Cell phone policy to provide stipend for business use, reduce University contracts
By Tobin J. Klinger
Nov 19, 2007
Under a new policy slated to take effect Jan. 1, The University of Toledo will no longer be the signatory on cell phone contracts. Instead, employees with work-related cell phone needs will carry their own contracts and receive a stipend based on anticipated business use of their personal devices.
“There are rigorous regulations by the Internal Revenue Service that require tracking, documentation and institutional reimbursement if employees are using a business-provided cell phone for personal purposes,” said Bill Logie, interim senior vice president for finance and administration. “It is a labor-intensive process that often costs the University more to administer than the amount of the reimbursement.”
As a result, Logie said it has been deemed more “fiscally responsible” to eliminate University cell phone contracts or transfer the contracts to employees and provide a monthly stipend.
“A supervisor will determine the level of the stipend, based on the amount of time an employee is anticipated to use voice and data service on his or her personal device,” said Teri Lee, associate vice president for purchasing services. “There are three levels, each taking into account the type of use an employee might need.”
The stipends are:
• Voice use only or data service cards — $50 per month;
• Increased voice /minutes and data options (mid-level) — $100 per month; and
• Full data/voice functionality — $150 per month.
“We are encouraging supervisors to think carefully not only about the level of stipend an employee might receive, but whether there may be alternatives to a cell phone altogether,” Lee said, noting that pagers may be adequate in some cases. “Pagers are significantly cheaper and in some cases may be all that’s needed to make an employee aware that he or she is needed at any given time.”
Employees that carry a University-contracted wireless device may purchase it at a prorated cost if the device was purchased prior to Jan. 1, 2007. Cell phones, BlackBerry devices, PDAs and the like purchased after Jan. 1 will be made available at full price.
“This approach is designed to empower employees to make their own choices relative
to their wireless communication needs, while increasing efficiency and reducing costs,”
Logie said. “Many, if not all, Ohio public universities are moving in this direction.”