4-OP-H-7 University Cellular Communication Services Allowance Policy

Responsible Executive: Finance and Administration

Approving Official: Vice President for Finance and Administration

Effective Date: April 16, 2015

Last Revision Date: No revision at this time


  • This policy incorporates and replaces University policy OP-H-7 Cellular Phone Policy; and also defines the minimum standard for obtaining an allowance for cellular communication services.


  • FSU provides a wide variety of Information Technology (IT) resources, including computers, networks, software, computer accounts, cellular phones, beepers, office telephones and hand-held and wireless computing devices for use by University faculty and staff. These IT resources are administered by a number of schools, colleges, departments and institutes and are intended for the official business use of the University. Appropriate business use of IT resources includes use by departments, recognized student and campus organizations, and other agencies of the University for the purpose of instruction, research and the official work of their offices. This policy is established to provide an allowance for University employees who are required to routinely utilize third-party cellular communication services in the performance of job duties. Employees have the limited privilege to receive an allowance when cellular communication services are needed in support of primary job functions.


  • Cellular communications - a telecommunications system in which mobile, usually portable, communication devices are linked to a broader based network via microwave radio frequency signals. Individual cell sites provide coverage to a limited area, called a cell, while networks of cell sites provide coverage to larger geographical area.
  • Allowance - a sum of money allotted or granted for a particular purpose.
  • Eligible - Employees occupying a position where performance of certain job responsibilities may be enhanced by or may require the use of a cellular (cell) phone, smartphone, tablet or another mobile computing device. The need for the cellular allowance must be included in the employees’ position profile.
  • Appropriate business use – suitable or proper application of resource and/or action concerning the duties assigned to the individual employee or resource.
  • Position profile/description - A document that accurately describes the duties and responsibilities normally assigned the position and the job-related knowledge, skills and abilities required for the position.
  1. SCOPE
    1. FSU will provide eligible employees an allowance for qualified cellular communications services. Eligibility must be documented within the employee’s position profile prior to any allowance being approved. This policy applies to all University personnel whose job functions meet defined criteria and requirements. It applies to all University units and related affiliated organizations, whether on campus or from remote locations.
    1. After verifying that the position profile / description reflect that position functions require applicable service, approval must be initiated and coordinated at the departmental level. Using the Cellular Communication Services Allowance Authorization Form approvals for defined allowance options are provided by appropriate Deans, Directors, Department Heads (DDDH), or their designee. The full coverage allowance level must be approved by the Vice President of Finance & Administration. Final review and processing is coordinated by Information Technology Services and includes Sponsored Research Accounting Services, Payroll Services, and Human Resources. All allowance options are subject to budget availability and on-going eligibility as stipulated in the required functions of the position.
    1. The DDDH or designee is responsible for documenting and certifying that:
      1. Cellular communication services are required to perform the duties and responsibilities of a position and that such duties are actually documented in the position profile via electronic Personnel Action Form (ePAF).
      2. The appropriate allowance level and funding source is used for associated services.
      3. The selected allowance level is reasonable given the business purpose.
      4. Funds for a Sponsored Research project are not used as a funding source for associated services.
    2. The Employee is responsible for:
      1. Acknowledging the terms of the allowance by signing the Cellular Communication Services Allowance Authorization form.
      2. Paying all bills to telecommunications and/or equipment provider(s) for the services, including monthly service charges, purchasing or leasing equipment for using the services (e.g., cell phones or modems), insurance (if desired) and registering the phone number and/or network addresses with FSU to allow the employee to be reached over the service. This includes registration of cell phone numbers in OMNI self-service.
      3. Maintaining the service and equipment as long as the allowance is in effect. Periodic audits may require the employee to provide evidence that the services were actually in service to the employee.
      4. Understanding that the allowance amounts have included a reasonable prorated cost for replacement equipment. No additional reimbursements will be made to supplement the allowance under this program. The employee is free to choose any supportable equipment at his/her discretion in order to comply with the service allowance requirements.
    3. Any violation of these terms of responsibility may result in termination of the allowance agreement.
    4. The allowance will be paid in equal installments in the first two paychecks of each month following full approval and will continue until one of the following is documented on the Allowance Discontinuation Notice form:
      1. Termination of employment from the University.
      2. Changing of work assignment to another position (either by the hiring process or reclassification/promotion) where the new job duties no longer require the use of the Cellular Communication Services.
      3. Department determination that the position no longer requires the use of the specified Cellular Communication Services.
      4. The employee no longer wishes to obtain the allowance and be responsible for using the Cellular Communication Services. In this case, it is a departmental issue to determine if this violates the job duties required for the position.
      5. Violation of any of the terms listed under Employee Responsibilities.
    5. If the allowance agreement is terminated for any of the above reasons, the Cellular Communication Services and equipment are considered the sole property of the employee and he/she may continue or discontinue the use of said services at their sole discretion.
    1. Individuals who are eligible for a cellular allowance include:
      1. Employees who spend a significant portion of their assigned work time outside of their assigned office or work area and where it is essential to the University that the employee be accessible during those times.
      2. Employees must be continuously accessible beyond scheduled or normal working hours (i.e. on-call responsibilities for critical University services).
      3. Employees who position requires them to monitor and respond to e-mail outside of the office or beyond normal scheduled working hours.
    2. Other qualifying factors may include:
      1. Where it is essential for the University, that the employee has the ability and access to support critical University operations remotely and/or outside of normal business hours.
      2. An employee spends a considerable time outside of assigned office or work area where it is essential to the University that the employee be accessible during those times.
      3. The University requires that the employee be continually accessible beyond scheduled or normal working hours (i.e. on-call responsibilities for critical University services)
      4. That the employee has the ability to receive and send e–mail during those times.
      5. The University has deemed that access to e-mail outside of the office and/or beyond normal scheduled working hours where it is essential.
    • Note: An employee does not have to meet all of these criteria to satisfy eligibility requirements. The final decision is made by the appropriate member of the funding department based on interpreted needs of the department. The existing method of providing Cellular Communication Services and devices as a departmental expense will no longer be supported except in special cases where the equipment or service cannot reasonably be assigned to one individual. These exceptions require approval from the department and Information Technology Services (ITS) in order to provide a departmentally billed Cellular Communication Service.
    • Departments are required to maintain position profiles and other relevant documentation required by FSU Human Resources as justification of allowance eligibility. Departments are to produce this documentation and Cellular Communication Services Allowance Authorization forms as certification for external compliance reviews and audits.
    • The University reserves the right to require any mobile device accessing the University’s infrastructure to be subject to future mobile device security policies and guidelines as established by the University’s Information Security & Privacy Office and IT governance structure. This applies to both University and personally-owned devices.
    • Security policies may include device requirements for mobile anti-virus/spyware, mobile firewall, secure communications, encrypted file folders including storage cards, strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and/or destruction and disabling in the event of a lost or stolen device or termination.
    • Additional information: General information and Forms
  • University faculty and staff are bound by all applicable laws, rules, policies, and procedures. This policy is not intended to limit the applicability of any law or policy and does not preclude University units and related affiliated organizations from implementing supplemental internal processes and associated documentation requirements.