Wireless Communication Device and Plan Stipend Policy

  1. Purpose of Policy
    To provide a consistent policy governing the use of wireless communication devices by University of Connecticut employees and to provide guidelines, criteria and conditions for wireless communication devices in order to comply  with IRS regulations and meet its fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers of the State of Connecticut.  This policy permits the University of Connecticut to issue a monetary stipend to select employees who meet the policy criteria pertaining to the use of wireless devices for University business purposes.
  2. Definitions
    1. Departmental Cell Phones is a shared phone signed out and signed in by each employee at the end of his/her shift. Departmental cell phones are to be used for business purposes only.  Usage logs will be required and will be reviewed monthly by department heads to verify business use. Departmental Cell Phones are excluded from this Policy.
    2. Wireless communication devices are defined as cell phones, data card services, PDAs, Blackberries, Treos or other telecommunication devices that have voice and/or data capabilities with a monthly service fee.  It does not include pagers, mobile radios, or Departmental Cell Phones.
    3. University means the University of Connecticut.
  3. Policy Statement
    If the University requires an employee to carry a wireless communication device in order to perform his/her duties, the employee, with approval from his/her immediate supervisor and appropriate senior administration officer or designee will obtain a personally owned wireless communication device and access/service plan. Employees who are required to carry a wireless device for University business may choose to be compensated in the form of a stipend.  In 2009 the University will no longer provide wireless devices or wireless contracts to employees.
    Every department must promote fiscal responsibility, and each department is strongly encouraged to review whether a wireless device is necessary, and to select alternative means of communication -e.g., land-lines, pagers, and mobile radios – when such alternatives would provide adequate and less costly service to the University.
  4. Eligibility
      1. University employees whose job duties include the need for a wireless communication device may receive compensation in the form of a stipend to cover business-related use on their personally owned mobile/remote communication plan. The appropriate officer of administration, or their designee, may authorize a wireless device stipend if at least one of the following criteria is met:
        1. The job function of the employee requires considerable time outside of his/her assigned office or work area and it is important to the University that he/she is accessible during those times;
        2. The job function of the employee requires him/her to be accessible outside of scheduled or normal working hours;
        3. The job function of the employee requires him/her to have wireless data and internet access; and/or
        4. The employee is designated as a “first responder” to emergencies on campus.
    Employees who occasionally require wireless communication devices for business purposes and are not eligible for a stipend, 1) may request a departmental wireless device they can use on a temporary basis (and complete the appropriate call log sheet).
  5. Procedures for Initiating A Stipend
      1. Funding
        1. Stipends are funded by the unit/department.
        2. The wireless communication device can be used for both personal and business purposes; therefore, it should be understood that the stipend should cover all reasonable and appropriate business use. The stipend would be like any other payment: subject to taxes (FICA, Federal and State) and subject to fringe benefits calculations (depending on the employees’ actual retirement plan). This would not fall under a special payroll, separate check process.
        3. A tiered model based on the current market rates includes the following options.
          1. Voice minutes  (including International calling service, if required)
          2. Data minutes
          3. Text messaging
          4. Internet service

        1. Tier Plans
    Wireless Communication Stipends shall be up to but not more than the figure stated below for each tier. In no case shall the stipend exceed the maximum cost of the plans plus allowance for equipment.  Annual review of the rates will be conducted by the Accounting Office in conjunction with Network Services.
    Note: There are generally 26 pay periods per year so the biweekly pay will average out to the per month allowance.
    Tier Plans
    Tier 1 $18.46 per biweekly pay period ($40/month) This allowance is for the employee who has light call volume (450 minutes/month)
    Tier 2 $27.69 per biweekly pay period ($60/month) This allowance is for the employee who has high call volume (up to 900 minutes or more/month).
    Tier 4 $20.77 per biweekly pay period ($45/month) This allowance is for the employee who requires a Smartphone for corporate email, corporate calendar and internet access at $45/month.  This $45 allowance includes $10 towards the cost of the Smartphone.  This Tier may be approved as a standalone option or combined with any one (1) of the cell phone tiers above (Tier 1 or Tier 2).
    Please note: The University email system is for work related communication only.  Disputes over Tier placement will be resolved by the Chief Operating Officer or his/her designee.
    1. Wireless Communication Contracts
      1. Negotiating and managing a personal contract will be the responsibility of the employee.
      2. Each employee is free to select the service provider of his/her choice.
      3. Units/departments will not direct employees to purchase contracts with specific service providers to take advantage of within provider reduced/free mobile to mobile calls; however, if a University department has a formal agreement with a wireless device service provider, it may encourage its employees to enter an agreement with that provider so as to realize savings in plan options such as mobile to mobile calling.
      4. Wireless communication device purchase, maintenance and replacement will be the responsibility of the employee receiving the stipend.
      5. In any month if documented business minutes exceed the monthly allowed minutes under the owner’s plan, and a charge results, these additional charges shall be reimbursed through accounts payable with the supervisor’s approval, notwithstanding any other provision herein.
      6. Should an employee leave his/her position with the University the stipend shall cease effective the date of separation. Upon separation the employee may terminate their wireless device contract, and the University will reimburse the employee for the fee paid to terminate the contract, provided that the contract was terminated within sixty (60) days of separation from employment and upon presentation of proof that the termination fee was paid. If the employee chooses to continue their wireless contract they do so at their own cost.
      7. Employees may take advantage of plans specifically discounted for State of Connecticut employees.
  6. Employee Responsibilities
    1. Because the wireless 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 accordance with existing practice.
    2. This policy is to be implemented in conjunction with all valid collective bargaining agreements which exist between the University and the Unions present at the University, and is not intended to supersede or interfere with any collective bargaining agreement. If compliance with this provision conflicts with any provision of a valid collective bargaining agreement, the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement will control.  If compliance with this provision implicates any provision of a valid collective bargaining agreement and additional compensation is required, the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement will control.
    3. This compensation must be justified by business requirements that necessitate the use of a wireless 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.
    4. Each employee will be required to verify with his or her supervisor within five (5) days of the signed agreement that a Wireless Communication Contract plan has been purchased and the type of plan and device purchased.  The cell phone number must also be submitted to the appropriate staff for university business use within the same period.
    5. The employee must notify his/her supervisor of any wireless communication device number change within five (5) working days of the change.
    6. The wireless communication device that has data capabilities must be secured based on current security standards including password protection and encryption.
    7. Each employee will review and sign a document acknowledging that they are aware of and intend to comply with all relevant institutional policies located on the University Policies E-library website: http://policy.uconn.edu/pages/main.cfm and listed below:
      1. The Wireless Communication Device Stipend Policy;
      2. Access Control for Computing Resources and Equipment;
      3. Policy on Data Classification;
      4. Device and Media Control;
      5. Electronic Data Integrity;
      6. Electronic Data Security Management;
      7. Electronic Workstation Use and Security;
      8. Individual Responsibilities with Respect to Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources;
      9. Security Incident Response
    8. If the wireless communication device that has data capabilities is stolen or missing it must be reported to the employee’s supervisor, the wireless device service provider and to ITS as soon as possible especially if ITS needs to wipe the device of it’s email.
    9. Wireless communication devices covered by this policy are used in part to conduct University business and/or to create, receive, send or store University data and/or education records of students.  As a result, information contained on wireless communication devices covered by this policy are also subject to Federal and State data maintenance and protection laws (e.g., FERPA, records retention requirements), as well as the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  An employee receiving a University wireless device stipend must comply with Federal and State requirements, and assist the University in providing access to information about or contained on the wireless communications devices covered by this policy in response to requests for such data or information by third parties as required by Federal and/or State law.
    10. An employee receiving a University wireless device stipend must be able to show, when requested by his/her supervisor, a copy of the monthly access plan charges and business related use to determine if the amount of the University compensation is appropriate.
    11. If the employee terminates the wireless contract at any point, he/she must notify his/her supervisor within 5 business days to terminate the stipend.
    12. Employees are expected to delete all University data from the wireless communication device when their employment with the University is severed, except when required to maintain that data in compliance with a litigation hold notice.
    13. 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).
    14. The employee will provide written justification to their immediate supervisor on an annual basis stating their need to continue to receive the stipend.  If the cost of business use does not correspond with the monthly stipend, a request for an adjustment from the employee may be made to his/her supervisor when necessary, but not less often than on an annual basis.
  7. Departmental Responsibilities
    1. Departments are responsible for determining the budgetary impact of this program, and for determining whether or not an employee’s job requires use of wireless communication service.
    2. Department supervisors must determine the business wireless communication device needs of the employee. The University compensation for the purchase of personally owned wireless communication services must be directly linked to the employee’s job duties and responsibilities.
    3. Departments are responsible for communicating with the Payroll Department regarding the approval, change or cancellation of the stipend.
    4. The dean, director, or department head is responsible for an annual review of employee business-related wireless device use, to determine if existing wireless communication stipends should be continued, changed, or discontinued.  If individual circumstances require, the stipend may be reduced or eliminated with a 60 day written notice. If an individual’s stipend is eliminated in accordance with this section, the University will reimburse the employee for the termination fee if proof of payment of the termination fee is presented showing the contract was terminated within sixty (60) days of elimination of the stipend.
  8. University Responsibilities
    The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for informing Departments and Unions of any changes to this Policy.
  9. Additional Regulations
    1. The University compensation for the wireless 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. The 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.
    2. This compensation may be changed and/or withdrawn by the University with a 60 day written notice and reimbursement for the cancellation fee shall be in accordance with sections 5 b (6) and 7 d (above).
    3. Use of the device in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws may constitute misuse, and may result in immediate termination of the stipend.
    4. Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and Bylaws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, local, state, and federal laws or regulations, which may include restitution, progressive discipline, and/or prosecution by state or federal authorities.
    5. Additional oversight/reporting responsibilities may be required if an employee’s job responsibilities are subject to formal governing body by-laws and regulations (i.e. NCAA regulations).
  10. Policy Oversight and Review
    1. This policy will be reviewed on a biennial basis. The University reserves the right to amend this policy at any time for any reason and will notify the Unions in writing of any amendments to the policy.  Upon notification of a change which the Union believes engenders a bargaining requirement, the Union shall so notify the Chief Operating Officer in writing.
    2. The Chief Operating Officer has overall responsibility for this policy.

Approved by:
Peter Nicholls, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Barry Feldman, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Richard Gray, Vice President and Chief Fiscal Officer

Date:                     January 26, 2009