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Employee Phone and Device Policy

Purpose

The College understands that some positions at the College may require certain employees to be accessible and available outside of the normal working day.  Additionally, certain employees whose positions require them to be out of the office may also need to be accessible and available while out of the office.  Accordingly, in certain circumstances the College provides stipends to employees for cellular telephones and electronic devices services and usage consistent with this policy.

Scope

This policy applies to eligible College employees.

Policy 

Employees who have a documented business need for a mobile device will receive a taxable allowance for such service from the College, which requires annual approval by the appropriate Administrative Council member.  The employee is responsible for obtaining and owning the device and the College will provide payment to the employee for device services as set forth herein.  The College requires that employees follow all best practices, guidelines, policies, and regulations associated with the safe use of mobile devices, which includes, but is not limited to not using mobile devices while operating vehicles or in any other situation that could create an unsafe environment. 

All employees with a business-related need for a mobile device allowance must make a request in writing and be approved by the employee’s direct supervisor and the appropriate Administrative Council member.  If approved, an email with the justification should be sent to the Payroll Office by the Administrative Council member.   After the email has been received and processed by the Payroll Office, a taxable monthly allowance will be added to the employee’s regular pay. 

The amount of monthly allowance is based upon a typical contract necessary to meet business related needs for either voice services and for data services.  Since this will be a stipend to cover only the business usage and there is an expectation that the personal use of the cellular service is addressed by the employee, it is expected that the entire cost of the cellular service may be more than the stipend amount. Employees using this stipend may add any other cellular services to their personal plan, however, all cost above the stipend amount are the responsibility of the employee.

The College offers three levels of taxable monthly allowances for voice and/or data plans.

  1. Low Usage plan is reserved for voice only or low business requirements with a regular/recurring requirement to use cellular-based services for business purposes.  Note: occasional use that is not deemed to meet the requirement of “regular/recurring use” and is not receiving any type of cellular allowance/stipend may be reimbursed outside of this plan. The amount of this stipend is $30 per month.

  2. Average Usage includes a constant requirement for voice services and/or data connectivity.  An employee should not be selected for this level based on a rare or occasional higher level of activity.  The amount of this stipend is $50 per month. 

  3. High Usage is associated with an employee that requires “unlimited” type of service plans that also have a requirement for data connectivity.  An employee should not be selected for this level based on a rare or occasional higher level of activity, but instead for those employees that rely heavily on cellular connectivity to conduct College business. The amount of this stipend is $75 per month.

This allowance does not represent an increase in base pay, but is a taxable stipend that is used to reimburse employees for regular recurring use of personal cellular connectivity for work related purposes.  The allowance will continue until the end of the fiscal year unless the Payroll Office is notified in writing either by the employee, or the supervisor that the allowance is to cease. 

An annual review of the employee need of a stipend for a personally owned mobile device will be conducted by the supervisor and Administrative Council member.

No additional reimbursement will be provided to those receiving a monthly allowance even if the monthly charges to the employee exceed the allowance amount.  However, allowances can be changed at any time should circumstances or needs change.  All requests for a change in allowance must follow the same procedure as an original request.

Examples of the type of work that could require a cellular service allowance include:

  • Employees who are “decision makers” and are required to be in contact during emergencies, high business cycles, and other operational requirements, such as Administrative Council, Nationwide Campus Directors, and select other directors.  
  • Employees who travel extensively and are required to stay in touch with their operational departments.  Examples of these employees include admissions recruiters, SPS’s, development officers, etc.
  • Employees who have an occasionally recurring, but not extensive, requirement to conduct College-related business outside of normal working hours may require the low usage package.

Due to the requirement to always have the same phone number programmed in on emergency systems and published for ready access, security, residence hall area coordinators, maintenance, and custodial staff may be assigned cellular phones that will be used for business only.   

Mobile Device Equipment Allowance

The College also provides employees who are receiving a mobile device stipend with an equipment allowance towards the initial purchase of a new mobile device, and for the replacement of a mobile device (where the replacement allowance may occur no more frequently than once every 2 years).  In order to receive an equipment allowance the employee must submit proof in the form of an original paid receipt showing the purchase of the new mobile device and with its cost clearly indicated.  For cellular phones the amount of the equipment allowance will be the lesser of the actual cost of the new cellular phone or $50.  For Smartphone/PDAs the amount of the equipment allowance will be the lesser of the actual cost of the new equipment or $200.  Equipment purchases should be handled as a reimbursement item through the individuals’ departmental budget and approved by the appropriate Administrative Council member.  Approved equipment allowance reimbursement will follow the same reimbursement process as other incidental expenditures.

Under this policy, the equipment may be used by the employee for both personal and business related calls and is the property of the employee.  Therefore, any cost associated with lost, stolen, or damaged equipment is the sole responsibility of the employee.  All contracts for service must be taken out in the name of the employee receiving the allowance and cannot be taken out in the name of Columbia College. 

Support for Cellular Phones and Smartphones/PDAs

All support for cellular phones and Smartphone/PDAs is provided by the cellular service company chosen by the employee.  Technology Services cannot offer any support for individually owned equipment or service plans.  However, Technology Services will provide support for College provided software that is used on those devices to synchronize them with College email accounts, calendars or other College systems and services.  Cellular phone equipment is the property of the employee and any lost, stolen, or damaged equipment is the sole responsibility of the employee to replace. 

Requesting access to and security of data/email systems on mobile devices

It is not a requirement to receive a cellular stipend to allow connection of a personal mobile device to the College email/data system. Any employee who requests access will be required to read and sign the “Request for mobile access to data/email systems” form and submit it to the Technology Services Help Desk. Employees will be agreeing to the following:

  1. Use of a login PIN will be required and enforced remotely.
  2. Because of many federal and state regulations governing personally identifiably information (PII) and the requirement to restrict accessibility of confidential electronic information located on lost or stolen mobile devices, Columbia College will remotely delete data and/or applications from any device that contains the College’s information.Please note that in many situations a device may have all of its data wiped and the device set back to factory default in order to ensure that the College can protect its interests. If given enough notice, such as with employee termination, Technology Services staff can work with an employee to avoid a full device wipe.
  3. Whenever a device is lost or stolen, it must be reported as quickly as possible to the Technology Services Help Desk so that it can be remotely wiped to prevent data loss.

Changes to cellular contracts

The College reserves the right to change or terminate this policy regarding allowances for cell phone or Smartphone/PDA service and equipment.  Individuals eligible for receipt of an allowance should understand that they are personally liable for monthly charges or termination fees, regardless of employment status or any change in this reimbursement policy.

Reimbursement for cellular charges outside of this policy

If an employee is not approved for a monthly allowance but incurs expense for individual telephone calls it is also possible to be reimbursed for actual usage.  In order to be reimbursed in this manner the employee is required to submit an expense report through their department to the Accounts Payable department with a copy of the telephone bill clearly showing calls that were business related and describing the specific purpose for each of those calls.

Special Procedures for College owned cellular phones and Smartphones/PDAs

In some situations, such as security, maintenance, replacement of two-way radios, etc. it may be necessary or advantageous for the College to own and pay the monthly service charges for mobile devices.  The purchase and use of such devices must be approved in advance by the appropriate Administrative Council member and the Chief Information Officer.  In those cases where the College directly pays and is responsible for the mobile device monthly contract and equipment, the service may not be used for any personal purposes.

Telephone Usage

Telephones are used primarily for conducting Columbia College business. Personal calls, both incoming and outgoing, should be limited, while long distance phone calls are prohibited. Use of personal cell phones, blackberries or other personal electronic communication devices may be used at the discretion of his/her immediate supervisor and should be held to a minimum.  In order to provide a safe working environment and exceptional customer service personal cell phone earphones/earpieces should not be used during working hours.  Customer service should be an employee's first consideration when using the telephone system.  Columbia College provides cellular telephones to some employees to assist them in the execution of their duties.

Employees are expected to exercise caution in the use of such phones when driving, and to use the phone only in conjunction with a hand-free device.

 

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