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Glenn Hegar  ·  Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

SPRS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The SPRS Project Team has collected answers to some of the commonly asked questions. If you would like to have your questions answered, send them to sprs.mail@cpa.texas.gov.

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General

What does the acronym SPRS stand for? [+]

Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System.

What screens are available in SPRS? [+]

Currently, SPRS has 23 screens that are available to the user and vary depending on the user's security. For a list and description of each screen, refer to the SPRS User Guide: Chapter 6.

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Implementation Schedule

When did SPRS move into production? [+]

The implementation date for SPRS was June 1, 2002.

Will institutions of higher education be required to use SPRS instead of HRIS? [+]

Currently, SPRS does not include edits that encompass higher education's payroll and personnel requirements. Therefore, institutions of higher education will continue to report payroll and personnel information to the Human Resources Information System (HRIS).

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Field Usage

How are the mail codes (SP1, SP2, and SP3) defined? How do they relate to the current mail codes on TINS (000, 001, etc.)? [+] Revised

The mail code is unique to the system where the agency's data resides (e.g., USPS and SPRS). The SP indicates that these are mail codes for employees reported to SPRS. SP1 will be used as the primary mail code and SP2 would be used to set up an employee with a second direct deposit account. SP3 is used as the final mail code to whom (e.g., employee's beneficiary/estate) payments would be made in the case of the employee's death.

Is there is a relationship between the deduction sequence number on personnel data to the one sent on the payroll data? [+]

For personnel processing, agencies may either report a deduction with multiple occurrences on Record ID 240 - Employee Deduction Information:

  • once as a rolled-up amount if all other fields are identical or
  • multiple times with each amount listed individually with different Deduction Sequence Numbers.

For payroll processing, agencies should use a unique sequence number to report each vendor ID within a deduction on a 550 Record - Deduction Transaction. However, payroll deduction transactions are not verified against the deductions recorded in the SPRS personnel database at the deduction sequence number level; only the deduction code is checked against personnel data.

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Personnel Processing

We hired an employee who is a direct transfer from another state agency. The losing state agency has not entered the termination. Will SPRS issue a warning or reject the transaction if we process the acquisition? [+]

Last employment transaction for employee at the losing agency must be a termination (Reason Code 065); otherwise, a warning will be issued.

What is the transaction processing order for personnel transactions (acquisitions and maintenance)? [+]

When acquisitions and maintenance reason codes are in the same batch, acquisitions (including acquisition reversals) always process first. If a maintenance reason code needs to process before a acquisition reason code, then the processing would be a two night process. The maintenance would be sent the first night and then the acquisition the second night.

What is the best sort order for properly sequencing personnel transactions? [+] Revised

A Processing Sequence Number in SPRS allows the agency to sequence transactions. This sequencing number will determine the order of processing of multiple actions on the same day for an employee within a given process. The processes are defined as employee acquisitions, employee descriptive maintenance (e.g., LWOP and terminations) or employee job maintenance (e.g., salary actions).

How will an agency determine if an employee is a direct transfer from another agency to accurately report his or her information to SPRS so that the transaction does not error out in SPRS? Will there be a way to verify transfer information online? [+] Revised

Coordination between agencies' HR offices is the best assurance of accurate processing. If the losing agency has not submitted the correct transaction to transfer the employee (Reason Code 065) by the time the gaining agency enters the transfer (Reason Codes LEG or 012), SPRS will send a warning message rather than error the transaction. However, the correct transfer reason code (Reason Codes LEG or 012) from the gaining agency is required and must reflect an accurate salary to process in SPRS. At this time, there is not a way to verify information online.

How will the Effective Service Date field be initially set-up in SPRS and how will it be maintained? [+]

An employee's Effective Service Date is the starting point for determining the amount of the employee's Lifetime Service Credit. The amount of an employee's Lifetime Service Credit at any given point is equal to the number of months (not calendar months) that have elapsed since the employee's Effective Service Date. A month begins on the same day each month as the Effective Service Date and ends on the day before that day during the next month.

For example, assume an employee's Effective Service Date is August 5, 1985. For that employee, February 5 through March 4, 2002, constitutes a month of service credit (regardless of how many days are included in that month).

The Effective Service Date is the first day of the employee's current continuous employment with the state, as adjusted for any Lifetime Service Credits accrued during previous employments and for any entire calendar months the employee was on LWOP during the current employment. For this purpose, an employee's transfer from one state agency to another does not interrupt continuity of employment if no workdays occur between the two employments.

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Payroll Processing

How may regular (base salary pay) hours per month can an employee be paid in SPRS? [+]

SPRS allows an employee to be paid a maximum of 200 regular (base salary pay) hours per month.

Can we process a payment for an employee who is on LWOP in SPRS? [+]

SPRS will allow a payment for an employee who is on LWOP; however, the employee will appear on the Gross Exceeds Report if the payment is for the employee's full authorized salary.

Can we use SP1 mail code for processing travel reimbursements through SPRS? [+]

Agencies are encouraged to use SP1 for making travel payments to their employees and notify Payment Services at the Comptroller’s office to inactivate the 000 mail code. However, if the employee wants his or her travel payments and payroll to be made in a different way (e.g., one on a warrant and the other direct deposit, both direct deposit but to different accounts), then payroll will be made from SP1 and the travel payments could be made with 000 mail code. Additionally, agencies have the option through SPRS to allow their employees to set up two direct deposit accounts. Mail code SP1 could be used for payroll and mail code SP2 could be used for travel.

Will SPRS provide the ability to run trial payrolls? [+]

No. A trial payroll process is not available in SPRS. SPRS will accept transactions on a daily basis. Therefore, agencies can report personnel transactions frequently to ensure problems are resolved before payroll transactions are submitted. In addition, if agencies incorporate similar edits as included in SPRS into their internal payroll/personnel systems, data editing problems should not be extensive when reporting to SPRS.

Could you please provide further clarification on how deduction warrants will be sorted? Where will USAS get the sort sequence and location code for deduction warrants? [+]

There will be no change to the way USAS currently sorts deduction warrants. SPRS will allow the agency to submit location code and sort sequence on the 550 (deduction) transactions; these fields are provided to USAS in the Invoice Description field. Deduction warrants will be generated in sort sequence order. Both location code and sort sequence will be printed on the remittance advice (check stub).

With regards to the set of standards for sorting employee warrants, can an agency specify the sort sequence at any time? How do we specify the sort? Can a different sort be selected per batch or document? Will the agency be given the capability of requesting the sort either online or via the file transmission? [+]

The agency-specified sort will be maintained on a table and can be changed once established, but will not be available to control sorting independently by document. The 15-byte Employee Payment Sort field will be available to control payment sort at the employee level per agency. At the time of conversion, SPRS support staff will establish the sort control for agencies and changes will be handled through Letters of Authorization.

The defined SPRS sort options for the agency to choose from are:

  • Agency Number and Employee Payment Sort
  • Agency Number, Employee Payment Sort, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, and Social Security Number (default sort option)
  • Agency Number, Employee Payment Sort, and Social Security Number
  • Agency Number, Document Number, and Employee Payment Sort
  • Agency Number, Document Number, Employee Payment Sort, Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, and Social Security Number
  • Agency Number, Document Number, Employee Payment Sort, and Social Security Number

How should a retroactive payment that covers multiple pay periods be sent to SPRS? [+]

Multiple transactions need to be sent to SPRS, one for each month during the retroactive period for which the retroactive payment covers. For example, if a $60.00 retroactive longevity payment needs to be processed for the pay periods of 10/01/2000 - 12/31/2000 and it is to be included with the monthly payroll paid 03/01/2001, then SPRS would need to receive three transactions for the retroactive longevity.

Assuming the base pay is $1500.00, the transactions for longevity (LOG) and base pay (BSY) would be as follows:

Retroactive Transactions:

  • Pay Period of 10/01/2000 - 10/31/2000 for $20.00 LOG and a Payment Date of 03/01/2001
  • Pay Period of 11/01/2000 - 11/30/2000 for $20.00 LOG and a Payment Date of 03/01/2001
  • Pay Period of 12/01/2000 - 12/31/2000 for $20.00 LOG and a Payment Date of 03/01/2001

Current Monthly Payroll Transactions:

  • Pay Period of 02/01/2001 - 02/28/2001 for $20.00 LOG and a Payment Date of 03/01/2001
  • Pay Period of 02/01/2001 - 02/28/2001 for $1500.00 BSY and a Payment Date of 03/01/2001

Will the employee's name that is printed on the warrant be pulled from SPRS or TINS? [+] Revised

The name from the SPRS Employee Descriptive table will be printed on the warrant.

What types of payments in SPRS are subject to warrant hold statutes? [+]

All payments (compensation and non-compensation) in SPRS are subject to the warrant hold statutes. Compensation payments such as base salary (BSY) are subject only to child support holds. Non-compensation payments such as lump sum vacation (LSV) are subject to all holds including child support holds.

How are the warrant hold statutes applied in SPRS? [+]

The object code(s) within a payment that are defined as "compensation" according to Section 403.055, Government Code, are held only if the Office of Attorney General has submitted a hold for child support for the employee. For example, payments for base salary (BSY), overtime pay (OTP), one-time merit (1XM), hazardous duty pay (HAZ), longevity pay (LOG), and performance bonus/enhanced compensation (PBN) are considered compensation and are held for child support only.

The object code(s) within the payment that are not compensation are held if the employee is on hold for such reasons as child support, delinquent student loans, or tax payments. For example, lump sum vacation (LSV), death vacation payment (DVP), or travel payments are considered non-compensation and would be held for reasons in addition to child support.

How does SPRS process payments containing both compensation and non-compensation for employees on hold? [+]

If compensation and non-compensation are combined in the same payment and the employee is on hold, SPRS will reject the entire payment. This includes payments for deduction refunds. To avoid payment rejection, the agency must separate compensation and non-compensation into separate payments.

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Return-to-Work Retirees

Is there a screen that can assist agencies with determining a return-to-work retiree’s eligibility for longevity and benefit replacement pay (BRP)? [+]

Yes, the Return-to-Work Retiree Information Screen (SHRTCD) is available to assist agencies in determining a return-to-work retiree's eligibility for longevity pay and BRP benefits. Using a return-to-work retiree's Social Security number (SSN), hire date, and reason code, this SPRS inquiry screen displays eligibility indicators for longevity pay and BRP and the eligible longevity pay amount.

If a return-to-work retiree received only hazardous duty pay immediately before September 1, 2005, and subsequently moved to a position that is ineligible for hazardous duty pay after September 1, 2005, would the return-to-work retiree be considered eligible for longevity pay after September 1, 2005? [+]

No, the return-to-work retiree would be considered ineligible for longevity pay after September 1, 2005, even though he or she might move to a position that is ineligible for hazardous duty pay.

If a return-to-work retiree received both hazardous duty pay and longevity pay immediately before September 1, 2005, what amount of longevity pay is a return-to-work retiree eligible for after September 1, 2005? [+]

The return-to-work retiree is only eligible for the amount of longevity pay that he or she was receiving immediately before September 1, 2005, even if the return-to-work retiree moves to a position that is not subject to hazardous duty pay. The amount of longevity pay will be frozen at the amount they actually received in August.

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Records

Is it possible for an agency to send multiple actions for an employee on a single record? And, if so, is it possible for one action to be successful and another unsuccessful on a single record? [+]

An agency may send multiple actions for an employee on a single record for entitlements (230), deductions (240), and direct deposits (250). Because there is a program that separates each of these actions, it is possible for one action to be successful and another to be unsuccessful, and the entire record will not fail in SPRS.

Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Questions? Contact statewide.accounting@cpa.texas.gov
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