Mobile Communication & Information Devices
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to the University community regarding the proper procurement, use, and possession of mobile communication and information devices, including, but not limited to cellular telephones, handheld or tablet computers with cellular data capability, internet access, personal digital assistants (PDAs), etc., for voice/data services; to ensure that the use of mobile technology for University business is correctly authorized and appropriate; and to ensure that the University is correctly reimbursed for occasional incidental or emergency personal use of University mobile technology.
This policy applies to all mobile communication and information devices and services used by University of Kansas employees in the course of their employment, regardless of the source of funding for the device and services, e.g., University, KU Center for Research, Inc. (KUCR), KUMC Research Institute (KUMCRI) or KU Endowment Association (KUEA).
Mobile communication and information devices (Mobile CIDs) are an effective resource and enable communication in areas or situations where conventional landline phones and/or internet access is not available or is impractical. However, the cost incurred for Mobile CIDs must be weighed carefully against any benefits. Mobile CIDs may be provided to certain University of Kansas employees for two principal reasons:
1) The employee's responsibilities require that the employee be immediately accessible at all times. Examples include the Chancellor, the Director of University Relations, the University General Counsel, the Director of Public Safety, the Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Vice Provosts, Deans, and others as appropriate. The employee’s responsibilities also may require immediate access to email, internet service and text messaging capability. Such employees are Group 1 employees for purposes of this policy.
2) The employee performs the majority of job activities "in the field," where business either cannot be conducted on a landline phone or where it would be inefficient to use a landline phone. Examples include faculty or staff members who are conducting research in the field and Facilities Operations and Information Technology (IT) staff members whose daily assignments take them to various sites on campus. This category also includes employees whose responsibilities periodically require travel or emergency contact availability. Examples include Admissions recruiters and faculty and staff who supervise fieldwork. In such instances, it may be appropriate for the department to contract for mobile devices that can be shared among staff members depending on their assignments. Such employees are Group 2 employees for purposes of this policy.
Group 2 employees who wish to have a mobile CID for personal use are expected to carry a second individually owned device. University-owned and supported CIDs are for business purposes only.
All mobile devices and services, whether funded from University, KUCR, KUMCRI or KUEA resources, must be justified on the basis of work assignments, must be recommended by the employee's department head and the appropriate dean, director, vice chancellor, or vice provost. Each campus is responsible for establishing procedures for approval.
This policy does not limit departments from purchasing mobile tablet computers with cellular data capabilities without a data plan for employees to use as substitute or addition to PC or laptop. Employees are also allowed to purchase data plans for KU owned mobile tablet computers by personal choice if their department provides device but does not purchase data plan. If device and data plan are purchased and provided by department, the device falls under Group 2 per this policy.
Group 1 and Group 2 Mobile Device Responsibilities
All employees in Group 1 will receive supplemental salary up to a specified amount per pay period to cover the cost of mobile communication and information devices and services. An employee may not receive more than one mobile CID salary supplement. The amount of supplemental salary authorized is based on whether the supervisor has determined that the employee requires voice only, data only, or voice and data service in order to perform duties. Supplemental salary to cover the cost of mobile CIDs is subject to payroll tax withholdings. It does not constitute an increase in base pay, will not be included in any percentage calculations for increase to base pay, and does not qualify as compensation for retirement contribution purposes. See the Salary Supplement table under the heading of “Mobile Communication and Information Device (CID)” for currently approved supplemental salary amounts.
Employee responsibilities: It is the employee’s responsibility to select and manage the approved level of service and to ensure that the mobile device remains in good working condition. The employee owns the device and is responsible for warranties, repairs, upgrades and replacements.
Employees are responsible for operating state-owned vehicles and potentially hazardous equipment in a safe and prudent manner; therefore, employees should refrain from using mobile devices while operating such vehicles and equipment.
Unit responsibilities: It is the unit head’s responsibility to identify any employees who are included in Group 1. Units with employees who fall into this category are responsible for covering the cost of the approved salary supplement and for reviewing the necessity of the salary supplement by May 1 for the following fiscal year.
For employees in Group 2, The following guidelines apply:
The lowest-cost service plan available to accommodate the particular business need of the employee shall be utilized. The supplier of Mobile CIDs shall be expected to present a monthly billing statement for use by the University, showing for each call the date, time, length, billing charge and phone number of the other party, when such number is available.
The Office of the General Counsel and IT must review all new contracts; IT also must review all renewing service contracts. Normal contract length should be one year. The University owns the device and enters into the contract with the supplier.
Grant or contract funds may not be used for the purchase or installation of mobile equipment and may not be used as the funding source for ongoing monthly charges unless specifically authorized in the grant award or contract document.
Employee responsibilities: Each employee shall be responsible for the safe keeping, care, and custody of the device assigned to the employee. Employees are responsible for operating state-owned vehicles and potentially hazardous equipment in a safe and prudent manner; therefore, employees should refrain from using mobile devices while operating such vehicles and equipment.
Each mobile device user must review the detailed monthly statement for billing accuracy. The user must identify all personal calls (including those that do not generate a charge) and must certify that the KU-supported mobile CID was used for business purposes, with only de minimus personal use. The certified call detail should be received in the appropriate campus office within 12 days of receiving the monthly statement.
The University of Kansas provides mobile devices to employees for the purpose of conducting University business. Employees assigned a University-owned CID are expected to carry a second individually owned device if they wish to have a mobile CID for personal use. In accordance with, IRS regulations, more than de minimis personal use of an employer-provided cell phone is prohibited. When monthly plan minutes are exceeded because of unauthorized personal calls/minutes, the employee must reimburse the department for those minutes and for all related long-distance and roaming charges. The employee’s reimbursement check must be submitted with the signed monthly statement described in the preceding paragraph.
Unit responsibilities: Department heads or supervisors shall periodically review all Mobile CIDs plans used by their employees to evaluate cost efficiency and to ensure compliance with this policy.
Department heads or supervisors will ensure that when an employee changes departments or leaves the University, all equipment (including chargers, extra batteries, hands-free devices, etc.) is returned to the unit and service is cancelled or transferred to an approved employee.
Conducting University business during non-work hours via University cell phones or other phones is a compensable activity for non-exempt (hourly) staff under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if the phone conversation lasts fifteen minutes or more. Supervisors need to be aware of this obligation and manage staff time accordingly.
Departments are required to submit departmental deposit information at the same time that the employee submits the detailed monthly statement described above.
Department heads or supervisors who become aware of a violation of the letter or spirit of this policy shall take such remedial action as may be appropriate to control any such violation.
Failure to comply with this policy, including multiple instances of personal use of a University-owned CID, will result in loss of mobile communication and information device and service privileges and may result in appropriate disciplinary action.
Contact for all programs reporting to the Lawrence campus:
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chief Financial Officer and Vice Provost for Finance
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., 250 Strong Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
Contact for all programs reporting to the University of Kansas Medical Center:
Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor
Vice Chancellor for Administration
Second Floor, Murphy
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
12/10/2021: Fixed broken link.
02/19/2021: Updated links to Lawrence Campus Cell Phone Request forms and procedure.
04/05/2019: Updated policy.
03/08/2019: Changed title from VP for Administration and Finance to Chief Financial Officer and VP for Finance.
06/21/2018: Updated link to KUMC policy.
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
10/17/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
12/18/2013: Purpose statement and title revised to clarify that the policy applies to handheld or tablet computers with cellular data capability.
05/26/2011: This all-University policy was approved by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. It supersedes the cellular phone policies previously in effect at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and the University of Kansas Medical Center.