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Monday HR Minute: Work Cell Phones
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Company-Issued Cell Phones and Work Usage

Advances in technology have turned cell phones into valuable work tools.  Whether you issue cell phones to employees or expect employees to use their personal cell phones to conduct business, there are some guidelines to consider and establish beforehand.

Company-Issued Cell Phones: Do you issue cell phones to certain employees? Do you require a deposit?  Do you require employees to reimburse you for personal usage or non-work-related overages? Do employees need to return the phone upon termination or when requested and, if they do not, what action do you take?  Use a cell phone issue/return to establish proof that the employee did receive the phone, having the employee sign for the file.  Include clearly-stated usage, return, and deduction/reimbursement policies with language reserving the right to take legal action including wage deductions as allowed by law.  Include specifics about possible deductions such as amount, timing, and reason for deductions.  Note: Before reducing any employee’s wages, be certain that these deductions/reimbursements are permissible under FLSA and state law as several states do not allow them.  If deductions are not an option, you may be able to pursue other action such as small claims court to retrieve your property or get reimbursement for lost property.
Business-related Use of Personal Cell Phones: Do employees need to use their personal cell phones to communicate with clients or the office?  Do employees need to install and use apps to track time or mileage?  Implement a reimbursement program if this usage costs the employees money or reduces the minutes/data available for their personal use.

Cell Phone Use While Driving for the Company: Do you require employees to pull over to make or receive a phone call?  Or can they use a hands-free device? Are there allowances if it is an emergency? Create a policy to specify expectations and restrictions, deferring to local laws if stricter.  Strictly prohibit using email, texting, or surfing the internet while driving.

Reminder: Include in any cell phone-related policy that any usage, whether personal or work-related, is covered under other company policies such as harassment/sexual harassment prevention, confidentiality, and right-to-search/no privacy.

Contact Affinity HR Group to discuss cell phone issue, allowable deductions, and/or work usage and creating a policy to fit your needs.

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The Monday HR Minute, brought to you by Affinity HR Group, is designed to provide you with practical, applicable human resources and management advice and information in a format that will take you 60 seconds or less to read.  We believe that by dedicating just one minute a week to thinking about people management practices, business owners and managers can make enormous strides in improving workplace performance.
Affinity HR Group is a full service human resources consulting firm that specializes in advising small and medium-sized enterprises. Our services include recruiting and selection, HR policies and compliance, ad hoc HR support, compensation and performance management, and training and development. We are an endorsed HR partner of a number of leading national trade associations and offer free initial consultations and discounted services to their member companies.
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This e-mail may contain general information about legal matters. Affinity HR Group does not provide legal counsel. The information provided should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied on as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about this content or any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
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