Cellphones are a part of many people's daily lives, including their working lives. Business cellphones allow professionals to keep in touch with their superiors, colleagues and clients around the clock and wherever they travel. Cellphones also provide access to the Internet, camera features and sound recording, all of which can be useful in a work context. When employers require employees to carry cellphones, they must come up with policies for paying the associated costs.
Employers have several options when it comes to reimbursing employees for their cellphone business use. For employees whose phone needs are frequent, the employer may choose to require a dedicated cellphone account for business use only and pay the employee back for each month's bill regardless of usage. Another option is to allow employees to use their personal cellphones for business and reimburse them only for overage charges, or minutes and data, related to business purposes. Employers may also require employees to record their cellphone expenses along with other expenses, such as meals and travel, for reimbursement as a lump sum for a specific project or trip.
Employees who receive reimbursement for cellphone usage need to carefully track their usage to provide a record of their costs and phone usage. Employers may require monthly phone bills or call logs to ensure that they reimburse only the cost of business calls and not personal phone usage. The business's policy for reimbursing phone costs should appear in the employee handbook or employment contracts that remain on record for reference to prevent confusion.
Instead of reimbursing the cost of a cellphone after the fact, an employer can choose to issue a phone or cellphone allowance to an employee ahead of time. This allows the employer to seek the best deal on new phones and a group account to outfit workers with cellphones at the lowest possible rate and without paying for any unnecessary services or features. A cellphone allowance is another option, consisting of a flat rate advance payment for employees who agree to use their personal cellphones for business use as needed.
The way an employer handles cellphone payment or reimbursement depends largely on the communication needs of the business. For example, in an office setting where landlines are readily available, an employer may wish to offer no cellphone reimbursement, or a limited reimbursement only on occasions when employees travel. However, a delivery business may find its employees stand to save time and increase their efficiency if they have cellphones or can use their own cellphones on the job with the promise of reimbursement each month.
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