Cell Phone Procedure

Wireless Communications Stipend

ORIGINATING OFFICE

Controller’s Office 

PURPOSE

To establish policy and guidelines for the provision of a wireless communications stipend to employees who have documented an official university business need for a communications device and continue to meet this need under the Eligibility Requirements section of this policy.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, and administrators who, as part of their official university employment, have a constant and recurring need to use a wireless communications device. The wireless communication stipend is intended to reimburse the employee for the business use of the device. The stipend is not intended to fund the cost of the device nor pay for the entire monthly bill. The assumption is that most employees also use their wireless communication devices for personal calls.

OBJECTIVE

To assist the university in achieving maximum productivity and cost-effectiveness when employing wireless communication technology as a business solution; to comply with IRS Regulations on wireless communications devices as described in special substantial rules applicable to listed property; and effectively manage the reimbursement of costs associated with the business use related to personally owned wireless devices and plans. 

DEFINITIONS

Wireless Communication Device. A device that transmits and receives voice, data, and/or text without being physically connected to the university network. This definition includes but is not limited to such devices as cellular telephones, pagers, wireless internet services, wireless data devices, and cellular telephone/two-way devices. This policy does not include radio devices that interface with a defined non-public radio frequency such as the 800 MHz Statewide Radio System. 

Wireless Communications Stipend. The wireless communications stipend does not constitute an increase in base pay, nor will it be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base pay. The stipend will be itemized and reported on employee pay statements and W-2s and subject to withholding taxes.

EFFECTIVE DATE

Policy language, as noted below, was amended effective July 1, 2023. 

POLICY 

Eligibility Requirements 

  1. To qualify for the wireless communication stipend, the employee must have a business need, defined and approved by the supervisor, that includes one or more of the following:

    1. The duties of the position may lead to potentially dangerous scenarios and situations with no other acceptable or reliable means of alternative communication.
    2. The duties of the position require that the employee work regularly in the field and be immediately accessible.
    3. The duties of the position are such that immediate emergency response is critical (executive, police, or emergency responder), or the employee is responsible for critical infrastructure or operational support and needs to be immediately accessible at all times (telecommunication, computer, or network responder).
    4. The duties of the position require a significant amount of travel during regular work hours or outside normal hours but related to official university business and access to information technology systems, which in the
      judgment of the university, render the employee more productive and/or the service the employee provides more effective.
    5. The duties of the position require response and decision-making to life-threatening or public safety issues and situations.
    6. The duties of the position make it necessary that the employee be accessible to communicate with senior management at any time.
    7. The President of the University deems it necessary to ensure the flow of information and critical support of the university’s mission.

Responsibilities of Employees Receiving Stipend

  1. When a wireless communication stipend has been approved and provided to an employee for the conduct of official business, the employee must comply with the following:

    1. The employee will provide the phone number to their supervisor or department head/chair within five days of activation and will be available for calls (in possession of the wireless communication device and have it turned on) during those times specified by the appropriate department management.
    2. In most cases, the employee may select any wireless carrier whose service meets the requirements of the job responsibilities as determined by the supervisor or department head. The department head, in consultation with the Office of Information Technology, will determine carrier requirements if problems arise or circumstances exist that require a specific carrier/technology be used.
    3. The employee must inform the university immediately when the eligibility criteria are no longer met or within 5 working days if the wireless service has been canceled.
    4. Management may periodically request that the employee provide a copy of the first page of the phone bill in order to verify that he/she has an active wireless phone plan. Management may also periodically request documentation of substantial business use.
    5. The employee is responsible for all charges on his/her personal wireless plan, including early termination If the employee leaves the position, he/she continues to be responsible for the contractual obligations of his/her wireless plan.
    6. The employee is personally responsible for complying with international, federal, state, and municipal laws regarding the use of wireless phones and other communication devices while Under no circumstances will Kutztown University be liable for non-compliance.
    7. The employee should use discretion in relaying confidential business-related information over any wireless devices since wireless transmissions are not (See more on security for wireless communication devices below.)
    8. The employee does not need to maintain a log for business and personal phone calls if receiving a wireless stipend. 

Stipend Allowances 

  1. The Wireless Communication Device Justification and Acknowledgment Request form (link below) defines the maximum recommended stipends to be paid to an employee based on current package plans available under current Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contracts for wireless communications devices.  An employee that has met at least one of the qualifying business needs, along with approval from their supervisor and divisional vice president, will receive the standard cell phone stipend amount. Users that are identified as emergency personnel by the Controller’s Office will be designed with an increased stipend.
  2. A stipend for the equipment will not be Phone upgrades and other equipment changes are the responsibility of the employee.
  3. In the event of extraordinary circumstances (such as international travel), employees may submit an overnight travel expense form seeking reimbursement, for international wireless communication expenses incurred, in excess of the employees' monthly wireless communication plan cost.  

    IRS Compliant Cell Phone Procedure

    Step 1. Responsibility: Department Head / Chair

    Procedure: Determines if the employee will be required to conduct University business away from their usual University place of work and would need a wireless communication device to accommodate those requirements.  

    Department Head/Chair and the employee secure a Wireless Communication Device Justification and Acknowledgement Request Form to complete Sections A and B. Forward the signed form to Division Vice President.

    Step 2. Responsibility: Division Vice President

    Procedure: Review the Wireless Policy and the Wireless Communication Device Justification and Acknowledgement Request Form Sections A and B.

    If you do not approve the request, return the form to the Department Head/Chair. If you approve, sign and date Section C and forward to the Controller’s Office or Grants & Sponsored Projects, if the stipend will be grant funded.

    Step 3. Responsibility: Grants & Sponsored Projects (if applicable)

    Review the Wireless Policy and the Wireless Communication Device Justification and Acknowledgement Request Form Sections A and B if the stipend will be paid with grant funds.

    If you do not approve the request, return the form to the Department Head/Chair. If you approve, sign and date Section C and forward to the Controller’s Office.

    Step 4. Responsibility: Controller's Office

    Procedure: Review the Wireless Policy and the Wireless Communication Device Justification and Acknowledgement Request Form Sections A and B for completion.

    If complete, sign and date Section C and file the original form in the Controller's Office. Forward a copy of the approved form to the Payroll Department.

    The Controller's Office reviews annually the stipends based on plan costs, levels, and types of services, and gross-up. Provide updated stipend information to the divisional vice presidents for confirmation. 

    Step 5. Responsibility: Human Resources / Payroll

    Procedure: Section B will provide the dollar value to be included in the employee's pay once per month. Provide information to the Comptroller's Office as needed.

                            Wireless Communication Device Justification  and Acknowledgement Request Form (New and Revisions)