010
|Approved on February 3, 2005||Signatures and dates
on archival copy
Director of Procurement Services
|Herman ("Butch") Hill, Chair
Policy and Procedure Review Committee
Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration
- This policy allows the university to meet IRS regulations and its fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of the State of Ohio, by providing guidelines for the use of cell phones for business purposes.
- The university will not own cell phones for the use of individual employees. Employees whose job duties include the frequent need for a cell phone may receive extra compensation, in the form of a cell phone allowance, to cover business-related costs. No further reimbursement for cell phone costs is available to employees who have such an allowance. All other employees may submit infrequent business-related cell phone expenses for individual reimbursement.
Cell phones should not be selected as an alternative to other means of communication -- e.g., land-lines, pagers, and radio phones -- when such alternatives would provide adequate but less costly service to the university.
Beginning immediately upon the approval of this policy, the university will no longer purchase any new cell phones, nor will any existing cell phone contracts be renewed or extended. In order to avoid cancellation fees, and to allow for an orderly transition, anyone currently using a university-owned cell phone, acquired prior to the establishment of this policy, has two years from the effective date of this revision of the policy to comply with this revised policy (see the signature block, top left of first page). Beginning two years after the effective date, the university will no longer make direct payments to cell phone providers, using a check, or purchasing card, or any other means. Until that date, university-owned cell phones may be used for business calls only. Inadvertent personal calls must be marked on the statement, and associated costs must be refunded to the university. Payment procedures for still-active university-owned cell phones are described online at the Finance Division's Cell Phone Guidelines website, http://www.finance.ohiou.edu/purch/cellphone.htm.
I. Frequent Use of Cell Phones for Business Purposes
A. Establishment and Payment of Allowance
- If a university employee's job duties include the frequent need for a cell phone, then the employee is eligible for an allowance to cover cell phone expenses. It may be requested using the Allowance Request Form. The request may be made any time during the fiscal year. The dollar amount requested should cover the remainder of the fiscal year. Payments will be divided equally among the remaining pay periods. For example, a $360 request is made at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1), for an employee who is paid monthly. The employee will receive $30 extra per month (gross) on his or her paycheck, for 12 months.
Regardless of when they are established, allowances will cease at the end of the fiscal year (June 30). New Allowance Request Forms must be sent to Payroll to continue the allowance, or to establish any new allowances.
This allowance does not constitute an increase to base pay, and will not be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base pay due to annual raises, job upgrades, etc.
B. Determination of Dollar Amount of Allowance
- The dollar amount of the cell phone allowance should cover the employee's projected business-related expenses only. Cost of basic equipment, and the employee's cell phone use related to business, should be considered. Upgrades to basic equipment (special cosmetic or technical features, etc.), or expected cell phone use unrelated to business, cannot be considered. Determination of the dollar amount of the allowance is made at the department level, but must be within the guidelines and dollar limits established under this policy. For current guidelines and limits, always refer to Finance Division website http://www.finance.ohiou.edu/purch/cellphone.htm prior to submitting a request for a cell phone allowance.
C. Use of phone
- The employee must retain an active cell phone contract as long as a cell phone allowance is in place. Because the cell phone is owned personally by the employee, and the allowance provided is taxable income, the employee may use the phone for both business and personal purposes, as needed. The employee may, at his or her own expense, add extra services or equipment features, as desired.
Use of the phone in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws will constitute misuse, and will result in immediate termination of the cell phone allowance.
D. Documentation and Review Requirements
- A copy of the Allowance Request Form, and of the employee's related cell phone contract, must be kept on file in the employee's university department. Department files are subject to audit at any time by the Finance Division, Internal Audit, or external auditors engaged by the state or federal government.
The dean, director, or department head is responsible for an annual review of employee business-related cell-phone use, to determine if existing cell phone allowances should be continued as-is, changed, or discontinued, and to determine if any new allowances should be established.
E. Fees for Contract Changes or Cancellations
- If, prior to the end of the cell phone contract, a personal decision by the employee, or employee misconduct, or misuse of the phone, results in the need to end or change the cell phone contract, the employee will bear the cost of any fees associated with that change or cancellation. For example, the employee quits, and no longer wants to retain the current cell phone contract for personal purposes.
- If, prior to the end of the cell phone contract period, a university decision (unrelated to employee misconduct) results in the need to end or change the cell phone contract, the university will bear the cost of any fees associated with that change or cancellation. For example, the employee's supervisor has changed the employee's duties and the cell phone is no longer needed for University purposes. If the employee does not want to retain the current contract, change or cancellation fees will be reimbursed by the University.
II. Infrequent Use of Cell Phones for Business Purposes
- If a university employee's job duties do not include the frequent need for a cell phone, then the employee is not eligible for an allowance to cover cell phone expenses. Such employees may request reimbursement for the actual extra expenses of business calls made using their own cell phone (but reimbursement for per-minute "air time" charges is limited to the total overage charge shown on the invoice, i.e., expenses for minutes included in the plan will not be reimbursed). The individual should make personal payment to the provider, and then should submit a Direct Payment Form (DP) or Travel Expense Form (TER), as appropriate, requesting reimbursement from the university. The Direct Payment Form should list the individual as the payee. A copy of the invoice should be attached to the DP or TER, with the separate business-call charges clearly marked.
- Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:
- Policy and Procedure Review Committee
- Director of Communication Network Services
- University Controller
- The following forms are specific to this policy:
- The Direct Payment form is available online as a Microsoft Excel file, from http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/financeforms.cfm, and then scroll down.
- The Allowance Request Form is available online as a Microsoft Excel file, from http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/payroll.cfm, and then scroll down.
- The Travel Expense Form is available online as a Microsoft Excel file, from http://www.ohio.edu/finance/forms/travel.cfm, and then scroll down.
Copyright © 2010 Ohio University. All Rights Reserved.
Dick Piccard revised this file (http://www.ohio.edu/policy/s55-075.html) on January 15, 2010.
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