Administrative policy regarding provision of cellular devices to university employees
(A) Purpose. Kent State University recognizes that cellular devices are often necessary and efficient for conducting university business. This policy is designed to allow the university to establish procedures that meet state and federal regulations for the provision of cellular devices to university employees in a manner reflecting best business practices.
(B) Covered employees. This policy applies to all full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees that must have a cellular device to effectively perform their work. Temporary employees and volunteers are not eligible for services outlined in this policy.
(C) Definitions. For purposes of this policy, cellular devices are defined as cellular phones, integrated cell phone and email devices (i.e. classified as either smartphones or PDAs) and other electronic access devices (not including pagers and two-way radios).
(D) Approval Process
(1) Authorization for a university provided cellular device, or a stipend to partially fund a required cellular device must be approved by the responsible vice president, or designee. The approval must be guided by a legitimate business purpose.
(2) Establishment of business purpose.
(a) University employees may obtain a cellular device and/or a personally owned cellular access plan eligible for reimbursement or stipend, as described further in this policy, for the use of these cellular devices for business purposes. Acceptable university business purposes for having cellular devices are:
(i) The employee is responsible for emergency university matters where they must be available or,
(ii) The employee does not have access to a landline phone or other communication device when doing a substantial portion of his or her job or,
(iii) The use of other less expensive communication devices does not serve as a viable alternative to the business purpose or,
(iv) The employee’s job effectiveness will show a significant increase through the use of a cellular access device or,
(v) A group of employees have the need for group or shared devices for purposes such as rotating on-call contact.
(vi) The responsible vice president determines other legitimate business needs that cannot be served by less costly communication devices. Such purpose must be expressly stated as part of the approval process.
(b) Departments must consider other viable options such as a landline phone, pager, or other less expensive communication devices when evaluating need for a cellular device.
(E) Administrative options for providing cellular phones/service to university employees for business purposes are limited to the following:
(1) Personal Ownership with University Stipend
(a) Employees authorized to receive a stipend will be paid at a rate of fifty dollars per month for a standard voice plan and ninety dollars per month for employees required to obtain a voice and data plan. The employee selects and contracts for cellular service. Since this will be a personally-owned plan, there are no limitations for the lawful personal usage of the cellular device.
(b) The rates described in this rule are subject to annual review and may be adjusted by the vice president for finance and administration based upon changes in business conditions.
(c) The stipend is additionally intended to provide partial funding for the maintenance and the replacement of a cellular device.
(d) The stipend is considered taxable income by the university, will be subject to payroll taxes, and will be included on the employee’s W-2 form each year.
Base salaries are not to be adjusted to accommodate reimbursement of additional pay and these amounts will not be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base salaries when calculating annual base salary amounts.
(e) If this option is chosen, the employee is advised that even though the personal usage of the cellular device is allowed, business use of the device which produces a record is subject to all provisions of the Ohio public record laws. This requirement is no different from business records produced by other personally-owned devices, such as computers and land-line telephones. Employees are encouraged to be familiar with public records policies contained in rule 3342-5-15.1 of the Administrative Code.
(f) Employees receiving a stipend are required to maintain usage records contained in the cell provider’s billing documents for three months from date of billing.
(2) Discretionary “personal use” of university-owned cellular equipment with reimbursement provided by employee.
(a) Cellular service and equipment is provided to the employee through a university contract.
(b) Personal usage of the phone or device is not permitted except on an exceptional basis. The employee is required to certify which calls are for business purposes on a monthly basis by signing a Cellular Service Reimbursement Form and attaching to billing document.
(c) Department supervisors are required to review the Cellular Service Reimbursement Form and sign that phone records are accurate. Employee is required to reimburse university for all personal usage (i.e. calls) at a pro rata rate-for all calls contained within the “base usage limit” and at the actual costs for all other personal transactions. In addition to the reimbursement costs, each monthly reimbursement shall include an additional ten dollar (ten dollars) to help cover administrative handling costs. The handling fee is periodically subject to adjustment by the university vice president for finance and administration. Supervisor is responsible for maintaining all cellular records for at least 3 years.
(3) Automatic reimbursement option by employee.
(a) With this option the university contracts for cellular service on behalf of the employee in the same manner described in paragraph (E)(2) of this rule.
(b) Employee is charged monthly at a flat rate of twenty-five per cent of the base monthly rate of the standard university plan to allow for limited “personal usage.” At the end of December and June, the employee will review each of the previous six months of billing documents and complete and sign a Cellular Service Reimbursement Form. No additional reimbursement to the university is required if the analysis reveals no personal usage exceeding twenty-five per cent of the base usage allotment. Calls exceeding the twenty-five per cent, but remaining within the base allotment are reimbursed on a pro rata basis. Calls producing added charges to the university above the base fees are reimbursed at the actual cost. Each reimbursement must also pay a ten dollar (ten dollars) handling fee as described in paragraph (E)(2) of this rule.
(4) Additional terms and conditions
(a) Executive officer approval is required. The vice president within each division, or one appointed designee, must approve all cellular options provided under this policy. The executive officer reserves the right to revoke the approval at any time.
(b) Annual review is required. A review of the business purpose and associated additional pay must be completed by the department head and approved by the vice president before the beginning of each fiscal year.
(c) Use of the cellular device in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws will constitute misuse, and may result in immediate termination for the provision of cellular device/services under this policy, as well as possible disciplinary action.
(1) Formal approval required. Approval under this policy must be documented using the Cellular Device Option Authorization Form.
All requests must be signed by the department head and appropriate vice president in order to substantiate the business need and document approval. The completed form should be forwarded to the payroll office for processing.
A vice president may designate one person responsible to sign on his/her behalf for that division.
(2) Confirmation of device required. The department must have documentation that proves the employee actually obtained the device (i.e. phone number of cell phone).
(3) Stipend-specific provisions.
(a) Regardless of when the stipend is established, payments will cease at the end of each fiscal year (June thirtieth).
(b) Department heads must annually review documentation to ensure that a business purpose continues to exist and submit a new Cellular Device Option Authorization Form to the payroll office at the beginning of each fiscal year in order to continue the additional pay.
(c) Termination of the additional pay is required if the business purpose no longer exists.
(d) The employee may use the phone for both business and personal purposes and may, at his or her own expense, add extra services or equipment features as desired. Because devices are the property of the employee, cellular devices that are lost or damaged are the responsibility of the employee to promptly replace.
(4) Unavoidable business costs associated with non-typical use. Extraordinary cellular charges (such as out of country roaming charges) incurred due to a legitimate business need may be presented with appropriate documentation as reimbursement of travel expenses subject to the approval of the University vice president for finance and administration or his or her designee.
(5) Cellular devices remaining on university contracts. Some departments have multiple staff sharing a single device for on-call rotations and designated departments have been issued a cellular device in the event of a disaster. For these reasons, a number of shared or group devices will remain available via university contracts. Personal calls or contacts are not to be made to/from these devices. No department in the university can extend existing cellular contracts or enter into any new contracts with cellular companies, except the division of information services.
(6) Grants and contract accounts. On federal or federal pass-through grants and contract accounts only devices authorized by the terms of the grant will be allowed.
(a) Personal use of the phone must be documented and reimbursed to the grant and/or reported to the payroll department for appropriate tax reporting, in compliance with the terms of the grant.
(b) The only use of cellular devices on grants and contract accounts are those which have allocated funds to be directed to the division of information services and an approved university contract established. In these cases, the use of the cellular device should be fully devoted to the project, necessary for the project, and included in the approved budget.
(c) In cases where it is not in the approved budget, the expense will not be allowable unless approved by grants and contract administration. The bona-fide business purpose documentation must be approved annually by grants and contract administration in order for the expenses to be allocable to a grant and contract account. Personal calls or contacts are not to be made to/from cellular devices approved under this section.
(1) The division of information services is excluded from this policy where it needs to continue existing or establish new university contracts or acquire electronic access or access devices for testing or to support university information services for such testing devices. Such exclusions shall only be approved by the chief information officer who is responsible for monitoring eligibility and use. The use of these devices are for testing purposes only and personal calls or contacts are not to be made to/from these devices.
Effective: March 1, 2015
Prior Effective Dates: 9/1/2009