Top Navigation

Side Navigation

File Code: ADM.MOBREMCOMM.POL
Approved by: President
Approval Date: 8/20/07

Policy for Mobile & Remote Communication

I. General Policy

A. To provide a consistent policy governing the use of mobile/remote communication devices by Western Illinois University employees and to provide guidelines, criteria and conditions of mobile/remote communication devices in order to be compliant with IRS regulations. Effective October 1, 2007, Western Illinois University has established a new Mobile/Remote Communication policy.

B. A mobile/remote communication device is a mobile/remote telephone, email appliance, wireless personal digital assistant, or a device combining two or more of those functions. This includes, but is not limited to data transferring devices, such as Blackberry, Palm Treo, or Motorola Q. Remote services include in home telephone line service, fax or internet service, including DSL.

C. If the University requires an employee to carry a mobile communication device or have remote line access in their home in order to perform his/her duties, the employee, with approval from his/her immediate supervisor and vice president or president, will obtain a personally owned mobile/remote communication device and access plan. The mobile/remote communication device and plan will be compensated by the University within approved limits. This compensation must be justified by business requirements which necessitate the use of a mobile/remote communication device to perform official University business where such business cannot be accommodated by the use of an on campus landline phone, pager, or other communication device. Approved procedures must be followed when providing compensation for this purpose.

D. By U.S. Internal Revenue Service directive, a stipend for University compensation for a mobile/remote communication device and plan is treated as taxable income, therefore, no call detail documentation for personal or business calls is required.

E. This stipend does not constitute an increase to base pay, and will not be included in the calculation of percentage increases to base pay due to annual raises, job upgrades, etc.

F. The University compensation for the communication device and plan is not considered an entitlement, is not part of an employee's base salary, and is considered a taxable fringe benefit. This compensation may be changed and/or withdrawn by the University at any time. It will be paid in installments from departmental funds as authorized by the appropriate vice president or president and Payroll guidelines.

II. Determination of Need

A. Frequent Use

  1. University employees whose job duties include the frequent need for a mobile/remote communication device may receive compensation in the form of a stipend to cover business-related use on their personally owned mobile/remote communication plan. A stipend may be requested using the Western Illinois University Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request form (Addendum A).
  2. University compensation for employee-owned mobile/remote communication plans is not to be based on a particular title or position. Use should be based on the actual job requirements of a faculty or staff member.
    1. For example, an individual with a "Computer Technician" title may perform their work entirely in the field and/or may be on call after hours. Supervisors, with the approval of the appropriate vice president or president, are responsible for determining when mobile/remote communication services are warranted.

B. Infrequent Use

  1. If a University employee's job duties do not include the frequent need for a mobile/remote communication device, then the employee is not eligible for a stipend to cover mobile/remote communication device expenses.
  2. Employees may request reimbursement for the actual extra expenses of business calls made using their own mobile/remote communication device with the proviso that reimbursement for per-minute "air time" charges is limited to the total overage charge (expenses for minutes included in the plan will not be reimbursed) shown on the invoice. If the overage is greater than the total number of minutes for business calls, the reimbursement will be limited to payment for business related minutes only.
  3. The individual should make personal payment to the provider, and then should submit the appropriate Western Illinois University form (Travel Voucher or DPA) requesting reimbursement from the University. The form should list the individual as the payee. A copy of the invoice should be attached to the form, with the separate business-use charges clearly marked. Requests must be submitted to Business Services within 60 days to avoid taxation.
  4. Employees who occasionally require mobile/remote communication devices for business purposes, but do not have personal devices they can use, may have their fiscal agent request a University owned calling card to use for business calls.


C. Essential Personnel

  1. Essential personnel will be required to maintain personal mobile/remote communication service.
  2. The University will pay a percentage of the device, along with a stipend with appropriate vice presidential or presidential approval.

III. Responsibilities

A. Employee

  1. Because the mobile/remote communication device is owned by the employee, it may be used for personal as well as business use, but must be available for the performance of responsibilities as designated by the department supervisor. In general, this means in possession of, and turned on during those times specified by the department supervisor.
  2. The employee is responsible for the selection of and enrollment in an appropriate mobile/remote communication service plan. The plan must, at a minimum, cover the requirements identified by the supervisor and approved by the department head. The employee may select service from any vendor whose service meets the requirements of the employee's job responsibilities as determined by the supervisor and approved by the appropriate vice president or president.
    1. The employee may obtain a more expensive plan or device for personal use but will only receive the compensation amount agreed upon for University business use. Payment of bills for the mobile/remote communication plan and device are the responsibility of the individual, not the department.
  3. An employee receiving University compensation for mobile/remote communication service must provide his/her department with the phone and/or PDA number of the communication device within five (5) working days of activation or authorization of stipend.
  4. The employee must notify his/her supervisor of any mobile/remote communication device number changes within five (5) working days of change.
  5. An employee receiving University compensation must be able to show when requested by his/her supervisor or Telecommunication Services, that the monthly bill, including taxes and fees, is at least the amount of the University compensation. If the monthly bills do not, on average, equal or exceed the amount of the compensation, the supervisor may adjust the amount of the compensation to a lower amount or may discontinue the compensation for the employee's mobile/remote communication service.
  6. The employee is personally responsible for complying with any contract entered into with a communication service provider including payment of all expenses incurred (including long distance, roaming fees, and taxes). In the event that an employee leaves the position, he/she continues to be responsible for the contractual obligations of the mobile/remote communication service plan.
  7. An employee receiving University compensation toward the purchase of mobile/remote communication device or services must notify his/her department head as soon as possible and in no case more than five (5) working days beyond inactivation of the communication service or loss or theft of the communication device.

B. Department

  1. Department supervisors must determine the business mobile/remote communication device needs of the employee. Department needs should dictate the type of plan and level of service required for the business portion of the plan.
  2. Departments are responsible to determine the budgetary impact of this program, and to determine whether or not an employee's job requires use of mobile/remote communication service. The University compensation for the purchase of personally owned services must be directly linked to the employee's job duties and responsibilities.
  3. Department supervisors are responsible for determining and approving the appropriate compensation amount for an employee based on job responsibilities. The determination should include the appropriate number of plan minutes, long distance calling options, data plans, and other plan features that are required for the performance of the employee's job responsibilities. All expenses not required for the employees job duties are the responsibility of the employee.
  4. The dean, director, or department head is responsible for an annual review of employee business-related mobile/remote device use, to determine if existing mobile/remote communication stipends should be continued, changed, or discontinued. An updated Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A) must be submitted at the one year anniversary.

IV. Determination of Amount

A. Stipend

  1. Each individual may request a stipend for only one mobile/remote communication plan, unless appropriate approval has been granted.
  2. The employee must retain an active mobile/remote communication service contract as long as a mobile/remote communication stipend is in place. Because the mobile/remote communication device is owned personally by the employee the stipend provided is taxable income.
  3. The employee may select the service/plan that best meets his/her needs and may use the service for both business and personal purposes, as needed and without need for individual call documentation.
  4. The employee may, at his or her own expense, add extra services or equipment features, as desired. No additional features, mobile web, text messaging packages, etc. will be reimbursed as an additional compensation, unless required by the department.
  5. The dollar amount of the mobile/remote communication stipend should cover the employee's projected business-related expenses only. In no case shall the amount exceed the cost of the employee’s monthly mobile/remote communication service plan. Determination of the dollar amount of the stipend is made at the department level prior to submitting for vice presidential or presidential approval.
  6. Once a stipend has been established it will remain effective for one year, or nine months for nine month contracted employees or until a new stipend form is submitted, documenting a change or termination. The employee is required to notify his/her supervisor immediately when any change to the employee’s mobile/remote communication contract occurs, which would impact the stipend amount, and is required to submit a revised stipend form immediately. Failure to do will result in immediate termination of the stipend.

B. Device

  1. The department will contribute toward the purchase or upgrade of a communication device that is sufficient for the performance of the employee’s job duties. The department may also contribute toward the replacement of aging or non-functioning devices provided the employee’s job responsibilities continue to require the use of the device at the time of replacement. The employee may select a more expensive device but will not receive compensation for a device in excess of what is required.
  2. Employees are expected to take reasonable care of their required mobile/remote communication device. If an employee's required mobile/remote communication device is lost or destroyed through gross negligence, the employee may be required to replace it at his/her expense, per supervisor discretion.
  3. Use of the device in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws will constitute misuse, and will result in immediate termination of the mobile/remote communication device stipend.
  4. Requests for reimbursement for mobile/remote communication devices must be requested on the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A)under the Mobile/Remote Communication Device Compensation section.
  5. One mobile/remote communication device reimbursement will be allowed every two years.

V. Exceptions

A. Requests for exceptions to this policy may be made by submitting a completed Mobile/Remote Exception Request (Addendum C) to Telecommunication Services. All exception requests require the signature of the appropriate vice president or president and Telecommunication Services. Telecommunication Services may require that the employee submit relevant auditable documents to substantiate any exception request, and may consult with other University administrative offices in determining the propriety of the exception.

B. Each exception will be evaluated on an individual basis.

C. If an exception is granted, and the University provides a mobile/remote communication device and service plan, the use of the device is strictly limited to official business.

D. All exceptions must complete the Call Log (Addendum D), documenting each incoming and outgoing call as business or personal, including date, time and purpose of call.

E. The mobile/remote communication bill is not an acceptable form of the call log. Negligence in call logging will result in the total monthly charge being ap plied to the employee as a taxable fringe benefit.

F. The department will contribute toward the activation of a mobile/remote communication service plan and the purchase or upgrade of a communication device, if such purchase or upgrade is necessary for the performance of the employee's job duties. The department may also contribute toward the replacement of aging or non-functioning devices, provided the employee's job responsibilities continue to require the use of a mobile/remote communication device at the time of replacement.

G. With vice-presidential or presidential approval, departments may obtain a mobile/remote communication device and service plan for departmental use when the mobile/remote communication device will not be specifically assigned to one individual. These phones must be restricted to University business use only and a record of all calls, both incoming and outgoing, must be maintained documenting the individuals spoken to, time and date of the call, and the University purpose.

H. Because the devices can be used for University communication only, the department will be responsible for the cost and contract obligations of the service plan. In this case, the devices remain the property of the University and must be surrendered immediately to the department upon termination of employment or cessation of the department need.

VI. Fees for Contract Changes or Cancellations

A. If for any reason unrelated to University business the mobile/remote communication service contract is modified or terminated prior to the end of the contract period, the employee will bear the cost of any fees associated with that change or cancellation. For example, the employee terminates employment, and no longer wants to retain the current mobile/remote communication service plan for personal purposes.

B. The employee will be responsible for any additional charges, taxes, etc. incurred on the account. Only the amount of the stipend request will be given to the employee.

C. If, prior to the end of the mobile/remote communication contract period, a University decision (unrelated to employee misconduct) results in the need to end or change the mobile/remote communication contract, the University will bear the cost of any fees associated with that change or cancellation.

For example, the employee's supervisor has changed the employee's duties and the mobile/remote communication device is no longer needed for University purposes. If the employee does not want to retain the current contract, change or cancellation fees will be reimbursed by the University.

D. If, prior to the end of the mobile/remote communication device contract, a personal decision by the employee, or employee misconduct, or misuse of the phone, results in the need to end or change the mobile/remote communication device contract, the employee will bear the cost of any fees associated with that change or cancellation.

For example, the employee terminates, and no longer wants to retain the current mobile/remote communication device contract for personal purposes.

VII. Vendors

A. Employees may choose the vendor of their choice as their mobile/remote communication service provider, as long as, the mobile/remote communication service is in their work location local calling area.

B. Verizon Wireless offers Western Illinois University and other state employees a discount on their service as long as Verizon Wireless maintains the current state contract. Contact Telecommunication Services for information on this service at 309.298.2713. This is subject to change at the discretion of Verizon Wireless.

C. The employee may purchase any communication device or service plan that meets the job requirements specified by the supervisor or department head, regardless of price. However, the employee will be responsible for any additional expenses above the University compensation approved by the department.

VIII. Procedures

A. Transfer of Billing Responsibility

  1. Mobile/Remote Communication Devices Currently Owned by the University
    1. If an employee elects to assume service of a currently owned University mobile/remote communication device, the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Release of University Mobile/Remote Service (Addendum B) along with the Verizon Wireless Transfer of Billing Responsibility form (available from Telecommunication Services, Sherman Hall 22) must be submitted to Telecommunication Services. Telecommunication Services will submit the Transfer of Billing Responsibility form to Verizon Wireless.
    2. Once the transfer of billing responsibility process has been completed, the employee may apply for the stipend request.

B. Stipend Initiation

  1. Individuals requesting stipend compensation must complete the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request form (Addendum A). The department supervisor will determine the amount of stipend allowable to the employee. The form must be signed by the employee, department chair/supervisor, vice president or president and Telecommunication Services.
  2. The individual must submit the complete first month’s bill of the service agreement plan with the amount highlighted along with the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A) to Telecommunication Services, Sherman Hall 22. Any additional services, such as mobile/remote communication device upgrade to equipment, voice mail, insurance, text messaging packages, etc. will not be included or allowed as part of the stipend amount granted.
  3. Telecommunication Services will submit the stipend request to Payroll to be included in the individual’s wages as taxable income on the next paycheck in accordance with Payroll deadlines.
  4. For employee owned devices and plans, copies of the approval forms/agreements used to process University compensation, as well as receipts or other valid evidence of purchase, shall be retained. Approval forms/agreements, proof of purchase and other documentation must be retained for internal or external audit purposes.

C. Stipend Changes

  1. Departments must notify Telecommunication Services within 5 days of any mobile/remote communication contract changes by submitting the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A) indicating the change of stipend agreement. The form must be signed by the employee, department chair/supervisor, vice president or president and Telecommunication Services.
  2. The individual must submit the complete first month’s bill of the changed service plan agreement with the amount highlighted, along with the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A) to Telecommunication Services, Sherman Hall 22. Any additional services, such as mobile/remote communication device upgrade to equipment, voice mail, insurance, text messaging packages, etc. will not be included or allowed as part of the stipend amount granted unless required for business purposes.
  3. Telecommunication Services will notify Payroll of the change to the stipend to be included in the individual’s wages as taxable income on the next paycheck in accordance with Payroll deadlines.
  4. Telecommunication Services will monitor stipend requests by verifying active service on the mobile/remote communication device. Telecommunication Services will cancel a stipend request if a mobile/remote communication device is not active or if the department has not requested cancellation pertaining to a change in employee status (i.e. change of budget account to charge, employment, etc.).

D. Stipend Cancellation

  1. Departments must notify Telecommunication Services within 5 days of contract termination by submitting the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A)form indicating cancellation/termination of the stipend agreement.
  2. Telecommunication Services will monitor stipend requests by verifying active service on the mobile/remote communication device. Telecommunication Services will cancel a stipend request if a mobile/remote communication device is not active or if the department has not requested cancellation pertaining to a change in employee status (i.e. change of budget account to charge, employment, etc.).
  3. Telecommunication Services will notify Payroll of the cancellation of the stipend.

IX. Frequency of Review

A. A copy of the completed Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A) must be kept on file in the employee's University department. Department files are subject to audit at any time by the Western Illinois University Internal Auditing department, Telecommunication Services or external auditors engaged by the state or federal government.

B. Along with the Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A), the employee is responsible for providing to his/her supervisor and Telecommunication Services evidence (a copy of the bill for the first month of stipend compensation) to document that the employee has the device.

C. Telecommunication Services reserves the right to randomly audit any active stipend requests to verify the account remains active. Telecommunication Services reserves the right to discontinue any stipend requests at any time.

D. It is the department supervisor’s responsibility to review the mobile/remote communication device needs in his/her department at least annually to determine if monthly compensation amount should be changed or discontinued. The department must notify Telecommunication Services when any changes to the compensation amounts are needed during the year, by completing and processing a new Employee Mobile/Remote Communication Agreement Stipend Request (Addendum A).

X. Enforcement

A. For employee owned devices and plans, copies of the approval forms/agreements used to process University compensation, as well as receipts or other valid evidence of purchase, must be retained for internal or external audit purposes.

B. Consequences of non-compliance may result in disciplinary actions up to and including termination.