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Should the Boss Pay You To Use Your Own Smartphone?

There's something we're not really talking about as our work culture goes BYOD (bring your own device) and walks obliviously down the sidewalk right into a utility pole: Who should foot the phone bill?

It's a good question, and it's on the minds of federal employees who are being encouraged to give up their government-issued phones to use their personal phones instead. But they're reluctant to give up their government-issued phones, because who is going to pay the phone bill? From the Federal Times:

Federal employees are gradually using their own smartphones and tablets for work. But few, if any, are getting reimbursed for that cost.

As a result, many feds with government-issued smartphones are reluctant to give them up.

But that may soon change.

As early as this week, the administration will be issuing guidance on how to launch and promote "bring your own device" — or BYOD — programs, in which employees agree to use their own smartphones and tablets to conduct work-related calls, emails and other tasks.

That guidance will include a model policy, obtained by Federal Times, that agencies can use to reimburse employees for a portion of their monthly costs.

So cough up your government-issued phones, start using your own, and we'll reimburse you part of the cost based on your phone model. Sound good? Can you hear us now?

It's estimated the U.S. Government spends $1.2 billion a year on 1.5 million active mobile and wireless accounts. Wow, have the feds heard of all-you-can-eat data plans?

All kidding aside, the media are going on and on about the wonders of BYOD at work, but journalists are talking about the risks from a security perspective without really addressing the all-too-human issue of who should pay, and how much. I imagine this question could be a real boondoggle for morale-challenged staffs of all sizes navigating tough times. Great, they took away the free chips in the break room, and now I have to use my own phone for work and pay for it, too? I'm barely covering my bills as it is!

Employers could have to dial down employee anger a notch or two if they press the wrong buttons. Too bad management can't dial 411 for the right answer, huh?


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