Security, Policy and Guidelines
Mobile Communication Device Usage Policy (Approved by Admin Council May 8, 2007) (NMSU)
This policy addresses the use of mobile communication devices for business purposes; and methods for making communication devices available to employees.
The University, in order to ensure compliance with IRS regulations, will cease providing University-owned cellular telephones, pagers, PDAs, Smartphones and mobile data devices (hereafter referred to as mobile communication devices) to employees, except as prescribed below. The University will, however, begin providing an allowance for charges incurred as the result of an employee’s use of a personal mobile communication device for official University business when the employee has a bona fide business need for a Mobile Communication Device.
Acquiring a Mobile Device
- University owned mobile devices:
View/print the NMSU Mobile Communications Device Research or On-Call Justification Form
A department may purchase and own mobile devices which may be loaned temporarily to individual employees. The mobile device is University property and will be used by the employee for University business purposes only.
This option is limited to personnel whose responsibilities require them to assume on-call responsibilities as part of the job requirements. This is also available to departments utilizing the service for limited, job specific purposes. To qualify under the on-call provision, the mobile communication device is assigned to the employee only during on-call periods. No NMSU employee may be issued a University owned mobile device and service on a permanent basis. The department and the on-call employee(s) must substantiate all business related usage by signing certification of the monthly bill provided by ICT. Personal use of a university owned device is strictly prohibited. The “lending” of university owned mobile devices is considered a working condition fringe benefit and the value of all substantiated business use is excluded from the employee’s gross income. For treatment of unsubstantiated usage, please refer to procedures.
- Employee owned mobile devices:
View/print the NMSU Mobile Communications Device Authorization Form
A department may elect to provide a monthly allowance to cover employee’s mobile communication device expenses. The monthly allowance is determined by estimating the anticipated level of service required in the performance of an employee’s duties. The department may provide an additional allowance, initially and on a periodic basis of every two years, for the activation and the purchase or upgrade of a mobile device, if necessary, for the performance of the employee’s job duties.
Allowances paid to the employee are considered taxable compensation and accordingly are subject to required tax withholdings. Allowance payments are not subject to retirement deductions.
Infrequent Use of Mobile Communication Devices for Business Purposes
If an employee’s job duties do not necessitate the need for a mobile communication device, then the employee is not eligible for an allowance to cover such expenses. Employees not eligible for an allowance can request reimbursement of business calls incurred on their personal device provided that the reimbursement for per-minute charges is limited to the total overage charge indicated on the invoice.
Fees for Contract Cancellation
If a University action results in termination of the employee’s mobile communication device service contract prior to the end of the associated contract period, the University will reimburse any associated cancellation fees. Employees will be required to provide documentation from the service provider certifying the disconnection has occurred. Reimbursement will also require supervisor and Department Head approval.
The dean, director, or department head is responsible for:
- Determining if an employee’s job duties necessitate the need for a mobile communication device;
- Determining the source of funding;
- For university owned devices, the department is responsible for establishing a check out system to be used during on-call periods;
- If allowance is provided, determining the appropriate monthly allowance plan based on business need; and
- If allowance is provided, completing necessary forms to document approval. Detail information can be found at http://ict.nmsu.edu/ict/Guidelines
- University Owned Devices:
• Ensuring the device is used for business only;
• Ensuring the device is protected from damage and unauthorized use; and
• Ensuring the device is returned to the university when expected (based on departmental check in/out or rotation procedures).
- Employee Owned Devices
•Providing department with current contact information or address of the communication device within three days of activation;
•Providing notification to the department within three (3) days of inactivation. An employee is prohibited from receiving an allowance when the device is no longer active or needed; and
•Responsible for all contract terms and payments to service provider.
1. Department Owned Device (Loaner)
1.1.Establishment of Service
A department wishing to obtain a university owned device can make arrangements of choice through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at 646-3284. The most economical service plan that meets individual business needs must be chosen. At a minimum, the supervisor must provide written authorization for a university-owned mobile communication device and the associated service plan. University owned mobile devices can only be used for university business except in emergency situations.
Provider: New Mexico State University is currently contracted with several local service providers. The contracts provide discounted pricing and the ability to move between service plans. Call Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at 646-3284 for more information.
Equipment: Baseline mobile communication equipment and the most economical usage plans should be purchased. Departments are responsible for the safekeeping and care of their mobile communication devices.
Departmental owned mobile devices should ONLY be used for university business except for emergency situations. This will result in employees carrying two mobile devices; one owned by the university and one for personal usage.
The IRS requires the following detailed documentation of business use on university owned mobile devices to be kept on file in the department:
- The amount of the each separate expense must be provided.
- The time and the place of each expense must be documented.
- The business purpose of each expense must be given.
Any personal usage must be included in employee wages. If any one of the above requirements is not met, the total value of usage (business and personal) must be included in the employee’s gross income. (Employee may then be able to deduct business usage on their personal income tax return under the miscellaneous itemized deduction requirements). It is the department’s responsibility to immediately report all unsubstantiated or personal use to payroll in order for the employee to be taxed according to IRS regulations. The taxable amount should be reported on a One-Time Payment Form. University policy requires that the department and the on-call employee(s) substantiate all business related usage by signing certification of the monthly bill provided by ICT.
1.3 Use of Device
The employee must “check-out” the departmental mobile communication device on a temporary basis on an as needed basis (on-call, project, etc). Personal use of a university owned device is strictly prohibited.
2. Employee Owned Device (Allowance)
2.1.Establishment of Allowance
An allowance may be requested using the NMSU Mobile Communication Device Allowance Request Form. The request may be made any time during the fiscal year. Once an allowance has been established it will remain in effect until a new allowance form is submitted to initiate a change or termination. The allowance does not constitute an increase to base pay and will not be included in the calculation of pay increases. Allowance amounts are treated, by IRS guidelines, as taxable income. Taxes incurred are the responsibility of the employee and will not be reimbursed to the employee.
2.1.1 Determination of Monthly Allowance Amount
The monthly plan allowance amount should only cover the estimated business-related costs. In no case should the amount exceed the cost of the employee’s monthly service. Determination of the allowance amount is made at the departmental level. Documentation showing the cost of the service plan and the initial start-up cost is kept on file by the employee’s department. Monthly documentation is not required.
2.1.2 Acquisition or Replacement Allowance
The periodic allowance amount for acquisition or replacement of a mobile communication device is available once every two years. The rate will be determined based on estimates of current market acquisitions. Such amounts are not intended to fully reimburse the employee for total out-of-pocket costs given that the device is expected to be owned by the employee and used for both personal and business use.
2.1.3 Device Types
- Mobile Data Card & USB Modems: devices that allow access to mobile broadband data services via a cellular network and giving broadband data access to university networks and internet access remotely. Primarily for data connectivity.
- Limited Data Mobile Device: devices that have a small, primarily text-based screen, with data services usually limited to SMS (Short Message Service) and WAP access. Typical examples of these devices are cellular phones.
- Basic Data Mobile Device: devices that have a medium-size screen, menu or icon-based navigation via a thumb-wheel or cursor, and which offer access to e-mail, address book, SMS, and a basic web browser.
- Enhanced Data Mobile Device: devices that have medium to large, stylus-based navigation, and which offer the same features as the "Basic Data Mobile Devices" plus native applications such as Microsoft Office Mobile applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and custom corporate applications such as mobilized versions of SAP, intranet portals, etc. Typical devices include those running Windows Mobile 2003 or version 5, such as Pocket PCs.
2.2 Departmental Requirements
Departmental files should include a copy of the Allowance Request Form and a copy of the employee’s service plan agreement or proof of cost. Departmental files are subject to audit at any time. The dean, director, or department head is responsible for reviewing the employee’s continued business need on an annual basis to determine applicability of existing allowance and make adjustments as necessary.
2.3 Use of Device
The employee must retain an active mobile communication device service contract as long as the allowance is in place. The employee owns the device and may use the device for both personal and business purposes, as needed. Additional features or services may be added at the employee’s own expense.