Purchase and Reimbursement of Expenses for Mobile Communications Equipment and Related Service Plans

Purpose

To establish the limited circumstances in which campus units may purchase mobile communications equipment and/or related service plans for employees, or provide employees with a stipend or reimbursement for business use of personally-owned mobile communications equipment and/or related service plans.

Scope

All university employees and all campus units

Authority

Office of the Chancellor

Policy

Except as set forth in this policy and in applicable policies for reimbursement of travel expenditures, campus units may not

  1. directly purchase mobile communications equipment and/or related service plans, including voice, text, and data plans, for business or personal use by individual employees; and/or
  2. provide a stipend or reimbursement to employees for business use of personally-owned mobile communications equipment or related service plans, including voice, text, and data plans.

With the approval of the applicable college-level chief executive (Dean or Vice Chancellor), or the Vice Chancellor or Associate/Vice Provost to whom the unit reports for units not within a college, certain employees may qualify for a taxable stipend to defray the cost of using personally-owned mobile communication equipment and related service plans for university business. To qualify,

  1. the employee must
    1. work in advancement, information technology, or public safety; or
    2. be a faculty member who travels frequently on university business; and
  2. the employee’s job must require the use of mobile communications equipment and/or voice, text, or data plans.

In rare circumstances, the campus-level chief executive may, by submitting an exception request, approve a request for a stipend for an employee who does not otherwise meet the above requirements. Employees who receive a taxable stipend under these circumstances may be subject to applicable university substantiation rules, which require evidence of the employee’s need for either the stipend or the mobile communications equipment.

With approval by the college-level chief executive (Dean or Vice Chancellor), campus units may purchase mobile communication equipment, including pagers, and related service plans for groups of employees to share for university business purposes. The campus unit must:

  1. identify and request equipment or services that meet business needs in the most economical fashion;
  2. obtain approval from the college-level chief executive (Dean or Vice Chancellor) for the purchase and retain documentation regarding the approval;
  3. work through OBFS Purchasing in Urbana (UrbanaPurchasing@uillinois.edu) to make the purchase; and
  4. monitor use of shared equipment and related services to determine that use is solely for university business purposes.

Processes/Procedures/Guidelines

To request a taxable stipend for mobile communications, submit a request, along with the College-Level Employee Stipend Approval Form, to the campus human resources office through the HR Front End (HRFE) system. The form requires verifying that

  1. the employee
    1. works in advancement, information technology, or public safety; or
    2. is a faculty member who travels frequently on university business; and
  2. the employee’s job requires the use of mobile communications equipment and/or voice, text, or data plans.

The college-level chief executive (Dean or Vice Chancellor) or Vice Chancellor, or Associate/Vice Provost to whom the unit reports for units not within a college, must sign the form indicating approval of the request.

To submit an exception request, submit the Stipend or Purchase Exception Request Form with details supporting the business need for the exception, to provostbudget@illinois.edu. If the request is approved, submit the approved form to the campus Human Resources office via the HRFE system. Retain copies of the submitted forms for your records.

For applicable dollar limits on the amount of such stipend, refer to OBFS Business and Financial Policies and Procedures, Section 8, Request an Employee Stipend for Mobile Communications . The applicable stipend amount is added to the employee’s appointment. The amount of the stipend may not be grossed-up for tax purposes. Stipends remain in effect until the employing unit notifies the campus human resources office to remove the stipend from the employee’s appointment.

For information regarding reimbursement of expenses incurred for mobile communications and related service plans while in travel status on university business, see OBFS Business and Financial Policies and Procedures, Section 8: Payments and Reimbursements, Request Reimbursement for Domestic or International Employee Travel and Business Meals.

Exceptions

The requirements for obtaining an exception to this policy are set forth above.

Contact

Associate Provost for Budgets and Resource Planning, provostbudget@illinois.edu.