9.17 Technology Allowances

Last Updated
Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 2:33 pm

Policy Information

Policy Number: 9.17 Effective Date: 07/01/2018
Responsible Unit: FSO - Financial Management Last Revised Date: 05/17/2018
Email: fin-mgmt@fso.arizona.edu Phone: 520.621.9097

Purpose and Summary

The University of Arizona recognizes that the performance of certain job responsibilities may be enhanced by the provision of various forms of technology, including but not limited to communication devices, data lines, and internet service providers. This policy guides departments in the processing of technology allowances that conform with applicable regulations.

Departments and colleges may establish procedures that are more restrictive, in terms of eligibility and allowance amount, than this University-wide policy.

Source

Internal Revenue Service
UA FIN-101 Misuse of University Assets

Scope

This policy applies University-wide, including Main Campus, the Arizona Health Sciences Campus, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and the University of Arizona – South. In addition, this policy applies to all off-site campus units both domestic and international for technology allowances for all University benefits eligible employees.

Definitions

  1. Technology Service/Device: Devices or services not limited to communication devices, data lines, and internet service providers.
  2. Authorized employee: University employee whose job duties and responsibilities require a technology allowance, as determined by the departmental senior leadership.
  3. Business use: The use of technology services and devices by an authorized employee to perform their job responsibilities that contribute to and further the mission of the University.
  4. Personal use: The use of technology services and devices that are not necessary or do not contribute to furthering the mission of the University.

Policy

  1. The University may, in exceptional cases and at departmental senior leadership discretion, pay for certain technology costs incurred by authorized employees in their general employment relationship with the University. The guiding principle for eligibility is that the use of a technology allowance by an employee is for the benefit of the University, rather than for the convenience of the employee.
  2. The University complies with the Internal Revenue Code for proper taxation and reporting of communication/technology expenses paid directly to and/or on behalf of employees. Payments will have taxes withheld based on the employee’s selections on their Federal and State Withholding forms (Federal W-4 and State A-4).
  3. Any device/service contract is solely the responsibility of the employee. Any contract for the device/service, along with any problems that may result from that established relationship, is between the employee and the provider. The University's only involvement is the allowance to the employee.

Procedures

Technology Allowances

  1. Approval and Authorization: It is the responsibility of the dean, director, or department head to establish that a compelling University business purpose exists for providing a technology allowance (e.g., it enhances work performance, increases efficiency, etc.). Departments should review requirements at least annually to ensure that a compelling University business purpose continues to exist for each technology allowance. Departmental senior leaders may revoke or reduce technology allowances if a compelling purpose no longer exists, or at their sole discretion, that it is no longer in the best interest of the unit.
  2. Supporting Documentation and Review of Allowances: Departments are not required to review the employee’s technology service/device expenses or obtain copies of the employee’s bill. However, departments should review and document their decision to provide the allowance and the amount of the allowance at least annually based on their fiduciary responsibility to manage University resources in an efficient and effective manner. When granting the technology allowance, the department should document the business purpose and need for the allowance in the comments box of the technology allowance payment request. This can be accomplished by completing the Technology Allowance Form. Direct supervisors are responsible for the communication of the purpose and effect of the allowance to the authorized employee.
  3. Payment of Technology Allowance: To initiate payment of a Technology Allowance, the department must process a Payment Request in UAccess Employee, A copy of the signed Technology Allowance form must be included. The payment is considered to be additional compensation and is subject to Employee Related Expense (ERE) matching, however the allowance is not part of the employee’s base salary. See Payroll’s website for information on payment request submissions.
  4. Funding: Departments must ensure that they have available budget balance to fund anticipated charges for the term of the allowance. Restrictions apply on sponsored project funds.

Funding Restrictions

  1. Sponsored Project Accounts: Contact Sponsored Projects and Contracting Services (SPCS) as many funding agencies do not allow technology allowance costs as direct charges to the sponsored project account. 
  2. Questions regarding technology allowance funding sources for non-sponsored accounts should be directed to the department’s Financial Services Office Fund Accountant.

Special Situations

  1. Departmentally owned contracts with pooled-minute plans. Certain units may have special needs that justify departmental ownership of cell phones with a pooled-minute plan. Delivery drivers, maintenance personnel, custodians, information technology services, nursing unit rotations, security, parking ramp personnel, and police officers are examples where phones are assigned or rotated among employees. This would also include organizations that have multiple employees sharing a single cellular phone for on-call rotations. Faculty and staff may qualify for only intermittent and temporary use of departmentally owned cell phones when the department determines there is a valid, documented business need. In this instance, the communication device can be provided to the employee under a pooled-minute plan for the department. Routine calls for personal use are not allowed on these contracts and are considered a violation of University policy.
  2. Ineligible Employees who are not eligible for a technology allowance may submit a request for reimbursement for occasional, incremental business expenses.  Incremental business expenses are those calls that result in additional costs above and beyond the employee’s normal calling plan (e.g., excess minutes, roaming charges).  When requesting reimbursement, the expenses incurred must be substantiated with the business purpose and documented with a copy of the bill in accordance with University policy and with applicable federal and state laws and regulations.  An example of a bona fide policy exception would be occasions where employees are traveling for University business and make calls to work that involve roaming charges.  The University may reimburse those employees for their additional out-of-pocket roaming charges; such expenses should be treated as travel expenses and sought at the same time as other travel expense reimbursement.
  3. International expenses. For employees who receive technology allowances, the procedure allows for reimbursement of incremental expenses incurred when international travel is involved for official business calls and data transfer.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does everyone get compensation for a personally owned electronic device?
    No. Employees receive compensation only if their specific job duties require they carry a mobile device, and then only in an amount necessary to cover anticipated business use.
     
  2. What is the University’s policy on the use of mobile devices while driving?
    Employees shall comply with applicable laws regarding the use of cell phones while driving and avoid cell phone use that may jeopardize the safety of the employee or others. Such use may include texting, emailing, or verbal communication. Please see the University’s policy at http://policy.arizona.edu/facilities-and-safety/restriction-mobile-device-use.
     
  3. How will I receive compensation for my electronic device and service?
    Employees approved by their department for a technology allowance will receive payment as a post-tax fringe benefit to their pay. Allowances will begin after a Technology Allowance Form is submitted, approved and processed.
     
  4. Why do some employees receive allowances but I am exempt and do not?
    Technology allowances are based on job duties, therefore, are not granted by position alone. If you feel your duties warrant a technology allowance, you will need approval from your supervisor.
     
  5. What are the security requirements for personally owned devices?
    When using a personal electronic device for University official business, users are reminded that they are subject to all University policies. In particular, users should be mindful of the Security Requirements for Handling Information as well as other policies and procedures regarding the secure use and transmission of University data. See the University’s resource for Mobile Devices Security.
     
  6. What is a “Business Purpose” for a technology allowance?
    Allowances are not an entitlement or perk, but rather one where:
    • The employee is responsible in emergency matters where they must be available while on call during the identified business period.
    • The employee does not have access to a landline or other communication device when doing a substantial portion of his or her job (defined as 75 percent of the identified business period).
    • The employee’s job effectiveness will show a significant increase through the use of a mobile device.
       
  7. May a new employee receive an allowance prior to being established in UAccess Employee?
    No, the allowance is paid on the employee’s paycheck and the employee must exist as an ‘active’ employee in UAccess Employee to initiate the payment request. Individuals on DCC status are not eligible for technology allowance(s).
     
  8. Are there instances where a “reasonable” technology expense would be reimbursed to an employee?
    In rare circumstances a reimbursement instead of an allowance may be acceptable. Please see “special situations” above. 

Related Information

Business Purpose Guide