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Information Technology & Telecommunications

BPM-1205 Telephones and Communication Devices

Revised January 1, 2012

NON-CELLULAR UNIVERSITY PHONES

Personal long-distance telephone calls from non-cellular (office or land-line) phones are not to be charged to the University.  "Personal" includes telephone calls while consulting for which an employee receives compensation other than from the University.

University employees shall use a personal telephone credit card or other personal credit card for any personal long-distance calls placed from a University telephone.

CELLULAR PHONES

Employees of the University whose University activities necessitate use of a cellular/wireless phone or other telecommunications equipment (PDA’s), referred to collectively as “cellular phone”, may be assigned a University phone, or may be reimbursed for business use of a personal phone under the following circumstances.

Each campus must establish procedures for requesting and approving the purchase of cellular phones, for acquisition of cellular phone service, and for monitoring service plans.  Campuses may impose stricter requirements than those stated below.

University Owned Cellular Phones

A cellular phone may be provided for an employee’s use to conduct University business.  As departments determine who will be provided a phone, they should consider and document the non-compensatory business reasons for providing the employee with a cellular phone.  The non-compensatory business reasons for providing a phone could include:

  1. The employee is required to travel frequently to do business across a geographic area away from the home office and spends significant time in a vehicle.
  2. The employee needs to communicate with others about University business when the employee is away from their home office.
  3. The employee supports or is otherwise responsible for programs, services or systems that necessitate frequent and immediate communications throughout the day or after-hours.


A cellular phone will not be provided to attract a prospective employee, promote the morale or goodwill of an employee or as a means of providing additional compensation.

When it is determined that it is in the best interest of the University, and funds are available, a cellular phone and cellular phone service may be provided by the University for use by an employee.  The lowest cost plan available to accommodate the particular business need shall be utilized.

Departmental Responsibilities for Cellular Phones

Services must be obtained from telecommunications companies under contract with the University unless the necessary service is unavailable from one of those carriers.  The service plan must be based on anticipated business usage and the plan should provide call detail. 

Departmental fiscal officers and other departments designated by the campus shall monitor usage to assure that the appropriate service plan is in place, based on business needs and most economical use. The need for a University cellular phone must be reviewed at least once a year, to verify and document that a University phone is still justified.

When an employee changes departments or leaves the University, any and all equipment (including chargers, extra batteries, hands-free devices, etc.) must be returned to the original department and service should be canceled, transferred to another employee, or transferred to the new department.

Personal Use of a University Cellular Phone

If the University provides a cellular phone to an employee primarily for noncompensatory business reasons, the employee’s business use of the phone will be excluded from his gross income as a working condition fringe benefit (e.g., a nontaxable business expense), and any personal use will be excluded from gross income as a de minimis fringe benefit.  A university-provided cellular phone is intended to be used substantially for business purposes with the expectation that personal use, if any, is minimal.

NOTE:  Federal regulations prohibit use of grant-funded cellular phones for personal calls.

Reimbursement for Use of Employee’s Personal Cellular Phone for University Business

Employees may submit a reimbursement request for business-related calls, excluding any related federal excise tax and Missouri sales tax, on an employee’s personal cellular phone.  Cellular phone users must review monthly telephone bills and certify that they are only seeking reimbursement for University business calls.  Employees should complete a non-P.O. voucher and attach appropriate documentation including phone bills/statements.  After approval has been received from the employee’s administrative superior, the non-P.O. voucher and supporting documents should be routed to the Accounting Office.

Employee-Provided Cellular Phone as a Condition of Employment

In some circumstances a department may determine that as a condition of employment an employee will obtain a cellular phone and make the phone number available for calls from the University.

PRE-PAID PHONE CARDS AND PRE-PAID CALLING PLANS

In certain instances, it may be beneficial to use pre-paid phone cards or plans in conducting University business.  In such situations, departments are responsible for determining when employees need prepaid phone cards or plans, and for ensuring that prepaid phone cards or plans are used solely for University business in accordance with long distance telephone service policies.

Cards and plans may be purchased only from campus-approved sources, using campus-approved procurement methods.  Contact campus Accounting or Procurement to determine the appropriate sources, the process for acquiring the cards and plans, and the methods for tracking usage.

Campuses should establish policies and procedures to ensure accountability for use of the cards and plans.  This may include setting dollar limits (such as, per card or plan, or period of time), as needed, to ensure accountability for cards or plans acquired, and to balance the cost, risk, and benefit of the cards or plans.

OUT-OF-OFFICE INTERNET SERVICES

On occasion University employees may have a business need for Internet service at home or while traveling.  The guidance below applies:

Ongoing Business Need

When there is a documented ongoing business need for Internet service at a non-work location (e.g., home), when funds are available, and with the appropriate approval, the University may pay for this Internet service.

The Internet service level must be in accordance with the business need.  Any personal use must be incidental and must not add to the cost of the service.  Written documentation of the business need, and justification for the service level must be prepared and agreed to by the employee and appropriate approving official.  A copy of the approval must be included with each payment request.

In some circumstances a department may determine that, as a condition of employment, an employee will obtain out-of-office Internet service for use in University business, at the employee’s expense.  This must be documented and agreed to by the employee.

Occasional Business Need

When there is occasional business need for this service, such as for a business trip, the department may purchase or provide temporary Internet services for the employee, or may pay a pro rata share of the cost of the employee’s personal Internet service based on University business usage.  It is the responsibility of the department head to verify that the amount paid by the University is in proportion to the use for University business.

Approval

Campuses should establish procedures for documenting business need and for approval.  Vice Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Deans, Hospital Chief Executive Officer, or designees should approve ongoing business need.  Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, or Department Managers should approve occasional business need.

Periodic Review

Periodically, or when responsibilities change, administrative superiors should review business needs of employees to have out-of-office Internet service.  Administrative superiors should discontinue unneeded service or obtain appropriate approval to make necessary changes to the service level.

Devices with Internet Capabilities

When a device has Internet capabilities, the rules for out-of-office Internet Service apply to the Internet Service.  In circumstances where this device has cellular phone capabilities, and/or there is an incremental charge for usage, the rules for personal use stated in the Cellular Phones policies apply.