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Old Dominion University

University Policy

3310 Allowance for Usage of Personal Mobile Devices and Wireless Service for University Business

Responsible Oversight Executive: Vice President for Administration and Finance
Date of Current Revision or Creation: February 14, 2018
  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for the appropriate allowance for personal wireless services used for University business in order to contain costs and ensure departmental and personal accountability.

  2. Authority

    Code of Virginia Section 23.1-1301, as amended, grants authority to the Board of Visitors to make rules and policies concerning the institution. Section 6.01(a)(6) of the Board of Visitors Bylaws grants authority to the President to implement the policies and procedures of the Board relating to University operations.

    Old Dominion University has executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Common-wealth Department of Accounts and Department of the Treasury relating to the decentralization of non-payroll disbursements. The MOU documents the agreement in accordance with the Appropriations Act to delegate the operation of non-payroll disbursement to Old Dominion University as part of a program to grant relief from rules, regulations and reporting requirements in the areas of finance and accounting.

  3. Definitions

    Budget Unit Director - The University employee on record with the Office of Finance Data Control as having financial management responsibility for a specific budget code.

    Mobile Device - Any device that is capable of using services provided by a cellular telephone network or the Internet. These devices vary from a simple telephone device that allows calls to be made and received and perhaps provides simple features such as a phone number directory, simple appointment calendars, and calculator to more complex phones that can do simple text messaging and synchronizing directory and calendar data with computers, to devices with telephone features and capabilities that would include fully synchronized contact databases, calendars, email and web browsing to general devices (e.g., tablets, smartphones) with cellular phone network cards.

    Wireless Service - Any service used to make or receive wireless voice or data calls or interactions on cellular telephone networks.

  4. Scope

    The policy applies to all employees and employees of affiliated organizations who are paid through the University and are eligible for a University-provided wireless service allowance. Employees include all staff, administrators, faculty, full- or part-time, and classified or non-classified persons who are paid by the University. Affiliated organizations are separate entities that exist for the benefit of the University through an operating agreement and include the Foundations, the Community Development Corporation, and the Alumni Association.

  5. Policy Statement

    Employees whose duties and responsibilities require them to conduct University business while away from the office or to be accessible after normal working hours may be eligible for compensation in the form of a monthly allowance to offset the cost of personal wireless service. An employee with a wireless service allowance must maintain an active wireless service contract for the life of the allowance or notify the supervisor that service has changed or is disconnected.

    The wireless service allowance is provided to support and enhance the business operations of the University. Eligibility for a wireless service allowance and the types of allowances are determined on a position-by-position basis by the supervisor and approved by the Budget Unit Director, Dean (if applicable), and appropriate Vice President. (If the employee is the designated Budget Unit Director for the department, approval only by the Dean (if applicable) and Vice President is required.) Employees who have University subsidized plans for voice and text should understand that the wireless phone number may be distributed for business use.

    For most employees, personal mobile devices will be used for both business and personal use, and it is appropriate for the University and employee to share the overall costs. Thus, the allowance amount is not intended to cover 100% of the monthly service plan's costs. The allowance is intended to compensate for the business use portion of the service. The allowance is considered taxable income but is not included in the employee's base salary. Employees are responsible for acquiring and maintaining their own equipment.

    Qualified employees are eligible for one of the following wireless service allowance options:

    • Option 1: Voice and Text - $50/month, or
    • Option 2: Data (email and Internet) - $40/month, or
    • Option 3: Voice, Text and Data - $90/month

    The above rates will be reviewed on an annual basis as part of the budgeting process. The wireless service allowance options are set rates and may not be supplemented with other funds, regardless of the funding source. A qualified employee's option may be modified (for example, switched from Option 1 to Option 2 or 3) or eliminated should the nature of the employee's job change.

    Those who receive an allowance are subject to review by the University to verify the necessity of the wireless service allowance. Employees may also be required to provide their detailed wireless service bills showing business-related expenses to the University upon request and are subject to all University policies related to data access, privacy, management and storage. Any violation of these policies may result in cancellation of the wireless service allowance, disciplinary action, or possible termination.

    In the event an employee is terminated or laid off and wishes to discontinue the wireless service plan, the University may, at its discretion, pay the early termination charges on behalf of the employee. However, if the employee resigns, the employee is solely responsible for early termination charges. The allowance ends at the time of termination.

    There may be instances when a mobile device has multiple users and may be deemed a departmental device. This is typically for those departments that require different employees to be on-call on a regular basis. In these cases, the departmental device and service must be purchased through the Office of Information Technology Services and must not be used by, or assigned to, one specific individual. The Budget Unit Director is responsible for reviewing monthly billing statements for departmental mobile devices in order to confirm that usage charges are for business purposes only.

    If a University employee is not designated as eligible for the allowance, the employee may request reimbursement for actual wireless services expenses incurred for business-related purposes if the business-related use causes an overage charge above the standard monthly rate. For example, if an employee's personal mobile device has a 600-minute plan that costs $40 per month (plus fees and surcharges), and the employee used 650 minutes for a particular month, of which it was determined that 100 of those minutes were business charges, the employee is eligible to request reimbursement of an amount equal to the 50 minutes of overage charges incurred for the month. If, however, an employee's personal mobile device has a 600-minute plan, and 300 minutes were used in a particular month, of which 100 minutes were business charges, the employee is not eligible to request reimbursement since the business charges did not result in any overage charges to the employee.

    It is recommended that individuals who frequently have reimbursable business charges that equal or exceed the monthly wireless service allowance request the wireless service allowance from the appropriate supervisor, Budget Unit Director and Vice President.

  6. Procedures

    1. Wireless service allowances will be based on one or more of the following criteria:

      • Safety
      • Required to be contacted by mobile device on a regular basis
      • Required to be on-call
      • Essential Personnel
      • Critical Decision Maker
      • Job Function requires home or off-campus access to the Internet or University data services
      • Other (justification required)
    2. When the supervisor determines that there is a business need for an employee to receive a wireless service allowance, the supervisor will complete the Supervisor Worksheet and Employee Agreement and will meet with the employee to review the allowance options based on business need. The supervisor will obtain signatures from the employee, Budget Unit Director, Dean (if applicable), and the appropriate Vice President.

    3. The Budget Unit Director will complete a Budget Adjustment Form to reallocate funds to cover the amount of the allowance from non-personal services to personal services within the unit's operating budget.

    4. The Supervisor will submit the completed Supervisor Worksheet and Employee Agreement to the Payroll Office for processing. The allowance payment will correspond to the regular payroll schedule and will not be retroactive.

    Termination of Allowance

    If the employee resigns, is terminated, transfers to another department, or no longer qualifies for a wireless service allowance, the supervisor is responsible for notifying the Payroll Office to discontinue the allowance. Because allowances are based on a specific position, recertification and approval of the Dean (if applicable) and the appropriate Vice President are required if an employee changes positions.

    Annual Review

    Budget Unit Directors will be required to review wireless service allowances on an annual basis. In December of each year, the Payroll Office will distribute lists to each Budget Unit Director of the employees in the department/unit receiving allowances. The Budget Unit Director must note whether each employee should continue receiving the current allowance or if the allowance should be modified or discontinued. The Budget Unit Director should sign the form and forward it to the appropriate Vice President for additional approval if the Budget Unit Director is also receiving an allowance. The original, signed list must then be forwarded to the Payroll Office. For audit purposes, a copy of the signed list must also be retained on file by the Budget Unit Director.

  7. Records Retention

    Applicable records must be retained and then destroyed in accordance with the Commonwealth's Records Retention Schedules.

  8. Responsible Officer

    Associate Vice President for Financial Services

  9. Related Information

    Internal Revenue Service Employer's Tax Guide

    Virginia Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.75 - Use of Electronic Communications and Social Media

    Information Technology Standard 02.9.0 - Mobile Device Management Standard

Policy History

Policy Formulation Committee (PFC) & Responsible Officer Approval to Proceed:

/s/ Deborah L. Swiecinski
Responsible Officer
February 9, 2018

Policy Review Committee (PRC) Approval to Proceed:

/s/ Donna W. Meeks
Chair, Policy Review Committee (PRC)
November 21, 2018

Executive Policy Review Committee (EPRC) Approval to Proceed:

/s/ Gregory E. DuBois
Responsible Oversight Executive
February 12, 2018

University Counsel Approval to Proceed:

/s/ James D. Wright
University Counsel
February 12, 2018

Presidential Approval:

/s/ John R. Broderick
February 14, 2018

Previous Revisions

September 16, 2002; June 30, 2011; September 20, 2012; January 24, 2014; February 14, 2018

Scheduled Review Date

February 14, 2023

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