The university recognizes that cell phones have become a very common business tool allowing employees to carry out their job responsibilities while away from the office. Employees that frequently travel or work outside the office and need to be accessible for business reasons may benefit from a university provided cell phone plan. However, it is also recognized that cell phones are commonly used for personal purposes which the university does not support.
For an employee to be reimbursed for the business usage of a cell phone plan, the individual must demonstrate that a cell phone plan is an integral part of their job and that they could not effectively carry out their job responsibilities without it. Only in situations where a cell phone satisfies a clear and substantial need of a job, will a cell phone be supported and paid for by the university.
A Communication Authorization Form should be filled out in its entirety for any cell phone reimbursement, citing business justifications along with proper signatures.
For your reference the Purchasing Office has negotiated preferred pricing. Refer to the Purchasing website and choose Cell Phone from the commodity listings. Note that the pricing, or the supplier, may change from time to time based on contracted rates negotiated by Purchasing.
A Communication Authorization and Reimbursement Form needs to be completed and routed to the appropriate school official for approval before a cell phone plan can be established. This form requires the employee to identify the business need and how a cell phone is an essential tool in carrying out their job responsibilities. A school dean, executive associate dean (EAD) or vice president must approve all requests, signifying their acceptance that the cell phone has a legitimate business use and is a necessary part of an employee’s job. The completed form should be sent to Accounts Payable, TAB, Medford Campus for direct deposit input, recordkeeping and periodic compliance reviews.
Payment of the cell phone monthly bill will be the responsibility of the employee. Accounts Payable will use the Communication Authorization and Payment Form to identify the payment amount and the associated Dept ID/Account to charge. Although the cell phone plans have been developed under the university’s umbrella, the employee will be responsible for payment of the monthly bill.
The process works as follows:
- Each cell phone plan has a predetermined fee. Before the 10th of every month, Accounts Payable will deposit the predetermined fee into the employee’s bank account on file. An email notification of the deposit will be sent to the employee.
- If the monthly charge is in excess of the predetermined fee, the individual is responsible for the additional cost. The only exception to this is when the additional cost is related to business use. Reimbursement for the additional cost should be processed via a Business Expense Reimbursement Form. School EAD or division vice president approval will be required for a reimbursement of this type.
Lastly, once a plan has been approved by the proper official, the authorized plan and related reimbursement from the university cannot be altered without their consent. This means that a new Communication Authorization and Reimbursement Form must be completed and properly approved before any cell phone plan enhancements or changes take place.
- Home Internet Connectivity is considered a personal expense and will not be reimbursed by the university.
- Internet connectivity at wireless points while traveling on university business is a reimbursable expense.
- Internet connectivity through hotels while traveling on university business is a reimbursable expense as well.
- Internet connectivity through air cards, netbooks, etc. need to be justified as to its’ significant business use and consistent need. A Tufts Communication Authorization and Reimbursement Form must be completed and approved by your school or division EAD/VP.
Driver Responsibility Clause:
Use of university-owned cell phones while driving is prohibited. In case of emergency, drivers should pull over to the side of the road before using a cell phone, even if the driver is using a hands-free device.