Financial Affairs – 05.A.21 - Wireless Communications Equipment and

Memo To:
All UH-Downtown/PS Holders
UH-Downtown/PS 05.A.21
Issue No. 4
William Flores, President
Effective date: 03/23/11
Page 1 of 6
Wireless Communications Equipment and Service Policy
This document outlines the University of Houston-Downtown policy regarding the use of
wireless communication devices and internet service for university business.
Regularly Assigned Place of Employment: The location on the university campus
where an employee usually and customarily reports for work. The regularly assigned
place of employment is considered an employee's workstation for all pay, leave and
travel purposes.
Wireless Communication Devices: Cellular telephones or personal digital assistants
(PDA) with email capability.
PDA: (Personal Digital Assistant): A handheld device that has the capability to
combine telephone/fax, internet and networking features.
Internet Service: Service through which access to the World Wide Web (www) is
obtained, generally for the purposes of sending/receiving electronic mail or web
University employees may be eligible to have wireless communication devices or
internet service, or some combination thereof, provided through the university by way
of either the Monthly Stipend Plan or University Paid Plan.
Supervisors may request approval for a wireless communication device and/or
internet service for an employee by completing a Communications Stipend
Request and submitting it to the division head. The request must outline the
reason the device and/or service is needed, the benefit to the university, the local
funding source to pay for the device/service, and acknowledgement by the
employee of having read this policy, PS 05.A.21. When approved by the
division head, a copy of the approval must be sent to the Vice President for
Administration and Finance.
Option 1 – Monthly Stipend Plan
If an employee’s job duties require the use of a wireless communication device
and/or internet service, the university may elect to provide the employee with a
monthly stipend for wireless communication and/or internet services, and
reimbursement for the purchase of a wireless communication device, not to
exceed once every five years. (See sections 3.2.6 and 3.2.7 for further
Employees earning less than $100,000 and meeting one of the criteria below
may be eligible for a communications stipend. Due to the nature of their
position, select employees earning $100,000 or more may be eligible for a
communications stipend. Exceptions require approval by the respective
division head and president.
a) Employees key for critical need situations requiring 24/7 contact
b) Employees not normally present at a regularly assigned work station
c) Employees in positions requiring frequent and/or prolonged business travel
d) Employees whose job duties require working off-campus extensively and/or
frequent telephone interaction with external constituents during on-and-off
duty hours
The service contract for wireless communication devices and/or the internet is
the responsibility of the employee. Should the employee be terminated or
choose to leave the employment of the university, the university will be
responsible for covering any service contract cancellation fee, not to exceed
$200. The university will have no other obligation to the service provider. The
employee is responsible for paying all amounts due as agreed between the
employee and provider(s).
An employee receiving a monthly stipend from the university may not receive a
stipend or reimbursement for the same or similar equipment or service from
another department at UHD or a component university.
An employee may receive two communication stipends – one for a wireless
communication device and one for home internet service.
Equipment and Activation
a. Equipment Reimbursement: A partial reimbursement may be provided for
the acquisition of a communication device, not to exceed once every five
years. The amount of the reimbursement may be up to one-half of the actual
expense, not to exceed $50 for a cell phone or $100 for a PDA. The
communication device obtained by the employee seeking reimbursement is
the property of the employee. Equipment reimbursement requests must be
initiated on a purchase voucher, accompanied by a copy of the purchase
b. Loss, theft or damage to device: UHD will not provide replacement costs for
any loss, theft or damage to the equipment; it is, therefore, recommended
that individuals consider purchasing device insurance through the service
c. Individuals are responsible for taking appropriate measures for protecting
and securing university information/data received and sent on any mobile
devices including their personal cell phones and PDAs in accordance with
all applicable policies, regulations, and laws.
Monthly Stipend
A monthly stipend of $30, less applicable payroll taxes, will be provided to
employees approved for a cellular telephone. A monthly stipend of $$60,
less applicable payroll taxes, will be provided to employees approved for a
PDA. A monthly stipend of $ 30, less applicable payroll taxes, will be
provided to employees approved for internet service.
The monthly stipend is provided to offset expenses associated with UHD
business. This stipend is not intended to cover 100% of the fees and service
charges incurred under an individual’s plan.
Eligible employees may choose any provider and plan. Provider contracts
resulting from such choices are between the employee and the provider and
in no way obligate UHD.
Monthly communication stipends and reimbursements for the purchase of a
wireless communication device are taxable compensation subject to required tax
withholdings (see SAM 03.D.06, Taxable Fringe Benefits). Such stipends and
reimbursements are not an entitlement and are not part of the employee’s base
salary. Stipends do not qualify as compensation for TRS or ORP contribution
purposes. Payment of withholding taxes is the responsibility of the employee
and shall not be reimbursed to the employee by the university.
Option 2 – University Paid Plan
Employees who do not view the Monthly Stipend Plan as adequate to meet their
work-related communication needs may opt for the University Paid Plan.
Under the University Paid Plan, a wireless communication device will be
provided by the university. The university will be the client of the
communications provider and will pay in full any initial and subsequent
invoices for equipment and/or services.
Employees choosing the University Paid Plan must sign a Business-Use-Only
Verification form each month, which must be attached to the communications
invoice before the Accounts Payable department may process payment. In
signing the Business-Use-Only Verification form, the employee is certifying
that all use of the communications device is for business-purposes only. If in
review it is discovered that the employee fraudulently misrepresented the use of
the device/services, disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including
termination. Periodic, random audits will be performed throughout the year by
the Business Affairs Office.
Exceptions to the Business-Use-Only provision will be made only for those
instances where the employee faces threats to life/safety that could be mitigated
by use of a wireless communication device.
Under either plan, employees must provide the department with the current wireless
communication number within five working days of activation.
Under either plan, employees must notify the department within five working days of
inactivation of the device or service. An employee is prohibited from continuing to
receive a stipend when the service or device is no longer active or needed.
If, at any point, there is no longer a business need for the employee to have a wireless
communications device and/or internet services, it is the responsibility of the supervisor
to complete an ePAR, revoking the previous arrangement.
Purchase of communication accessories, including but not limited to Bluetooth,
chargers, batteries, adapters, carrying cases and headsets, is at manager’s discretion for
either the Monthly Stipend Plan or the University Paid Plan.
The University of Houston-Downtown does not endorse any particular service provider
or plan.
Communications Stipend Requests
To initiate a communications stipend, the employee’s supervisor shall submit a
completed Communications Stipend Request to the appropriate department
head. If the Request is approved, the Request will be forwarded to the
respective division head.
The division head approves or denies the Request. If approved and the
employee earns $100,000 or more, the Request will be forwarded to the
President for action.
If approved, an ePAR will be initiated and a copy of the approved Request will
be attached to the ePAR to document approval of stipend. If denied, the
Request will be sent back to the originator.
A copy of the approved Request is sent to the Vice President for Administration
and Finance.
Once the fully executed ePAR is received by the Payroll Department, the
communications stipend will be initiated with an effective date of:
For monthly employees – first working day of the following month, and;
For hourly employees – first pay period of the following month.
Termination of Communications Stipend
Immediate termination of an employee’s communications stipend or access to
university-paid communications/internet service may occur for any of the
following reasons:
a. Employee no longer meets eligibility requirements; or
b. there is a change in an employee’s job responsibilities, such that the monthly
stipend plan or university paid plan are no longer applicable; or
c. the employee has terminated employment with the university.
If on the Monthly Stipend Plan, an ePAR will be initiated to revoke the
Communications Stipend Request; if on the University Paid Plan, the
communication device will be retrieved and the service cancelled.
There are no exhibits associated with this policy.
Responsible Party: (Reviewer): Vice President for Administration and Finance
Review: Every three years on or before August 1st.
Signed original on file in Employment Services and Operations.
Issue #1: 02/17/09
Issue #2: 09/10/09
Issue #3: 08/12/10
UH System Memorandum 03.D.06