Staff Mobile Phone Policy

Policy Statement

As of September 1, 2016, the University will adopt the current Staff Mobile Phone Policy pilot program as a permanent policy. The University will continue to evaluate the policy periodically and may introduce changes for both new and existing staff in the future.  Individual Harvard schools or units may have implemented more restrictive policies; staff should refer to local policy for more information.

New Harvard University staff and existing staff who did not have a Harvard mobile phone or receive reimbursement or other subsidy for a personal mobile phone before September 1, 2014 (“covered staff”) must meet specified job-based eligibility criteria to receive University-provided funding for voice, text or data plans.  Eligible staff may receive a standard monthly stipend to subsidize the incremental cost of business use of their personal mobile phones, commonly known as bring-your-own-phone (“BYOP”).  The stipend amount is $50 per month.

Covered staff members are not allowed to receive payment and/or reimbursement (e.g., PCard, Corporate Card, directly billed to vendor) for mobile phone equipment, accessories, or plans other than as outlined in this policy.

Under this policy, existing Harvard staff who already have University-provided phones or who receive reimbursement or other subsidy for a personal mobile phone will not be subject to the eligibility requirements; these staff may continue to use their Harvard mobile phone or receive reimbursement or other subsidy for a personal mobile phone. Existing Harvard staff who already have University-provided phones or who receive reimbursement or other subsidy for a personal mobile phone may opt in to the BYOP program with approval from their tub’s Administrative Dean or designee. 

Reason for Policy

Harvard strives to provide employees with the right technology tools they need to do their jobs, to treat employees in similar roles equitably, and to use its resources wisely. The University recognizes that mobile phones are omnipresent and that many users want a single device that supports both their work and personal lives.  The University seeks to support employees’ business technology needs while allowing users enough flexibility to choose devices and service plans that meet their personal and family requirements.

Who Must Comply

The policy applies to staff hired on or after September 1, 2014, and to existing staff who do not already have a Harvard phone or receive reimbursement or other subsidy for a personal mobile phone as of September 1, 2014.  The policy does not include faculty.  All Harvard University schools, tubs, local units, Affiliate Institutions, Allied Institutions and University-wide Initiatives must comply.  Where University policy, local policy or sponsoring agency guidelines differ, the more restrictive policy will apply.  California law may require the modification of certain provisions of the policy as applied to California employees and the Financial Policy Office should be contacted in such situations.

Procedures

  1. Eligibility requirements. Harvard defines “eligible” staff as the following:

    1. 24/7 access employees: day to day job responsibilities require routine response to urgent (immediate action required) University business at any time of the day or night – e.g., addressing student/lab safety issues, answering media requests, handling on-call server operations, etc.

    2. Mobile employees: job requires routine field work and need to communicate real time with office to give or receive direction – e.g., property assistants, IT field techs, social media managers, communications officers.

    3. Frequent travelers (defined as at least 30 travel days per year).

    4. Other business cases proposed and justified by direct supervisor and approved by the Administrative Dean (or EVP in the case of Central Administration); must meet at least ONE of the following criteria.
      1. Role requires staff member to routinely respond to urgent (immediate action required) University business while staff member is away from the office; supervisor must explain business necessity.
      2. Role requires staff member to be routinely available while in remote locations, supervisor must explain business necessity.
      3. Other business case; supervisor must explain business necessity.

  2. Stipend program:
    1. Program stipends are intended to reimburse employees for the incremental cost of business use of a personal mobile phone and thus represent nontaxable compensation to the employee.  The stipend amount will be set and reviewed periodically by the Financial Policy Office in conjunction with Harvard University Information Technology and others.  Program stipends are not considered additional base pay and therefore they are not eligible for benefits calculated on base pay. Stipends will be paid to eligible staff via payroll.  The stipend amount for the pilot program is $50 per month.
    2. Mobile phone equipment, accessory and app costs are the responsibility of the employee; the employee is responsible for any loss, theft, or damage.  The phone must be able to run current operating systems and software.
    3. Phones of stipend recipients must meet University data security and software requirements (see appendices).
    4. Employees receiving the program stipend agree to provide the sponsoring department with current contact information within 3 business days of inclusion in the stipend program or within 3 days of a change in that information.
    5. Exceptions to stipend program: tubs may provide an eligible staff member a Harvard-owned phone in lieu of a stipend if there is a compelling business need to do so.  Harvard-owned phones must be used until the device is no longer physically usable, is unable to run required software or operating systems, or must be upgraded for other technical reasons as identified by tub chief information officers.

  3. Other forms of payment:

    1. Reimbursements for regular monthly mobile phone use for covered staff via other means such as PCard, Corporate Card, Web Reimbursement, etc. are prohibited.

    2. Reimbursement for infrequent, extraordinary business use of a personal device: ineligible or  BYOP stipend-eligible employees who incur infrequent but significant personal communications expense while performing University business (e.g., while traveling) may submit an expense report with proper supporting detail seeking reimbursement of the cost in excess of their normal monthly plan cost.  These reimbursements must be submitted in accordance with IRS accountable plan rules as with any other employee reimbursement, e.g., business travel expenses.

  4.  Where appropriate, access to Harvard email and calendaring. Users of Harvard's O365 or ICEMAIL should use the instructions listed in the Related Resources section; other users should contact their local school IT helpdesk. Note that some schools may require users to get approval from their supervisors before gaining access to Harvard email and calendaring; users should check with their local school IT helpdesk.

  5.  Employee discounts. All Harvard staff and faculty are eligible for discounts on their personal mobile phone plans through Harvard’s negotiated rates, whether they are eligible for a stipend or not.   Please see the Related Resources section.

  6.  As a good practice, back up data on phone regularly. All staff who have Harvard data on their phones are strongly encouraged to back up their data regularly.  If a phone with Harvard data is lost or stolen, it must be remotely wiped and all of the data on the phone, both Harvard and personal, will be erased.  Routine backups ensure continued access to both Harvard and personal data on phones; check with your device manufacturer for instructions on how to back up your data.

  7. Protect Harvard data: staff must protect Harvard business-related data, whether on a Harvard-issued device or on a personal device used for business purposes, and delete or preserve Harvard data as required.

    1. Staff must wipe Harvard data from their phones when they are no longer actively using that data for their current Harvard role, e.g., when they leave the University, switch devices, give their phones away, turn in phones to Verizon/AT&T, etc.

    2. If a phone that contains Harvard data is lost or stolen, the owner must immediately notify his or her Harvard IT group so that the device can be remotely wiped.

Responsibilities and Contacts

Administrative deans or equivalent tub officers, including Central Administration, are responsible for ensuring that local units abide by this policy. 

School/Tub Administrative Offices, including Central Administration, should establish reasonable and prudent practices for granting staff mobile phone stipends and a monitoring and approval process (e.g., an annual review of stipend recipients). Tubs should also strive to ensure that staff members are treated in an equitable manner.

Local Payroll Offices are responsible for uploading names of stipend recipients and coding strings into the University’s payroll system.

Central Payroll, within University Tax Reporting, is responsible for processing stipends entered into the University’s payroll system.  Contact: http://oc.finance.harvard.edu/services/central-payroll  or 617-495-8500.

The Financial Policy Office (FPO) is responsible for maintaining and answering questions about this policy.  In partnership with Harvard University Information Systems and others, FPO is responsible for periodically reviewing and adjusting the stipend amount. Contact: financialpolicy@harvard.edu or 617-495-3976

Definitions

BYOP (“bring your own phone”): communication programs where employees can use their personal mobile phones for business use.

Covered staff: staff to whom this policy applies: staff hired on or after September 1, 2014 and staff who do not have a University phone or receive reimbursement or other payment for a personal phone as of September 1, 2014.

Eligible staff: staff who meet the job-based eligibility requirements

    1. 24/7 access employees: day to day job responsibilities require routine response to urgent (immediate action required) University business at any time of the day or night – e.g., addressing student/lab safety issues, answering media requests, handling on-call server operations, etc.
    2. Mobile employees: job requires routine field work and need to communicate real time with office to give or receive direction – e.g., property assistants, IT field techs, social media managers, communications officers.
    3. Frequent travelers: defined as at least 30 travel days per year.
    4. Other business cases proposed and justified by direct supervisor and approved by Ad Dean (or EVP in the case of Central Administration); must meet at least ONE of the following criteria.
      1. Role requires staff member to routinely respond to urgent (immediate action required) University business while staff member is away from the office; supervisor must explain business necessity.
      2. Role requires staff member to be routinely available while in remote locations, supervisor must explain business necessity.
      3. Other business case; supervisor must explain business necessity.

Routinely: for purposes of this policy, part of a staff member’s regular day-to-day job responsibilities.  While this will vary by role and unit, units are encouraged to think of “routine” as multiple times per week.

Frequent travelers: for purposes of this policy, more than 30 travel days per year.

Related Resources

 For Users of Harvard's O365/Exchange: Instructions for Accessing Harvard Email and Calendaring on Personal Devices – Under “Email and Calendar” click “Config Guides” and choose the appropriate device

For Users of Harvard's ICEMAIL: Instructions for Accessing Harvard Email and Calendaring on Personal Devices

List of Compliant BYOP Devices

Business Expense Reimbursement Policy

Discounted Personal Service through Harvard (for all employees, both stipend eligible and stipend non-eligible) – Under “For Employees and Students,” click on the link for “Personal Cellular Discounts”

Travel Policy

Revision History

8/8/2016: Made pilot program permanent as of September 1, 2016

6/15/2015: Extended pilot program through FY16; added clarifying information on upgrades, backing up data, etc., and added Appendix E, Frequently-Asked Questions

Appendices

 Appendix A: IT Security Requirements

Appendix B: Sample Template: Mobile Phone Stipend Justification Form

Appendix C: Instructions on How to Convert Your HU Phone to a BYOP Phone

Appendix D: Instructions for Local Payroll Departments on Processing a Mobile Phone Stipend

Appendix E: Frequently-Asked Questions