University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Mobile Device Use and Allowance Policy

(Approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Facilities by authority of Administrative Order No. 9 and the Vice President and Vice Provost for UW Information Technology by authority of Executive Order No. 63)

1.  Purpose

This policy governs the use of, and payment for, mobile device technologies (such as smart phones and tablets) required for business purposes by the University of Washington (UW). This policy applies when a department head determines that an employee holds a position which requires that the employee be regularly available to respond to business-related communication via phone, email, text, etc. This policy addresses mobile devices issued by the UW and personal mobile devices used for business purposes. This policy applies to all units and individuals at the UW including all campuses, colleges, schools, departments, centers, hospitals, clinics and other units.

2.  University-Issued Devices

The UW may issue mobile devices to UW employees who have a frequent need for mobile access. UW employees will use their UW-issued mobile device for UW business in accordance with Administrative Policy Statement 47.2, "Personal Use of University Facilities, Computers, and Equipment by University Employees." Each employee is responsible for the safekeeping, care, and custody of the assigned device.

3.  Personal Mobile Devices Used for Business Purposes

As an alternative to issuing a UW-owned mobile device, department heads may provide a taxable, monthly allowance to employees who meet established criteria as an offset for the business use of their personally owned mobile device. The allowance must be made in accordance with the University's Mobile Device Guidelines.

4.  Responsibilities for Mobile Devices

  A. Departmental Responsibilities

Department heads are responsible for determining if a position meets the following criteria in order for an employee to receive a UW-issued device, or an allowance for business use of a personal mobile device.

    #1 The employee's position is such that the employee must be regularly available to respond via electronic communication and that other means of University-issued communication do not adequately serve this need.

    #2 The cost of the device or allowance offset can be supported by funding sources available to the department.


In the case of a mobile allowance, the employee is willing to sign a Mobile Device Agreement to be retained for future reference. (See the Mobile Device Guidelines web page for form information.)

  b. Employee Responsibilities

Employees who use a UW-issued or personal mobile device to conduct UW business are covered by all policies and laws that would apply to the activity. This may include, but is not limited to, public records laws, and laws and policies governing the confidentiality of patient or student information. (For more information concerning the laws governing the confidentiality and security of information, see Administrative Policy Statement 2.2, "University Privacy Policy," and the list of Information and Security and Privacy Laws and Regulations maintained by the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer.)

Employees are expected to configure mobile devices that are used to conduct UW business, whether personally owned or provided by the UW, in such a way that protects UW information (see Smartphone Configuration for UW best practices and more information). Employees should limit the degree to which they access or use UW confidential information on these devices to those situations in which such access is a business necessity and not merely an individual convenience. (See Administrative Policy Statement 2.4 for a definition of UW confidential information and the UW Data Classification web page for examples.)

If the employee uses a personal mobile device for UW business and the UW determines that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of UW information is at risk as a result of that use, the employee may be required to provide UW unrestricted access to the device and access to the device's data repositories and any content on the device that is related to the UW. The UW reserves the right to remotely wipe data from any device connected to the UW infrastructure, including, but not limited to, a UW-owned or managed Exchange server. The UW may require an employee to remove any UW-related business information from a personally owned or managed data repository.

5.  Ineligible Individuals

Student, temporary, and hourly-paid employees are not eligible to receive UW-issued mobile devices or an allowance for the use of a personal mobile device used for business purposes under this policy. An appointing authority may grant an exception if needed. The person making the exception will be required to document the rationale and set a time limit as to the period which the device, or allowance is granted.

Employees who are on leave without pay (LWOP) or who are employed on less than twelve month appointments are not eligible to receive a device or the allowance for months not worked.

6.  Additional Information

For guidance on suggested monthly allowance amounts for eligible UW employees who use their personal mobile device for business purposes, see the Mobile Device Guidelines web page.

For payroll procedures to provide this allowance, see the Mobile Device Payroll Procedures web page.

For more information regarding University-issued devices, see the Cell Phone Service web page.

February 2, 2012; RC, June 20, 2012.