Bryn Mawr College Cell Phone Policy

Background Summary

As part of the community budget workshop process in early 2009, the College targeted cell phone expenses as an area for cost containment.  This policy clarifies the criteria and the responsibility for covering work-related mobile phone expenses.

Policy Summary

Effective 1/1/10, Bryn Mawr College will provide two levels of cell phone support for employees: 1) departmental reimbursement for some of the expenses that are incurred in order to perform college business on a personally owned cell phone and 2) centrally funded and serviced phones for work-related usage in a limited number of cases.

Procedures

I. Business Usage of a Personal Cell Phone

Employees of the College should be aware of their department’s expectations in terms of on and off campus accessibility via telephone.  The department may have a short-term need or an on-going expectation that the employee will be reachable via their personal cell phone, including the possibility of being essentially “on call”.  The employee may request reimbursement for expenses related to business calls made on a personally owned phone per the guidelines below.

A. Baseline Coverage:

For many positions where an employee is expected to be reachable, it is also expected that the employee will have a personally owned cell phone.  Reimbursements will be based on an assumption that the employee is paying for a base plan that includes text messaging and a data plan.  Work-related usage that exceeds a reasonable base plan will be reimbursable.   

B. Selection and Support:

The employee is responsible for purchasing and supporting their personally-owned cell phones. If there are problems with service, the faculty or staff member will need to work directly with the carrier for resolution. The College will provide advice regarding which phones will most effectively integrate with the College’s Internet-based services. These recommendations and associated setup information will be posted on the Information Services web site. For best results integrating with College services, you should expect to replace your personal cell phone every 2-3 years.  

C. Reimbursement:

Reimbursement for per-minute "air time" charges is limited to the total overage charge shown on the invoice. Any specific charges, e.g. roaming or text messaging, that are associated with particular work-related calls are also reimbursable as long as the bill itemizes the time, destination and cost of the call. The individual should make personal payment to the provider, and then submit a request for reimbursement to the employee’s department as with other work-related expenses and per the timeframes and procedures of the Controller’s Office.  

II. Limited Use of College-provided Phones

The College will provide centrally funded and serviced phones for a small number of employees. Those responsibilities and the service that will be provided are as follows.

A. Eligibility:

There are two main circumstances that will warrant a college provided phone: 1) an on-call position where on-call hours are reimbursed and a common phone number is needed for the persons who share that on-call role and 2) positions where the employee’s mobility on campus is more than 50% of their job and he/she needs to be reachable at all times.  In these cases the phone number is associated with a position or vehicle rather than an individual.  Eligibility will be determined jointly by Information Services and the Chief Administrative Officer. 

B. Managing Phone Service:

The Telephone Services Office will select and provide phones for those who meet these criteria.  Phone choices and service options will be as standardized as possible in order to maximize testing, reliability and supportability. Phones will generally be replaced on a two to three year cycle.  The College will fund the replacement of at most one (outside of warranty) lost or broken phone per fiscal year.  Expenses beyond that level will be covered by the employee’s department. 

C. Usage and Tax Implications:

Employees are expected to use their college-provided phones primarily for college business. If personal usage regularly results in a significant overage of the allotted minutes or results in additional expenses, i.e. text messages or roaming charges, the individual will be expected to reimburse those expenses.  In addition, the Federal government considers the portion of the phone expense that accommodates personal use to be taxable income. The process for how this will be identified and reported is under consideration. An update was posted in June 2009 at: http://www.irs.gov/irb/2009-23_IRB/ar07.html

Future Changes

 This policy was posted on November 4th, 2009 and is subject to periodic review and modification. Send comments or suggestions to budgetideas@brynmawr.edu.