Legislative Changes Affecting Salary Administration, 82nd Legislature
Changes to ERS and TRS State Retirement Rates for Fiscal 2012 and 2013
The General Appropriations Act provides that the rates for the state contribution to retirement for members of the Employees Retirement System (ERS) and Teacher Retirement System (TRS) have changed as of the September 2011 pay period.
These changes are pursuant to House Bill 1, Article I, Employees Retirement System Riders 4 and 5, and Article III, Teacher Retirement System, Rider 4.
The new state contribution rates are*:
- For the state contribution for employees covered by ERS, the rate will be 6.0 percent of the retirement wages for fiscal 2012 only. The rate will be 6.5 percent for fiscal 2013.
- For the state contribution for employees covered by the Judicial Retirement Program – Plan 2, the rate will be 6.0 percent for fiscal 2012 only and will be 6.5 percent for fiscal 2013.
- For employees covered by TRS, the state contribution rate will be 6.0 percent for fiscal 2012 only and will be 6.4 percent for fiscal 2013.
*In all cases, the employee contribution rates remain unchanged.
Changes to Leave Administration
Effective Sept. 1, 2011, Senate Bill 1737 provides changes to military leave for state employees:
- Effective Sept. 1, 2011, an employee who does not use all 15 days of military leave available for use in a federal fiscal year will be allowed to carry forward the unused portion of military leave to the next federal fiscal year, up to a maximum of 45 days to be carried forward.
- Effective Sept. 1, 2011, the statute related to Employees in National Guard, Emergency Leave is amended by adding language that an employee called to federal active duty for the purpose of providing assistance to civil authorities in a declared emergency or for training for that purpose is entitled to receive paid emergency leave for not more than 22 workdays without loss of military leave or vacation leave.
Compensatory Time Off
House Bill 46 provides authority that employees who are employed by the Parks and Wildlife Department to perform communications and dispatch services to assist law enforcement officers commissioned by the Parks and Wildlife Commission in performing law enforcement duties and who are required to work on a national or state holiday that falls on a Saturday or Sunday are entitled to compensatory time off at the rate of one hour for each hour worked on the holiday.
This bill had immediate effect and was effective May 19, 2011.
House Bill 988, effective Sept. 1, 2011, provides an exception to the requirement that compensatory time off to which an employee is entitled must be taken during the 12-month period following the end of the workweek in which the compensatory time was earned for correctional officers employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
Compensatory time off, to which a correctional officer of TDCJ is entitled, must be used during the 24-month period following the end of the workweek in which the compensatory time was accrued.
Changes to Salary/HR Administration
Payroll Contribution for Group Health Insurance
A provision in the General Appropriations Act, Article IX, Section 18.09, requires each state agency and institution of higher education (not including components of the University of Texas and Texas A&M Systems) to contribute to the Employees Retirement System (ERS) Group Benefits Program an amount equal to 1.0 percent of the total base wages and salaries for each benefits-eligible employee, beginning with the pay period from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, 2011.
For this purpose, total base salary does not include:
- Longevity pay
- Hazardous duty pay
- Benefit Replacement Pay
- Overtime pay
- Other payments that are not part of the base salary of the employee
Role of the Comptroller’s office
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (Comptroller’s office) will publish rules and regulations to administer the program.
Public Community/Junior Colleges
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will administer the requirements of this section for public community/junior colleges.
Details on the 1 percent contribution
The Comptroller’s office, working in conjunction with ERS, has determined that 1.0 percent will be calculated as a percentage of the amounts of base salary* paid to benefits-eligible employees with the pay period starting Sept. 1, 2011, and continuing through the payrolls paid for the August 2013 pay period.
*The amounts paid as base salary will not include any other emoluments that are sometimes paid using the salary expenditure object code.
The 1.0 percent contribution amount will reduce the state contribution amount for insurance or Opt-Out up to, but not more than, the total state contribution for each benefits-eligible employee. Institutions of higher education will include the amount each month directly in their remittance to ERS.
For further guidance, see the Fiscal Policy and Procedure (FPP) Payroll Contribution for Group Health Insurance (FPP P.005).
Changes to Employee Election Regarding Public Disclosure of Certain Information
Senate Bill 1638 amends Government Code, Section 552.024, related to certain information in the custody of a governmental body to which a state employee or official of a governmental body may choose to allow public access.
Previously, the types of information a state employee or official could choose to prevent public access to were:
- Home address
- Home telephone number
- Social Security number
- That which reveals if the person has family members
SB 1638 adds emergency contact information to the types of information to which the state employee or official may elect to prevent public access.
This bill had immediate effect and became effective June 17, 2011.
Tobacco User Monthly Premium Fee Deduction
A provision in the General Appropriations Act, Article I, Employees Retirement System, Rider 11, requires ERS to apply a $30 monthly tobacco user fee to any tobacco user covered under the state health plan.
Senate Bill 1664 contains a similar provision that requires ERS to apply the monthly fee.
The fee, scheduled for implementation Jan. 1, 2012, will be treated as a pre-tax payroll deduction.
Changes Specific to Institutions of Higher Education
Section 3.01 of Senate Bill 5, 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, adds Section 51.9611 to the Education Code that provides authority for the governing boards of university systems or institutions of higher education to authorize employees of the system or institution to elect a payroll deduction for any purpose that the governing board determines serves a public purpose and benefits employees.
This bill had immediate effect and became effective June 17, 2011.
The deduction authorized in this manner must be taken based on the written request of the employee and the request must state:
- The amount to be deducted, and
- The entity to which the deduction is paid.
Revocation of payroll deduction request
The request for the payroll deduction remains in effect until revoked in writing by the employee, unless the university system or institution of higher education offers the deduction via an enrollment period.
The university system or institution may collect an administrative fee to cover the costs of making the deduction.
Deductions authorized under this section may not be for dues or membership fees payable to a labor union or employees association.
Setting up deductions in HRIS
As the governing boards adopt new payroll deductions, institutions must contact their HRIS Representative in the Comptroller’s Statewide Human Resources and Payroll Assistance Section for assistance with setting up the deductions in HRIS.