Minnesota State Procedure

Part 1: Purpose. Electronic communication is an important part of contemporary business practices, including the operations of colleges. The purpose of this procedure is to clarify institution and employee responsibilities associated with provision of cellular devices and mobile computing devices.

Part 2: Definitions

Subpart A: Cellular device. Cellular device means a cell phone or a mobile computing device with voice capability. A cellular device is characterized by the fact that service plan cost generally is determined by the amount of use.

Subpart B: Mobile computing devices. Mobile computing devices are portable computing and telecommunications devices that can execute programs. This definition includes, but is not limited to, notebooks, Palmtops, personal digital assistants, IPods, BlackBerry devices, and cell phones with internet browsing capability. Use of a mobile computing device may or may not require a wireless communication service plan or incur connection charges.

Subpart C: Department cellular device. A cellular device purchased and maintained by the college department or division for use by more than one employee or other authorized user while engaged in their assigned duties.

Subpart D: Other wireless communication service. Other wireless communication service is any subscription-based communications service that relies on commercial cellular services for data or voice transmissions. These services are often marketed using names such as mobile content, wireless music services, cellular services, 3G wireless services, text messaging services, digital cellular services, mobile wireless services, mobile data services, wireless data services, wireless telecommunications services, analog cellular services, cellular data services, etc.

Subpart E: Voice over Internet Protocol applications or VoIP. Voice over Internet Protocol applications and related devices are outside the scope of this procedure. The downloading of VoIP applications onto System-owned equipment is governed by college Procedure 5.22.1, Acceptable Use of Computers and Information Technology Resources.

Part 3: Eligibility for Cellular Device, Mobile Computing Device, or Other Wireless Communication Service Plans. The college may provide a cellular device or a mobile computing device, or other wireless communication service plans to an employee if it is determined by the college, to be a necessary business expense under one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Availability of device and service is integral to the performance of specific duties within the employee’s job description;
  2. A substantial portion of the employee’s work is conducted outside of the building or buildings where the employee is assigned to work;
  3. The employee does not have an assigned office or workspace and needs to be contacted on a regular basis by college constituents for assigned services or to provide needed information;
  4. It is a job requirement that the employer be able to reach the employee outside of the employee’s normal work hours. The college is not required to provide a device or service plan.

Part 4: Authorization and Annual Review

Subpart A: Authorization. To be approved for a device (and service plan, if applicable) under this procedure, the following procedures are applicable:

  1. The supervisor of an employee requesting the device and plan must determine if the employee meets the threshold eligibility requirements in Part 3.
  2. A device shall be issued only if approved by an authorized administrator of the college.
  3. Documentation to support the decision to issue the device and plan must be retained by the Vice President of Finance & Administration consistent with records retention standards and be available for review and audit.
  4. The Vice President of Finance and Administration will procure devices and plans through the college’s purchasing agreements.

Subpart B: Annual review. The employee’s supervisor and the authorized administrator annually must review and document the continued business need for the device and plan.

Part 5: Employee Responsibilities

  1. An employee who receives a cellular device or mobile computing device under this procedure is responsible for ensuring that the device is available for service during applicable business hours and as needed.
  2. The employee must immediately return the device upon request by the employee’s supervisor or upon the end of employment.
  3. The employee must comply with the provisions in this procedure.

Part 6: Cellular Devices

Subpart A: Personal use prohibited. Personal use of a cellular device and plan issued under this procedure is prohibited. Personal use may result in revocation of the employee’s cellular device and plan usage. Except in the case of an essential use, the employee is subject to disciplinary action for the unauthorized use of the cellular device or plan. A call is considered essential if the employee establishes that the personal call was:

  1. An unsolicited and isolated incoming call; or
  2. of minimum duration, urgent in nature, and could not have been made from a different telephone.

Employees must reimburse the state for all personal calls at the rate established by the Office of the Chancellor Finance Division.

Subpart B: Monthly review of invoices. The employee must review and initial the cellular device invoice monthly and identify any use not permitted under this procedure before submitting the invoice to the employee’s supervisor or authorized administrator assigned to review and approve the monthly cellular device bill.

Subpart C: Payment options for cellular devices and plans. The college may pay for business-related cellular devices and plans only through either reimbursement to the employee for occasional, incremental actual expenses or direct payment to a vendor for a cellular device and service plan owned and managed by the institution unless otherwise authorized by a collective bargaining agreement.

Subpart D: Reimbursement for occasional, incremental actual expenses. Business calls. Occasional business call expenses made from an employee’s personal cellular device are eligible for reimbursement if:

  1. The employee has not been issued a cellular device by a college, or the assigned cellular device does not receive service in the area from or to which the call was made; and
  2. The employee has incremental costs directly attributable to the business calls. Reimbursement shall be made in accordance with guidance provided by the Office of the Chancellor.

Subpart E: Personal calls while on travel status. Certain bargaining agreements or compensation plans provide that an employee in travel status overnight may claim expense reimbursement for actual personal telephone calls up to a defined limit. Employees who are issued a cellular device may make limited personal calls in lieu of claiming such reimbursement for calls while in travel status.

Subpart F: Department cellular devices. The college may purchase cellular device equipment and service plans if the college determines the cellular device is necessary for the efficient operation of a department and the cellular device will be used by more than one individual.

  1. A department cellular device shall be used solely for business purposes. The equipment is designated as property of the college and must be returned to the department daily or as required. Examples of such department users might include, but are not limited to, maintenance or security personnel who need to be accessible by phone during their work shift.
  2. Purchase of department cellular device equipment or service plans must be approved by an authorized administrator. At the time of purchase, the responsible party for each department cellular device must be identified. The responsible party must perform the actions required under this procedure.

Date Proposed: April, 2010

Date Implementation: October, 2010