Employees Could Foot the Bill for Federal BYOD Policies

White House guidance leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

Last week, the White House released guidance for federal agencies in launching and promoting their “bring your own device,” or BYOD, programs, where employees agree to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work use. But the guidance leaves a couple of unanswered questions, including whether federal employees should be reimbursed for a portion of their monthly BYOD costs.

“The federal government still has more to do to address the more complicated issues related to BYOD,” the guidance states. “This includes how the government can reimburse federal employees for voice/data costs incurred when they use their personal mobile devices instead of government-issued mobile devices.”

The guidance recognizes a few of the current government BYOD programs, including one at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which currently requires employees to pay for all voice and data usage, includingthat used for official work purposes. This means that many employees opt to keep using their government-issued Blackberry devices, the guidance states.

“However, for EEOC’s younger employees, their personal devices appear to be an extension of their personalities, so to speak,” the guidance states. “For seasoned workers, their personal device allows them to do administrative work from home.”

EEOC seems to be happy with the way their BYOD program is working for them and their employees. But the question remains open: should federal agencies reimburse employees for the extra cost of using their own devices for official work purposes? Would you be less likely to participate if you had to foot the entire cost yourself?