By Gary Greenbaum, CEO, Syntonic
As if BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) security and policy issues were not enough of a challenge for SMBs, employees have newfound expectations to be reimbursed when they’re required to use their personal mobile devices for work.
(Photo courtesy of Syntonic)
In August of 2014 the California Court of Appeals reaffirmed existing Labor Code section 2802 in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services. The plaintiff, Colin Cochran, brought suit against his employer, Schwan’s Home Services, because they required him to use his personal mobile phone for business but didn’t provide any compensation. While the Court made it clear that companies had to reimburse employees for business use, notably missing from the court’s decision were any guidelines about how to calculate reimbursement.
Over the last year, this law has sparked the interest of attorneys and employees alike. The labor code itself specifies that employees who receive an award under the California labor law are entitled to interest on the amount awarded, plus recovery for attorney’s fees. The attorney fees will undoubtedly surpass mobile data reimbursement. Massachusetts has similar labor law requiring reimbursement, and what was decided in California is likely to make its way to other states. Companies are now searching for reimbursement solutions.
There are a few basic ways companies have tried to reimburse employees for work-related usage on personal mobile devices. Aberdeen Research found that about one-in-five companies cut a generous check each month, on average $70 plus a $29 fee to process the expense report. That’s lavish distribution of business resources considering less than 20 percent of a typical employee’s mobile data usage is for business.
The other popular method for reimbursement is to ask employees to submit their personal mobile invoice and highlight business expenses. That introduces employee privacy concerns and pure guesswork since mobile data charges only list a time stamp and kilobytes used. This method takes a lot of employee effort, diminishes productivity, and adds processing overhead.
According to Forrester 54 percent of companies don’t reimburse employees at all for their mobile use. Enforced labor law is making this untenable.
Fortunately, new technology has been recently introduced to help companies navigate the complexities of compensation and cut their monthly expense up to 50 percent for BYOD reimbursement. Solutions have started to emerge that provide mobile split billing to save money by automating the separation of mobile business use from personal use, delivering accurate accounting, obviating costly stipends and guesswork. Some solutions even directly integrate into expense management systems to further reduce processing costs.
Split billing provides companies additional savings beyond reimbursement. By clarifying the separation of personal and business use, the resulting analytics and reporting from split billing solutions can open a newly discovered windfall of insight and detail about how business applications are being used by the workforce. It’s never been easier to budget, forecast assign value and confidently make application and workforce training investments.
BYOD has brought tremendous benefits to business operations. Armed with split billing solutions companies can now be in position to comply with the law, accurately reimburse employees, and simultaneously gain business intelligence.
This article is written and provided by Gary Greenbaum. Gary is the CEO of Syntonic, a leading provider of split-billing solutions for enterprises and SMBs. The company recently launched Syntonic DataFlex®, the first operator independent split-billing solution with the flexibility to operate in any size business environment.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the author.