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Cell Phone Policy

Eddie Price's Profile

Does anyone in the group have a cell phone policy that they could share. Our company wants to provide mobile phones for high frequency travels and a stipend for employees that work outside normal business hours. Looking for some ideas on wording and structure. thanks


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

The policy I've used is simple.

Domestic Usage & Data:
Flat $ per month, period. Since one can change minute plans daily, it is up to the employee to have the correct plan (if they can manage to make a few bucks, so be it).

International Calls from US:
A little trickier, especially if you have employees with international friendships. But, we paid all International Usage with the caveat to audit the phone records. I found one of our employees had a boyfriend in England and was racking up hundreds of dollars talking to him. She paid the company back.

Foreign Usage:
If on a business trip, we paid for all calls, with the proviso that the calls be kept short and only for important business.

If on a holiday, only for business related numbers (and we checked the numbers).

Foreign Data:
None. We we paid for WiFi access. International data is just absurd (the next item that will get revolutionized).

Vik Agrawal
Title: President & Co-Founder
Company: ExpensePath, Inc.
(President & Co-Founder, ExpensePath, Inc.) |

This is from a policy guideline document we provide to customers of our expense reporting solution and is based on what we see across our customer base:

Cell phone allowances vary by employee job function with executives and field personnel having larger allowances. Common limits:
- $50 to $100 per month for non-essential users
- $125 to $150 per month or unlimited for Sales and Executives
- Higher or unlimited for international travelers

The key thing is to provide guidelines that match each employee's needs to best do their job, limit/police spend above that, and automate the policy checking.

Eddie Price
Title: CFO
Company: Shoe Sensation
(CFO, Shoe Sensation) |

thanks for the feedback, it appears that both companies provide a stipend as opposed to having a corporate account and equipment?

(CFO) |

As a public agency, we contract with a major cell service for cell phones for all execs and management. We get very good, government group pricing and free phone upgrade offers every two years.

And, on the rare occasion that an exec travels outside the country, we can temporarily add international service so that they are reachable.

(This is the one policy I have a problem with as, IMHO it is abused by senior execs who claim they need coverage when on vacation outside the U.S. We could really live without them for a week or two and, what they really want is paid personal use of a cellphone while traveling abroad for personal reasons. It's not really for substantive, business purposes.)

We do limit the choice of the actual phones to what our provider will give us free or for minimal cost. i.e. the newest Apple iPhone offerings that require substantial purchase up front are usually not available to our employees as part of what we are willing to pay.

We retain control of the phones and contracts. If an employee leaves, they have to turn in their phone. We will pass it on to their replacement or, terminate that phone within our contract if the position is not being filled.

We "suggest" minimal personal use of agency issued cell phones but do not regulate closely. If we did, our CEO would be in big trouble! ;-(

Although I would normally be tempted to say, in a fiduciary capacity that, this was an overly generous policy, it is actually very accommodating of the agency and the employee needs to which it applies. I can't see where we'd have substantive savings over reimbursement schemes or, strict 'no personal use' policies like we once had.

When I came to work here, I had to carry two cellphones: My personal one on my own plan and, my work issued one, that had no personal use allowed. It was a royal pain!

What we do now is better for all; key employee and agency alike.

We actually have a bigger problem IMHO with the personal cellphones of the other employees in that, they use them all day long when they should be concentrating on their job duties and not texting their children or spouses or gossiping on Facebook with friends.

Edward Thill
Title: VP - Finance & Operations
Company: Performance Trust
(VP - Finance & Operations, Performance Trust) |

Note that an employee must substantiate that they have incurred at least the amount of the reimbursement in order for that "reimbursement" to be tax-free. If the employee is paid a stipend without documentation, the stipend is taxable compensation.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

One might think so. But, as of a few years ago, the IRS has relaxed substantiation policies for business use of cell phones.;-Provides-Small-Business-Recordkeeping-Relief

Sweet deal!

Eddie Price
Title: CFO
Company: Shoe Sensation
(CFO, Shoe Sensation) |

trying to avoid the two cell phone issue and be employee friendly. Yet, don't want to get in a situation where the company has to provide a replacement phone every time an employee breaks or loses. trying to establish the position that company offers a company-paid Verizon service plan for management that travels. if the employee is on a different provider, then the company will provide a phone for the employee to switch, but the equipment is then the responsibility of the employee. we would gross up wages for the payroll taxes. if employee chose not to switch providers, then we would offer a stipend that was 75% of the monthly cost of the company provider service. currently, stipends are all over the board, as well as, who gets a phone and who doesn't, really need some consistency.
thanks for all the feedback.

Eric Lau
Title: Regulatory Reporting Manager
Company: Bank of Hawaii
(Regulatory Reporting Manager, Bank of Hawaii) |

In addition to monthly stipend/reimbursement, I had policy where employee will get up to a flat amount for cell phone purchase every 3 years or so, then the phone will be own/responsible by the employee.

Edward Thill
Title: VP - Finance & Operations
Company: Performance Trust
(VP - Finance & Operations, Performance Trust) |

It's my understanding that the relaxed substantiation requirements are only with regard to the maintenance of call records justifying the business nature of the expense. It does not relieve the necessity to substantiate that the expense was actually incurred and as such is a reimbursement rather than a stipend/compensation. Anybody else have experience in this area?

(Finance Manager) |

The contributor from the public agency should remind all govt. issued cell phone usuage is subject to public record requests. As my boss reminds us all the time, do not do anything on your computer or cell phone that you do not want to see on the front page of the paper. Therefore all cell phone and computer usage must be work related.


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