Wireless communication and stipend

Financial Management Policy 31100

1. Purpose

This policy provides for defraying the costs for employee-owned wireless devices when used as approved by key employees in order to effectively perform their duties, all within a framework that is in compliance with IRS regulations while managing telecommunications costs. It also addresses the use of college-owned devices when applicable.

2. Policy

Germanna Community College will offer a taxable stipend (allowance) for the use of wireless communication devices partially defraying the cost of service to those employees whose duties require the need for such a communication device. These employees will receive a monthly allowance to cover business-related costs. Germanna Community College will not purchase wireless communication devices or service plans for employees receiving the wireless stipend.

Personal wireless communication service plans purchased with the monthly allowance may be used for both personal and business purposes. The allowance is intended to defray the cost of conducting GCC business with wireless communication devices and may at times not cover the total cost of a wireless communication plan or usage.

In some cases may GCC purchase and own wireless communication devices to be used only for specific business purposes. Any such phone purchased by the College may not be used for personal use.

In each case, final determination that the cost of mobile communications service is warranted and the concomitant approval of the stipend rests with the College President.

Criteria

The wireless communication stipend is granted per any or all of the following criteria:

  • The employee’s job requires that they work regularly in away from their office phone and need to be immediately
  • The employee’s job requires that they need to be immediately accessible outside of normal business
  • The employee is responsible for critical business functions or the supporting infrastructure and needs to be immediately accessible at all times
  • The employee travels and needs to be accessible or have access to information technology systems while Access via voice and or access to information technology systems via a mobile communications device would, in the judgment of the supervisor, render the employee more productive and/or more effective.
  • Sufficient budget exists to cover costs in the employee’s department.

Guidelines

Any employee who receives an allowance will be required to have the pertinent contact information (i.e., phone number) published or distributed for GCC business purposes.

The wireless communication device acquired as provided by the criteria above is considered to be the personal property of the employee. Access granted to employees may be limited to voice communications or could also include access to information technology systems, such as e-mail, calendar, web, etc.

While each case needs to be evaluated on its own merit, the following are some positions which may be eligible for participation in the wireless stipend policy: President, Vice President, Dean, Manager, Director, Supervisor, and essential personnel needed for continuity of operations as well as safety and security.

College-owned wireless devices

With the approval of the College President (or designee), Administrative Services may purchase wireless communication devices with an appropriate phone/data plan in limited circumstances, such as phones/devices that rotate among departments, or devices for evening administrator duties in the Welcome Center. Personal use is not permitted on any GCC-owned wireless communication devices.

Employees using College-owned devices and their supervisors must review the calling activity each month to identify business and non-business items. Any non business calls placed on College-owned devices must be reimbursed to the Business Office.  It is the responsibility of the device user and that person’s supervisor to ensure that reimbursement is made. The person using/assigned the device must establish records noting the amount, date, place, and business purpose for each call.  A notated copy of the bill can be used for this purpose.  A copy of the bill will be provided the user and/or supervisor each month. These records shall be forwarded to the Vice President of Administrative Services Office where personnel shall review the records and maintain them for regulatory compliance.

Stipend allowance

To the extent allowable within current IRS Tax Code, the wireless communication stipend will be provided as non-taxable income to the employee, and will not be considered part of the employee’s base pay. 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, promotions, etc. An employee is prohibited from continuing to collect a monthly wireless communication stipend when his/her device is no longer active or when it is no longer needed or approved for the performance of the employee’s job responsibilities.  Simple convenience is not a criterion for granting a wireless communication device stipend.

Audits and changes

The College President must review and re-approve the Wireless Communication Stipend Request/Authorization form prior to the start of each fiscal year to confirm the employee’s eligibility for the cellular plan allowance or the department’s eligibility for the shared cellular phone device.

Changes in allowance may be made on an annual basis or as needed based on the employee’s job function.

Termination or lay-offs

In the event an employee is terminated, laid-off, or retires, GCC will not pay to terminate the cellular contract entered into as part of stipend.  In the event that an employee leaves Germanna they must bring the phone to the IT Department so that all Germanna email and any other propriety information can be removed from the phone.

Transitions

Employees that meet the criteria for a stipend need to make arrangements to have the wireless communication device and service prior to receiving the stipend.

Employees must provide new or changed cellular phone numbers to their supervisor and to Human Resources within five (5) days of the change.

3. Procedure

Stipend approval

The President or his designee will review the criteria listed above, and make a determination on employee eligibility. If it is determined that the employee meets the criteria and is eligible for a wireless stipend, the employee shall be eligible for a monthly allowance up to $30 (pre-tax) to be added to the employee’s payroll.

Eligible employees must complete the Wireless Communication Stipend Request form, which is available online on the policy page, and obtain necessary approvals. Approved forms should be sent to Human Resources for submission to payroll.

Phones or devices used for checking Germanna email must have (at minimum) a 4 digit encryption code and automatic screen lock activated. For IT Security purposes this code cannot be deactivated.

For IT security reasons, if a phone is lost or stolen it must be reported to IT within 24 hours so IT can initiate a remote wipe on the phone. Generally, it is the employee’s responsibility to replace the phone.

4. Definitions

Data package wireless communication plans that typically include text messaging, multimedia messaging, Web browsing and email service.

Text messaging – brief written messages for mobile phones over cellular networks.

Wireless communication device – Any of the following devices: cellular phone, smartphone, iPad or other tablet or similar portable, handheld device capable of voice and video communication.

5. References

6. Point of contact

Vice President of Administrative Services

7. Approval and revision dates

President’s Council: November 9, 2010; February 20, 2017

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