Legislative Changes Affecting Salary Administration, 83rd Legislature
State agencies and institutions of higher education
The 83rd Legislature, Regular Session, made a number of changes to the salary administration laws:
- Changes to ERS and TRS retirement rates
- Changes to leave administration
- Changes to salary/HR administration
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts is providing these general guidelines for the changes to be implemented in the Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System (USPS), Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System (SPRS).
Changes to ERS and TRS State Retirement Rates for Fiscal 2014 and 2015
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 2013 pay period.
These changes are pursuant to Senate Bill 1, Article I, Employees Retirement System Riders 4 and 5, and Article III, Teacher Retirement System, Rider 4.
The revised state contribution rates are:
- For the state contribution for employees covered by ERS, the rate is anticipated to be 7.5 percent of the retirement wages for both fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. However, the fiscal 2014 rate of 7.5 percent, but no less than 6.5 percent, is contingent upon funding availability and approval of the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Office.
Note: On Aug. 26, 2013, the Comptroller's office was advised of funds availability and the approval of the 7.5 percent rate for fiscal 2014.
- For the Judicial Retirement Program – Plan 1, the state contribution rate will remain at 0.0 percent for both fiscal years.
- For the state contribution for employees covered by the Judicial Retirement Program – Plan 2, the rate will be 15.663 percent for both fiscal 2014 and 2015.
- For employees covered by TRS, the state contribution rate will be 6.8 percent for both fiscal 2014 and 2015.
The revised employee deduction rates are:
- For the employee deduction for employees covered by ERS, the rate will be 6.6 percent of the retirement wages for fiscal 2014 and 6.9 percent for fiscal 2015.
- For the Judicial Retirement Program – Plan 1, the employee contribution rate will be 6.6 percent for fiscal 2014 and 6.9 percent for fiscal 2015.
- For the employee deduction for employees covered by the Judicial Retirement Program – Plan 2, the rate will be 6.6 percent for fiscal 2014 and 6.9 percent for fiscal 2015.
- For employees covered by TRS, the employee deduction rate will be 6.4 percent for fiscal 2014 only and 6.7 percent for fiscal 2015.
The Law Enforcement Custodial Officer Supplemental (LECOS) rates will remain the same.
A new contribution, the Payroll Retirement Contribution, will be paid by agencies at the rate of 0.5% of base salary for all employees who are members of the retirement system. It will be paid from the agencies’ budget. This contribution will be discussed in greater detail later in this document.
Changes to Leave Administration
Reserve Officers Training Leave
Effective June 14, 2013, Senate Bill 443 provides new authority for leave for state employees who are reserve law enforcement officers as defined in Section 1701.001, Occupations Code.
The new leave authority allows a reserve law enforcement officer to attend required training. Eligible employees are entitled to leave with pay to attend training required under Section 1701.351, Occupations Code, for not more than five working days every fiscal biennium.
State agencies and institutions of higher education will be responsible for identifying employees who are reserve law enforcement officers and who might be eligible for the leave.
Change to Use of Sick Leave for Parent-Teacher Conference
House Bill 480 expands authority for state employees to use up to eight hours of sick leave each fiscal year to attend educational activities of the employee’s children. Educational activities include school-sponsored activities such as parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, volunteer programs, field trips, classroom programs, school committee meetings, academic competitions, and athletic, music or theater programs.
This bill became effective June 14, 2013.
Changes to Salary/HR Administration
Additional Payroll Retirement Contribution
A provision in the General Appropriations Act, Article IX, Section 17.13, requires each state agency to contribute to the ERS Retirement Program an amount equal to 0.5 percent of the total base wages and salaries for each benefits-eligible employee, beginning with the Sept. 2013 pay period.
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.
Details on the 0.5 percent additional retirement contribution
The Comptroller’s office, working in conjunction with ERS, has determined that 0.5 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, 2013, and continuing through the payrolls paid for the August 2015 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 0.5 percent contribution amount will be paid from agency budgets in addition to the state contribution amount from funds appropriated for that purpose.
For further guidance, see the Fiscal Policy and Procedure (FPP) Additional Payroll Retirement Contribution (2013) (FPP P.006). Note: This FPP will be available on Aug. 2, 2013.
Tobacco User Monthly Premium Fee Deduction
The previously established Tobacco User Monthly Premium Fee Deduction will remain in effect for fiscal 2014 and 2015. The fee structure remains at:
|Member or Spouse or Child(ren) Only||$ 30 per month|
|Member + Spouse or Member + Child(ren) or
Spouse + Child(ren)
|$ 60 per month|
|Family (Member + Spouse + Child(ren))||$120 per month|
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.