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Mobile Communication Device Policy

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The following procedure sets forth the rules for business use of Mobile Communication Devices (MCD) by permanent employees who are required to carry such a device to fulfill their job responsibilities.  For the purpose of this procedure, the term ‘MCD’ includes cell phones and telecommunication devices. The procedure applies to two categories of MCD:

  • Employee-owned MCD used for university business
  • University-owned MCD used for university business

For employees who meet the eligibility criteria listed below, departments/units may provide an MCD allowance to subsidize the business use of the individual’s personal device, in lieu of assigning a university-owned device.   All employees requesting or re-certifying an MCD allowance will be required to document their monthly cost to maintain the device.  In addition, if the MCD allowance exceeds the employee’s monthly cost, the allowance must be reduced.

Eligibility for MCD Allowance

NC State University FLSA-exempt employees who are in full-time, twelve-month appointments can receive the MCD allowance. FLSA-subject staff (non-exempt employees, those for whom hourly time records must be kept) as well as temporary, part-time, and student workers may be eligible.

In limited situations, an MCD allowance may be issued to a non-exempt employee when their job responsibilities require the frequent use of their employee-owned device to accomplish University business. The Department Head or designee of the non-exempt employee is responsible for documenting an exception to the MCD policy. The non-exempt employee is responsible for certifying after-hours usage on the employee’s monthly time sheet, which the supervisor must approve. The Department Head or designee must complete an annual review of the business justification for the exception. (Effective, May 2018)

Specific guidelines for the MCDs are determined as follows:

  1. Eligible senior-level employees include the chancellor, executive officers, deans, and other JCAT 100-level positions designated by the Chancellor or appropriate Vice Chancellor.
  2. Faculty and non-faculty professionals who must be available 24/7 or during non-business hours to meet service needs such as life/safety issues and/or critical system and operational support.
  3. Faculty and non-faculty professionals who must be routinely accessible during business hours but are primarily in travel status or “in the field” a significant amount of the time due to the nature of job duties (job requirement to be away from a standard office).  Review of the most efficient and cost effective means of communication should be considered before authorizing employees in this classification.

Requirements and Instructions

Both university-owned and employee-owned “allowanced” MCDs are subject to the following requirements:

**Effective December 2023, the MCD Certification and Allowance requests are processed through the Financial System. The MCD Allowance Request Form is no longed accepted for allowance certification.

  • Initial approval (when started) and annual re-justification of the business need for the device is required and must be documented by December 31st each year using the Financial System MCD Certification and Allowance process, effective 11/2023.  For employee-owned “allowanced” Mobile Communication Devices, the process must be completed and submitted as part of the employee’s permanent record by December 31st.
  • University-owned devices follow the same certification process as employee owned. The MCD Certification and Allowance process must be completed and submitted as a part of the employee’s permanent record by December 31st.
  • Employees receiving an MCD allowance must upload a copy of their annual contract or all pages of their monthly billing statement to the MCD Certification and Allowance Process/Employee Certification Step 2.  Only the relevant pages showing the cost of all lines included in the employee’s plan should be scanned and submitted along with the MCD Allowance Request form referenced above.  Do not provide any pages that the employee’s itemized call, text, and/or data history.    The monthly billing statement should be current – within the last month or two.  The monthly cost of the employee-owned device must be documented.  The MCD allowance requested cannot exceed the employee’s monthly cost for the service on the device used for university business.
  • The decision must be based solely on the business requirements of the university.
  • Employees are responsible for the protection and retention of business data conducted on the device in accordance with the University Records and Retention regulation.
  • Records of business use are subject to the Public Records Act (N.C. General Statute §132, et. seq.), as well as other subpoena powers of the federal and State judiciaries.
  • Employees are required to have their device with them, charged and operational at all times, and respond timely to university-related communications.

Allowances for Employee-owned MCDs:

  • Allowances apply only to employee-owned MCDs and must be less than the employee’s monthly cost to maintain the device.
  • NC State University is only authorized to provide MCD allowances if the department’s cost of providing the allowance is less expensive than providing a university-owned MCD.
  • The MCD allowance will be entered into the Financial System using the new MCD Certification and Allowance process by the Controller’s Office; this allowance will be paid at month-end on a monthly basis.
  • Federal grants and/or sponsored projects do not permit paying allowances for an MCD due to the inability to assign costs with accuracy and efficiency (OMB Circular A-21 Section D.1).
  • These payments are not considered base pay and are not subject to retirement or benefits.  This allowance has been designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a non-taxable if the required documentation and substantiation of business need is met.
  • The University will not purchase, repair, or replace the equipment for employees receiving an allowance.
  • Anyone receiving the allowance must notify their respective dean, director or department head when they discontinue mobile communication services.  Failure to do so will result in immediate termination of the MCD allowance and may lead to disciplinary action and repayment.  The employee may access the Employee Certification under MCD Certification and Allowance to Cancel their MCD allowance or they may contact to notify AP of their termination.  
  • Requests must be submitted prior to the 15th of the current month to receive the allowance payment for the current month. If you do not receive an allowance payment within 60 days of submitting your request, contact immediately to resolve the issue. Retroactive allowance payments will not be allowed.

The maximum MCD allowances are:

1. Voice:  $20/month

2. Data:  $20/month 

3. Both Voice and Data:  $40/month

4. Adjusted Amount (less than the above rates)

University-owned MCD used for university business

  • Departments may provide university-owned MCDs to eligible employees in lieu of the allowance; however, the dean, director or department head must approve the purchase and contract of an MCD for business use.
  • The department is responsible for contracting with the provider, selecting the initial plan, purchasing the MCD and accessories, and turning in all MCDs and accessories when the service(s) ends.  Departments are required to use statewide term contracts when devices and plans are cost effective and meet departmental needs.
  • MCDs purchased with university funds are the property of the university and ownership cannot be transferred to the employee.
  • Use of the device for email and data should follow the Computer Use Regulation.
  • Only University-related business calls are allowed on a University-owned device.
  • Departments are responsible for reviewing the need of a university-owned MCD at least annually and are responsible for terminating or making any changes to the service accordingly.

For assistance or questions on the procedures and forms, please contact Kim Kelley at or Terressa Yeakle Best at

REVISED 11/2023