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Cell Phone Use Policies

This page provides information and resources on cell phone usage policies for local government staff and elected officials in Washington State, including sample policies.


There are two primary patterns for allowing government employees to use cell phones.

One option is for the government to purchase cell phones and then allow its employees to make business-related calls, in which case the agency should adopt a cell phone usage policy.

The second is for employees to purchase cell phones and request reimbursement for business calls, in which case it is necessary to develop an appropriate agreement between the government and the employee regarding use of the phone. Several sample personal cell phone agreements are included below. These agreements follow a form which has been approved by the Office of the State Auditor and the Office of the Attorney General.

Where employers provide cell phones to their employees or where employers reimburse employees for business use of their personal cell phones, tax-free treatment is available without burdensome recordkeeping requirements. This rule, however, does not apply to the provision of cell phones or reimbursement for cell-phone use that is not primarily business related, as such arrangements are generally taxable. See IR 2011-93, issued by the Internal Revenue Service September 14, 2011.

The following list of resources contains information and sample policies that a local government could adopt in order to use cell phones in a manner that will satisfy legal considerations and the Office of the State Auditor's concerns.

Examples of Cell Phone Policies

Below are some selected examples of cell phone use policies adopted by local governments.

City Policies

County Policies

Examples of Agreement Forms

Recommended Resources

The following articles set out the considerations that should be made in developing guidelines for the use of cell phones by government employees.

Last Modified: April 19, 2022