Cell Phone Allowance Policy

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General Description

Policy Summary:

Effective September 1, 2020, Trinity University will no longer own cell phones for the use of individual employees. All existing cell phone plans, except those noted in Exceptions, will be cancelled. Certain positions, based on the job requirements, will be designated as eligible to receive a taxable allowance to cover a portion of their cell phone plan.


The policy was developed to clearly state which positions are eligible to receive a cell phone allowance. The policy is designed to standardize financial support for business use of personal cell phones and to ensure consistent treatment of positions across divisions.


This policy applies to all employees of Trinity University.


Trinity University will continue to make cell phones available to certain employees in very limited or rare circumstances, for example when specific equipment or similar technology is required to perform the functions of those positions (e.g. TUPD).

Responsible Department:

  • Budget
Policy Content
Cell phone allowances will be authorized for a limited number of Trinity University employees based on working conditions and responsibilities associated with their positions. Those conditions include:
  • Substantial travel (>50% of days worked) on behalf of Trinity University making use of office telephone impractical; maintaining regular communication while away from campus is essential (e.g. gift officers, admissions counselors).
  • Immediate availability for service calls or troubleshooting during the work day with the majority of the work (>50%) being done outside an on-campus office (e.g. ITS technical support analysts).      
  • Job duties are performed in the field (>50% of the work day) where business cannot be conducted in an on-campus office; maintaining regular contact with other team members is a necessary part of the job (e.g. electrician supervisor).
  • Safety requirements indicate having a cell phone is an integral part of performing duties of job description (e.g. police department supervisors).
  • Position has been designated as remote; the majority of office work (>50%) is conducted from home and a telecommuting agreement has been executed.
The purpose of the allowance is to defray a portion of the cost of owning and using a cell phone for employees who must rely on their personal cell phone as their primary phone to conduct university business. All costs related to maintaining an active cell phone plan are the employee’s responsibility, including equipment and accessories.

The use of a personal cell for university business is expected for most employees. Only those positions designated above qualify for the allowance. Part-time, seasonal, or temporary employees are not eligible for the allowance.

Supervisors are responsible for notifying the Business Office if changes to an employee’s job duties or working conditions would make the position ineligible for a cell phone allowance. Employees who are not eligible for an allowance, or are not part of an approved university plan, may not use university funds to pay for cell phone service, equipment, or accessories.
Employees who are not eligible for an allowance may request reimbursement for any additional cost incurred due to business use of their personal cell phone. The individual should submit a request for reimbursement which includes the detailed phone bill, business purpose of the usage, and their supervisor’s approval. Reimbursement is limited to the charges in excess of the regular monthly cost of the plan.
A limited number of cell phones may be provided to departments to be used as shared phones for events or as emergency on-call phones. These phones are for Trinity University business use only. It is the responsibility of the department chair or supervisor to monitor the ongoing need for departmental phones. The cost of the phones will be paid for by the department.
Employees who use a personal cell phone for university business must protect the information stored on the device from unauthorized access. Use of the cell phone in any manner contrary to local, state, or federal laws will constitute misuse, and will result in immediate termination of the allowance.

Trinity employees must protect Trinity business-related data, whether on a Trinity-issued device or on a personal device used for business purposes, and delete or preserve Trinity data as required.

Employees must wipe Trinity data from their phones (personal or Trinity-issued) when they are no longer actively using that data for their current Trinity role, e.g., when they leave the University, switch devices, give their phones away, turn in phones to Verizon/AT&T, etc.  If a phone (personal or Trinity-issued) that contains Trinity data (including email) is lost or stolen, the owner must immediately notify the Helpdesk so that the device can be remotely wiped if university owned or wiped by employee if personally owned.  Department Chairs or equivalent officers, are responsible for ensuring that local units abide by this policy.
All support for cell phones will be provided by the service company chosen by the employee. The university cannot accept any liability for claims, charges or disputes between the service provider and the employee.
Performance Evaluation

Consequences of Policy Violation:

Employees who are not eligible for an allowance and use university funds to pay for cell phone service, equipment, or accessories will be notified that this is an unallowable expense. Continued attempts will result in disciplinary action.
Terms & Definitions

Terms and Definitions:



Payment to employee to cover a portion of cell phone expense; considered taxable income and processed through payroll; not included in base wages. The amount of the allowance will be determined annually on January 1.
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Revision History Log:

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Recorded By:

9/22/2020 9:15 AM
Gary Logan
7/31/2020 8:27 AM
Holly Warfel

Vice President Approval:

Enter Vice President(s) that are responsible for approving this document



Gary Logan
Vice President for Finance & Administration