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Mobile Communication Devices (Policy 8070)

University Policy 8070

Download a Printable Version of Policy 8070

Effective Date

June 2007

Last Revision Date

October 2010

Responsible Party

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, (208) 426-1200

Office of Information Technology, (208) 426-4357

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all Boise State University employees.

Additional Authority

Internal Revenue Code §274

1. Policy Purpose

To establish eligibility criteria and rules pertaining to university-funded mobile communication devices and service plans.

2. Policy Statement

In general, Boise State University will not own mobile communication devices (MCD) or carry service contracts for these devices for permanent assignment to individual employees. Employees whose documented job duties require frequent use of MCD will be given a taxable monthly allowance to compensate for business use of a personal device.

3. Definitions

3.1 Mobile Communication Devices (MCD)

Devices capable of using the services provided by a public/private cellular or satellite network, including but not limited to cell phones smart phones, satellite phones, e-readers and portable email devices. For purposes of this policy, laptop computers are not considered MCD.

4. Responsibilities and Procedures

4.1 Allowances and Related Expenses

4.1.1 Service Plan Allowances

a. Employees with a documented business purpose for frequent use of a MCD may, with supervisor approval, receive a taxable monthly allowance to offset the cost of business use of that device. Allowance limits are set by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

b. Depending upon business need, employees may qualify for one or more of the following allowances:

  • Voice plan allowance – an allowance for voice service on a MCD with voice capabilities.
  • Data plan allowance – an allowance for internet access and/or text messaging service on a MCD.
  • Home internet allowance – an allowance for home internet access. Note: Internet plan allowances are only allowable when home internet access is absolutely necessary for an employee to perform his or her job responsibilities.

c. An employee may receive no more than one voice allowance, one data plan allowance and one internet plan allowance regardless of the number of MCD an employee chooses to own or operate.

4.1.2 Equipment Allowance

Employees with a documented business purpose for frequent use of a MCD may, with supervisor approval, qualify for an equipment allowance to offset the purchase price of a wireless device. Equipment allowance limits are set by the Vice President for Finance and Administration and are based upon the employee’s estimated business use. The cost of MCD accessories with a business purpose may be included in the equipment allowances. Employees are only eligible for an equipment allowance once every twenty-four (24) months.

4.1.3 Limitations

a. Allowances are not considered an entitlement, nor do they represent an increase in base pay. Boise State University reserves the right to change or withdraw the allowance at any time.

b. Allowances will be approved for a one year term and will be paid monthly. Allowance agreements will lapse at the end of twelve (12) months at which time the employee and his or her supervisor must complete a new agreement if a business need still exists for a MCD and service plan.

4.1.4 Occasional Users

Employees whose job duties do not necessitate frequent use (for voice plans, less than 100 minutes per month) of a MCD may submit a MCD service plan statements to Accounts Payable for reimbursement of infrequent business use of a personal device.

4.1.5 Department MCD

University departments may elect to obtain a MCD and service plan for departmental use when the device will not be specifically assigned to one individual. Such devices may only be used for university business. The department will be responsible for the cost and contract obligations of the service plan. The devices remain the property of Boise State University and are ordered and managed through OIT. Departments are responsible for auditing service records to ensure no personal use occurs.

4.1.6 Application Purchases

Employees may, with supervisory approval, purchase MCD applications (apps) and submit proof of payment with a statement explaining the business purpose for the app to Accounts Payable for reimbursement. Apps may not be purchased with University P-Cards. Where necessary, OIT will help departments establish app store accounts to purchase apps for department MCD.

4.2 Eligibility

Eligibility for one or more MCD allowances is determined by considering one or more of the following criteria:

  • Safety requirements dictate that having mobile/remote communication capabilities is an integral part of performing job duties.
  • More than 50% of work is conducted away from the employee’s workstation and the employee is required to be contacted on a regular basis.
  • Employee is on call outside of normal work hours.
  • Employee is a senior administrator or critical decision maker.
  • Employee monitors and administers mission critical information systems during non-business hours.
  • Employee’s job duties require the employee to be immediately accessible to receive and/or make frequent contact outside of business hours.
  • Other special circumstances as approved by executive directors, deans or vice presidents.

4.3 Recommended Vendors/Service Plans

a. Departments and employees are encouraged, where possible, to purchase MCD service plans that are available from approved vendors participating in university, state or regional contracts. In most cases, contracted discounts are available, but may vary depending on the vendor. Recommended vendor contracts and plans may be viewed on the OIT website.

b. Employees approved for one or more allowances may purchase any MCD and service plan that allows the employee to meet his or her job requirements.. However, the employee will be responsible for any costs in excess of the University-allowance.

4.4 Employee Responsibilities

a. Employees receiving a monthly allowance are responsible for the selection of and enrollment in a service plan. When selecting a plan, employees should be cognizant of their anticipated personal and business use, ensuring they have sufficient plan minutes to cover both uses.

b. Employees receiving a monthly allowance for a voice plan must provide their department with their wireless phone number within three (3) business days of submitting a MCD Agreement, or activating the device, whichever is sooner.

c. Employees must show, upon request, a MCD service plan statement to substantiate that a service plan is active and the employee is using the device for business purposes.

d. Employees are responsible for complying with any contracts they enter with service providers, including payment of all charges incurred. In the event an employee ceases to be employed by the University or becomes ineligible for the allowance, the employee continues to be responsible for the contractual obligations of the service plan.

e. Employees utilizing smart phones or similar devices that store electronic files, data, email messages or other potentially sensitive University data are required to notify the OIT Help Desk within 24 hours of the loss or theft of their device. OIT will take appropriate action to ensure the confidentiality of university data, including but not limited to remote deactivation of university-sponsored programs loaded on the missing device. If theft is suspected, employees must file a police report and cooperate with law enforcement to ensure Boise State University’s interest in preserving confidential information is respected.

f. In the event that any MCD for which an employee is receiving an allowance is lost, stolen, or is no longer operable, the employee must notify their service provider, their supervisor and Human Resource Services within three (3) business days. Human Resource Services will suspend the employee’s monthly allowance until the phone is recovered, replaced or repaired.

g. In the event that any departmental MCD is lost, stolen, or is no longer operable, the department must notify the OIT Help Desk within 24 hours.

h. Employees must understand and agree that MCD service records and/or communications may be subject to Idaho public records requests.

4.5 Office of Information Technology Responsibilities

a. OIT will maintain a list of recommended mobile communications devices for employees who wish to load university-licensed applications onto personal devices.

b. Where appropriate, OIT will load university-licensed applications onto personal MCD. OIT will not provide ongoing troubleshooting services for those who elect to purchase devices not recommended by OIT.

c. OIT will not assume liability for any operating issues that result from loading university applications onto personal MCD.

4.6 Employee Procedures

Employees should discuss with their supervisor whether a business need exists for the employee to receive one or more MCD allowances. Eligible employees should complete a MCD Agreement, obtain a supervisor’s signature and submit the agreement to OIT Business Services. OIT Business Services will review the agreement and submit to Human Resource Services for payroll processing.

4.7 Supervisor Procedures

a. Supervisors should work with employees to determine whether an allowance is warranted and if so, what type of allowance is appropriate in light of the employee’s responsibilities. Thereafter, supervisors are responsible for ensuring that if an employee’s job duties change, the MCD Agreement is updated to reflect that change.

b. In the event an employee is terminated or becomes otherwise ineligible for the allowance, the supervisor must inform Human Resource Services within three (3) business days.

Revision History

June 2007; October 2010