How Much Should a Company Reimburse Employees for their Personal Cell Phone Use?
Updated: Mar 30
Mobile cell phone usage stats in general
As of 2020, the number of global smartphone users hit 3.5 billion, an increase of 6.7% from the previous year, and 43% of active smartphones will be 5G-ready by the year 2023. “The vast majority of Americans – 97% – own a cell phone of some kind. The share of Americans that own a smartphone is now 85%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011."
Work-related mobile cell phone usage stats
70% of employees keep their phones close while at work with the majority of those employees checking messages, texting, or making and accepting phone calls during business hours. “The average mobile worker works 240 hours a year longer than the general population.”
We now see employers requesting their employees use company-issued cell phones or implementing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy to increase employee mobile usage and availability for company purposes. A BYOD policy usually includes a reasonable stipend to the employee for the costs associated with using their phone for work purposes. It might also include a specific mobile brand (e.g., iPhone or Android), model requirements, certain required apps for security issues, remote erasing (wiping) of company information, etc.
One might conclude that although the cell phone might be a distraction, overall productivity is increased, not decreased. Maybe businesses should embrace the movement, get on the bandwagon, and use these mobile communication devices to their advantage.
Do companies have to reimburse for employee personal cell phone use?
This is a legal issue and it can vary by State. In the State of California, there are “No exceptions. Employers must always reasonably reimburse employees’ on-the-job use of personal cell phones.” Under Section 2802 of the California Labor Code, if the employee is required to use a personal cell phone to make work-related phone calls, the employee must be reimbursed.
Due to such labor laws, as stated above, it is quite common for corporations who do not issue company cell phones to pay a mobile phone stipend. “According to a survey by Oxford Economics, the vast majority of organizations with BYOD [Bring Your Own Device] policies provide mobile reimbursements to employees, with most paying between $30 and $50 per month.” According to this Oxford Economics survey conducted in 2018, 89% of corporations with the BYOD policy, provide a full or partial phone stipend to compensate the employee.
Note: Check with an attorney to be fully briefed on your local and state labor codes regarding required reimbursement for personal phone use relating to work.
A business may choose, whether legally obligated or not, to create a more than fair stipend for personal mobile cell phone use on the job. This might increase morale and create a basis for increasing productivity; a company perk, not just a company dictate.
Once an employer is committed to utilizing mobile devices, then a financial business decision can be made as to whether it is more economical and/or efficient to continue to use the employee’s phone or issue a company-owned phone, especially if they intend to require the employee to use an app, clock-in for work, make calls, etc.
How to protect the company phone or the employee phone from loss
Prevention tips for employee company work cell phone from being lost or stolen starts with helping the employee remember their phone. Phones are easily left behind while on the job: taking clients to lunch, dropping out of a pocket during a meeting, left at a vendor's site or client’s office, etc. The sooner the employee knows the phone has been left behind the better, so as to prevent security breaches, time delays, loss in productivity by having to backtrack and look for the phone…or, in the worst-case scenario, dealing with all the ramifications of a lost phone which may contain sensitive, confidential company information.
A Prox PRD™ Phone Reminder Device (Phone Separation Alert) can help
The new Prox PRD™ is equipped with its Advance Alert Technology, which helps employees remember their mobile cell phone before it is lost, thus reducing employer-provided phone loss claims and employee-owned cell phone loss. This new alert technology allows for an adjustment to the alert distance (typically 30 feet to 120 feet, but can be shorter or further depending on the surrounding environments) and an adjustment to the alert tune (employee preference). The alert may also be temporarily suppressed for 15 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour, or 2 hours, if need be. And for employees who do a lot of work travel, there is a “Travel Mode” where the PRD will alert if the phone is accidentally (or intentionally) picked up and moving away and out of proximity of the PRD; great for airports, bars, hotel lobbies, etc.!
The Prox PRD™ can also be branded with your company name and/or logo. Just picture your employees (or customers!) carrying your brand with them wherever they go, seeing your company name each and every day. If you value your employees’ phone (or company-issued phone) and their productivity, contact us today so we can discuss a commercial phone reminder alert option to protect the phones that help shape your business. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice concerning any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should take legal action or refrain from taking legal action on the basis that this information is legal advice. Only your attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.
The Prox PRD™ Phone Reminder Device – Separation Alert
No App | No Tracking | No Registration | No Subscription
iOS & Android Compatible | Replaceable 1-year CR2032 Battery