08 - 005 Portable Communication and Computing Devices

A. Summary

Faculty and staff are sometimes required to use cell phones and other portable communication and computing devices in the performance of their jobs.  The cost of the business use of these devices can be significant and such devices are capable of being used by employees for personal purposes.  This policy addresses the conditions under which a cell phone or other portable communication and computing device may be provided to an employee.  

B. Scope

This policy applies to cell phones, pagers, iPhones, iPads, and similar portable communication and computing devices and related services paid for by USNH from any source.  This policy does not apply to devices purchased with taxable allowances paid to employees and owned by them. Campuses, schools, or departments may elect to impose stricter controls over these devices than those required by USNH but may not be more lenient.

C. Business Purpose

USNH campuses and departments may issue cell phones or other portable communication and computing devices to USNH employees if the employee meets the eligibility standards established by this policy.  Devices provided by and paid for by USNH must be necessary for USNH business on an ongoing, recurring basis with no more than minor or incidental personal use by the employee. In addition, all such devices must comply with the USNH Administrative Board Information Technology Security Policy governing USNH property.

D. Eligibility and Approvals

Eligibility for a USNH-provided cell phone or other portable communication and computing device is based on the demonstrated and documented need for the employee to use such device frequently in the performance of their job.  The business use must be substantiated as part of the required documentation when the device is purchased. The device/service plan may not exceed the employee’s job requirements and must be ordinary and necessary to enable the employee to:

The department director is responsible for identifying jobs that may require use of cell phones and other portable communication and computing devices, and for indicating the type of device and service (e.g., for cell phones, the number of hours/month, national vs. international service plans, etc.) appropriate to meet business needs.  All such devices/services paid for by USNH funds must be approved by a supervising senior officer at the level of at least Dean, Vice President, or Vice Chancellor and will be based upon funds availability. Specific procedures will be developed by HRPAC to address Operating Staff with employer-provided cellular phones and other portable communication and computing devices.

  1. Remain in touch with others due to the nature of the job, such as frequent business-related travel or work outside the office setting, or
  2. Be available for emergency contact, for instance: police/security, IT support, building and grounds maintenance, health and counseling services, etc.

E. Effect of Termination or Change in Job Requirements

If an employee’s duties change over time so that the employee no longer needs a cell phone or other portable communication and computing device to perform his/her job, or if the employee ceases to be employed by USNH after being provided with such equipment, the employee is required to return the equipment to USNH.  The department director is responsible for reviewing the necessity of providing such equipment to employees at least annually and taking steps to recall equipment no longer needed by employees for the performance of their duties. The review and documented continued business requirement for these devices must be available upon request by USNH Financial Services.

F. Business Use of Personal Cell Phones or Other Portable Communication and Computing Devices

An employee may be reimbursed for the business use of his/her personal phone or other portable communication and computing device by submitting a bill identifying the actual incremental or apportioned cost of the business use. This payment needs to be approved by the supervisor and processed as a normal business expense reimbursement.

G. Sponsored Programs

Normally, cell phone purchases, maintenance and operating costs are not allowable charges to federally-sponsored programs.  The UNH Office of Sponsored Programs Administration or campus grant office should be consulted for clarification on the allowability of these costs.


The official version of this information will only be maintained in an on-line web format. Any and all printed copies of this material are dated as of the print date. Please make certain to review the material on-line prior to placing reliance on a dated printed version. 

This page last updated Tuesday, June 23, 2015. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.