Cellphones for UCI Business: Usage and Reimbursement Guidelines

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The information on this page supports the UC-wide requirement for issuing and using cellphones for university business. For more information, you should review UC Policy G-46: Guidelines for the Purchase and Use of Cellular Phones and Other Portable Electronic Resources. Your department might have more restrictive guidelines, so please check with your business office.

Personal Cellphone Reimbursements

An employee may request reimbursement for the business use of a cellphone or similar device purchased with the employee’s own funds. If the individual incurs additional charges on a calling plan for business calls over the plan limit, the University will reimburse those charges at the excess minute rate, upon receipt of supporting documentation.

Unacceptable Reimbursements

No reimbursements shall be made for the following situations:

  • Business calls made within the coverage of the personal calling and/or data plan.
  • Partial business use on an Internet, fax, messaging, or similar service purchased with an employee’s own funds.

Acceptable Reimbursements

The following guidelines must be met if you use your personal cell phone for UCI business:

  • Your data charge must be listed as a separate item charge from regular calling plan on your bill.  Reasonable reimbursement of the data plan is 15% to 20%.  A completed and signed Cell Phone UCI Agreement form must be submitted - be sure to check the 'Services' box, for each month.
  • You can be reimbursed for data and texting services only if it's more cost-effective than having UCI issue a data-only device in your name.
  • Your Department must indicate that texting is a business requirement on the reimbursement request.
  • Your cellphone must be issued in your name.
  • You will not be reimbursed for business calls that fall within the regular charges of your calling plan or personal rollover minutes.
  • You will not be reimbursed for personal calls that exceed your contract limit.
  • You will not be reimbursed for cellphone insurance/protection plan.
  • You can request reimbursement for business calls that result in charges beyond your regular calling plan.

If you have met the above criteria, your department may make a reimbursement request by submitting a Disbursement Voucher (DV) using Payment Code G. Include an itemized statement identifying each business call.

UCI-Provided Cellphones

Departments can provide cellphones to employees for UCI business. Department heads base their decisions on factors that include an employee's:

  • Frequency and duration of business travel
  • Need to conduct business from off-site or remote locations
  • Need for contact in emergencies or outside typical work hours
  • Frequency of telecommuting

Purchasing Cellphones

If a UCI-provided cellphone is required for business purposes, the preferred purchasing method is to buy the phone and service plan using a PALCard. Procurement Services provides detailed information here: HOW TO: Purchase Cell Phones and Services.

Usage Guidelines

  • If you use the UCI-provided cellphone for personal use, limit this to "incidental" use.
  • You must reimburse UCI for any personal calls that result in noticeable incremental charges.
  • Avoid using the equipment under any circumstances when use might create or appear to create a hazard, including use while operating a motor vehicle.
  • You can use a PALCard to pay for monthly service charges if you didn't purchase the phone through UCI.

Records related to the purchase and use of university-owned electronic communications equipment, including cell phone statements, are the property of the university and are potentially subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.