Legislative Changes Affecting Salary Administration, 85th Legislature
State agencies and institutions of higher education
The 85th Legislature, Regular Session, made a number of changes to the salary administration laws:
- Retirement Rates for FY 2018 and FY 2019
- Changes to leave administration
- Changes to salary/HR administration
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (Comptroller’s office) is providing these general guidelines for the changes to be implemented in the Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System (USPS), Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System (SPRS) and the Centralized Accounting and Payroll/Personnel System (CAPPS–HR/Payroll).
ERS, TRS and ORP Retirement Rates for Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019
ERS Retirement Rates for Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019
The General Appropriations Act (GAA) provides that the rates for both the employee contribution and the state contribution for members of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) will not change for the September 2017 pay period.
The table below outlines the rates effective Sept. 1, 2017.
|Retirement Plan||Employee Contribution Rate||State Contribution Rate¹|
|Fiscal 2018||Fiscal 2019||Fiscal 2018||Fiscal 2019|
|Judicial Plan 1||9.5%||9.5%||0.0%||0.0%|
|Judicial Plan 2||7.5%||7.5%||15.663%||15.663%|
The Law Enforcement Custodial Officer Supplemental (LECOS) rates will also remain the same.
The payroll retirement contribution will continue to be paid by agencies at the rate of 0.5 percent of base salary for all employees who are members of the retirement system. It will be paid from the agencies’ budgets.
TRS Retirement Rates for Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019
For employees covered by Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), the state contribution rate will remain at 6.8 percent for both fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019.
The employee contribution rate will remain at 7.7 percent for fiscal 2018 and 2019.
Optional Retirement Program (ORP) Rates for Fiscal 2018 and Fiscal 2019
For employees participating in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP), the state contribution rate will remain at 6.6 percent for both fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019. Employers are authorized to use local funds or other sources of funds to supplement the General Revenue Fund appropriation at a rate up to 1.9 percent. The employee contribution rate will remain at 6.65 percent for both fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019.
Changes to Leave Administration
Requirement to Adopt Agency Leave Policy
Senate Bill 73 added a new provision that requires that all state agencies and institutions of higher education to adopt a policy governing leave for employees. The leave policy must provide clear and objective guidelines for each type of leave to establish under what circumstances an agency’s employee may be entitled to or granted leave. The provision requires that the agency post the policy on the agency’s website in a location easily accessible to employees and the public.
Similar provisions are found in the GAA, Article IX, Sec. 7.14
Leave During Agency Investigation
Senate Bill 73 added a new provision that provides authority for the administrative head of an agency to grant leave without a deduction in salary to a state employee who is:
- The subject of an investigation being conducted by the agency
- A victim of, or witness to, an act or event that is the subject of an investigation being conducted by the agency
This change also requires the agency to submit a report to the State Auditor’s Office and the Legislative Budget Board that details the name of the employee who either was:
- The subject of the investigation
- The victim of an act that is under investigation
- The witness to an act that is under investigation
- Was granted 168 or more hours of investigation leave during the fiscal quarter
The report is due no later than the last day of each fiscal quarter and must include a brief statement of the reason each employee listed remains on leave.
Medical and Mental Health Care Leave for Certain Veterans
Senate Bill 73 also added a new provision to provide authority for medical and mental health care leave for certain veterans. The new provision applies to a state employee who is a veteran, as defined by Texas Government Code, Section 434.023(a), and eligible for health benefits under a program administered by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The new provision provides for those qualified state employees, the employee may be granted leave without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit or state compensatory time to obtain medical and mental health care administered by the Veterans Health Administration. The provision provides authority for the agency to grant up to 15 days each fiscal year. The provision allows, at the discretion of the administrative agency head, to grant additional days of this leave annually.
Changes to Emergency Leave Provisions
Senate Bill 73 amended the emergency leave provisions by adding language clarifying that the administrative agency head shall grant emergency leave to an employee if the employee requests the leave and the administrative agency head determines that the employee has shown good cause for taking emergency leave for reasons other than a death in the employee’s family.
The administrative head of the agency may not grant emergency leave unless the administrative agency head believes that the employee being granted leave intends to return to the employee’s position upon expiration of the period of emergency leave.
This new provision clarifies that an employee is not required to request emergency leave if the administrative head of the agency grants emergency leave because the agency is closed due to inclement weather conditions or in observance of a holiday.
The new provision requires that the administrative agency head report the information below for each employee granted more than 32 hours of emergency leave during the prior state fiscal year. The report is due to the Comptroller’s office no later than Oct. 1.
- Employee name
- Employee position
- Reason for the emergency leave
- Total number of hours of emergency leave granted
Similar provisions are found in the GAA, Article IX, Section 7.14
Standardized Accounting Codes for Leave
Senate Bill 73 added a new provision that requires the Comptroller’s office to adopt a standardized set of accounting codes for each type of leave authorized in Texas Government Code, Chapter 661, for use in the Centralized Accounting and Payroll/Personnel System (CAPPS) and Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System for reporting leave taken by the agency’s employees.
Similar provisions are found in the GAA, Article IX, Section 7.14
Changes to Salary/HR Administration
Change to Salary Schedule Effective Sept. 1, 2017
The GAA, Article IX, Part 2, Schedule A Classification Salary Schedule deleted Pay Group A3 from the listing.
In addition, Schedule C contains one change. For pay Group C3, those with 20 or more years of service, the rate will change from $77,846 to $79,323.
Savings Incentive Program for State Employees
Senate Bill 132 amended existing law related to the Savings Incentive Program for State Agencies, which allows agencies to notify the Comptroller’s office when an agency spends less undedicated general revenue derived from nonfederal sources than is appropriated to the agency for a fiscal year. The agency is to notify the Comptroller’s office of the savings before Oct. 30 for the previous fiscal year.
Changes from Senate Bill 132 provide agencies with a larger portion of the savings and require that 50 percent of the portion retained by the agency must be used to make payments on general obligation bonds issued by or on behalf of the agency or, in specific situations, to provide bonuses to each employee who meets certain criteria. The new language creates limits on the amounts of the bonus payments based on a formula in the enabling statute. The provisions require a state agency to adopt rules to implement this provision. Existing statute requires the Comptroller’s office to verify the amount of savings no later than the 60th day following the date the Comptroller’s office receives notification. The bill becomes effective Sept. 1, 2017.
Payroll Contribution for Group Health Insurance
A provision in the GAA, Article IX, Section 17.03, requires each state agency and institution of higher education included in the Group Benefits Program for the state fiscal biennium beginning Sept. 1, 2017, to contribute in an amount equal to 1.0 percent of the total base wages and salaries for each benefits eligible employee of a state agency or institution of higher education to the ERS Group Benefits Program.
For this requirement, “institution of higher education” does not include components within the University of Texas or Texas A&M University systems.
The calculation of base salary excludes longevity pay, hazardous duty pay, benefit replacement pay, overtime pay and other payments that are not part of the base salary of the employee.
Tobacco User Monthly Premium Fee Deduction
The previously established Tobacco User Monthly Premium Fee Deduction will remain in effect for fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019. 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))||$ 90 per month|