Departments may need to require certain employees to use cell phone devices for their assigned duties. If so, then please review the criteria for providing a UW-owned mobile device or a mobile device service allowance (MSA) to cover costs associated with the service contract, monthly service charges or other related charges.

Who can approve a UW-owned mobile device or a mobile device allowance?

Department heads, administrators, unit managers and division heads are responsible for determining the business-related need(s) for eligible employees before approving and assigning a UW-issued mobile device or payment of a MSA.

Criteria and business justification for providing UW-owned mobile device or MSA

Please consider the following criteria before approving a UW-issued mobile device or payment of a MSA.

  • Employee expected to be on call 24 x 7
  • Manager in direct escalation path for on-call 24 x 7 employees
  • Employees whose jobs require constant availability and regularly work in areas where there is no desk or office phones
  • Employees who directly support emergency management preparedness and response leadership
  • Employees whose jobs require frequent and/or significant time outside the United States
  • Senior managers whose job responsibilities require them to be available and responsive to executive leadership

Department heads, administrators, unit managers and division heads may use the following criteria to determine the business justification for choosing between a UW-issued mobile device or a MSA. The unit or division's criteria for providing mobile technology should be the same for all employees.

  • Compare the cost of a UW-issued device to a MSA
  • Increased unit responsibilities for managing inventory of UW-issued mobile devices
  • Increased employee responsibilities to adhere to state policies regarding data security, privacy, records retention and management and other requirements when the employee receives a MSA
  • Other appropriate criteria specific to the department/unit/division's operation and use of mobile technology

Recommended Allowance Amounts

The University recommends that an MSA be no more than half of the monthly cost of the employee's mobile device service plan for one personal device. Units should not reimburse any portion of the purchase cost for the personal device.

Mobile technology, both the devices and service plans, change regularly. For instance, past industry practice was to separately price for the phone time, data volume, and text messaging.

Major wireless carriers typically include unlimited voice and text, and often include additional features, for lower prices than in the past.

UW vendor contracts which are available for personal use by workforce members are a good reference point for departments to consider when determining what amount of MSA they will reimburse.

the basic mobile service plan generally does not include service outside of the U.S. If units have MSA-eligible employees whose responsibilities include significant foreign travel, units may want to consider providing a UW-issued device for foreign travel; or may want to adjust the monthly MSA as appropriate for employees when they travel outside of the U.S.


For all information about carriers, service etc visit the IT Connect page.

For information about information security visit the Office of the CISO.

For guidance on how to request compensation for a MSA see the Workday site.


Review the Administrative Policy Statement 55.1 Mobile Device Use and Allowance Policy


Mobile Device Agreement Form 

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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 a Workday entry.