Miscellaneous Human Resources Policies                    UPPS No. 04.04.01

and Procedures                                                                   Issue No. 14

Effective Date: 11/22/2013

Review: July 1 E2Y

 

 

01.       POLICY STATEMENT

 

01.01  This UPPS establishes miscellaneous Texas State University human resources policies and procedures that are not specifically covered by individual UPPS's. For other human resources policies and procedures see UPPS No. 04.04.XX series. This UPPS addresses:

 

Professional Development Activities

Notification of Absence or Tardiness

Working Hours

Non-business Visitors, Family Members, and Phone Calls

Place of Work

Dress Code

Faculty and Staff Group Insurance Programs

Disclosure of Social Security Numbers

Criminal Offense Reporting Obligations

Publication of Employee Photos

 

02.       PROCEDURE FOR ENROLLMENT AND PARTICIPATION IN ACADEMIC AND NON-ACADEMIC PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

 

02.01  Professional development activities include formal training or education activities such as workshops, conferences, seminars, and academic courses designed to enhance an individual’s personal and professional development and growth. As an employment benefit, the university will pay or provide release time for certain professional development activities for eligible Texas State faculty and staff as provided below.

 

The provisions of this section meet the requirements of the State Employees Training Act of 1969 as amended.

 

a.   Academic professional development activity is the enrollment and participation in college or university credit courses. Department funds may be used to pay tuition and fees (but not travel costs) for college or university credit courses at Texas State or other accredited institutions of higher education if (1) the course relates directly to the employee’s current or prospective job duties in the department and (2) the employee’s department head or other appropriate approval authority approves both the enrollment and the payment.

 

b.   Non-academic professional development activity is the enrollment and participation in professional development activities that are not college or university credit courses. Department funds may be used to pay registration and other similar fees, as well as appropriate travel costs, if (1) the activity relates to the employee’s current or prospective job duties in the department and (2) the employee’s department head approves both the enrollment in the activity and the payment.

 

c.   Fees for Texas State University Credit Courses

 

Texas State will pay certain, but not all, fees for any of its employees enrolled in a Texas State credit course provided the employee (1) has received permission to take the course and (2) is a full-time regular employee at the university. Texas State automatically pays the fees for each employee enrolled including individuals in the Teacher Fellows Program. These fees include:

 

1)    Student Service Fee

2)    Designated Tuition

3)    Computer Service Fee

4)    Student Publication Fee

5)    Student Center Fee

6)    Bus Fee

7)    Recreational Sports Fee

8)    Library Fee

9)    Medical Service Fee

10   International Education Fee

11)  Off-Campus Course Fee

12)  Advising Fee

13)  ID Card Fee

14)  Environmental Service Fee

15)  Athletics Fee

16)  Electronic Course Fee

 

d.   Staff Professional Development Activities

 

1)   The university considers time away from work during regular working hours to attend non-academic professional development activities that are directly related to employee’s current or prospective job duties as training time. The employee should record this time as normal work time on his or her timesheet rather than as personal leave.

2)   Within the limits specified below, the university considers time away from work during regular working hours to attend academic professional development activities (college or university credit courses) as training time if the activities are (1) directly related to the employee’s current or prospective job duties in the department or (2) part of a formal degree program for a bachelor’s or graduate degree. The employee should record the time as “class release time” on the employee’s timesheet and not as personal leave.

 

e.   Staff Enrollment in College or University Credit Courses

 

1)    The university may release full-time regular staff to take one course during regular work hours if the staff member’s department head determines that the release will not materially affect department operations. When he or she denies a request, the department head will provide the staff member with written reasons for the denial.

2)    Under this provision, the department may release the full-time staff for up to three hours per week during each long semester and six hours per week during only one summer session.

3)    The three and six hour release time limits apply to courses taken (1) on the Texas State campus, (2) at a location off campus, (3) at another institution, and (4) online or through distance learning. The employee must make up any time taken in excess of the allotted release time limits, including travel time to and from the classroom, by working additional hours in the same week or taking leave from an appropriate leave category.

4)    The department head must approve course attendance, in writing, on the Enrollment in Academic Courses and Tuition/Fee Payment Request form (available on the Human Resources website) and forward it to Human Resources before the staff member attends any course under this provision. Human Resources will place the approval in the staff member’s personnel file.

5)    Staff members may take additional courses outside regular working hours, provided that attendance does not create a conflict of commitment to render full-time service to the university.

6)    The staff member’s department head has the sole authority to approve requests to attend any professional development activity during work hours and to determine if time taken to attend such a course is training time.

7)    Employees attending a professional development activity must work additional hours in the same week or charge their leave to an appropriate leave category if that activity is (1) not directly related to the employee’s current or prospective job duties, (2) outside the allotted release time limits specified for college or university credit courses (including travel time to and from the course location), or (3) designated as self-development time.

 

f.    Faculty Professional Development Activities

 

1)    Faculty members may attend academic classes at Texas State or elsewhere provided that such enrollment does not interfere with the completion of assigned duties. If a faculty member requests a fee payment for Texas State courses, the full-time faculty member must initiate the request on the Enrollment in Academic Courses and Tuition/Fee Payment Request Form and forward it to their department head. The department head will complete the approval portion of the form and forward it to Human Resources before the faculty member attends any course under this provision.

2)    If enrollment is related to current or prospective assignments, absence from campus is not considered a leave of absence, but rather a part of the faculty member’s regular university activities. Faculty members may also enroll in courses at Texas State or elsewhere for personal development provided that attendance does not interfere with the completion of assigned duties. In either case, the faculty member should notify the department chair in writing before enrolling in classes so that the chair can determine that no conflict exists.

 

02.02  In some instances, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may consider the payment of tuition and fees by the university for an employee as taxable income.

 

a.   All employer-paid education expenses that the IRS would consider tax deductible if the employee paid for it are not considered taxable wages and not added to the employee’s income. According to IRS rules, tax deductible education expenses:

 

1)   Are required to keep the employee’s present salary, status or job;

2)   Maintain or improve skills needed in the employee’s present job;

3)   Include tuition, books, supplies, lab fees, and similar items;

4)   Include certain travel and transportation and other education expenses;

5)   Do not include travel as education (e.g., Study Abroad travel expenses); and

6)   Do not include meals.

 

b.   The IRS may consider employer-paid education expenses that qualify the employee for a different line of work as taxable wages. However, the IRS considers all teaching and related duties as the same general line of work. Consequently, the university’s tax specialist may have to review these cases.

 

c.   The IRS may tax employees on education expenses needed to meet the minimum educational requirements as required by the university or by law. If a certain position requires a minimum of education, an employee hired into the position on an interim basis would have to pay taxes for education expenses because he or she would need to meet the minimum requirements to keep the position. If the university changes the educational requirements after hiring the employee, the employee is considered to have met the minimum requirements and is exempt from taxes on the educational expenses. The university’s tax specialist will review these cases individually.

 

02.03  If the university pays an employee’s tuition or fees for academic professional development and the employee terminates employment with the university prior to the end of the semester for which the tuition and fees were paid, the employee must reimburse the university for any and all tuition and fees paid by the university. For purposes of this policy, the semester ends on the last day of all scheduled finals.

 

Terminating employees must contact Student Business Services to make arrangements for repayment of amounts owed. Failure to make payment in full will have consequences such as: warrant holds against the individual being placed with the State Comptroller, filings made with credit reporting entities, financial holds placed on student records, and judicial prosecution.

 

02.04  The release time limits and leave requirements in this section are separate from any of those specified for programs in UPPS No. 04.04.35, Professional Development and Educational Opportunities.

 

02.05  All faculty and staff taking an academic course at Texas State or other accredited institution of higher education, and seeking release time or university payment of applicable tuition and fees, must submit an Enrollment in Academic Courses and Tuition/Fee Payment Request to their department head. The department head will complete the Approvals portion of the form (Section II) and forward the form to Human Resources for employment eligibility verification. Human Resources will forward the form to the tax specialist who will verify that the education benefits provided to the employee are exempt from federal income tax. The tax specialist will then forward the form to Student Business Services where it will (1) prompt an adjustment to waive only approved Texas State tuition and fees, (2) serve as the confirmation document for tuition and fees payments at Texas State or other accredited institutions of higher education, and (3) address any IRS requirements regarding employee tuition and fees payment. Employees attending an institution other than Texas State must attach an itemized bill of tuition and fees to be reimbursed through Accounts Payable at Texas State.

 

03.       PROCEDURE FOR NOTIFICATION OF ABSENCE OR TARDINESS

 

03.01  Punctual and regular attendance is expected of all university faculty and staff. When unable to report for work, faculty and staff are expected to notify the immediate supervisor or other appropriate individual as soon as possible. Except in unusual cases, the faculty or staff member should personally notify their immediate supervisor.

 

04.       WORKING HOURS

 

04.01  Work Time

 

An activity constitutes hours worked if it is undertaken out of necessity and for the principal benefit of the university, and is controlled, required and authorized by the university.

 

04.02  Work Schedule

 

As directed by the Board of Regents, the university will be open to conduct business essential services during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (except official university holidays). Essential services include university administrative and executive offices, the president’s office, the library, the registrar, the fiscal and business offices, the police department, the financial aid office, the admissions office, academic offices, facilities and any other essential operational offices.

 

A department head may routinely authorize alternate work schedules as long as university needs are met. However, the divisional vice president or president may authorize other hours as necessary.

 

Supervisors in offices required to provide services before 8:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. may require employees to work hours other than 8:00 to 5:00 as a condition of employment, either regularly or temporarily.

 

04.03  Flex Time

 

The use of "flex time" is encouraged as a means of providing the best possible delivery of services. Department heads may allow the workforce to modify their normal work hours for family or personal reasons as long as the university meets the demands of its internal and external customers, as well as state law and Regents' Rules regarding operating hours. If a department head denies an employee request for a flexible work schedule, the department head must provide the employee with a written explanation of the denial within one week following receipt of a written request for a flexible work schedule. If the employee does not receive a written explanation for the denial, he or she may appeal the denial to the next level supervisor who shall respond in writing within two weeks of receipt of the appeal. The next level supervisor’s decision is final.

 

Departments may use flexible work schedules year round, but especially during the period between the May and August commencement ceremonies.

 

04.04  Break Periods

 

Two 15-minute paid rest periods during the normal workday are authorized for full-time employees, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Employees working at least half-time, but less than full-time, are authorized one 15-minute paid rest period per day. Employees working less than half-time are not authorized rest periods. Employees may not use rest periods to shorten workdays or lengthen lunch hours. Offices should stagger rest periods.

 

            04.05  Break Time for Nursing Mothers

 

Nursing mothers of children less than one year of age are eligible for additional break periods and private space to express breast milk during the work day.  Additional guidance is provided in UPPS No. 04.04.61, Mother-Friendly Worksite Program.

 

05.       PROCEDURES REGARDING NON-BUSINESS VISITORS, FAMILY MEMBERS, AND NON-BUSINESS TELEPHONE CALLS IN THE WORKPLACE

 

05.01  Supervisors may deny or restrict workplace access to non-business visitors and employee family members during both work and non-work periods. Supervisors may also limit or restrict non-business telephone usage. Supervisors are encouraged to adopt reasonable provisions for their particular work situations. However, supervisors have full discretion in determining appropriate policies for these matters.

 

06.       PLACE OF WORK

 

06.01  An employee's department head will determine the employee's normal place of work or assigned duty point. The employee's dean or vice president must concur with the determination. Authorization from the president is required if the employee's normal place of work is the employee's home (see Section 06.02, Telecommuting).

 

06.02  Telecommuting (work-at-home) – Employees may not consider their personal residence as their regular place of work or duty point without the prior written authorization of the president. In addition, the following policy and procedures will apply:

 

a.   Department heads must route any work-at-home requests through normal administrative channels to the president. Requests must (1) specify the time period for the work-at-home arrangement, and (2) justify the request. The department head must provide a copy of the approved request to Human Resources.

 

b.   Timekeeping – Employees may accrue state compensatory time for work performed at the employee's personal residence only if the president or designee grants approval in advance.

 

However, non-exempt employees approved to work at home are eligible for FLSA overtime in accordance with the provisions of UPPS No. 04.04.16, Overtime and Compensatory Time Policy.

 

c.   Workers’ Compensation – Employees approved to work at home are covered by normal Workers’ Compensation rules as provided in UPPS No. 04.04.43, Workers’ Compensation Injuries, Illnesses and Claims.

 

d.   Employee requirements – During the approved work-at-home period, the employee will:

 

1)   Inform the department head of any changes that affect the work-at-home arrangements;

2)   Honor all copyrights for software provided by Texas State; 

3)   Implement and maintain appropriate safeguards to protect university information against accidental or unauthorized disclosure, contamination, modification, or destruction; and

4)   Observe normal university policies and procedures.

 

e.   Termination of arrangement – The president may terminate any work-at-home arrangement at any time. Such action is not necessarily an adverse personnel action. The president's decision is final.

 

f.    Criteria for approval – When evaluating work-at-home requests, the president will consider the following criteria:

 

1)   The best interests of the university;

2)   The minimum technological requirements to perform the job duties and the impact on Texas State of meeting these requirements;

3)   The confidentiality of the information taken from the regular site and the ability to maintain that confidentiality;

4)   The ability of the employee and supervisor to establish work expectations and a means to measure productivity and performance;

5)   The amount of time the position's duties require the employee’s physical presence at the regular office site;

6)   The impact that such an arrangement will have on other employees and the services provided to customers; and

7)   The confirmation that the employee will secure Texas State materials and equipment.

 

07.       DRESS CODE

 

07.01  Department heads and supervisors may determine the dress code requirements for faculty, staff, and student employees under their supervision. They are encouraged to adopt reasonable requirements that are in keeping with the job functions, environment, and situations of the workplace. However, department heads and supervisors have full discretion in determining the appropriate dress code requirements for all employees under their supervision.

 

07.02 The employee may not consider time missed to change clothing as time worked.

 

08.       FACULTY AND STAFF GROUP INSURANCE PROGRAMS

 

08.01  All regular faculty and staff members are eligible to participate in the university's group insurance programs which include medical, dental, term life, accidental death and dismemberment, and short- and long-term disability. Detailed information (including descriptions, limitations, and premium rates) is available in each new employee packet and from Human Resources.

 

09.       DISCLOSURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS

 

09.01  The university requires its employees to furnish their social security numbers in order to verify their identities. The university's recordkeeping system was established prior to January 1, 1975, pursuant to the authority given to the Board of Regents, Texas State University System, in Section 95.21 of the Texas Education Code and solicited under the statutory authority of 42 U.S.C.A., Section 405(c) (2) (C).

 

            University employees with access to social security numbers will protect them from disclosure to anyone who does not have a legitimate business need for the information.

 

10.       CRIMINAL OFFENSE REPORTING OBLIGATIONS

 

10.01  All Texas State employees have an obligation to report actual or suspected crimes such as physical harm, theft, fraud, embezzlement, destruction of property or other irregularities resulting in the loss of cash, property or other assets of the university to the University Police Department (UPD). Procedures for reporting criminal offenses are outlined in UPPS No. 01.04.40, Reporting Criminal Offenses.

 

10.02  Employees are expected to cooperate with police and internal audit investigations. Investigations conducted by these offices are confidential.

 

11.       PUBLICATION OF EMPLOYEE PHOTOS

 

11.01  Use of an employee’s photograph on a university website or other publication should be on a voluntary basis. As such, the employee should sign a release authorizing use of their image for this purpose. Photography release forms are available from the office of University Marketing.

 

11.02  Photos taken at a public location for a university-related event may be used without the employee’s consent or signed release.

 

12.       PROCEDURES FOR DISSEMINATION OF POLICY

 

12.01  The provost and vice president for Academic Affairs (VPAA) will ensure that all policies in this UPPS applicable to faculty are published in the Faculty Handbook.

 

12.02 The assistant vice president for Human Resources will ensure that all policies in this UPPS applicable to staff are published in the Staff Handbook.

 

13.       REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS

 

13.01  Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

 

Position                                                         Date

 

Assistant Vice President for                       July 1 E2Y

Human Resources

 

Chief Diversity Officer and                         July 1 E2Y

Director, Equity and Access

 

Provost and Vice President for                  July 1 E2Y

Academic Affairs

 

Chair, Staff Council                                    July 1 E2Y

 

Chair, Faculty Senate                                 July 1 E2Y

 

14.       CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

 

This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

 

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources; senior reviewer of this UPPS

 

Vice President for Finance and Support Services

 

President