Wireless Communication Devices, Services and Business Call Reimbursement (REVISED 3/1/15)


The university recognizes that wireless communication devices (that connect through cellular data networks have become required equipment for employees whose university position requires them to be mobile or to be continuously available or "on call".  In many respects, this technology may be critical, relevant and/or necessary for faculty, administrators and other employees as they conduct the business of the university.

In response to these concerns, and also because it is a practical and administratively efficient way to address the cost and reimbursement of personal wireless device usage by our employees, the university has adopted its Wireless Communication Devices, Services and Business Call Reimbursement policy using the "Allowance Method", as defined in this policy. 

Under this method, allowances provided to employees will be treated as wages for federal employment and income tax purposes and amounts of these allowances will be reported on the employee's W-2.



Allowance method

The Allowance Method provides eligible university employees with a monthly taxable cell phone or other wireless device service allowance (the employee owns the cell phone or other wireless device and/or service and is personally responsible for all related costs).

Wireless communication device Cellphone, smartphone, tablet or a similar device that connects to the cellular data network.  Devices that connect solely through wifi are not restricted by this policy.
Cellular data network Carrier-provided data connections permitting phone calls and internet connections for a fee on a contract basis. Contrasted with wifi connections which do not normally require a contract.


Wayne State University recognizes the value of exploration of emerging and innovative technologies in teaching and research.  To accommodate this need, while adhering to University policy relative to wireless devices, the following procedures are hereby adopted:



Requesting party

Non-Sponsored Funds:

  1. Request the purchase of a new technology using university funds, under the normal procurement process.  Refer to APPM, section 2 Procurement Process  for procurement related policies and procedures.
  2. Obtain institutional approval under the normal procurement process.

Sponsored Funds:

  1. If sponsored funds are to be used, in the justification/request for approval memo, clearly state the benefit to the project being charged.

Sponsored Program Administration (SPA) Office

  1. Determine allowability against sponsored funds.
  2. Communicate approval or denial to the requesting party, via signature on the justification/request for approval memo.
  3. Return signed memo to requesting party for submission with requisition.

Requesting party

  1. If the request for new technology is approved, submit the memorandum and authorization to the Procurement and Strategic Sourcing (PASS) Office, along with the on-line requisition, via the WayneBuy System.  Refer to WayneBuy requisitioning Job Aids for additional information regarding requisition submissions.


Service Plans:


The university prohibits the direct purchase of service plans or access, utilizing university funds from any funding source (e.g., General Fund, Auxiliary, grants, etc.).   However, it is recognized that in certain cases and unique circumstances, a specific service plan is necessary.   In order to have a service plan paid directly by the university, prepare a memorandum of justification stating specific reasons (i.e., instructional, research-related, or both, as well as confirmation that the requested technology is primarily for the professional, not personal use) of the requestor must be submitted to the immediate supervisor.

The university does provide for an allowance to individuals in lieu of direct reimbursement.  This policy and processes are noted below.  

Employee Wireless Communication Device Allowance

The university may approve, for certain employees, a monthly allowance to defray the cost of using personal wireless communication devices and service in the conduct of university business.  The allowance is provided to the employee via the employee's bi-weekly payroll and is considered and treated as a taxable benefit.  The criteria for receiving the established wireless device and service allowance are:

  • The individual's job responsibilities require immediate and direct accessibility/response that cannot be accommodated by another device (e.g., pager, dispatcher, etc.).
  • The individual's job responsibilities require a high degree of mobility during business hours such that the individual cannot be reached in a timely manner at his/her office phone.
  • The individual's job responsibilities require ready accessibility or response during non-business hours.
  • After at least one of the three criteria above is met, the appropriate vice president, dean, the president or executive vice president, for persons reporting to the president, must grant their approval.

Selection of a personal wireless device and service plan, and all interaction with the service provider, are the responsibility of the employee.

The university cannot guarantee that the wireless device allowance will continue for the duration of the employee's wireless device service contract.  Accordingly, an employee's selection of a wireless device service plan should not be predicated on the anticipated continuation of the wireless device allowance.

The university has established the following tiers for wireless device reimbursement:

Tier 1

Employees who are required to be accessible by cell phone, smartphone, text messaging or other forms of basic electronic messaging.


Tier 2

Employees who are required to be accessible by cell phone, smartphone, text messaging, other forms of electronic messaging,  including e-mail -  and must have  the advanced features necessary to interact with other systems, download and edit large documents, and perform other bandwidth intensive functions over cellular data networks.


To qualify for an allowance at any tier, employees must justify and document their specific need using Form WCD 2008-1, which must be approved by the President, Vice President or Dean (delegation of authority is not permissible, except for the President to the Executive Vice President, for wireless communication device allowance requests).  Specific criteria which are outlined on Form WCD 2008-1 have been established for each allowance tier.   Employees will only qualify for a single allowance tier.  There may be instances, in rare circumstances, , when a tier also requires CFO approval.

The highest ranking business or administrative manager within each School, College or Division is responsible for monitoring the eligibility of employees for a wireless device allowance and for obtaining the approval of the appropriate vice president or dean.  Eligibility of an employee for a wireless device allowance will be withdrawn if the employee's job responsibilities change such that the criteria (above) for receiving a wireless device allowance are no longer met, or if the employee does not comply with any aspect of this policy.

As specified in the procedures section of this policy, each employee's School, College or Division must recertify an employee's continuing eligibility to receive a wireless device allowance on an annual basis.

Reimbursement of Business Call and Out of Town Internet Connectivity Charges

Business Telephone Calls - In appropriate circumstances, employees not receiving a wireless device allowance, which would otherwise cover phone charges, may be reimbursed for the cost of business calls made from non-university telephones (e.g., home and hotel room phones, etc.) for long-distance or other phone charges made after-hours from home, or calls made in other situations which results in an employee incurring out of pocket telephone charges while conducting university business.

Internet Connectivity Charges - When traveling out-of-town on university business, employees who do not receive a wireless device allowance pursuant to this policy which encompasses internet access, may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary internet connectivity charges at hotels or at other out-of-town locations.  Such costs should only be incurred in the conduct of an employee's official university function where their employment responsibilities require frequent and/or substantial remote access to university email and other university systems.

To obtain reimbursement for such telephone and/or internet connectivity charges, the employee must present the specific phone bill or other documentation identifying the charge and indicating the university business purpose. The approval of the employee's supervisor is required for reimbursement. In town business call reimbursement should be processed using a Direct Payment Request (DPR).  Business calls or wireless charges while on approved university travel are reimbursed using a Travel Expense Report. Such travel expenses must be submitted via the TravelWayne System.  Refer to job aids at fisops.wayne.edu/travel for additional information.

Internet Service Provider Fees At Non-University Locations

The university provides on-campus high speed internet access for all employees that require internet access to perform their university related employment duties and responsibilities. Accordingly, the university does not pay directly, nor will it reimburse employees any portion of their internet service provider or similar fees for internet access and/or services at an employee's personal residence, or any other non-university location or facility.

This policy is not affected or changed by the fact that an employee may be working from home or other locations away from the office.  Although the university recognizes that incidental use of home internet connections for university work may sometimes be convenient for employees, it considers home internet service a personal expense.  An exception to this policy may be made where the university elects to or must accommodate an individual qualifying under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In certain special circumstances where an employee's specific ADA condition requires or indicates that they must work from home, the university may elect to reimburse these individuals for some or all of their home internet service provider fees. Any exception under this provision requires a written justification memorandum which must be approved in writing by the employee's respective dean or divisional vice president and the chief financial officer.                   



Requesting party

  1. Document eligibility for an allowance by completing Form WCD 2008-1.
  2. If approved, submit your wireless device number, if it's a communication device, to the division's business or administrative manager.

S/C/D business or administrative manager

  1. Review Form WCD 2008-1 and if deemed appropriate, obtain approval for the requested allowance from the appropriate vice president, dean, president or chief of staff, for persons reporting to the president.
  2. Submit Form WCD 2008-1, including the appropriate approvals to the Payroll Office.

Payroll Office

  1. Data enter the approved wireless allowances.

  2. Annually, as of November 1, circulate confirmation letters to the business or administrative manager of the responsible business units to verify an employee's continuing eligibility to receive a wireless device or service allowance.  Failure to verify continued eligibility for each participating employee within 30 days of the annual certification confirmation request will result in cancellation of the approved allowance on the next pay date following the confirmation due date.

To Request Payment of Specific Business Calls


Requesting party

  1. Obtain approval for the reimbursement from immediate supervisor.
  2. Submit phone bill or other supporting documentation to the division's business manager identifying the charges and indicating the university business purpose.

Business  manager

For Business Call Reimbursements

  1. Ensure completion of a Direct Payment Request (for non-travel related reimbursements) or Travel Expense Report via the TravelWayne System (for travel related business calls) as applicable, with a copy of the phone bill or other supporting documentation to the applicable request form for payment processing.
  2. Review and approve transaction in accordance with established policy and procedures.

For Wireless Device Allowance Requests

  1. Submit WCD 2008-1, including the appropriate approvals to the Payroll Office.

Form WCD - 2008-1 and the related instructions can be accessed on the Fiscal Operations Website.

Instructions:  https://fisops.wayne.edu/files/wcd_fins_1.pdf

Form:  https://fisops.wayne.edu/files/wcd_form_1.pdf