Recommended Allowance Amounts:  

Phone (Business Use Time) Rate
Up to 400 minutes $25/month
400-800 minutes $50/month
Over 800 minutes $75/month
1 GB of work related data        $15/month 
2 GB of work related data $35/month

Administrative Policy Statement 55.1 Mobile Device Use and Allowance Policy


Mobile Device Agreement Form 


Original signed agreement form to be retained in the department for future reference. One copy for the employee and one copy submitted to the departmental Payroll Coordinator to process an OPUS entry. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What does the mobile device allowance policy mean to me?
You will have personal responsibility for your mobile device (such as smartphone or tablet) and related service even if you have a business need for the use of a mobile device. This means the device itself, the service contract, monthly service charges, and any other related charges remain your full responsibility. Any data and records associated with the device that are created, used or maintained in the conduct of University business are subject to all applicable laws, including public records laws, and have a legally required record retention schedule. To compensate you for the business use of your personal mobile device, the University will pay a pre-determined monthly allowance for the service (as approved by your department head).
Question 2: How will I be compensated for the “business use” of the device?
You will receive a pre-determined monthly allowance with half of the amount paid each pay period. This amount is taxable compensation for which required deductions are taken. Allowances are set up through OPUS by Payroll Coordinators and should not be submitted as reimbursements to the employee through any of the various reimbursement methods (i.e. eReimbursements, Petty Cash, Revolving Funds, or Check Request). For payroll procedure to provide this allowance, see the Mobile Device Payroll Procedures webpage.
Question 3: Who is eligible for an allowance?
Any employee whose department has determined that there is an official business need for the device and service. The employee must have the approval of his/her department head. In addition, the allowance amount must be appropriately established and approved by the department head.
Question 4: Does everyone get an allowance for a personally-owned cellular phone or mobile device?
No – this is not an entitlement. You may only receive the allowance if your department head determines that you be regularly available to respond to electronic communication and other, less expensive or less efficient means of communication are not adequate (i.e. land-lines not readily available).
Question 5: I'm currently using a UW-purchased device. How do I transition to the mobile device allowance option?
Once you've been approved by your department for a mobile device allowance, your next steps depend on whether you will keep your existing UW-purchased device and phone number or you will be applying the allowance to an existing personal device and number.

Allowance keeping your UW phone number.
Contact your departmental mobile device administrator when you have received the required departmental approvals. Either your administrator will notify your existing cellular provider that it is OK to move your existing number to a personal line of service or they may ask you to take responsibility for notifying the cellular provider. If you wish to make this change, you can also choose to keep your existing cellular provider or move the number to another provider. The UW has negotiated special employee discount rates with both AT&T (18%) and T-Mobile (15%). These discounts apply to the standard monthly charges for voice, data and text packages. You can get these discounts at any AT&T or T-Mobile store or by visiting the following web sites:
* AT&T:
* T-MobileAT&T: :

Allowance using your existing personal phone number.
Contact your departmental mobile device administrator when you have received the required departmental approvals. Your departmental mobile device administrator will determine if he/she will contact the carrier on your behalf, instructing them to cancel your existing UW paid device, or if each device user in your department will be responsible for contacting their carrier directly. This process will take approximately 30 days to complete. It is important that you ensure your final bill is received and paid timely and that it clearly states that it is your FINAL bill.

Question 6: What if I want to transfer to another provider?
You are welcome to use the allowance with the provider of your choice. The process is the same as noted in the question above. The UW has negotiated special employee discount rates with both AT&T (18%) and T-Mobile (15%). These discounts apply to the standard monthly charges for voice, data and text packages. You can get these discounts at any AT&T or T-Mobile store or by visiting these following web sites:
* AT&T:
* T-Mobile:
Question 7: Can I keep the same phone number?
In most cases the number is transferable to another plan.
Question 8: As a UW employee, are there discounts and benefits available from mobile device carriers?
The discounts and special benefits negotiated by UWIT are described here:
Question 9: Are there any other costs to me associated with this change?
You will be responsible for paying any taxes on the allowance provided to you. The UW will withhold the taxes from your pay and will report the taxable allowance as income on your W-2.
Question 10: How is the amount of the allowance decided?
Each department should work with the individual to determine the most appropriate amount for the particular situation, keeping in mind that the intention is to help fund the business use of the device. However, the University is providing recommended guidelines based on average rate plans with the UW discount.
Question 11: What are the recommended guidelines for allowance amounts?
Phone (Business use time)
  • Up to 400 Minutes $25/month
  • 400-800 Minutes $50/month
  • Over 800 Minutes $75/month


  • 1 GB of work related data $15/month
  • 2 GB of work related data $35/month

Text $15

Question 12: How do I stop service on my UW purchased device?
For smartphones, visit IT Connect’s Smartphones webpage and FAQs for details on cancelling service, wiping memory and disposal.
For cell phones, visit IT Connect’s Cell Phone and Devices webpage for details on cancelling service, wiping memory and disposal.
Question 13: Can I keep my existing UW purchased device?
If the mobile device was provided to you by UW and you will be using the device as part of the Mobile Device Allowance Program, you may choose to continue using it by purchasing the device through UW Surplus Properties. Purchase of the device is only allowable when you will be enrolled in the Mobile Device Allowance Program.  The cost to retain the device will be based on the initial cost, the age and the resulting depreciation of the device with a minimum cost of $5. To facilitate the transfer of ownership, submit the online surplus request form to UW Surplus Properties along with a signed Allowance Agreement. In the 'Additional Comments' box on the form, indicate the initial cost and purchase date of the phone. The supervisor's approval is required before submitting the form. Below is a chart of the repayments that will apply. The department should retain adequate documentation to support the disposition of the device. Contact the Surplus Property Store at 206-685-1573 to make payment.
Initial Cost Age Employee Acquisition Cost (minimum of $5)
<$100 < 6 Months 50% of initial purchase price
<$100 > 6 Months 25%
>$100 < 1 Year 50%
>$100 > 1 Year 25%
Question 14: If I do receive an allowance, can I use the device for personal calls and must the calls be documented?
Because it is your personal device and not owned by the University, you may use it for personal and business calls. Because you have already been taxed on the allowance that was provided, there are no additional IRS tax requirements to document any of the calls as personal or business.
Question 15: Will I have to show my bills to my supervisor?
appropriate allowance amount based on business use. At any other time, monthly carrier bills may be requested to demonstrate that the level of compensation for business use is appropriate.
If the costs are supported by a sponsored project the department should review the monthly bills at least quarterly and prior to the final action date of the budget and make adjustments to the allowance when appropriate.
Question 16: Must I observe any special precautions regarding security of the phone?
Yes. The University's payment of an allowance is based on the expectation that a significant amount of your use of the phone will be for official business. With this comes the obligation to take reasonable precaution to protect confidential data that may reside on your phone or be accessed through it. Such precautions normally include the use of a password or a PIN for access to any UW email accounts or other official records.
Question 17: Is there any limit on my personal use of the phone?
As far as the "hardware" is concerned and its use for telephone calls, the phone is entirely your personal property, which you are free to use for your own purposes.

Remember that when you use the phone to access UW email accounts or other UW resources, the use of those accounts and resources is still limited to official business, with only limited ("de minimis") personal use allowed and strict prohibitions on supporting campaign activity or private businesses.

Question 18: Does my acceptance of a UW allowance mean that all the data and other records on my phone will be subject to disclosure as "public records"?
No, simply accepting the allowance does not change the character of the data and records on your phone. With or without support of the allowance, any data or records pertaining to University business are public records which, unless exempt, may be disclosed. Likewise, any non-official personal records kept on your phone will remain private, whether or not you accept the allowance.
Question 19: Can I use my personal number as the main contact number for the UW?
You should use a UW number for your main UW contact number, but you can use your personal device as an alternate number.
Question 20: Can UW IT provide support for a personal phone that is used for UW business purposes?
Yes, UW IT can provide support if support service fees are paid by a UW budget and support is limited to UW related activities only.