A cell phone agreement for company use is a contract between an employer and employee, whereby the employer will provide the employee with a company cell phone for business use.

Other terms for a cell phone agreement include an employee cell phone policy or company cell phone usage policy. If you see these terms mentioned in your employee contract, then you should carefully read it before obtaining an employer-provided cell phone.

A lot of companies have a cell phone policy to ensure that employees with employer-provided cell phones only conduct business related calls or e-mails with the phone. This policy is important so that employees know not to use such cell phones for personal use. It is also important for employers to include this policy in the employee manual so that all employees know what their roles and responsibilities are with respect to using employer-provided cell phones.

The policy will not only address the expectations but will also identify additional issues regarding the safety and security of the cell phone usage. For example, it should indicate what happens if the employee loses the cell phone or if it is stolen from the employee. It should also provide do’s and don’ts regarding the use of public Wi-Fi, as this could pose a risk in terms of data leakage.

Cell Phone Policy Choices

Business owners will need to make certain decisions regarding employee cell phone use before drafting the policy around it. Even after a company has a policy in place, it could change the policy at any time. When it comes to drafting the policy, a company can choose to either draft a blanket policy for all employees to follow or draft a policy based on a case-by-case basis.

For example, if someone works for a company in the sales department, he will likely use his business cell phone more than someone working in the compliance department of that company. Therefore, employers can draft an overall blanket policy for all employees, and then draft a department-specific policy for employees operating in a certain department of the company.

Companies can also provide a policy regarding use of the employee’s personal cell phone for company calls. In this case, the employer might pay a partial amount of the employee’s monthly bill depending on how much additional money is being spent based on business calls or e-mails. Some companies don’t provide cell phones, but rather indicate that the employee’s personal cell phone must be used for business purposes; such companies might reimburse the employee’s full monthly bill. Again, this is dependent on the company’s policy and which department you work in for that company.

Such cell phone agreements are drafted as formal contracts that often begin with verbiage describing the purpose of the contract, the responsibilities of both parties, the process for terminating the contract, and a statement regarding liability. The contract will also include the signature of both the employer and employee, along with the date when the agreement was signed.

Company-Owned vs. Employee-Owned Phones

If a company does, in fact, indicate that employees must use their personal cell phones for business emails and calls, then the business cannot have strict controls over when and where to use the phone.

In fact, businesses should consider providing cell phones to employees so that they can have stricter controls over the phones, i.e., when and where calls should take place, along with the ability to view the employee’s history of calls and e-mail use. Furthermore, a business can use what’s called a Global Positioning System on the cell phone to track the physical location of employees who work outside of the office, particularly those operating in sales or home repair departments.

When it comes to employer-provided cell phones, employees must be aware of the following:

  1. The employer owns the phone and the number
  2. The employer can legally review the monthly bills, history of calls and e-mail use, and anything else they want to monitor regarding the cell phone and its use
  3. The employer chooses the phone and the monthly plan
  4. The employer can block the use of games and ringtones
  5. The employer can immediately suspend the service if it determines that the employee is using the phone for personal use

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