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Cell Phone Allowance

Section Title:Administrative
Policy Number:606
Policy Name:Cell Phone Allowance
Approval Authority:President’s Cabinet
College Policy Executive:Chief Planning Officer
Responsible Executive:Vice President for Administration and Finance
Responsible Unit:Controller
Date Adopted:April 4, 2006
Date Revised:September 2009, June 2011, December 2012, September 2013, January 2014



In the event that it is necessary for some employees to use cell phones to conduct official college business on a regular basis, the college will provide a non-taxable wireless communication allowance for employees who must use their personal devices for work purposes. The College does not purchase devices or pay vendors directly for related monthly cell phone services except for those positions specifically identified in the procedure document.

Reason for Policy

This policy was created to: establish guidelines to identify which positions an allowance is appropriate and necessary; create an effective and manageable support and record keeping structure for both individuals and the college; and to help manage communications costs.

The employee will be responsible for selecting, contracting, and paying for cellular services they desire. This policy will allow the employee to choose a plan that fits both their personal and professional lives. Employees will not be required to itemize their professional versus personal calls or turn in monthly documentation.

To Whom Does the Policy Apply

College employees who use their personal mobile devices for college business on a regular basis and/or are required to be accessible outside normal working hours on a regular basis.

Related Documents

Procedure 606: Cell Phone Allowance

Cellular Service Reimbursement Request Form




Date Adopted: September 2009

Date Revised: June 2011, December 2012, September 2013, January 2014, August 2020

Ramapo College of New Jersey (the “College”) does not typically provide cell phones to employees or pay vendors directly for related monthly cell phone services. However, there are circumstances that may warrant such an arrangement. This procedure will address cell phone reimbursement as well as addressing the atypical situation when an employee requires a college-provided phone.

I. Cell Phone Reimbursement Procedure

It may be necessary for some College employees to use cell phones to conduct College business on a regular basis. The allowance is not intended to include occasional, incidental, or emergency access. Simple convenience is also not a criterion for cellular device reimbursement. A reimbursement may be authorized if at least one of the following two criteria is met:

  • The job function of the employee requires considerable time outside of their assigned office or work area, and it is important to the College that they are accessible during those times.
  • The job function of the employee requires them to be accessible outside of scheduled or normal working hours.

A. Authorization

In the cases where a cell phone is deemed necessary per the above criteria, the unit director and division Vice President must authorize the reimbursement and ensure that there are sufficient funds within the unit’s budget to support the expense.  The unit director and division Vice President shall review and authorize the Cellular Reimbursement Request Form.  All allowances will be charged directly to unit’s budget in the Cell Phone allowance account Code 6071.

B. Reimbursement Levels

Once the approved form is received, the allowance will be calculated in the following manner:

Reimbursements are paid on the portion of the cellular service bill attributable directly to the employee’s cellular device only. This documentation must be included with the Cellular Service Reimbursement Request Form to initiate the reimbursement.  The appropriate division Vice President will monitor approved cellular devices, at a minimum, on an annual basis but also as roles and responsibilities within their division which may warrant any reimbursement changes. Business Services will send a listing of all approved reimbursements to review annually.

To determine the dollar amount of the cellular device reimbursement for qualified employees the supervisors should use the following device reimbursement price tiers:

    • Tier 1 – the lesser of $20/month or 25% of cell phone bill attributable to the employee who uses the phone less than 450 minutes for business usage: This reimbursement is for an employee who has light usage of the cellular device for business purposes
    • Tier 2 – the lesser of $45/month or 50% of cell phone bill attributable to the employee: This reimbursement is for an employee who has heavy cellular device usage (450 minutes or more) plus extra phone services such as email and calendar integration for their job.
    • Tier 3 – 100% of cell phone bill attributable to the employee: This reimbursement is only for Cabinet members or key personnel who are required to be available 100% of the time (this determination will be made based upon the employee’s job description and confirmed by the appropriate Vice President). This reimbursement is specifically for cellular device usage and mobile broadband for wireless card/laptops and internet usage for their phone. Hardware and any additional costs are not the responsibility of the College.

For Tier 2 and Tier 3 – Please note that any data (email, calendar, VPN, etc.) housed on a device that is work related is owned by the College and any such data must be removed upon separation from the College.  In the future the College may require installation of a Mobile Device Manager to further secure this data.

Positions within the College that qualify for 100% reimbursement will be processed on a case-by-case basis upon approval by the cognizant Vice President and the Vice President for Administration and Finance, or President, as applicable.

Under no circumstances should the approved monthly reimbursement amount exceed the actual monthly cell charges incurred by an employee.

C. Logistics for Active Participants

    • Reimbursements will begin on the first day of the month after the reimbursement is authorized.
    • The monthly cell phone allowance is paid to the employee through payroll on a bi-weekly basis. The allowance does not constitute an increase to base pay and will not be included in the calculation of percentage increase to base pay due to raises, upgrades or promotions or benefits. Allowance payments are not subject to retirement deductions or contributions.
    • The allowance shall be paid to those employees who continue in pay status. Allowances will be suspended if an employee goes into leave without pay status.  Any requests to continue allowance while an employee is on a leave status should be submitted to the Payroll by the unit director and approved by the cognizant Vice President.
    • The reimbursement is not an entitlement. The amount can be changed or withdrawn without notice at any time.
    • The cellular device service is personally owned by the employee. An employee receiving a cellular device reimbursement must maintain an active cellular device contract with their carrier for the life of the reimbursement.

D. Discontinuance of Reimbursement

    • If an employee is terminated, resigns, transfers, is on leave or is no longer eligible for a cellular device reimbursement, the employee’s supervisor should submit a revised Cellular Service Reimbursement Request Form noting “Discontinue reimbursement as of date of separation” in the business justification section.
    • The College’s data will be wiped once the employee is no longer eligible for the cellular device reimbursement.

E. Cellular Device Use

a. Employees who are provided with a cell phone allowance shall provide their cell phone number to their supervisor or anyone else with whom the employee may be conducting College business with and will promptly report any phone number or plan changes.

b. The employee agrees to carry the cell phone with them and be accessible for business use as required by their unit director.

c. Employees are encouraged to take appropriate safety precautions when using their cellular telephone at all times.

d. Under no circumstances should employees place calls when operating a motor vehicle while driving on College business and/or during College time.

e. In addition, writing, sending, or reading text-based communication — including text messaging, instant messaging, or email — on wireless or cellular devices while driving is a violation of this policy.

f. If you must conduct business while in your vehicle, safely pull off the road or do so while parked. Employees are expected to comply with applicable state laws regarding the use of cellular devices.

g. If a device housing college data is lost or stolen this must be reported to ITS immediately to make sure the access to email and other systems is secured. This will force, at a minimum, password changes for the user.

II. Ramapo College of New Jersey Provided Cellular Devices

A. Eligibility
A College-owned device may be issued to employees who meet specific job-based eligibility criteria, which include the following:

    • Employees who are required for 24/7 on-call responsibilities and after-hours support; or
    • Employees with additional communication needs regarding emergency services, safety or technical services and support; or
    • Employees whose job requires them be away from their assigned office or work area a significant amount of their work day, and need the be accessible, or do not have access to a desktop phone; or
    • Employees who must be available 24/7 for media and public relations, crisis management, or additional communication needs regarding College business; or
    • Employees who must be available 24/7 for on-call responsibilities, patient care needs, or additional communication needs regarding emergency medical care.

B. Authorization
Any requests for a College-owned device must be initiated by a unit head and approved by the appropriate division Vice President. To request a College-owned cellular device, fill out the Cellular Device Request Form and send it to College-owned devices are NOT the property of the employee and ONLY business related activities should be conducted on those devices (e.g. do not load personal data or apps on the phone).

Reimbursements for multiple cellular devices are not permitted by the College under this policy (for example, if the employee has a College-issued device, they cannot submit for reimbursement for their personal device as well).

C. Cellular Device Peripherals

The College will only cover the cost of a protective case for the cellular device for College-owned devices. College funds may not be used to pay for other peripherals such as screen protectors or other items for personally owned devices.

D. Cellular Device Storage

For College-owned phones, the College only allows for the purchase of cellular devices with the basic/least amount of storage capacity available for that model. Larger storage sizes are not permitted. Storage requirements will be reviewed annually by ITS to address current computing requirements or compliance.

E. Personal Use of College-Provided Cellular Device

Although the occasional use of a College cellular device for personal calls may be necessary, incoming and outgoing personal calls are discouraged.

At the discretion of the College, employees may be required to reimburse the College for personal phone calls made from an institutional cellular device. Reimbursements should be processed through your supervisor.

Note that misuse of the cellular device — using it in ways inconsistent with College policy or with local, state, or federal laws — will result in immediate cancellation of the cellular device privilege, and the asset (if applicable) will be returned to the College. Further, disciplinary action may also be taken against the employee.

F. Replacement and Damaged College-Owned Cellular Device

Employees are eligible for replacement of a College-owned cellular device once every two years, subject to the availability of funds within the unit’s budget.

Employees with damaged College-owned cellular devices will only be allowed one replacement during a two-year period. All approved replacements will follow the regular replacement cycle observed by the carrier.

    • It is the responsibility of the employee to replace accidentally damaged cellular devices, unless the damage occurs during a work activity.
    • The replacement for a damaged cellular device can only be of the same make and model that the employee is currently using, or if unavailable a model with the same platform selected by the College. A damaged cellular device cannot be replaced with an upgraded model.
    • It is the responsibility to immediately report lost cellular devices to ITS so that the service can immediately be disabled.

All College-owned cellular devices, whether damaged, replaced as part of the replacement cycle or change of carrier, must be returned to the College in compliance with the College’s Technology Ownership Policy.

G. Deprovisioning College-Owned Cellular Devices

Separating Employees

If an employee has a device account previously provided through College because of the employee’s job function, the College will discontinue providing that account when the employee separates from the College, and the device will be returned to the College.

Human Resources must notify Payroll of an employee’s last day once it has been determined.

The employee must turn in the cellular device to the ITS group. The return of the cellular device to ITS must take place prior to the close of business on their last day of employment. Failure to do so may result in legal action.

Human Resources will be notified if issued equipment is not collected by ITS by close of business on the person’s last day of employment.

Position Changes

In situations where an employee changes positions within the College, it is the responsibility of the unit head of the vacated position to collect the cellular device.

Function Changes

If a current employee has a college-owned device that is no longer required for their job function, the employee must turn in the cellular device to the ITS.

III. Policy Compliance

Violations of this policy and procedure may subject the violator to disciplinary actions, up to or including termination of employment, and may subject the violator to penalties stipulated in applicable state and federal statutes.

The College reserves the right to conduct audits and other inquiries to ensure that the policy and procedure are being followed or where there are concerns relating to adherence.  Findings of audits may result in appropriate disciplinary action for violations of policy and procedure, including but not limited to cancellation or change of service as well as other employment or academic action.