Cell Phone

Expense Reports and Cell Phone Charges

Especially now that many employees are working from home, remember that the law requires that employers reimburse their employees who use their cell phones for work purposes. Employers have a few options in order to remain in compliance with the law.

Employers may:

  • Provide cell phones to those employees who need them for work purposes. The employer then receives the invoice from the cell phone provider and pays the invoice. In this case, you can require that employees use this “work-designated phone” for work purposes only. This will also remove your obligation to reimburse the employee for cell phone charges.
  • Ask the employee to submit a monthly expense form, accompanied by their cell phone bill. This gets a bit tricky, since many cellular plans are all inclusive. Then on the invoice, the employee would highlight all work-related calls that were made during the month, or the billing cycle.
  • Provide the employee with a flat payment each month, to reimburse them for any work-related calls they incurred on their personal cell phone.

In essence, if the employer requires the employee to use their cellular phone for work purposes, the law requires that employers pay “a reasonable percentage” of their employee’s cell phone bill – it’s the law. Unfortunately, the law is unclear as to how to calculate this reimbursement, specifically when the employee has a cellular plan with unlimited minutes, texts and/or an unlimited data plan.

Want more information about this new law? Call us at (818) 845-5584 or email us at info@executivehrconsulting.com.

Telecommuting and remote “work from home” policy

For many of you, working from home has become the new norm. It is important that employers craft a telecommuting policy for all those employees working off-site, at home, to establish guidelines and expectations. Certainly, it won’t be easy for those employees who simultaneously must take care of their small children at home, due to school closures. Therefore, leniency, compassion and understanding should be at the forefront of your thoughts during this time. Nevertheless, guidelines should be established, and may include:

Professional Work Environment – The home office is expected to be a professional work environment, where employees can devote their full attention to work without distraction, if at all possible. They are expected to respond to telephone calls, voicemails and emails in the same timely and professional manner that they would from the office.

Communication – We recommend “daily” calls or emails to report work productivity and discuss challenges/opportunities and best practices. If so desired, supervisors may be copied on any business e-mails, so they are immediately aware of what is going on with their employee and the work at hand.

Schedules – Establish designated times to be available and online to work. Schedules may also include exercising and taking walks outside to keep a good healthy mindset.

Expense Reports and Cell Phone Charges

The law requires that employers reimburse their employees who use their cell phones for work. Employers have a few options in order to remain in compliance with the law.

Employers may:

  • Provide cell phones to those employees who need them for work purposes. The employer then receives the invoice from the cell phone provider and pays the invoice. In this case, you can require that employees use this “work-designated phone” for work purposes only. This will also remove your obligation to reimburse the employee for cell phone charges.
  • Ask the employee to submit a monthly expense form, accompanied by their cell phone bill. This gets a bit tricky, since many cellular plans are all inclusive. Then on the invoice, the employee would highlight all work-related calls that were made during the month, or the billing cycle.
  • Provide the employee with a flat payment each month, to reimburse them for any work-related calls they incurred on their personal cell phone.

In essence, if the employer requires the employee to use their cellular phone for work purposes, the law requires that employers pay “a reasonable percentage” of their employee’s cell phone bill – it’s the law. Unfortunately, the law is unclear as to how to calculate this reimbursement, specifically when the employee has a cellular plan with unlimited minutes, texts and/or an unlimited data plan.

Want more information about this law? Call us at (818) 845-5584 or email us at info@executivehrconsulting.com.

Hourly employees and their smartphones: Hidden overtime?

The law requires that all hourly employees be paid for all hours worked. But with today's technology, it is difficult to keep track of those employees who use their smartphones "off work hours" for "work duties;” those hours must be paid! The separation of work life and personal life is becoming more transparent as employers and employees resort to working remotely on their smartphones and other technological devices. Employees who are paid by the hour, and who respond to business emails and calls after their shifts are over are technically working “overtime” hours and need to be compensated for that.

It is a good HR practice to have a few policies in your employee handbook outlining the guidelines that hourly employees must follow. Ensure that hourly employees adhere to their posted work schedules and do not work any additional hours without your explicit prior approval; especially overtime hours (hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day, or 40 hours in a designated workweek). Address how hours are paid within your employee handbook.

If employees do not follow your policy, you will still need to pay them for the time when using their cell phones for work purposes; but you can then exercise progressive discipline to coach the employee NOT to use their cell phone off work hours. Employees should abide by company policies. However, if they fail to do so, necessary progressive disciplinary action should be put into effect. Don’t allow employees to take advantage of hidden overtime hours by utilizing their cell phones during off work hours.

Any hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a day, or 40 hours in a workweek must be paid at time and a half - Double time should be paid if the employee works more than 12 hours in a work day. Make sure your employees report “all hours worked”, so that you can pay them accordingly, and remain in compliance with wage and hour laws.

We can help craft a comprehensive cellular phone policy so that all of your employees know what is expected of them! Having all your employment policies and procedures written in the employee handbook can protect you against litigated complaints; it becomes your backup documentation. Keep record of your conversations with those employees who violate your policies. Regardless, you will have to pay for hours worked, even if those overtime hours that were not approved by you in advance – that’s the law!

Expense Reports and Cell Phone Charges

The law requires that employers reimburse their employees who use their cell phones for work. Employers have a few options in order to remain in compliance with the law.

Employers may:

In essence, if the employer requires the employee to use their cellular phone for work purposes, the law requires that employers pay “a reasonable percentage” of their employee’s cell phone bill – it’s the law. Unfortunately, the law is unclear as to how to calculate this reimbursement, specifically when the employee has a cellular plan with unlimited minutes, texts and/or an unlimited data plan.

Want more information about this new law? Call us at (818) 845-5584 or email us at info@executivehrconsulting.com.

  • Provide cell phones to those employees who need them for work purposes. The employer then receives the invoice from the cell phone provider and pays the invoice. In this case, you can require that employees use this “work-designated phone” for work purposes only. This will also remove your obligation to reimburse the employee for cell phone charges.
  • Ask the employee to submit a monthly expense form, accompanied by their cell phone bill. This gets a bit tricky, since many cellular plans are all inclusive. Then on the invoice, the employee would highlight all work-related calls that were made during the month, or the billing cycle.
  • Provide the employee with a flat payment each month, to reimburse them for any work-related calls they incurred on their personal cell phone.

Hourly employees and their smartphones: Hidden overtime?

The law requires that all hourly employees be paid for all hours worked. But with today's technology, it is difficult to keep track of those employees who use their smart phones "off work hours" for "work duties;” those hours must be paid! The separation of work life and personal life is becoming more transparent as employers and employees resort to working remotely on their smartphones and other technological devices. Employees who are paid by the hour, and who respond to business emails and calls after their shifts are over are technically working “overtime” hours and need to be compensated for that.

It is a good HR practice to have a few policies in your employee handbook outlining the guidelines that hourly employees must follow. Ensure that hourly employees adhere to their posted work schedules and do not work any additional hours without your explicit prior approval; especially overtime hours (hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day, or 40 hours in a designated workweek). Address how hours are paid within your employee handbook.

If employees do not follow your policy, you will still need to pay them for the time when using their cell phones for work purposes; but you can then exercise progressive discipline to coach the employee NOT to use their cell phone off work hours. Employees should abide by company policies. However, if they fail to do so, necessary progressive disciplinary action should be put into effect. Don’t allow employees to take advantage of hidden overtime hours by utilizing their cell phones during off work hours.

Any hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a day, or 40 hours in a workweek must be paid at time and a half - Double time should be paid if the employee works more than 12 hours in a work day. Make sure your employees report “all hours worked”, so that you can pay them accordingly, and remain in compliance with wage and hour laws.

We can help craft a comprehensive cellular phone policy so that all of your employees know what is expected of them! Having all your employment policies and procedures written in the employee handbook can protect you against litigated complaints; it becomes your backup documentation. Keep record of your conversations with those employees who violate your policies. Regardless, you will have to pay for hours worked, even if those overtime hours that were not approved by you in advance – that’s the law!

Expense reports and cell phone charges

The law now requires that employers reimburse their employees who use their cell phones for work. Employers have a few options in order to remain in compliance with the law.

Employers may:

  • Provide cell phones to those employees who need them for work purposes. The employer then receives the invoice from the cell phone provider and pays the invoice. In this case, you can require that employees use this “work-designated phone” for work purposes only. This will also remove your obligation to reimburse the employee for cell phone charges.
  • Ask the employee to submit a monthly expense form, accompanied by their cell phone bill. This gets a bit tricky, since many cellular plans are all inclusive. Then on the invoice, the employee would highlight all work-related calls that were made during the month, or the billing cycle.
  • Provide the employee with a flat payment each month. This can reimburse them for any work-related calls they incurred on their personal cell phone.

In essence, if the employer requires the employee to use their cellular phone for work purposes, the law requires that employers pay “a reasonable percentage” of their employee’s cell phone bill –it’s the law. Unfortunately, the law is unclear as to how to calculate this reimbursement, specifically when the employee has a cellular plan with unlimited minutes, texts and/or an unlimited data plan.

Want more information about this new law? Call us at (818) 845-5584 or email us at info@executivehrconsulting.com.