Cell Phone Stipend Plan
Below is information regarding the BGSU Cellular Telephone Stipend Plan. In addition to the instructions below, there are links to an application form and the Cellular Services Policy.
Reasons for the creation of the cellular telephone stipend plan
Definition of a Cell Phone and Service
Determining employee eligibility
Determining the dollar amount for the stipend
Establishing the stipend and service
Transitioning from University owned phones to the stipend plan
Stipend as taxable income
How Payment to the Employee will be made
Using the cell phone service
Department responsibilities and documentation requirements
Purchase of the Cellular Telephone Equipment
Where to get help
The purpose of this plan is to comply with federal and state regulations and streamline the recordkeeping and reimbursement activities. The information below is provided as guidelines to the Divisions/departments. The processes/procedures in your areas may be more restrictive.
Departmental policy regarding issuing cellular telephone stipends may be more (but not less) restrictive than University policy. For example, the department may set a lower maximum dollar amount, or restrict the stipend to only those with local cell phone numbers, or suggest that employees remain with the same carrier to reduce cell to cell costs, etc. The cellular phone policy is to make it flexible for how departments handle the use of the devices by their employees, e.g. choosing an appropriate dollar amount (low, medium or high) for the stipend.
Cellular telephone service for the purposes of this plan is any service that is being used, in any measure, to make or receive wireless voice or data calls or interactions on the public cellular telephone networks.
A cellular telephone (cell phone) for the purposes of this plan is any device that is capable of using the services provided by the public cellular telephone networks. These devices vary from a simple telephone device that allows calls to be made and received and perhaps provide simple features such as a phone number directory, simple appointment calendar, and calculator to more complex phones that can do simple text messaging and synchronizing directory and calendar data with computers, to devices with telephone features and PDA (personal digital assistant) capabilities which would include fully synchronized contact databases, calendars, e-mail, and web browsing, to general computers with cellular phone network cards.
Who is eligible? Any university employee who has a need to use a cell phone for business purposes is eligible.
What is meant by “need”? At management’s discretion, a monthly stipend will be issued to those employees that are in positions required to be on-call or available on a regular basis.
Follow these steps to determine the dollar amount (low, medium, high, or other):
- Project business use to the best of your ability. What number of minutes per month is the employee likely to expend on business-related calls? If the device allows messaging, e-mail retrieval, internet use, etc., what is the likely cost for its other business uses? Use any history you may have for this position to help with the projection. See How do you determine your cellular services stipend? for suggestions.
- Find a plan that best and most economically meets that projected business use. See below for links to providers. NOTE: Always mention your association with Bowling Green State University. Most providers have discounts available to University employees.
- If the employee already has a personal cell phone, there is no requirement to obtain a second phone. Project the costs that would be incurred for business use if the employee began using the current personal phone for business purposes as well as personal use. Consider changing the basic plan if necessary.
- Costs for cosmetic or technical extras or upgrades that have no business purpose, or any personal use that might be expected, cannot be included.
- Use the Cellular Services Stipend Authorization Form that is available on the Office of the CIO Policies page.
- Fill out the form completely with consultation with your supervisor, obtain signatures, and forward the form to your supervisor who will forward it to the Vice President. Completed forms are sent to Human Resources who processes them.
- If you don’t already have a personal cell phone (or a university phone), apply for the stipend and acquire your own service from the carrier of your choice. To ensure that you get the best pricing and monthly discounts, mention your association with Bowling Green State University. It may be required to show a University ID if shopping in the store.
- If you already have a personal phone, apply for the stipend and modify your rate plan to accommodate business usage.
Employees that currently have cell phone services through Bowling Green State University may retain their current phone number if they desire to do so. Simply apply for the stipend and once it’s approved, BGSU will release your cell phone number from the university account. If using any of the following vendors, you will need:
- Alltel: current account number phone is being billed to; the name of the account as it appears on the current bill; the tax id associated with the current account; password or pass code on the current account being billed, if applicable.
- Sprint/Nextel: current account number phone is being billed to; billing address as it appears on the current bill; pin code associated with the current account.
- Verizon: a Transfer of Billing Responsibilities form, for Verizon to Verizon only, will have to be filled out and signed by both the personal user and the University Account contact.
To acquire the information needed to transition your University owned phone to the stipend plan, please contact the Technology Support Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (419) 372-0999. An incident for the request will be created and forwarded to the appropriate person.
The employee’s cellular telephone stipend is taxable income. Other employee deductions such as retirement are not affected by the stipend.
The stipend will be paid in the month that the form is received and entered into the system as long as all proper completed paperwork is received prior to data entering deadlines for payroll processing. For those paid on a biweekly schedule, the stipend will be paid on the 1st and 2nd check of the month in half of the monthly stipend amount.
Note that the stipend does not constitute an increase in base pay and will not be included in any percentage calculations for increase to base.
The cell phone service is personally-owned, and may therefore be used for both personal and business calls. An employee with a cellular telephone stipend must maintain an active cell phone contract for the life of the stipend.
Note that misuse of the phone, using it in ways inconsistent with University policy or with local, state or federal laws, can result in immediate cancellation of the cellular telephone stipend.
The department must maintain a file containing a copy of the Cellular Services Stipend Authorization Form, and a copy of the related cell phone contract, showing that an active contract exists for the stipend period requested. It is the Vice President’s responsibility to review cell phone needs in his or her unit on an annual basis, to determine if stipends should be changed, continued, discontinued, or if new stipends are needed. A copy will also be filed in the employee’s personnel file in the Office of Human Resources.
- Stipends will not be provided for the cellular hardware (i.e. phones, accessories, etc.) and is the responsibility of the employee
- Under no circumstances are state funds or a Purchasing Card to be used to purchase cellular telephone equipment which is used under this Cellular Telephone Stipend Plan.
Use this form to terminate a stipend. Only the Chair/Director's signature is required on a stipend termination request.
Use this form to adjust a stipend. All signatures listed on the form are required.
Contact the Technology Support Center for assistance at email@example.com or by calling 2-0999.