MT. PLEASANT ISD PAYROLL POLICIES _ PROCEDURES GUIDE

Document Sample
MT. PLEASANT ISD PAYROLL POLICIES _ PROCEDURES GUIDE Powered By Docstoc
					MT. PLEASANT ISD
PAYROLL POLICIES
 & PROCEDURES
     GUIDE
      7/10




       1
                              Table of Contents

Basic Employee Information                        3
Terms of Employment                               3
Employment Classification                         3
Extra Duty Job Pay Schedule                       5
KRONOS Timekeeping Procedures                     7
Overtime                                          10
Compensable VS. Non-Compensable Time              10
Definitions of Work                               11
Volunteers                                        12
Travel Time                                       12
Reserves                                          12
Leave & Attendance                                15
Employee Benefits                                 25
Teacher Retirement System                         25
Health Insurance                                  54




                                       2
               BASIC EMPLOYEE INFORMATION
MPISD Human Resources Office         903-575-2000      Extensions 1035, 1014, 1027
MPISD Payroll Office                 903-575-2000      Extensions 1021, 1018
MPISD Employee Benefits Office       903-575-2000      Extension 1023
MPISD Business Manager               903-575-2000      Extension 1039

Employee Identification Numbers: Every employee has a payroll ID# issued when entered in
to Pentamation. This number is to be used on all payroll timesheets and forms.

Name and Address Changes: Name and address changes can only be made in person in the
Human Resources Office. Required documents include a new social security card depicting the
new name and a copy of the marriage license, if applicable.


W-4 forms: MPISD is not required to verify the accuracy of the information on an
employee's W-4; however, the Payroll Office cannot knowingly accept an invalid form. A
form is invalid if it is altered (e.g., sections are crossed out or information other than the
requested entries has been added) or if the employee indicates that it contains false
information. You may also download the current year W-4 at the IRS website:
www.irs.ustreas.gov. Employees wishing to amend their withholding status can do so by
accessing the IRS web site or by calling the Payroll Office at extension 1021. Any desired
                                                                 th
changes must be submitted to Payroll no later than the 10 of the month the employee
wishes the change to take place. Be aware that the IRS has the authority to assess
penalties to employees who claim more allowances than they are entitled.

The Payroll Office will request a new form if they become aware that a W-4 is invalid. If a
corrected copy is not submitted to the Payroll Office, withholding will be based on the most
recent correct W-4 on file. If forms are received illegible or incomplete, withholdings will be
made as if the employee is single and claimed zero allowances.

Terms of Employment: The Human Resources Office determines the terms of employment
(i.e. pay grade, classification, scheduled hours and scheduled days). The Superintendent
determines salary. Hourly rate ranges per pay grade and the teacher salary schedule is
approved by the Board of Trustees in August. Hourly rates for supplemental jobs are also
established by the Board of Trustees and approved each August. If no rate has been
established for a supplemental job, the employee will be compensated at their regular hourly
rate of pay. Hourly rates and salary schedules can be obtained by contacting the Human
Resources Office at 903-575-2000 extension 1035. The Campus Principal or Department Head
will determine each employee’s daily work schedule including lunch periods. For questions
regarding terms of employment, employees should contact the Human Resources Office at
903-575-2000, extension 1035.

The hourly rate and days per year for non-exempt employees are reflected on their salary
analysis (issued by Human Resource Office each September). Employees will be paid for the
hours worked in their primary job according to the rate of pay reflected on their salary analysis.
Hours worked in a second job will be paid at the rate established for that job by the Board of
Trustees. If no rate has been established, the employee will be compensated at their regular
hourly rate of pay.

                                                 3
Employment Classification:
Full Time – Any worker who normally works 30 hours or more per week and 4 ½ months or
more per school year.

Part Time or Temporary – Any worker who normally works less than 30 hours per week or is
employed less than 4 ½ months during the school year. Part time and temporary employees
are not eligible for Teacher Retirement Service membership or benefits. Eligibility
requirements and other TRS details can be found in the TRS Benefits Handbook at
http://www.trs.state.tx.us/benefits/documents/benefits_handbook.pdf#Home.

Employee Service Calendars: Service calendars which reflect work schedules including
required days of service and scheduled holidays are distributed each school year by the Human
Resource Office and posted on the District website at
http://www.mpisd.net/vnews/display.v/SEC/For%20Employees%7CCalendars/Work%20Calend
ars. A school calendar is adopted each year by the Board of Trustees designating instructional
and staff development days and can be found on the District website at
http://firstclass.mpisd.net/calendars. Time and attendance should fall within work calendars.
Administrators cannot change work calendars without prior authorization from the Human
Resources Office.

Exempt VS. Non-Exempt Employees: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) distinguishes
between employees required to be paid overtime (non-exempt) and those who are exempt
from overtime pay. The FLSA provides tests to determine these exemptions and defines non-
coverage. Executive, administrative, and professional employees are exempt from FLSA
overtime entitlement. However, the positions must meet the criteria established for one of
the exemption categories. Whether an employee is exempt depends on 1) duties &
responsibilities, 2) salary paid and 3) basis of pay. There are three primary tests for
determining whether an employee is exempt from minimum wage and overtime provisions of
the FLSA. These tests are 1) executive, 2) administrative and 3) professional. The tests will not
be detailed within this manual but criteria can be found in 29 U.S.C. § 200 of the FLSA or the
Texas Association of School Boards’ Administrator’s Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Teachers are included in the professional test and are therefore exempt from minimum wage
and overtime provisions. According to 29 C.F.R. §541.602(a), an employee who is paid on an
hourly basis is automatically non-exempt from minimum wage and overtime. Also, an
employee whose primary job is in an exempt position but works a second job which is an
hourly position (i.e. teacher driving a bus route), will be exempt from minimum wage and
overtime provisions for all jobs.

Minimum wage will be paid to non-exempt employees according to 29 U.S.C. §206(a)(1). Please
refer to the minimum wage poster prepared by the Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour
Division as required by 29 C.F.R. §516.4 that is posted at your jobsite for the current prevailing
minimum wage rate. All District non-exempt employees will be paid by an hourly rate for all
jobs worked, including supplemental jobs. The current rates for supplemental jobs are listed
below and subject to change at the discretion of the Superintendent or Board of Trustees.



                                                4
               EXTRA JOBS/PAY
                 AMOUNTS

Pay Code             Job                 Amount

      009         Early Morning                $10.00
      010           After School               $10.00
      011           Bus Driver       Hourly Rate
      018            Detention                 $15.00
      020             Athletic                 $12.25
      023            Tutorials                 $10.00
      027     Game Worker/Tier 1                 $8.00
      029          Bus Monitor                   $9.50
      035             Security       Hourly Rate
      037            Evenings                  $10.00
      038        XCurricular Bus               $10.00
      039         CDC Childcare                $10.00
      044             Summer                   $10.00
      045       After School Bus               $15.00
      046          21st Century                $10.00
      049             Sub Bus                  $11.00
      074           Concession                   $7.25
      076          Translations                $10.00
      083      Parent Involvement              $10.00
      084          Cohort Math                 $10.00
      085          Tech Mentor       Hourly Rate
      109            Sub Staff                   $7.25
      112              L.A.S.                  $10.00
      113     Migrant Home Liaison             $10.00
      117         Sign Language                $10.00
      118      Make-Up Saturday                $20.00
      119     Game Worker/Tier 2               $10.00
      120     Game Worker/Tier 3               $12.00
      121       Concess./Play Off              $10.00    Includes District track playoff
      122     Part Time Custodian                $7.25
      123      After School Snacks             $10.00
      124        Traffic Director              $10.00
      125       Summer Feeding                   $8.00
      126          Summer Bus                  $15.00
      127     Conces/MPISD-Lead                  $8.50
      128   Conces/Non-MPISD-Lead              $12.00
      129   Summer Feed/Shift Mgr                $8.50
      130    Summer Feed/Site Mgr              $10.75
      132     Game Worker/Tier 4               $15.00
      133     Game Worker/Tier 5               $20.00
      134       Sub Bus/2nd Job                $13.50
      135         Catering/Cook                $15.00
      136      Catering/Customer                 $7.50
      139             Parking        Hourly Rate

                                 5
               140          Maint/Game              Hourly Rate
               142             EXCET                             $9.00
               156        Miscellaneous Bus                     $10.00




The Superintendent or designee shall determine the classification of employees as “exempt” or
“nonexempt” for purposes of payment of overtime in compliance with the FLSA. Exempt
employees shall be compensated on a salary basis for their employment period and are not
entitled to overtime compensation.

Call the Human Resources Office at extension 1035 for a list of exempt & non-exempt
positions. This list is subject to change upon interpretation of 29 U.S.C. § 200 of the FLSA.

Reporting Hours Worked

Non-exempt employees are required to follow the KRONOS Electronic Timekeeping Procedures
outlined below. Employees must record actual hours worked. Time detail is based on the
KRONOS time and attendance records. Each employee is responsible for completing any
necessary forms for time corrections and/or absences. Any disagreements with the official time
detail record should be reviewed with the employee’s supervisor, who must authorize any
changes to the timekeeping record.

All absences (scheduled and unscheduled) must be documented on an “Absence from Duty”
form. Copies of all approved forms must be sent immediately to the Campus/Department
KRONOS Manager for entry into the system and then forwarded to the Payroll Department.

Non-exempt employees are obligated to record actual hours worked. Should a supervisor
request an employee to work “off the clock” or otherwise instruct him/her to work without
recording time, the employee must report this incident to the Director of Human Resources at
903-575-2000, extension 1035. Failure, by a non-exempt employee, to comply with this
reporting requirement may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Non-exempt employees who perform duties outside their primary assignment must record
actual hours worked via a TRANSFER code in the KRONOS system. Time worked will continue to
be recorded on the KRONOS timekeeping system. These additional duties will be compensated
at the hourly rate established by the Board of Trustees. If no rate has been established, the
employee will be compensated at their regular hourly rate. Hours physically worked over 40
within the workweek will be compensated at the employee’s weighted average overtime rate.
Non-exempt employees will not receive stipends for work.




                                                6
                    KRONOS Electronic Timekeeping Procedures

Official Time

The Kronos electronic timekeeping system and associated work records will become the official
basis for recording hours worked for employees of the Mt. Pleasant Independent School
District (MPISD). Absence records (e.g. vacation, sick days) will also be recorded in Kronos by
the Campus/Department KRONOS Manager.

In order to ensure consistency of treatment for employees, the data
recorded in the Kronos system shall be considered as the “official” record of
the workday. Any disputes over actual hours worked or attendance will be
resolved by referring to the official Kronos records.

It is recognized that in certain situations (e.g. clock malfunction) that it will
be necessary to correct or enter missing data. These changes will be carefully
documented on the AUTHORIZATION TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL
RECORD so that it will be possible at all times to determine how a time detail
record was computed.

In order for the electronic timekeeping system to work as intended, all non-
exempt employees must participate. Outlined below are some important
rules.

Enrollment

Employees will be enrolled into the KRONOS system by the Human Resources Office upon hire.
Employees may not begin work until they have been enrolled into the KRONOS system.

Daily Clock-in/Clock-out

It is a job requirement that ALL non-exempt employees MUST “clock in” in the morning, and
“clock out” at the end of the work day at their place of work. (Under certain conditions, such as
a training course at a different location, the employee shall clock in/out at the different
location, or be clocked in/out manually by the Campus/Department KRONOS Manager upon
completion of an the AUTHORIZATION TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL RECORD ). Other
requirements include:

 Employees should not clock in earlier than 2 minutes before their scheduled starting times
(unless the employee has Supervisor approval for early arrival).

 Employees shall not clock out before their scheduled ending time, unless authorized
to do so by their supervisor.

E ach employee is entitled to a lunch break towards the middle of their
workday. Kronos will automatically deduct ½ hour or an hour dependent on
the employee schedule unless the campus principal/supervisor requires
employees to clock in and out for lunch. Part-time employees must clock in
and out for lunch. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify the
Campus/Department KRONOS manager and complete an AUTHORIZATION
TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL RECORD if they have worked through a
lunch period.


                                                 7
All non-exempt employees leaving campus/department site for any personal
reason during the day must clock out when leaving campus, and clock in
when returning to campus/department.

Falsification or Tampering

 Any attempt to tamper with the timekeeping hardware or software will be
considered a serious offense, subject to disciplinary action up to and
including termination.

 Punching in for an absent employee (a.k.a.“buddy punching”) will also be
considered a serious offense, with both employees subject to disciplinary
action up to and including termination.

 Anyone interfering with other employees’ use of time clocks shall be subject
to disciplinary action.

To tamper with Kronos equipment, interfere with use of the clocks, or
punch in for someone else will be considered a serious offense. Due to the
severity of these infractions, there will be immediate discipline enforced,
up to and including immediate termination.

The Supervisor and the Human Resources Office will review the specific
details of such an infraction and develop an appropriate response.


Clock Problems

If any employee is unable to punch in or out because of a time clock
malfunction, it is the employee’s responsibility to immediately inform the
Campus/Department KRONOS Manager and complete an AUTHORIZATION
TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL RECORD . In this situation the
Campus/Department KRONOS Manager will “manually” clock the employee
in or out. The Campus/Department KRONOS Manager will notify the Payroll
Department of any clock problems.

Transfers

All employees working a supplemental job must TRANSFER using the proper job transfer code.
These are posted at each time clock. Please call extension 1018 with questions regarding
transfer codes.

Overtime

Overtime should always be authorized in advance by a supervisor and
documented. Overtime will be calculated based on the actual hours recorded
and credited to the employee, as measured by the Kronos time clocks.

Overtime is earned on a weekly basis, and is only earned after 40 hours of
physical work hours have been accumulated within a given week.

Overtime must be approved in advance by the employee’s Supervisor, and is paid at the
employee’s weighted average hourly rate after 40 hours worked.

 Since overtime or extra hours are calculated when recorded work hours
exceed 40, employees must not clock in early or clock out late without
supervisory approval.
                                               8
All employees are paid according to the published district payroll schedule.

Employee Responsibilities

Each non-exempt employee is responsible for clocking in and out according
to the time keeping rules. Time detail is based on the Kronos time clock
records, and it is the responsibility of each employee to clock in and out and
complete the necessary forms for edit punches and absences.

Any disagreements with the official time detail record shall be reviewed with
the employee’s Supervisor, who shall authorize any changes to timekeeping
data.

Note: All monthly absences (scheduled and unscheduled) must be
documented on the ABSENCE FROM DUTY form. Copies of all approved
forms must be sent immediately to the Campus/Department KRONOS
Manager.

[See: MPISD Board Policy and Employee Handbook which explains the
District rules for Leaves and Absences]

Kronos Timekeeper Managers/Supervisors

Timekeeper Managers are to edit punches and input Absence from
Duty requests.

Timekeeper Supervisors are to review, approve and sign off on the
time data information for each employee in the Kronos system each
Monday.

 To edit punches the Timekeeper Manager should have an
AUTHORIZATION TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL RECORD form
signed by the employee and approved by the Supervisor. To add
absence pay codes the Timekeeper Manager should have an
ABSENCE FROM DUTY form signed by the employee and approved
by the Supervisor.

Kronos time detail must be approved and signed-off (in the Kronos system)
the Monday following the end of the pay period cycle. In order to accomplish
this, timecards should be reviewed and edited (if needed) on a daily basis.




                                                9
 Overtime: Overtime will be paid to non-exempt employees at a rate of one
and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in any
one workweek. Mt. Pleasant Independent School District (MPISD) defines its
workweek as beginning at 12:00 a.m. Sunday and ending at 11:59 p.m.
Saturday. MPISD will pay all overtime in the form of wages (TASB
Administrator’s Guide to FLSA page 29). Compensatory time will not be
awarded in lieu of overtime pay. Supervisors may adjust an employee’s
schedule within the workweek so that the total hours within the workweek
do not exceed 40. MPISD’s KRONOS timekeeping system will round
employee work hours to the nearest 6 minutes (one-tenth of an hour) as
allowed by 29 C.F.R. §785.48(b). All overtime will be paid out during the pay
period in which the overtime pay is accrued as instructed by the DOL.

MPISD will pay overtime for non-exempt employees performing two or more jobs at different
rates of pay as a weighted average or blended rate for both jobs as allowed by 29 C.F.R.
§778.115.

For example, a mechanic makes $10 per hour for 40 hours per week and also drives a bus for 6
hours at $8 per hour. The total pay for this employee including overtime is calculated as
follows:

         $10 X 40 hours = $400 straight-time mechanic pay
         $8 X 6 hours = $48 straight-time bus driver pay

              46 hours = $448 straight time pay

         Divide $448 by the total hours worked (46 hours)

         Weighted average hourly rate of the two jobs combined = $9.74

         Since the employee was paid straight time for all 46 hours worked, the District owes
         one-half the weighted average rate as the extra pay for overtime $9.74/2 = $4.87

         Total Pay
         46 hours                   = $448.00 straight-time pay
         6 hours X $4.87            =$ 29.22 overtime pay
         Total Pay                  =$477.22


Recordkeeping: In accordance with 29 C.F.R. §516 of the FLSA, for non-exempt employees,
time records will be kept of the actual daily and weekly hours worked during each pay period.
The KRONOS timekeeping system will be the recordkeeping mechanism for MPISD. Weekly
time records must be verified and approved by the supervisor and employee and submitted to
payroll on designated dates. Official weekly time records shall be maintained in the central
payroll office for all nonexempt personnel. All payroll records, including time records, shall be
maintained for a period of three years.

Compensable Time vs. Non-compensable Time: Compensable time will be determined by
whether or not the time is controlled or required by the District and occurs primarily for the
benefit of the District. Employees are prohibited from working unauthorized hours without
prior approval from their supervisor. Employees working unauthorized hours will be
disciplined.

                                               10
Definitions of Work
To assist employees in understanding what does and does not constitute work, the following
examples are provided.

What is Work?

Examples of work include:
• Tasks completed during the regular work day

• Checking employee schedules

• Checking and/or responding to work-
related email

• Responding to business phone calls or
business visitors

• Organizing your work area (including
filing)

• Emptying trash cans or washing dishes

What is Not Work?

Examples of activities not considered work (even if completed at work)
include:
• Checking personal email

• Making or responding to personal phone calls

• Talking with co-workers about topics
unrelated to work

• Making coffee or snacks for employees

• Reading the newspaper or drinking coffee or other beverage

On-call Time: As approved by Superintendent Myers in November 2009, maintenance and
transportation employees called out will receive a minimum of two hours pay. Per
Superintendent Myers in January 2010, bus Drivers will receive a minimum of two hours to
make extra duty trips and help to conduct school evacuations. All time should be added using
a properly filled and signed AUTHORIZATION TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL RECORD.

For FLSA purposes, some time is considered non-compensable and is not required to be
included in determining hours worked for overtime purposes [29 C.F.R. §778.218]. Some
examples of non-compensable time include:

Meal periods of half an hour or longer in which the employee is completely relieved of all
duties [29 C.F.R. §785.19]. It is the responsibility of the employee to inform their supervisor of
any “worked” meal periods and to complete a time edit form for timecard adjustment by the

                                                11
supervisor. The FLSA does not require that the employer provide employees meal or rest
breaks.

Commuting time from home to place of work. [29 C.F.R. §785.34]

Jury duty, paid holidays, paid sick days, early release time and any other paid time off.

Employee Volunteers: Although volunteers are not normally employees of the District, an
employee may be allowed to volunteer if the volunteered services are not similar to the work
for which he or she is regularly employed [29 C.F.R. §207(p)(2). For example, a secretary who
volunteers time to serve food at a sporting event is not subject to the provisions of FLSA; but a
food service worker’s time serving food at the same event would be considered similar work
and therefore must be accounted for and compensated. In some circumstances, the District
may use the O*NET (Occupational Information Network) system used by the Department of
Labor (DOL) to determine if similar work is being performed.

Employee/Parent Volunteers: If the employee’s child is involved in the activity, the DOL will
not enforce the similar capacity provision. Therefore, parents may serve in any volunteer
capacity they choose, provided their own child is involved. (DOL Enforcement Policy Letter,
November 22, 1994)

Travel Time: One-day travel time is generally all compensable excluding time spent
traveling from home to the point of departure and meal time if no work is performed.
[29 C.F.R. §785.37] For overnight trips, all travel time that occurs between normal
working hours, or corresponding hours on Saturdays and Sundays. excluding meal time if
no work is performed, is compensable . Normal work hours are defined as the hours in
which an employee is scheduled to work within their assigned employee service
calendar. Traveling as a passenger on an airplane, bus or automobile is not compensable
time if it occurs outside of the normal working hours. [29 C.F.R. §785.39] If a non-
exempt employee is driving a vehicle, the time is compensable regardless of when the
travel occurs. [29 C.F.R. §785.41] The District will require that where non-exempt and
exempt employees are traveling together, that an exempt employee drives the vehicle.

Training time including attendance at workshops, conferences, meetings, and lectures is
considered work time and should be included as hours worked if attendance is required
by the employee’s supervisor and has been pre-approved by the supervisor. Employees
must fill out an absence from duty for “professional leave”.

Non-exempt Bus Driver Overnight Trip Compensation
Each driver will receive a minimum of 12 hours on their time card for each full day they are
away from home with the final day being actual time beginning at 8:00 a.m. Time will be
added using a properly filled and signed AUTHORIZATION TO CHANGE KRONOS TIME DETAIL
RECORD.

Reserves: So that employees who normally do not work during the summer months or who
work a shortened schedule may receive a check during those times, a “reserve” amount will be
taken from earned pay throughout the year. The reserve amount for each month will be
recalculated each September. Please contact the MPISD Payroll Office for a current reserve
schedule. Reserves will be calculated from the employee’s primary pay and leave pay. Pay for
supplemental jobs and overtime will not be included in the reserve calculations. An employee
may choose, in writing, not to have reserves withheld. However, by doing so, if they do not
                                                12
work in the summer months, they understand that they will not receive a paycheck and are
responsible for paying any insurance premiums or other monthly deductions to the MPISD
Benefits Office. The reserves will be held to be paid out during the summer months. If the
employee should terminate, such reserves would be paid back to the employee in their final
check. If at any time, an employee changes a position within the school year that also changes
the number of days they are required to work; they understand that the reserve amount may
be dramatically affected. Employees are strongly encouraged to contact the MPISD Payroll
Office in this instance to review the effects of this change before making the decision to change
positions.



Pay dates & Pay Period Deadlines: All employees are paid on a monthly basis. Pay dates and
corresponding pay period cut-offs may be obtained from the MPISD Payroll Office at extension
1021 or by going to
http://www.mpisd.net/vnews/display.v/SEC/For%20Employees%7CCalendars/Payroll%20Calen
dar. It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure that timesheets are turned in on time.
Timesheets not turned to the MPISD Payroll Office by the scheduled cut-off day will be paid on
the next month’s paycheck. If an employee is unsure of the scheduled cut off day, they should
call the Payroll Coordinator at 903-575-2000, extension 1021.



Verification of Pay Stub: The Payroll Office makes every effort to ensure that employee’s pay,
leave, and other information on each paycheck are correct. Unfortunately, however, mistakes
can occur. It is the employee’s responsibility to review their payroll check stub each month for
accuracy, including but not limited to compensation, leave, federal withholding status, and
deductions. Questions may be directed to the MPISD Payroll, Benefits, and Human Resource
Offices at 903-575-2000.

Delivery of Checks/Vouchers: Employee checks and vouchers are delivered to employees’
work sites each payday.

Employees are responsible for retaining check stubs and vouchers for the purpose of
verifying salary information. If pay documents have to be copied, a written request, with
date and signature, should be presented to the payroll department. These requests will
be honored after a period of 48 hours and must be picked up in the payroll office.

It is the responsibility of the employee to make arrangements to receive
checks/vouchers if they are absent on pay day and/or during the summer months.
Stamps or a self-addressed stamped envelope should be left at the employee’s campus if
pay documents are to be mailed.

Direct Deposit: Employees are encouraged to have their pay directly deposited to their bank
accounts. The benefits of Direct Deposit include: automatic posting of paychecks to individual’s
bank accounts, preventing the possibility of a lost check, eliminates time spent driving to the
bank or waiting in line at bank to deposit the check and eliminates gasoline expenses in route
to bank. Direct deposit can be initiated by completing the direct deposit form which is available
by visiting the District’s Employee Benefits Office.


Pay Upon Separation from the District: Employees with direct deposit will be issued a
                                               13
paper check upon separation. Questions concerning continuation of insurance benefits
(COBRA) or TRS distribution should be directed to the Benefits staff at 575-2000
extension 1023.

W-2: W-2’s will be issued with the employee’s January paycheck. Requests for reprints of W-
2’s are to be made to the MPISD Payroll Office.




                                             14
                                    LEAVE & ATTENDANCE

It is the policy of MPISD to establish reasonable and necessary controls to ensure adequate
attendance to meet the business needs of educating our children. Excellent attendance is an
expectation of all employees of the School District.

The following are pages from the Employee Handbook and Board Policy on line regarding
leave, including awarding and usage.

Leaves and absences
Policy DEC

The District offers employees paid and unpaid leaves of absence in times of personal need.
This handbook describes the basic types of leave available and restrictions on leaves of
absence. Employees who have personal needs that will require long leaves of absence should
call the Mount Pleasant ISD’s Human Resources Office (extension 1035) for counseling about
leave options, continuation of benefits, and communicating with the District.

Employees who take an unpaid leave of absence may continue their insurance benefits at their
own expense. The District does not make benefit contributions for employees who are not on
active payroll status and they must make arrangements to pay the entire premium. Such
absences must be granted in writing by the District. Health care benefits for employees on
leave authorized under the Family and Medical Leave Act will be paid by the District as they
were when they were working.

An employee absent three consecutive workdays because of personal illness shall submit, upon
return to work, a medical certification of illness and of his or her fitness to return to work. An
employee absent three consecutive workdays because of illness in the immediate family shall
present, upon return to work, medical certification of the family member's illness. Employees
must follow District and department or campus procedures to report or request any leave of
absence and complete the appropriate leave request form.

Personal and local sick leave is earned on an annual basis. An employee shall not earn leave
when he or she is in unpaid status. An employee using full or proportionate paid leave shall be
considered to be in paid status. Leave is available for the employee’s benefit. If an employee
leaves the District before the end of the work year, the cost of any unearned leave days taken
shall be deducted from the employee’s final paycheck.

Definitions

Family
The term “immediate family” is defined as:

1.    Spouse.
2.    Son or daughter, including a biological, adopted, or foster child, a son- or daughter-in-law,
      a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis.
3.    Parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, or other individual who stands in loco parentis to the
      employee.
4.    Sibling, stepsibling, and sibling-in-law.
5.    Grandparent and grandchild.

                                                  15
6.    Any person residing in the employee’s household at the time of illness or death.
For purposes of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the definition of “family” shall
include only items 1, 2, and 3, but shall exclude son- or daughter-in law and parent-in-law.

Family Emergency
The term “family emergency” shall be limited to disasters and life-threatening situations
involving the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family.

Workday
A “workday” for purposes of earning, use, or recording shall mean the number of hours per
day equivalent to the employee’s usual assignment, whether full-time or part-time.

Catastrophic illness or injury
A catastrophic illness or injury is a severe condition or combination of conditions affecting the
mental or physical health of the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family
that requires the services of a licensed practitioner for a prolonged period of time and that
forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by that employee and to lose
compensation from the District. Complications resulting from pregnancy shall be treated the
same as any other condition.



Availability
The District shall make paid leave for the current year available for use at the beginning of the
school year.


Absence from duty forms
No matter the reason, all employees shall complete an Absence from Duty/Leave form if they
are not present at their assigned campus or department. This includes professional
conferences and workshops, discretionary and nondiscretionary leave.

Personal leave
State law entitles all full-time employees to five days of paid personal leave per year. Personal
leave is earned at a rate of one-half workday for each 18 days of employment. A day of earned
personal leave is equivalent to the employee’s assigned hours per day for their full time job.
There is no limit on the accumulation of state personal leave, and it can be transferred to other
Texas school districts and is generally transferable to education service centers. There are two
types of personal leave: nondiscretionary and discretionary.

Nondiscretionary. Leave that is taken for personal or family illness, emergency, a death in the
family, or active military service is considered nondiscretionary leave. This type of leave allows
very little or no advance planning and will be granted to employees in the same manner as sick
leave.

Discretionary. Leave that is taken at an employee’s discretion and that can be scheduled in
advance is considered discretionary leave. An employee wishing to take discretionary personal
leave must submit a notice of the request ten working days in advance of the anticipated
absence to his or her principal or supervisor. Discretionary personal leave will be granted on a
first-come, first-served basis. The effect of the employee’s absence on the educational program
or department operations, as well as the availability of substitutes, will be considered by the
principal or supervisor.
Discretionary personal leave will be subject to the following limitations:
         • A maximum of 10 campus employees will be permitted to take discretionary
         personal leave at the same time.

                                                16
         • Discretionary leave may not last for more than two consecutive workdays except
         with special approval for extenuating circumstances.
         • Discretionary leave may not be taken on the following days:
                  o The day immediately preceding or following a scheduled holiday
                  o Days scheduled for end-of-semester or end-of-year exams.
                  o Days scheduled for TAKS or other state-mandated tests, and,
                  o Days of scheduled teacher in-service or teacher workdays.

State Sick leave
Previously accumulated state sick leave is available for use and may be transferred to other
school Districts in Texas. State sick leave can be used only in two day increments except when
coordinated with family and medical leave taken on an intermittent or reduced-schedule basis
or when coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits. If an employee uses more sick
leave than he/she has earned, the cost of unearned sick leave shall be deducted from the
employee’s next paycheck.

Sick leave may be used for the following reasons only:
          • Employee illness
          • Illness in the employee’s immediate family
          • Family emergency (i.e., natural disasters or life-threatening situations)
          • Death in the immediate family
          • Active military service
Note: “Immediate family” is defined as spouse, sibling, children, parents, in-laws, grandparents,
or grandchildren. Each employee must submit an “Absence from Duty Report” immediately
after returning to duty. A written statement from the attending physician or practitioner must
be submitted for an absence of three or more continuous workdays when caring for personal
illness or an ill member of the employee’s immediate family.

Partial Days
Leave shall be recorded in whole and half workdays only, except in accordance with provisions
for intermittent leave in the Family and Medical Leave Act. An employee who must leave their
duties prior to being on duty the first two hours of their normal workday will have one whole
workday charged against their leave balance. Working all but two hours of the workday will
result in one half work day being charged against the employee’s leave balance.

Use and recording of sick leave
DEC(LOCAL)
Employees should consult Policy DEC(LOCAL) for a full explanation of use and recording of all
leave days.

Local leave
All employees shall earn an additional five equivalent workdays of local sick leave each school
year, concurrently with state personal leave. Local sick leave time shall accumulate to a
maximum of 40 equivalent workdays. Employees called to active military may use available
local sick leave days in addition to other leave opportunities. (May be used only for same
reasons as old, state sick leave.)

Local sick leave accumulated prior to the 1991–92 school year shall be used according to the
terms and conditions of state sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year, except as
otherwise provided by this policy.

Medical Certification
An employee shall submit medical certification of the need for leave if:

1.    The employee is absent for three consecutive workdays because of personal illness or
      illness in the immediate family;
                                               17
2.    The District requires medical certification due to a questionable pattern of absences or
      when deemed necessary by the supervisor or Superintendent;
3.    The employee requests FMLA leave for the employee’s serious health condition or that of
      a spouse, parent, or child; or
4.    The employee requests FMLA leave for military caregiver purposes.
In each case, medical certification shall be made by a health care provider as defined by the
FMLA. [See DECA(LEGAL)]


Order of Use
The Board’s policy governing an employee’s use of state personal leave may not restrict the
order in which an employee may use state personal leave and any additional personal leave
provided by the District.

An employee who retains any state sick leave is entitled to use the state sick leave, state
personal leave, or local leave in any order to the extent that the leave the employee uses is
appropriate to the purpose of the leave. Education Code 22.003 (a), (f)
Unless an employee requests a different order, available paid state and local leave shall
be used in the following order, as applicable:

1.    State sick leave accumulated before the 1995–96 school year.
2.    Local sick leave accumulated prior to the 1991–92 school year.
3.    State personal leave.
4.    Local sick leave.
Use of sick leave pool days shall be permitted only after all available state and local
leave has been exhausted.

Sick Leave Pool
A sick leave pool is a voluntary donation of sick days by employees to assist a fellow employee
who, after exhausting all paid leave, has a catastrophic illness or disability, including pregnancy-
related disability, or has an immediate family member who has a catastrophic illness or
disability.

The pool shall be established at the time of a request for assistance, initiated by the
Superintendent or designee upon written request, and created from voluntary contributions of
state sick leave days by employees for a pool for a specific individual. Employees wishing to
begin a sick leave pool for a fellow employee should begin by approaching a campus principal,
who will then request the establishment of the pool by the Superintendent. Once the pool has
been established by the Superintendent, volunteers may then donate state personal leave
days to the pool.

The following restrictions shall apply to the establishment and use of a sick leave pool:
         • Employees may donate no more than two state personal leave days each school
         year
         • An eligible employee may draw from the pool until he or she has used up to 60 days
         in any school year
         • The sick leave pool may be accessed by an individual employee only once each
         school year

The pool shall cease to exist when the employee has used 60 days, or voluntary donations
reach the two-day maximum contribution and the sick leave pool is exhausted. Unused sick

                                                18
leave pool days shall revert back to donors and shall be divided proportionately among
individuals according to the number of sick initially contributed.

Temporary disability
Certified employees. Any full-time employee whose position requires certification from the
State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is eligible for temporary disability leave.
The purpose of temporary disability leave is to provide job protection to full-time educators
who cannot work for an extended period of time because of a mental or physical disability of a
temporary nature. A full-time educator may request to be placed on temporary disability leave
or be placed on leave. Pregnancy and conditions related to pregnancy are treated the same as
any other temporary disability.

Employees must request approval from the Superintendent’s Office or delegate for temporary
disability leave. The leave request must be accompanied by a physician’s statement confirming
the employee’s inability to work and estimating a probable date of return. If disability leave is
approved, the length of leave is no longer than180 calendar days. If disability leave is not
approved by the Superintendent or delegate, the employee must return to work or be subject
to termination procedures.

If an employee is placed on temporary disability leave involuntarily, he or she has the right to
request a hearing before the Board of Trustees. The employee may protest the action and
present additional evidence of fitness to work.

When an employee is ready to return to work, the Human Resources office should be notified
at least 30 days in advance. The return-to-work notice must be accompanied by a physician’s
statement confirming that the employee is able to do the job. Professional employees
returning from leave will be reinstated to the school to which they were previously assigned as
soon as an appropriate position is available. If a position is not available before the end of the
school year, professional employees will be reinstated at the beginning of the following school
year.

Family and medical leave (FMLA Leave)
Employees who have been employed by the District for at least 12 months and have worked at
least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the need for leave are eligible for
family and medical leave. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year
beginning on the first duty day of the school year for the following reasons:

         • The birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child
         • To care for a spouse, parent, or child with a serious health condition
         • An employee’s serious health condition

A husband and wife who are both employed by the District are subject to limits in the amount
of leave that they can take to care for a parent with a serious health condition or for the birth,
adoption, or foster placement of a child. Eligible employees are entitled to continue their
health care benefits under the same terms and conditions as when they were on the job and
are entitled to return to their previous job or an equivalent job at the end of their leave. Under
some circumstances, teachers who are able to return to work at or near the conclusion of a
semester may be required to continue their leave until the end of the semester.

Family and medical leave runs concurrently with accrued sick and personal leave, temporary
disability leave, and absences due to a work-related illness or injury. The District will designate
the leave as family and medical leave, if applicable, and notify the employee that accumulated
leave will run concurrently.




                                                19
In some circumstances, employees may take family and medical leave in blocks of time or by
reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule. Intermittent leave may be taken under
the following circumstances:

         • An employee is needed to care for a seriously ill spouse, child, or parent
         • An employee requires medical treatment for a serious illness
         • An employee is seriously ill and unable to work
         • An employee becomes a parent or has a foster child placed in his or her home

When the need for family and medical leave is foreseeable, employees who want to use it must
provide 30-day advance notice of their need. When the need for leave is not foreseeable,
employees must contact the Mount Pleasant ISD’s Benefits/Risk Manager’s Office as soon as
possible. Employees may be required to provide the following:

         • Medical certification from a qualified health care provider supporting the need for
         leave due to a serious health condition affecting the employee or an immediate family
         member
         • Second or third medical opinions and periodic recertification of the need for leave
         • Periodic reports during the leave regarding the employee’s status and intent to
         return to work
         • Medical certification from a qualified health care provider at the conclusion of leave
         of an employee’s ability to return to work

If, at the expiration of FMLA leave, the employee is able to return to work but chooses not to do
so, the District shall require reimbursement of premiums paid by the District during the period
in which unpaid leave was taken. [See DECA(LEGAL), RECOVERY OF BENEFIT COST]

Employees requiring family and medical leave should contact the District’s Benefits/Risk
Manager’s Office for details on eligibility, requirements, and limitations.

Workers’ compensation benefits
An employee absence from duty because of a job-related illness or injury may be eligible for
Workers’ Compensation weekly income benefits if the absence exceeds seven calendar days.
Workers’ Compensation benefits help pay for medical treatment and make up for part of the
income lost while recovering. Specific benefits are prescribed by law depending on the
circumstances of each case.

All work-related accidents or injuries shall be reported immediately to the Employee
Benefits/Risk Manager’s Office. Employees who are unable to work due to a work- related
injury will be notified of their rights and responsibilities under the Texas Labor Code.

In the event of a lost time injury, employee’s regular wages from the District cease at the end
of the day of the injury and the employee may elect in writing to:
         • use accrued personal leave to offset loss of earnings during the time he/she is
         absent because of an injury; but at no time may the injured employee receive more
         than a full day’s pay for each day absent. If the employee elects to use accrued sick
         leave, the sick leave benefits will begin and end as requested by the employee; or,
         • Workers’ Compensation benefits only. Any employee electing to receive Workers’
         Compensation benefits only will not receive compensation benefits (regular wages)
         during the seven calendar days immediately following an accident. The amount of
         Workers’ Compensations benefits paid to the employee will be deducted from the
         employee’s pay check if an election is made to use accrued sick leave.

Once an employee’s Workers’ Compensation claim has been filed and approved, employees
shall provide information to the Employee Benefits/Risk Manager’s Office about pertinent
medical services received related to the claim.


                                               20
Assault leave
Assault leave provides extended job income and benefits protection to an employee who is
injured as the result of a physical assault suffered during the performance of his or her job. An
injury is treated as an assault if the person causing the injury could be prosecuted for assault or
could not be prosecuted only because that person’s age or mental capacity renders the person
non-responsible for purposes of criminal liability.

An employee who is physically assaulted at work may take all the leave time medically
necessary (up to two years) to recover from the physical injuries he or she sustained. At the
request of an employee, the District will immediately assign the employee to assault leave.
Days of leave granted under the assault leave provision will not be deducted from accrued
personal leave and must be coordinated with workers’ compensation benefits. Upon
investigation the District may change the assault leave status and charge leave used against the
employee’s accrued paid leave. The employee’s pay will be deducted if accrued paid leave is
not available.

Bereavement leave
Use of state and/or local leave for death in the immediate family shall not exceed five (5)
workdays per occurrence, subject to approval of the District. Written documentation from the
funeral service or a newspaper obituary will be required.

Jury duty
The District may not discharge, discipline, reduce the salary of, or otherwise penalize or
discriminate against an employee because of the employee’s compliance with a summons to
appear as a juror. For each regularly scheduled work hour during which a non-salaried
employee serves in any phase of jury service, the District shall pay the employee the
employee’s normal daily/hourly compensation. Any employee’s accumulated personal leave
may not be reduced because of the employee’s service in compliance with a summons to
appear as a juror. Employees must present documentation of the service.
Education Code 22.006.

An affidavit showing time served on a jury will be issued by the court after jury service. If an
employee is released by the court two or more hours prior to their normal quitting time, the
employee must return to work. If the employee does not return to work, they will be charged
personal leave accordingly. All monies received for jury duty will be retained by the employee.

Other court appearances
Employees will be granted paid leave to comply with a valid subpoena to appear in a civil,
criminal, legislative, or administrative proceeding for District business. Other absences for
court appearances related to an employee’s personal business must be taken as personal leave
or leave without pay (if no personal leave is available). Employees may be required to submit
documentation of their need for leave for court appearances.

Military leave
Paid leave for military service. Any employee who is a member of the Texas National Guard,
Texas State Guard, or reserve component of the armed forces will be granted a paid leave of
absence without loss of any accumulated leave for authorized training or duty orders. Paid
military leave will not exceed 15 days per year. In addition, an employee is entitled to use
available state and local personal or sick leave during a time of active military service.
Re-employment after military leave. Employees who leave the District to enter into the United
States uniformed services or ordered to active state military duty (Texas National Guard or
Texas State Guard) may return to employment if they are honorably discharged. Employees
who wish to return to the District will be reemployed in the position they would have held if
employment had not been interrupted or reassigned to an equivalent or similar position
provided they are still qualified to perform the required duties. To be eligible for
reemployment, employees must provide notice of their obligation or intent to perform military
                                                21
service, provide evidence of honorable discharge or release, and submit an application for
reemployment to the Superintendent of Schools or delegate.
Continuation of health insurance. Employees who perform service in the uniformed services
may elect to continue their health plan coverage at their own cost for a period not to exceed
24 months. Employees should contact the Mount Pleasant ISD’s Benefits/Risk Manager’s Office
for details on eligibility, requirements, and limitations.

Neutral Absence Control Policy
After an employee has exhausted all paid and unpaid approved leave for which he or she is
eligible, with the exception of days received from the sick leave bank, the District shall provide
written notice to the employee, at the last known address that the District has on file, that his
or her leave has expired. The employee shall have five workdays to apply for any other leave
for which the employee may be eligible or to notify the District in writing that the employee is
ready, willing, and able to return to work. A medical clearance showing that the employee is
able to perform essential functions of his or her position, given reasonable accommodations if
necessary, shall be accompanied with an employee’s written notice if declaring that he or she
is ready, willing, and able to return to work. An individual receiving workers’ compensation
benefits and who elects not to apply for or receive any additional paid leave benefits shall be
provided the notice referenced in this section regarding the expiration of these benefits. [See
also CRD(LOCAL)]

An employee who does not apply for and receive approval for additional leave or who does not
report and document his or her availability and fitness to return to work within the time frame
set forth above shall be subject to the following:

    1.   A term contract employee shall resign or shall be deemed to be in repeated and
         continued neglect of duties and shall be subject to termination and/or nonrenewal.
    2.   An employee who is not employed under a term contract shall be deemed to have
         resigned his or her position with the District, effective upon the expiration of the five
         workday period set forth above.
At the expiration of available paid leave or approved unpaid leave, the District shall offer
COBRA benefits, as required by law.

Holidays and Vacations see DED (LOCAL)
The yearly vacation period is from September 1 through August 31. Vacation is earned by the
total days divided by 12.

Administrators are granted 16 days of vacation each year. Vacation days may accumulate to a
maximum of 20 days with any additional days forfeited on September 1.

Personnel in positions normally requiring 242 or 260 days of service will receive 10 days of paid
vacation in addition to specified holidays on their respective calendar. Vacation days may
accumulate to a maximum of 25 days and any additional days shall be forfeited on September
1.

Vacation time must be scheduled and approved by his/her immediate supervisor and the
Superintendant. No employee can use more than 20 consecutive days of vacation unless as
approved FMLA leave.

If an employee leaves the District during the year and has used more leave than they have
earned, the District will deduct the cost of the unearned days from the employee’s final
paycheck. If the final paycheck is not sufficient to cover the amount owed the District, the
employee will be responsible to pay the deficit.

                                                22
Recording attendance usage for Non-Exempt Employees
All employees must fill out an Absence from Duty Form (AFD) for any time missed over two
hours daily. This form records the date and reason for an absence, as well as the type of leave
they wish to use. Once the AFD is signed by the employee and their Principal, it is sent to the
Payroll department for processing.




                                              23
24
                                     EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
                                                                               th
All requests for payroll deductions need to be turned in before the 10 of the month, in order
to be deducted from that month’s pay.

Eligible & legal changes in any insurance product must to be made in writing to the Benefits
Coordinator and signed by the employee.

Employees that do not work during the summer months will need to pay their insurance
premiums for the months that they do not receive a check in order to keep their insurance
current. Employees that do not receive a check for a month are responsible for paying the
premium to the Employee Benefits Office.


                                              MEDICARE

All employees who began employment after March 31, 1986, are required to contribute to the
Medicare program under the Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986
(COBRA) P.L. No. 99272. The Medicare deduction is 1.45% of gross wages.

 457 Plan for Part time, Temporary or Seasonal Employees- FICA Alternative
                              Retirement Plan

Any employee that is employed for less than 4½ months or for less than one-half time and paid
at a rate less than comparable to other persons employed by that employer in similar positions
during one school year must contribute to the District’s 457/FICA Alternative Retirement Plan.
     1. This plan has been adopted as an alternative retirement plan to Social Security for
          part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.
     2. Benefits under the Plan will be provided to you in the form of an account balance
          consisting of your Deferred Compensation, plus earnings, minus losses or withdrawals.
     3. To provide for benefits under this Plan, the MPISD will deduct from each payroll check
          7.5% of your gross compensation.

                                      TEACHER RETIREMENT

Below are important excerpts from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas Handbook. The
hand book can be located in its entirety at
http://www.trs.state.tx.us/benefits/documents/benefits_handbook.pdf#Home

As a TRS member, you contribute 6.4 percent of your eligible compensation as your share of the funding for
your retirement plan benefits (including disability retirement and death benefits). Your employer is required
to deduct the contributions from your salary on a pre-tax basis and forward them directly to TRS for each
month of eligible employment. Membership in TRS is a condition of employment for employees of public
schools unless excluded from membership by law; participation in TRS cannot be waived. You also
contribute 0.65 percent of eligible compensation to TRS-Care, the retirees’ group health benefits program.




                                                    25
TEACHER
RETIREMENT
SYSTEM OF
TEXAS




October 2009




               26
                              Table of Contents
 Establishing Your Membership in TRS .................................................................

       Covered Employment .........................................................................................

       Creditable Compensation ..........................................................................................

       Member Contribution Account ...................................................................................

       Categories of Membership ...................................................................................

       Ending Your TRS Membership .............................................................................

 Refund of Your TRS Contributions .........................................................................

       Notice of Final Deposit and Request for Refund ................................................

       Waiving Rights to Future TRS Retirement Benefits ...........................................

       Income Tax Withholding ...........................................................................................

       Refund Checklist .................................................................................................

 Your Responsibilities as a Member or Annuitant .............................................

       Keep Address Current ...............................................................................................

       Notify TRS of Name Changes ..............................................................................

       Keep Beneficiary Designation Current ...............................................................

       Keep Informed.....................................................................................................

 Establishing TRS Service Credit..............................................................................

       Creditable Service ...........................................................................................

       Five Years Membership Service Credit .............................................................

 Beneficiary Designation by Members ...............................................................

       Designating a Beneficiary for Member Death and Survivor Benefits ...................

       Change in Marital Status .................................................................................

       Considerations before Naming a Minor Child or

            Legally Incapacitated Adult ............................................................................

Termination of Employment Before Retirement ......................................................

Negotiation for Return to Employment......................................................................

Required Break in Service ................................................................................................

Employment After Retirement.........................................................................................


                                                                                                                              27
      General Information ................................................................................................

      Income Tax..............................................................................................................

      TRS Brochures.....................................................................................................

      TRS Contact/Access to Information (Web, Phone, etc.) ..........................................

Health Benefit Plans ..........................................................................................................

      Active Employees (TRS-ActiveCare) .....................................................................

How to Reach TRS ...................................................................................................

      General TRS Information ...............................................................................................

      Health Care Benefits ......................................................................................................

      Other Helpful Contacts ...................................................................................................


 Establishing Your Membership in
 TRS
     TRS membership begins on your first day of eligible employment with a
 TRS-covered employer. Your employer provides TRS with your current mail-
 ing address, Social Security number, date of birth, date of hire, and the type
 of position held.

     TRS will send you a “Welcome to Membership” letter and a “Designation
 of Beneficiary” form (TRS 11). You need to designate a beneficiary on this
 form and mail it directly to TRS as soon as possible. Your employer is not
 authorized to receive this form on behalf of TRS. By doing this, you ensure
 that benefits payable at your death will be paid to the person or persons you
 choose. The death benefits are significant and available to your beneficiary
 from the first day of your TRS-covered employment at no additional cost to
 you. Please see the “Beneficiary Designation by Members” section of this
 handbook for information that may be helpful to you in completing this form.
 See the section titled “Active Member Death & Survivor Benefits” for informa-
 tion on the valuable benefits your designated beneficiary may be eligible to
 receive.

     As a TRS member, you contribute 6.4 percent of your eligible compensa-
 tion as your share of the funding for your retirement plan benefits (including
 disability retirement and death benefits). Your employer is required to deduct
 the contributions from your salary on a pre-tax basis and forward them di-
 rectly to TRS for each month of eligible employment. Membership in TRS is a
 condition of employment for employees of public schools unless excluded from
 membership by law; participation in TRS cannot be waived.

 Covered Employment

       Employment that makes you eligible for membership in TRS is:

                                                                                                                               28
        regular employment in a public, state-supported educational
         institution in Texas that is expected to last for a period of 41/2 months
         or more,
        for one-half or more of the standard full-time workload, and
        with compensation paid at a rate comparable to the rate of
         compensation for other persons employed in similar positions.
   An employee of a public, state-supported educational institution in Texas
meets these requirements if the member’s customary employment is for 20
hours or more each week and for 41/2 months or more in one school year.

     Full-time service is employment that is usually 40 clock hours per week.
If the TRS-covered employer has established a lesser requirement for full-
time employment for certain positions, full-time service includes employment
in those positions. In no event may full-time employment require less than
30 hours per week. All regular employees of the public education system in
Texas (employed for 41/2 months or more, for one-half time or more, and

paid at a rate comparable to other persons employed by that employer in
similar positions during one school year) must participate in TRS, unless an
exception to TRS membership applies.

Exceptions to TRS membership include the following:

        a TRS retiree who returns to employment with a TRS-covered
         employer
        certain eligible employees, primarily faculty members in higher
         education, and the Commissioner of Education who are authorized by
         the employing institution and elect to participate in the Optional
         Retirement Program (ORP)
        an employee of an institution of higher education who is required to
         enroll concurrently as a student in the employing institution as a
         condition of employment
        a substitute, as defined by TRS rules (to be considered a substitute,
         the individual must be serving temporarily in a position currently held
         by another employee and paid at a rate-of-pay that does not exceed
         the rate for substitute work established by the employer), or
        a person employed on a temporary (less than 41/2 months), part-time
         (less than one-half time), seasonal, or irregular basis
   Some types of employment, such as driving a bus, have special require-
ments. Driving at least one bus route per day that meets Texas Education
Agency guidelines is employment that is eligible for TRS membership.

Creditable Compensation




                                                                                     29
    Creditable compensation is an important component in the calculation of
your retirement benefit, as well as some forms of death and survivor benefits
paid on behalf of active members. For TRS retirement plan purposes, com-
pensation is defined as salary and wages paid or payable to a member for
services rendered during a school year. The salary and wages must be payments
of money for service, must be paid proportionately as the service is rendered,
and must be paid in normal periodic payments. State and federal laws limit the
amount and type of compensation creditable with TRS. In addition, if an
employer pays differential pay – the difference between a member’s regular pay
and military pay – while a member is serving on active military duty under the
federal “Heroes Act,” it is creditable compensation.

     Some compensation that you may receive from your employer is non-
creditable for TRS purposes. Non-creditable compensation includes the following:
expense payments, allowances (such as automobile and cell phone allowances),
bonuses and incentive pay unless state law provides otherwise, “at risk” pay,
fringe benefits, payments for unused vacation or sick leave, pay for teaching
certain driver education courses, compensation not made pursuant to a valid
employment agreement, the value of active employee health coverage or any
employer contributions towards such coverage, amounts paid in lieu of and in
settlement of a claim for wages, payments for terminating employment or paid as
an incentive to terminate employment, payments made as an incentive to
accept employment such as signing bonuses, and payments for work as an
independent contractor or consultant. Additionally, payments for unused
compensatory leave, including compensatory leave for FLSA overtime worked,
are non-creditable compensation. Payment required by law for
overtime worked is creditable only if it meets all criteria for salary
and wages, including payment of money at fixed intervals,
generally at the end of each pay period. When FLSA overtime is
not paid at the end of each pay period in which the overtime was
accrued but instead is accumulated as compensatory leave and
paid later, such as in an annual payment for the compensatory
leave, the payment is non-creditable.

Non-creditable compensation cannot be used for the purpose of de-
termining TRS benefits.

    Otherwise eligible compensation converted from non-creditable compen-
sation in the last three years before retirement is excluded by TRS and not
counted in benefit calculations. Additionally, salary increases in the last three
years before retirement are counted only to the extent that they are within
the allowable range established by the rules of the TRS Board of Trustees.
The current board rule generally limits salary increases to 10 percent of the
previous year’s salary or $10,000, whichever is greater. For more informa-
tion, see TRS rules on these topics or contact TRS.

    TRS may require additional information or verification to determine
whether compensation reported to TRS is creditable. TRS will also apply state
law in determining whether mid-year increases or retroactive increases in
                                                                                30
your salary are eligible. TRS will not accept verification for any compensation
other than performance pay after a member has retired and the member’s
first monthly annuity payment has been issued, or after the effective date of
a member’s participation in DROP. Performance pay must meet all statutory
and rule requirements in order to be eligible compensation for TRS purposes.

     Verification of performance pay earned during the school year in which
the member retires must be made to TRS by the employer as soon as pos-
sible. Any benefit adjustment resulting from performance pay verified after
retirement will be made effective the month following the month in which
TRS receives the deposits for the performance pay from your employer.

     Some highly paid members may have their annual creditable compensa-
tion limited in accordance with Section 401(a) (17) of the Internal Revenue
Code. These limits affect individuals who joined TRS for the first time on or
after September 1, 1996. For such individuals, the current limit is $245,000
for the plan year September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2010. The annual
limit is subject to indexing each plan year, based on federal regulations.

    The same compensation that is subject to credit for TRS benefit calcula-
tions is also subject to member contributions. Amounts excluded from credit-
able compensation under the Internal Revenue Code provisions are not sub-
ject to member contributions.

Member Contribution Account

    Your member contribution account consists of contributions paid on your
creditable compensation, amounts voluntarily contributed for purchased ser-
vice credit (excluding fees), and applicable interest. Deposits to a Deferred
Retirement Option Plan (DROP) account are not included.

    • Payroll deduction: The amount a member contributes is
       established by law; currently, the required member contribution
       rate is 6.4 percent of creditable compensation. Your employer de-
       ducts the TRS contribution from your salary on a pre-tax basis and
       forwards it directly to TRS. Member contributions due after January
       1, 1988, are tax-deferred. Note: If you are a member employed
       by a public school or other educational district, regional service
       center, or an open enrollment charter school, you also contribute
       0.65 percent of eligible compensation to TRS-Care, the retirees’
       group health benefits program. This amount is not a member
       contribution, is not deposited into your member contribution ac-
       count, is not reflected on your Statement of Account, and is
       nonrefundable.

       Interest earned: Interest on your contribution is computed at the
        rate of five percent a year on the mean balance in your account
        during that fiscal year (average of your lowest and highest balances).
        TRS credits interest on August 31 of each year. If you terminate
        membership in TRS and withdraw your account, interest is computed
        at the rate of five percent on the mean balance from September 1 of
                                                                                31
        the fiscal year in which the account is withdrawn until the end of the
        month immediately preceding the termination.
       Statement of Account: In the fall of each year, members are
        provided with a Statement of Account that shows the deposits and
        total amount in the member’s account for the fiscal year ending Au-
        gust 31. In addition, if you are eligible for normal age or early age re-
        tirement, the statement will provide you with the estimated monthly
        annuity payments you could receive if you retired. The estimate is
        subject to correction of salary and/or service credit at the time of
        retirement. The age and gender of your primary beneficiary are also
        shown on your Statement of Account. If there is any discrepancy in
        the information on the Statement of Account and your “Designation
        of Beneficiary” form, the designation on the valid form will control the
        distribution of benefits. If there is no beneficiary information reflected
        on the form, please submit a new “Designation of Beneficiary” form to
        TRS to ensure death benefits are paid to the beneficiary you select.
     The Statement of Account will also reflect information about your current
and highest years of compensation and service credit. It is very important
for you to advise TRS in writing of any discrepancies contained in your state-
ment or if you do not receive your statement. These statements are mailed
directly to your address on file at TRS. To ensure receipt of your statement,
please notify TRS of any address changes.

Categories of Membership

     Your membership status determines the retirement plan benefits you
may receive when eligibility requirements are met. There are three catego-
ries of membership: active contributing members, active non-contributing
members, and inactive members. The retirement plan benefits, available
when specific eligibility requirements are met, are summarized by member-
ship category below.

     Active contributing members are those who are currently working
for TRS-covered employers and are contributing to the TRS retirement plan.
They are eligible for the following benefits:

       interest earned on member contributions;
       membership service credit towards service or disability retirement
        benefits;
       the opportunity to reinstate withdrawn service credit and to purchase
        service credit, subject to eligibility requirements and annual contribu-
        tion restrictions required under federal tax law;
       the transfer of eligible service credit to or from the Employees Retire-
        ment System of Texas (ERS) at retirement;
       consideration of eligible service credit under other Texas public retire-
        ment systems participating in the Proportionate Retirement Program
        in determining TRS retirement eligibility;
       refund of accumulated contributions upon terminating all employ-
        ment with all TRS-covered employers and submitting an application
        for refund;
       death benefits payable on the member’s behalf to a beneficiary, as
        described under “Active Member Death & Survivor Benefits;”
                                                                                 32
        service retirement annuity with five or more years of service credit
         when employment with Texas public education has terminated and
         age requirements have been met; and
        disability retirement benefits for eligible members who are perma-
         nently disabled.
    Active non-contributing members are those who fit into one of the
two following categories: (1) have at least five years of service credit and are
not currently employed in a TRS-covered position, or (2) have less than five
years of service credit, are not currently employed in a TRS-covered position,
and have been absent from TRS service for less than five years. They are eli-
gible for the following benefits:

        interest earned on member contributions;
        the opportunity to reinstate withdrawn service credit and, in limited
         circumstances, to purchase special service credit, subject to eligibility
         requirements and annual contribution restrictions required under fed-
         eral tax law;
        the transfer of eligible service credit to or from the Employees Retire-
         ment System of Texas (ERS) at retirement;
        consideration of eligible service credit under other Texas public retire-
         ment systems participating in the Proportionate Retirement Program
         in determining TRS retirement eligibility;
        death benefits payable on the member’s behalf to a beneficiary equal
         to the member’s accumulated contributions, or, if the member meets
         certain eligibility requirements, active contributing member death
         benefits (See “Active Member Death & Survivor Benefits”);
        refund of accumulated contributions upon terminating all employ-
         ment with all TRS-covered employers and submitting an application
         for refund;
        service retirement annuity with five or more years of service credit
         when employment with Texas public education has terminated and
         age requirements have been met; and
        disability retirement benefits for eligible members who are perma-
         nently disabled.
     Inactive members are those who have less than five years of service
credit and who terminated employment in a TRS-covered position more than
five years ago. State law provides that unless a person has at least five years
of service credit with TRS, failure to qualify for service credit for five con-
secutive years will terminate that person’s membership in TRS. Membership
will terminate on the first September 1 that occurs after the five non-partic-
ipating years. When TRS membership is terminated in this manner, former
members are eligible to have their accumulated contributions returned to
them or paid to their heirs before the seventh anniversary of their last day

of service. If the person or the person’s heirs do not claim the accumulated
contributions and cannot be found at the address of record with TRS, the
person’s contributions may be forfeited to TRS.

Inactive members may avoid termination of membership if they meet
one of the following requirements and provide documentation to TRS verifying
the circumstances relating to their absence from TRS-covered service:

                                                                                   33
       performing military service that is creditable in TRS,
       on leave of absence from employment in a public school,
       or earning service credit in another Texas public retirement system
        that participates in the Proportionate Retirement Program.
     Note: A member who retires terminates TRS membership through re-
tirement. Therefore, members who retire are referred to in this handbook as
“retirees” rather than as “members.” Retirees are not included in any of the
membership categories described above.

Ending Your TRS Membership

    A member ends membership in the retirement system by:

       retiring,
       death (,
       terminating employment and receiving a refund of accumulated con-
        tributions, or
       not qualifying for TRS membership service credit for five consecutive
        years.

Refund of Your TRS Contributions
    You may end your membership in TRS and withdraw the accumulated
contributions in your member account if you:

       permanently terminate all employment with all TRS-covered employ-
        ers, and
       have not applied for or received a promise of employment with the
        same or another TRS-covered employer.
Notice of Final Deposit and Request for Refund

     In order to end TRS membership and withdraw your account, you must
submit a “Notice of Final Deposit and Request for Refund” form (TRS 6) to
TRS. You may print a copy of this form from the TRS Web site. If you have at
least five years of service credit, TRS requires that you acknowledge that you
are foregoing future retirement benefits by taking a refund. A waiver form
will be sent to you by TRS if you are required to complete one. Your account
will be refunded after TRS receives both your final deposit from your em-
ployer and all required, completed forms. For your protection, TRS requires
sufficient time to verify your employment status and identify you as the with-
drawing party.

     The “Notice of Final Deposit and Request for Refund” form (TRS 6) must
be submitted to TRS by the member and requires the member to sign a no-
tarized statement that employment with all Texas public educational institu-
tions has permanently terminated and that you are not currently seeking

employment with a TRS-covered employer. If your name is different from
that shown on TRS records, you must send TRS a copy of the court order or
marriage license documenting your name change.

                                                                                 34
     If you were employed with a TRS-covered employer within the last six
months (preceding your request for refund), your last TRS-covered employer
must also certify on the form TRS 6 the last date of your employment and
indicate the month that your final deposit was or will be submitted to TRS.
Your former employer will submit a monthly payroll report that contains your
final salary and deposits to TRS. These reports are due by the sixth day of
the month following the calendar month for which the report is prepared.
(For example, the September report is due on October 6; the October report
is due on November 6.) When the report and your final contributions are re-
ceived, TRS will calculate the amount of interest owed on your contributions,
close your account, and issue your refund. A refund cannot be issued until
TRS has received a final deposit from your employer.

    Ineligible refund: If you have returned to work or have a promise to
return to work when you receive your refund, your refund must be returned
to TRS. No benefits, including service retirement, disability retirement, or
death benefits, will be payable to you or on your behalf unless the ineligible
refund is returned. If you fail to return the refund in the same tax year in
which it is issued, TRS will require you to reimburse it for any taxes that
TRS withheld and paid to IRS on your behalf. If you fail to return the refund
within the same year, you will also be required to pay TRS additional fees on
the amount refunded.

Waiving Rights to Future TRS Retirement Benefits

     If you withdraw your account by receiving a refund, you have ended your
membership in TRS. By ending your membership, you lose your service credit
and forfeit any retirement benefits that you have accrued. It is important
that you fully understand the TRS benefits that you are waiving. Therefore, if
you have five or more years of TRS service credit, you must sign a form
acknowledging that you are waiving all rights to future TRS retirement ben-
efits. Additionally, individuals who terminate membership but later return to
TRS membership are subject to new normal-age retirement eligibility criteria,
including minimum age 60 for unreduced service retirement benefits, and
new early-age retirement reductions. Ending your TRS membership may also
affect your eligibility for retirement under the proportionate retirement pro-
gram, if you have service under another Texas public retirement system.

   Note: Withdrawal of your account also results in loss of eligibility you
may have had for TRS-Care health benefits upon retirement.

Income Tax Withholding

Refunded amounts are subject to mandatory federal income tax with-
holding unless you elect a rollover to another eligible retirement plan such as
a 401(k) plan or an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). A 10 percent early
withdrawal penalty assessed by the IRS may also apply for members who
terminate Texas public education employment before age 55; for TRS
members who are qualified public safety employees, this penalty may apply if

                                                                                 35
termination occurs before the member attains age 50. For more details, please
contact the IRS, refer to the Special Tax Notice Regarding TRS Payments that
is part of the TRS 6 form, or refer to the TRS brochure titled Requesting a
Refund, which is available online (www.trs.state.tx.us) or by mail from TRS.



Refund Checklist

   The checklist below summarizes the steps required for a refund. For
more information, refer to the TRS brochure titled Requesting a Refund.

    Step 1 – You may obtain “Notice of Final Deposit and Request for Re-
fund” form (TRS 6) from the TRS Web site (www.trs.state.tx.us) or by calling
the TRS automated telephone system (1-800-223-8778) day or night. Com-
plete the form, have it notarized, and send it directly to TRS. If you were em-
ployed with a TRS-covered employer within the last six months, remember to
have your employer certify your last date of employment.

     Step 2 – If TRS membership records indicate that you have at least five
years of service credit with the system, TRS will send you a “Waiver of Ben-
efits” form (TRS 287), which you must sign and return to TRS. By signing
this form, you acknowledge that by accepting a refund, you cancel your TRS
service credit and forfeit eligibility for all benefits.

    Step 3 – If you indicate on form TRS 6 that you wish to roll over all or a
portion of your contributions, TRS will send you a “Refund Rollover Election”
form (TRS 6A). TRS 6A must be completed and signed by you and a repre-
sentative of the financial institution that will be accepting the rollover.

     Step 4 – After all the required documents have been received by TRS
and the account has been reconciled, TRS will request that the State Comp-
troller of Public Accounts issue you a refund warrant. Payments are mailed
the same day that TRS receives them from the Comptroller’s Office. A refund
will not be issued if records indicate that you have been re-employed by a
TRS-covered employer.


Your Responsibilities as a Member
or Annuitant
Keep Address Current

    For security reasons, TRS requires notification in writing of an address
change. Your address of record is the address to which TRS sends confiden-
tial information regarding your account and to which TRS may send pay-
ments owed to you. The written notice must contain both your Social Se-
curity number and your signature. If you work for a TRS-covered employer
that uses TRAQS, the TRS Internet reporting system, you should submit your
change of address directly to your employer, who will submit the change to
                                                                                  36
TRS electronically. This change will remain in effect until you revoke it.

    Members whose employers do not use TRAQS or who are not currently
employed in Texas public education may submit address changes on a
“Change of Address Notification” form (TRS 358). This form may be printed
from the “Forms” page of the TRS Web site (www.trs.state.tx.us), or ob-
tained by calling TRS at 1-800-223-8778 and then requesting the “Forms”
menu.

Notify TRS of Name Changes

   For security reasons, TRS requires notification in writing when a TRS
member or retiree has a name change. The written notice must contain both
your Social Security number and your signature. You must also include a
copy of a court order or marriage license that authorizes your name change.
There is no TRS form for submitting a name change.

    If you are working for a TRS-covered employer when your name chang-
es, you must officially change your name in your employer’s records to en-
sure that your employer’s and TRS’ records match.

    Note: If you are a TRS-ActiveCare participant, you will need to notify the
health plan administrator, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, of address or
name changes as they maintain a separate address file from TRS.

Keep Beneficiary Designation Current

    To ensure that TRS pays member death benefits to the persons you want
to receive them, it is important for you to have a current beneficiary designa-
tion on file with TRS. If you are a member, you may print a copy of “Designa-
tion of Beneficiary” form (TRS 11) from the TRS Web site. Complete and mail
the form directly to TRS. Your employer is not authorized to receive this form
on behalf of TRS. If you are a retiree, contact TRS for a change of beneficiary
form. You should review your beneficiary designation when significant life

events occur such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a spouse or
designated beneficiary, or if the beneficiary becomes eligible for Medicaid or
other “needs-based” assistance programs. A divorce does not automati-
cally revoke your former spouse as beneficiary.

Keep Informed

     The features of the TRS retirement plan are established by state law and
are subject to change. It is important for members and retirees to keep up
with changes that may affect benefits under this plan. Significant changes
will be included in future revisions to this handbook, in the TRS News, and on
the TRS Web site.


Establishing TRS Service Credit
                                                                                 37
    Service credit is an important component in determining eligibility for
TRS benefits, and it affects the calculation of a service or disability retire-
ment benefit. It also may be important in the availability or calculation of
certain death and survivor benefits. See the section on “Standard Annuity”
for more information on how service credit affects the calculation of your re-
tirement benefit.

Creditable Service

     Service credit is earned in one-year increments. Only one year of service
may be credited in any one school year. A school year generally is September
1st through August 31st. A member must serve at least 41/2 months in an
eligible position during the school year to receive one year of membership
service credit. A year of service credit cannot include more than 12 months.
The beginning date of the year of service credit generally coincides with the
beginning date of the school year of the employer, or the date of your em-
ployment under a contract or oral or written work agreement that begins on
or after July 1.

    There are two exceptions to the 41/2-month service requirement to re-
ceive a year of membership service credit:

        A member who serves a full semester of more than four calendar
         months in a TRS-eligible position will receive service credit for one
         year.
        A year of service credit will be granted to an employee in a TRS
         eligible position who entered into an employment contract (or oral
         or written work agreement) for a period of at least 41/2 months or a
         period of a full semester of more than four calendar months but who
         renders only 90 or more actual work days.
    Service for a minimum of 90 work days as a substitute may qualify for
service credit if verified and purchased.

Five Years Membership Service Credit

     Members who establish at least five years of membership service credit
are eligible to retire at a future date and receive a lifetime monthly annu-
ity. If you have fewer than five years of service credit and have not qualified
for a year of membership service credit in five consecutive years, your TRS
membership will terminate on September 1 following the five consecutive
years in which you fail to qualify for a year of membership service credit, as
described earlier under “Inactive Members.” Once your membership is ter-
minated, you will no longer receive TRS membership information, such as
newsletters or annual account statements. Additionally, accumulated contri-
butions in an individual’s account on the date that the individual’s member-
ship in TRS is terminated do not earn interest after that date.


Beneficiary Designation by

                                                                                  38
Members
    Death benefits are part of your TRS retirement plan benefits beginning
on the first day of your TRS-covered employment. For example, for mem-
bers employed in TRS-covered positions, death benefits may pay an amount
that is equal to twice your annual salary, with the amount payable capped
at $80,000. For this reason, you should designate a beneficiary immediately
upon becoming a member of TRS. Designating a beneficiary to receive your
TRS benefits can be one of the most important things you do as a TRS
participant. Because this decision is such a personal one, TRS encourages you to
carefully consider your options to ensure that your decision best serves your
interests.

     Significant events (such as marriage, divorce, death of a beneficiary,
birth of a child, and receipt of Medicaid by a person designated as your
beneficiary) should prompt a review of your beneficiary designation. It is
important to periodically review your beneficiary designation and submit a
“Designation of Beneficiary” form (TRS 11 for active members or TRS 12 for
retirees to change the beneficiary for survivor death benefits) directly to TRS
immediately if any change is needed to reflect changes in your personal cir-
cumstances. Your employer is not authorized to receive your TRS “Designa-
tion of Beneficiary” form; submit the form directly to TRS.

    TRS death benefits are not life insurance payments and, as a result, they
are subject to federal income tax. Also, TRS is not an ERISA plan, and the
requirements of that law with respect to designation of beneficiaries do not
apply to TRS. For further details, consult your attorney or a financial advisor.

Designating a Beneficiary for Member Death and
Survivor Benefits

     Your beneficiary must be named on a designation of beneficiary form
prescribed by TRS. Because TRS has several different beneficiary forms, the
form you submit must be for that specific benefit. When you are first enrolled
as a TRS member, a beneficiary form is mailed to you. You should fill in the
required information on the form and mail it to TRS immediately. Your em-
ployer is not authorized to receive the “Designation of Beneficiary” form (or
any later change of beneficiary form) on behalf of TRS. When you designate
your beneficiary, it is helpful for you to provide adequate identifying informa-
tion to enable TRS to locate and pay your beneficiary upon your death. If you
designate an estate, trust, or other legal entity as your beneficiary, further
documentation may be required.

    In the event of your death, if there is no designation of beneficiary on file
at TRS, any benefits due will be paid in accordance with Texas law. Currently,
the law provides that in the absence of a designated beneficiary your surviv-
ing spouse is eligible to receive the benefits; if there is no surviving spouse,
TRS will pay according to the statutory order of other related survivors or will
pay the deceased member’s estate. Payment in this manner may not reflect
                                                                                   39
the needs of your family; therefore, it is important for every member to have
a current beneficiary designation form on file at TRS.

     Joint beneficiaries may be designated to receive active member death
benefits. When joint beneficiaries are designated and one of the joint benefi-
ciaries predeceases the member, then if there is one surviving joint benefi-
ciary, that beneficiary will receive the entire benefit. If there are two or more
surviving joint beneficiaries, they will receive the benefit in equal shares. If
an alternate beneficiary is named, the alternate beneficiary will not be eli-
gible for the benefit as long as any joint beneficiary(ies) survive the member.
If a member has at least five years of service credit at the time of death, the
beneficiary may be eligible to receive an annuity for life. You may want to
consider that joint beneficiaries will not be eligible to select and receive life-
time annuity payments as the form of death and survivor benefit payable by
TRS, since this form of payment is based on the age and life expectancy of
you and one other person.

    Note: TRS benefits including death benefits are not assignable. For ex-
ample, you cannot assign your death benefits to a funeral home to pay for
the cost of your funeral.

Change in Marital Status

    If your marital status changes, you can ensure that your wishes are fol-
lowed at your death by updating your designated beneficiary on a form pre-
scribed by and received by TRS.

     A divorce does not automatically revoke the designation of a former
spouse as beneficiary if the designation was made before the date of the di-
vorce. To revoke a designation of the former spouse for death benefits that
was submitted before the date of divorce, TRS must receive a new designa-
tion of beneficiary before your death that is signed after the date of divorce,
or a certified copy of your divorce decree before payment of any death ben-
efits is made to the former spouse as beneficiary. If your beneficiary designa-
tion was submitted after a divorce, the divorce has no effect on the designa-
tion. If you want to keep your former spouse as the beneficiary of your death
benefits, submit a new form naming your former spouse as beneficiary. TRS
must receive the signed form prior to your death.

     If your marriage is terminated due to the death of your spouse and your
spouse was designated as your beneficiary, you may also want to review your
designation of beneficiary. To ensure that your designation of beneficiary re-
flects your current wishes, designate your beneficiary on a new form, sign it,
and send it to TRS. The new designation is not effective until it is received by
TRS and it must be received by TRS prior to your death.

    To reduce the likelihood of a challenge to the designation of beneficiary
at your death, submit a new designation of beneficiary form after marriage,
divorce, or death of the primary beneficiary.

                                                                                     40
Considerations before Naming a Minor Child or
Legally Incapacitated Adult

    Although TRS members may name minor children as their beneficiaries,
Texas law requires that the benefit must be paid to an adult on behalf of the
minor child. Members who wish to name a minor child should seek legal ad-
vice in order to understand which adult will receive any benefit payments on
behalf of the minor.

     For example, in Texas, the surviving parent may receive the benefit on
behalf of the child, unless a guardian of the estate has been appointed for
a minor child. Establishing a guardianship for a minor child requires a legal
proceeding in which the court appoints the guardian and issues letters of
guardianship. After presenting the letters of guardianship, the guardian with
authority over the child’s estate may receive the TRS benefit on behalf of a
child. While naming a guardian in your will gives notice to the court of your
desire to have a specific individual be the child’s guardian, your will alone
does not establish the guardian of your child’s estate. Laws in other states
may differ from those in Texas.

     TRS members and retirees should also carefully consider the unintended
consequences of naming an adult friend or relative with the intent that this
person will distribute the benefit to a minor child. When an adult is named in-
dividually, TRS will pay the benefit to the individual using that person’s Social
Security number. All the tax consequences become the responsibility of the
named beneficiary. You should also consider what could happen if that per-
son is injured or dies before the benefit is distributed to your child. While the
person you designate might follow through with your request to distribute
the benefit to your child, there is no legal obligation to do so. If that person

is incapacitated and a guardian is then appointed for that person, or if that
person dies, his or her guardian or executor would be legally obligated to use
the benefit to serve the interests of the beneficiary or the beneficiary’s es-
tate, rather than your child’s interests.

    Also consider the risk, even if it may appear minimal, that the person
you designate may not follow through with your request. These unintended
consequences become real-life dilemmas that only a court of law, NOT TRS,
may resolve.

     You may want to consider establishing an inter vivos or testamentary
trust for the benefit of your minor child and designating the trust as the ben-
eficiary of your TRS benefits. By doing so, you can determine who will man-
age the benefit paid on behalf of your child. Please keep in mind that if you
name a testamentary trust (one established in your will); your estate must
be probated in a way that allows TRS to pay the benefits in this manner. You
may also want to talk with your attorney about making a designation of your
child under the Texas Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This act allows you to
designate a custodian to receive the benefit on behalf of a child under the

                                                                                    41
age of 21 without having to establish a trust for the child.

     If you wish to name a minor child as your beneficiary, TRS encourages
you to seek legal advice to fully understand the options available to you. Your
attorney can advise you regarding methods of designating a beneficiary that
will legally obligate the adult you select to act for the benefit of your child
with regard to TRS benefits.

    If you wish to name a legally incapacitated adult as your beneficiary, TRS
encourages you to seek legal advice about how you can best ensure that TRS
benefits payable on your behalf will be paid as you intended.


Applying for Retirement
     An eligible member who wishes to receive a retirement benefit must ap-
ply to TRS using the appropriate form. This form establishes a retiree’s effec-
tive date of retirement. Retirement can be effective no earlier than either the
last day of the month in which you file your application or the last day of ei-
ther of the two previous months, provided you have terminated employment
by the effective date of retirement. For example, if you want your retirement
to be effective January 31, you must terminate employment by January 31
and file your retirement application no later than March 31.


Termination of Employment
Before Retirement
     Termination occurs no earlier than your official resignation date and after
you have ceased all employment with all TRS-covered employers. You must
follow your employer’s guidelines for giving notice of resignation. For early
age retirement purposes, employment does not terminate if you are on paid
or unpaid leave or if you have a contract for any type of future employment
with a TRS-covered employer. For normal-age retirement purposes, employ-
ment does not terminate if you are on paid or unpaid leave or if you have a
contract for future full-time employment. See “Negotiation for Return to Em-
ployment” below for more information.

    A limited exception to the requirement that you must terminate employ-
ment is available for May 31 retirees. If you must work into the month of
June to complete work required for the school year, you may establish a May
31 retirement date provided you terminate your employment no later than
June 15. You must also file your retirement application no later than July 31.


Negotiation for Return to
Employment

                                                                                   42
     With limited exceptions, a member’s employment does not terminate
(end) for TRS purposes if, at time of retirement, the member has a contract,
agreement, or promise for future employment with a Texas public education
institution. Arranging for future employment before retirement is permissible
only when the following two conditions are met:

       the member must be eligible to take normal-age retirement, and
       the post-retirement employment must qualify under one of the ex-
        ceptions to loss of monthly benefits.
    Specifically, retirees who meet the requirements for normal-age retire-
ment may only have a contract for employment during the school year in
which they retire for half-time employment or as a bus driver whose primary
employment is bus driving. If an agreement is for employment after the
school year in which retirement occurs, a normal-age retiree may also have
an agreement for full-time employment that does not exceed six months.
Members taking normal-age retirement will be ineligible to retire if, at the
time of retirement, they enter into a contract for full-time employment that
exceeds six months. See page 27 for normal-age retirement requirements.
For information on the half-time employment or bus driver requirements, see
the section on “Employment After Retirement.”

    Members who do not meet these two criteria, but nevertheless enter into
employment arrangements at the time of retirement, are not eligible for re-
tirement because they have not effectively terminated employment. They are
not eligible for any retirement benefits they may have received or for retiree
health care coverage. Normal-age retirees must wait until after the required
break in service to negotiate for full-time employment.

    Members taking early-age retirement may not have a contract, agree-
ment, or promise for any type of future employment with a TRS-covered em-
ployer at the time they retire. They must wait until after the required break
in service to negotiate any contract for employment with a TRS-covered
employer. After the required break in service, an early-age retiree may con-
tract for any type of employment; however, the employment after retirement
remains subject to the forfeiture of benefit provisions described below. See
page 35 for early-age retirement requirements.

    Members who enter into contracts, agreements, or promises to return to
work that do not meet the requirements described above risk revocation of
their retirement and loss of all associated benefits of retirement.




                                                                                43
Required Break in Service
    You revoke your retirement if you become employed in any position in
a Texas public education institution in any capacity during the first calendar

month following the effective date of your retirement. If your retirement date
is May 31 but your contract or work agreement requires you to work into
June but no later than June 15, you may not return to employment in Texas
public education until August 1. If you revoke your retirement, benefits (in-
cluding any DROP or PLSO distribution and any group health benefits through
TRS-Care) must be repaid to TRS. You must also reapply for retirement.

The break in service requirement applies to both normal-age and early-age
retirees and to both service and disability retirees. Volunteering to perform
services that are normally provided by an employee or waiving payment for
service during the required break in service may be considered service that
revokes retirement.

    Note: One full calendar month of separation from employment with any
TRS-covered employer is also required of a person retiring with the Employ-
ees Retirement System (ERS) whose last place of employment was with a
TRS-covered employer and who uses TRS service credit, transferred at re-
tirement, for benefit calculation under ERS.


Employment After Retirement
General Information
    Retirees who plan to work in Texas public education after retirement
should carefully review all requirements that apply to such work. If the retir-
ee does not effectively terminate employment, or if the retiree’s work is not
in compliance with the requirements, the retiree could:

        revoke his or her retirement entirely, or
        lose monthly annuity payments for work that exceeds the allowable
         amount.
     To work after retirement without revocation of retirement or loss of ben-
efits, a retiree must:

        terminate all employment with a TRS-covered employer (See “Ter-
         mination of Employment Before Retirement” and “Negotiation for Re-
         turn to Employment,” pages 39-40, for additional information),
        wait to negotiate a return to employment as permitted under law,
        not be employed or otherwise work for a TRS-covered employer dur-
         ing the required break in service after the retirement effective date,
         and
        work only the amount of time permitted under one of the employ-
         ment-after-retirement exceptions. The exceptions permit certain
         kinds of employment without losing the annuity for the month in
         which the employment is performed.

                                                                                 44
    These requirements apply to all retirees, service and disability and both
normal age and early age. However, there are some differences (described
below) in how the requirements are applied, depending on retirement cir-
cumstances. Please contact TRS if you are considering returning to employ-
ment in Texas public education after retirement and are unsure whether your
employment will affect your retirement or your monthly annuity payment.

    For employment-after-retirement purposes, the definition of
“school year” is a 12-month period beginning September 1 and end-
ing August 31 of the next calendar year.

     During employment after retirement, a retiree will not earn additional
TRS service credit, and TRS member contributions will not be withheld from
your salary. For employment on or after September 1, 2005, public education
employers in Texas are required to pay a surcharge to the TRS pension fund
for retirees employed in positions that would be eligible for TRS membership
if held by an active member. This surcharge payment is not a member con-
tribution, nor is it refundable to the retiree at any time. Employers may also
be required to pay the state contribution for the retirees’ TRS-Care health
benefits. The surcharges are not required for a retiree who (1) retired prior
to September 1, 2005, (2) works only as a substitute (serves on a temporary
basis in the place of a current employee), or (3) works in a position that does
not meet TRS membership eligibility requirements for active members.

              *Employment through a “Third-Party Entity”*

    Employment by a third-party entity is considered employment by a Texas
public educational institution subject to the employment-after-retirement re-
quirements unless:

        the retiree was first employed by the third-party entity on or before
         May 24, 2003, or
        the retiree does not perform duties or provide services on behalf of
         or for the benefit of a Texas public educational institution.
     For purposes of employment after retirement, a third-party entity is an
entity retained by a Texas public educational institution to provide personnel
to the institution to perform duties or provide services that employees of the
institution would otherwise perform or provide.

              *Employment as an Independent Contractor*

    Employment with a Texas public educational institution as an indepen-
dent contractor is not subject to the TRS laws and rules regarding employ-
ment after retirement. Additionally, the employer surcharges do not apply
to retirees working as independent contractors. Therefore, if you are an
independent contractor, your employment is not reported to TRS and your
monthly annuity is not affected. A member who wants to return to work
as an independent contractor should carefully consider whether the work
arrangement meets all legal tests for this status. The characterization of your
relationship with the Texas public educational institution as an independent
                                                                                  45
contractor may be affected by laws such as those governing federal
income tax and Social Security as well as TRS laws. TRS recommends that
you carefully review the work arrangement and seek legal advice from
your attorney as necessary to determine if you are an independent
contractor.

     If your employment arrangement does not meet the legal tests for an
independent contractor, you are regarded as an employee of the educational
institution rather than as an independent contractor. If your contract was
negotiated prior to retirement, you may not have terminated employment
for TRS purposes, and you are not eligible to retire. In this case, you must
return all benefits associated with your retirement, including any annuity
payments, DROP or PLSO payments, and any group health benefits received
under TRS-Care. If the contract was negotiated after the required break in
service, your retirement eligibility may not be in question. You will, however,
forfeit benefits for any month that your work exceeds the applicable limits
under the exceptions described below. Additionally, your employer may owe
TRS the applicable surcharges on your employment. Consult your own attor-
ney before entering into an agreement to work as an independent contractor
to make sure that the work arrangement does not jeopardize your eligibility
for retirement and retirement benefits.

Service Retirees
Employment without Forfeiture of Monthly Annuity Payments

    TRS retirees who retired before January 1, 2001, are permitted to
return to work without employment restrictions or reduction in TRS
benefits.

     The following employment-after-retirement provisions apply to members
who retire on or after January 1, 2001. After terminating employment and
fulfilling the required break in service, TRS service retirees may work in a
Texas public educational institution without forfeiting their annuity payment
under the following conditions:

*A return to work during same school year as retirement*

       Substitute: Retirees may substitute an unlimited number of days
        during the school year. For TRS purposes, a substitute is a person
        who serves on a temporary basis in the place of a current employee.
        If the position is vacant, the retiree is not a substitute for TRS pur-
        poses. The retiree’s pay cannot be more than the daily rate of substi-
        tute pay set by the employer.
       One-half Time or Less: Retirees may work one-half time or less.
        Working one-half time means employment during any month for no
        more than one-half the full-time load for the particular position as
        determined by the employer. One-half time employment cannot ex-
        ceed 50 percent of the full-time position. Additionally, the following
        apply:
             Employment measured in clock hours must not exceed more
                                                                                 46
             than one half the number of working hours in the month or 92
             clock hours, whichever is less.
            Employment measured in credit or semester hours may not ex-
             ceed one-half of the full-time load. A full-time work load mea-
             sured in credit or semester hours is usually 12 to 15 semester
             hours or 4-5 courses per long semester.
            Paid time off, including sick leave, vacation leave, and compen-
             satory leave for overtime worked, is employment and reduces
             the number of hours available to work in a calendar month.
            Because the number of working days in each month is not al-
             ways the same, the maximum amount of time a retiree is al-
             lowed to work under the one-half time exception will vary from
             month to month.
            If an employer is closed for business during scheduled peri-
             ods, the amount of time available to work during that month is
             reduced by the number of business days that the employer is
             closed.
            A retiree working as a bus driver under the one-half time ex-
             ception can drive the bus only for one half the number of work-
             ing days in that particular calendar month, not to exceed 12
             days. For example, December is a short work month due to the
             Christmas holidays. Therefore, if the school is open for only 10
             working days in the month, a retiree could drive five days in
             the month. This rule does not apply to bus drivers who qualify
             for the “Bus Driver Exception”.


   • Bus Driver: Retirees who retired before September 1, 2005, may
      work on as much as a full-time basis under the bus driver exception
      provided the retiree is a normal-age retiree and regularly drives at
      least one route per day that complies with Texas Education Agency
      (TEA) guidelines. Effective with retirements after September 1, 2005,
      retirees who work as bus drivers under this exception and drive at
      least one route per day that complies with TEA guidelines will not for-
      feit their annuities provided bus driving is their primary employment
      with the TRS-covered employer. For bus driving to be considered an
      employee’s primary employment, the total amount of any other em-
      ployment with a TRS-covered employer must be less than half-time.
      An early-age retiree may work as a bus driver only under the one-
      half time exception, and all rule provisions governing the one-half
      time exception are applicable.

      Combination of Substitute and One-half time Employment: Retirees
       may combine substitute and one-half time employment during the
       same calendar month provided the amount of total time worked in-
       cluding any paid leave does not exceed the amount of time available
       for half-time employment for that month. Retirees may also work ei-
       ther as a substitute or on a half-time basis in different months of the
       same school year.
*A return to work during school years beginning after retirement,
but with less than a 12-month break in service*


                                                                             47
      Substitute, One-half Time or Less, or Bus Driver: These employ-
       ment exceptions are available for retirees who return to work the
       same school year in which they retired as well as those who return to
       work in the school years following retirement.
      Six-Month Exception: Retirees may work on as much as a full-
       time basis in any position for as long as six months during the
       school year. This exception cannot be used in the same school year
       that retirement occurs. Any employment during any month after the
       sixth month will result in the forfeiture of the monthly annuity for the
       month. Paid time off, including sick leave, vacation leave, and com-
       pensatory leave for overtime worked, is considered employment for
       purposes of this exception. The following also apply:
            Retirees who are working under the six-month exception and
             cannot complete work required under their contract by May 31
             may work into June, but no later than June 15, without losing
             the annuity for June.
            Attendance at professional development activities not included
             in the work required in the contract of employment will not re-
             sult in the loss of an annuity.
            This exception cannot be used with any other exception to
             avoid forfeiture of benefits during the same school year. If the
             retiree works full-time (more than one-half time) in any month,
             employment as a substitute or on a one-half time basis in any
             other month will be counted in the six months, and the monthly
             annuity payment will be forfeited for any month that exceeds
             the six months.
       Combination of Substitute and One-half time Employment: Re-
        tirees may combine substitute and one-half time employment during
        the same calendar month provided the amount of total time worked
         including any paid leave does not exceed the amount of time avail-
       able for half-time employment for that month. Retirees may also
       work either as a substitute or on a one-half time basis in different
       months of the same school year.

*A return to work after 12-month break in service after retirement*

      Acute Shortage Area Exception: Retirees may work on as much
       as a full-time basis without limitation as a teacher in an acute short-
       age area. This exception is limited to certified classroom teachers.
       An acute shortage area is determined by the board of trustees of the
       employing school district based on guidelines provided by the Com-
       missioner of Education. In addition, a retiree must meet the following
       requirements:
            Retired without a reduction in benefits due to early age
            Has not worked in any position or capacity for any Texas public
             educational institution for a 12-consecutive-month period fol-
             lowing the date of retirement
            Is employed to teach at least one classroom hour per day in an
             area designated as an acute shortage area
            Is certified by the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC)
             to teach in the acute shortage area
            Completed form TRS 581, “Certification for Employment After
             Retirement as a Classroom Teacher in an Acute Shortage Area
                                                                                  48
               or as a Principal or Assistant Principal.” The employer must sub-
               mit the completed form to TRS.
        Principal or Assistant Principal Exception: A retiree may work on
         as much as a full-time basis without limitation as a principal or assis-
         tant principal provided the retiree meets the following requirements:
              Retired without a reduction in benefits due to early age
              Has not worked in any position or capacity for any Texas public
               educational institution for a 12-consecutive-month period fol-
               lowing the date of retirement
              Is certified under Subchapter B, Chapter 21, Education Code, to
               serve as principal
              Is employed as, and performs the duties of, a principal or assis-
               tant principal
              Completed form TRS 581, “Certification for Employment After
               Retirement as a Classroom Teacher in an Acute Shortage Area
               or as a Principal or Assistant Principal.” The employer must
               submit the completed form to TRS.
        Faculty of professional nursing program: A retiree may work on
         as much as a full-time basis without limitation as faculty of a profes-
         sional graduate or undergraduate nursing program provided the
         retiree meets the following requirements:
             Has not worked in a position or capacity for any Texas public
              educational institution for a 12-consecutive-month period fol-
              lowing the date of retirement
             Is employed as a faculty member in an undergraduate or grad-
              uate professional nursing program as defined in §54.221, Tex.
              Education Code
             Completes form TRS 581N, “Certification for Employment After
              Retirement as Faculty Member of a Nursing Program.” The em-
              ployer must submit the completed form to TRS.
        •    This exception is currently available through the last day of the

              2015 spring semester.

Employment with Forfeiture of Monthly Annuity Payments

   A service retiree who retired after January 1, 2001 will forfeit retirement
annuity payments for any month worked as follows:

     1. Full-time employment during the same school year in which retire-
        ment occurs unless working as a bus driver under the “Bus Driver Ex-
        ception” described previously. Full-time employment is any employ-
        ment that is more than one-half time and includes any paid leave.
     2. Work in excess of six months in the school year after retirement if
        employed under the “Six-Month Exception” as described on page
        46. The use of any paid leave during a calendar month is considered
        work for purposes of the six-month exception. The six-month excep-
        tion applies if any work during the school year is full time. For return-
        to-work purposes, a school year is defined as September 1 through
        August 31.
     3. Work as a substitute combined with work on a one-half time basis,
        including any paid leave, and the combined employment for the
                                                                                   49
         month exceeds the time allotted for the one-half time position.
     4. Work as a bus driver when combined with other work that is one-half
        time or more, including any paid leave. A normal-age retiree who re-
        tired prior to September 1, 2005 may have other employment on as
        much as full-time basis without forfeiting any annuity provided he or
        she drives at least one bus route per day that meets TEA guidelines.


General Information for all TRS
Participants
Income Tax
     Since January 1, 1988, member contributions to TRS have been made on
a pre-tax basis through an employer pickup that reduces the member’s sala-
ry for tax purposes only. Payments for purchased service credit, however, are
made on an after-tax basis (unless made through a rollover or trustee-
to-trustee transfer). Interest earned on both types of contributions is
credited to a member’s account on a tax-deferred basis. Any retirement plan
benefits received from TRS are subject to federal income tax, including service
and disability retirement benefits, death and survivor benefits, and refunds of ac-
cumulated contributions. Any after-tax contributions that you made to TRS
will be handled in the manner required by federal tax law. Tax information
will be provided when a TRS benefit is first received. For comprehensive tax
assistance, please contact a professional tax advisor or the Internal Revenue
Service (IRS), 1-800-829-1040.

TRS Brochures

   Additional benefits information is available on the TRS Web site and in TRS
publications, including but not limited to:

     TRS Service Credit                 • Employment After Retirement
     Requesting a Refund                • TRS Automated Telephone System
     TRS/ERS Transfer                   • TRS-Care Highlights of the Plan
     Partial Lump Sum Option            • TRS-A Great Value for All Texans
     History of Benefit Improvements




                                                                                 50
TRS Contact/Access to Information
(Web, Phone, etc.)

     There are two ways to access specific information about your TRS account:

    Online Access: To access information about your TRS account through
the TRS Web site, you will need a password. To obtain a password, complete a
“TRS Web Site Password Authorization” form (TRS 608). You can download the
form from the TRS Web site (Click on “Forms” and then “Forms for Members,”
and find the form in the list.). Once you have completed the form and sent it to
TRS, an 8-to-10-digit password will be mailed to you.

     Automated Telephone System: To access specific information about
your TRS account over the telephone, you will need a Personal Identification
Number (PIN). To obtain a PIN, complete a “TRS Telephone Personal Identification
Number Authorization” form (TRS 590). You can download the form from the
TRS Web site (Click on “Forms” and then on “Forms for Members” to find the
form in the list.). You can also request the form by phone through the automated
telephone system. Once you have completed the form and sent it to TRS, a four-
digit PIN will be mailed to you.

   Please include your Social Security number on all documents and corre-
spondence with TRS.


Health Benefit Plans
Active Employees (TRS-ActiveCare)

    TRS-ActiveCare went into effect on September 1, 2002. To date, more than
1,089 school districts and other eligible entities have elected to participate in
TRS-ActiveCare. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas administers the medical
benefits; Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (Medco) administers the pharmacy
benefits. TRS-ActiveCare offers a choice of four preferred provider organization
(PPO) plans statewide. Also, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are available
in certain service areas.

    To be eligible for TRS-ActiveCare, an individual must be employed by a
participating entity (including a school district, a participating charter school,
a regional education service center, or another educational district whose
employees are TRS members) and must satisfy one of the following require-
ments:

         the individual must be an active contributing TRS member, or
         the individual must be employed for 10 or more hours per week.
    However, you are not eligible for coverage under TRS-ActiveCare if you
receive health benefit coverage as an employee or retiree under the Employees
Retirement System of Texas (ERS), the University of Texas System (UT), or
the Texas A&M University System (Texas A&M). Also, a TRS retiree enrolled in,
or who declined coverage under, TRS-Care is not eligible for coverage as an
51
employee under TRS-ActiveCare, even if the TRS retiree returns to work for a
TRS-ActiveCare participating entity. Dependents of individuals who are eligible
for TRS-ActiveCare according to the criteria above, including a TRS retiree who is
a dependent and declined coverage under TRS-Care, may also become covered
under TRS-ActiveCare if certain conditions are met. More details about the
program are available on the TRS Web site (www.trs.state.tx.us/trs-activecare).

                     How to Reach TRS
     You may contact a benefit counselor by mail, telephone, personal ap-
 pointment in TRS’ Austin office and limited cities statewide, or scheduled
 group meetings in numerous locations across the state. Please schedule ap-
 pointments in advance.

                        General TRS Information
 TRS Web Site www.trs.state.tx.us
                 –
                                           Mailing Address –
 TRS Telephone Counseling                  Teacher Retirement System of Texas
 Center –                                  1000 Red River Street

 (Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.;        Austin, Texas 78701-2698
 also automated information available
                                           Please remember to include your
 day or night, seven days a week):
                                           name and Social Security number on
 1-800-223-8778
                                           all correspondence mailed to TRS.
 (or 1-512-542-6400)

 TTY (for hearing-impaired persons) –
 1-800-841-4497

 (or 1-512-542-6444)

                           Health Care Benefits

 TRS-ActiveCare –                          1-800-617-3433

 General Information: 1-                   Scott & White Health Plan:
 800-223-8778, ext. 6446                   1-800-321-7947

 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas       Valley Baptist Health Plan:
 (enrollment, medical claims): 1-
                                           1-800-829-6440
 866-355-5999

 Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
 (prescription drugs):

 1-866-355-5999

 FIRSTCARE:
 1-800-884-4901

 Mercy Health Plans:
TRS-Care –                               www.caremark.com/trs

General Information: 1-                  Long-Term Care Insurance
800-223-8778, ext. 6456                  Program   –




Aetna (medical claims):                  Genworth Customer Service:
www.aetna.com
                                         1-866-659-1970
1-800-367-3636                           www.genworth.com/groupltc
                                         Use Group ID: TRS
Caremark Inc. (prescription drugs):
1-866-877-1555                           Access Code: groupltc
Note: The TRS Web site (www.trs.state.tx.us) features convenient links to
the administrators’ Web sites for TRS-ActiveCare, TRS-Care, and the TRS
long-term care insurance program.

                       Other Helpful Contacts

Social Security Information –          Medicare Information      –




Social Security Administration:        General Information:

1-800-772-1213                          1-800-633-4227

www.ssa.gov                            www.medicare.gov
                                     Health, dental, and life insurance
Policy CRD
Group health insurance coverage is provided through TRS-ActiveCare, the statewide public school health insurance
program. The District’s contribution to employee insurance premiums is determined annually by the Mount
Pleasant ISD Board of Trustees. Employees eligible for health insurance coverage include the following:
• Employees who are active, contributing TRS members
• Employees who are not contributing TRS members and who are regularly scheduled to
work at least 10 hours per week. (These employees must pay entire premium. The District does not contribute
anything to their insurance.)
TRS retirees and employees who are not contributing TRS members that are regularly scheduled to work less than
10 hours per week are not eligible to participate in TRS ActiveCare.

The insurance plan year is from September 1 through August 31. Current employees can make changes in their
insurance coverage during open enrollment each spring, but no later than August 31. Detailed descriptions of
insurance coverage, employee cost, and eligibility requirements are provided to all employees in a separate
booklet. Employees should contact the Mount Pleasant ISD’s Benefit Office for more information. New employees
must have TRS ActiveCare paperwork completed and turned into the Benefits Office within 10 days of hire.

Who can enroll in TRS-ActiveCare?
To be eligible for TRS-ActiveCare, persons must be employed by a participating district/entity and be either an
active, contributing TRS member or employed 10 or more regularly scheduled hours each week.

Who is eligible for TRS-ActiveCare coverage?
Teachers, administrative personnel, substitutes, bus drivers, librarians, cafeteria workers, and high school or
college student employees are all eligible for coverage, provided no exception applies, if they are employees of the
participating district/entity, not volunteers and are either active contributing TRS members or are employed by a
participating district/entity for 10 or more regularly scheduled hours each week. Independent contractors and
volunteers are not employees and are therefore not eligible for TRS-ActiveCare coverage.

Making Changes/Special Enrollment Events
Changes to coverage during the plan year are only allowed for:

• Marriage (a common law marriage is not considered a special enrollment event unless there is a certificate of
common law marriage filed with an authorized government agency)
• Divorce (if the divorce results in a loss of other coverage)
• A child is born, adopted, or is placed with you for adoption
• A child marries or reaches age 25
• A court orders you to provide health coverage for your child (does not apply to court-ordered coverage for a
spouse)
• Involuntarily loss of other health insurance coverage (and originally declined TRS-ActiveCare coverage in writing
because of coverage under another health benefit plan)
• Eligible dependent involuntarily loses other health insurance coverage (and originally declined TRS-ActiveCare
dependent coverage in writing for the individual(s) losing other coverage because of coverage under another
health benefit plan). Note: Can add the dependent only if already covered by ActiveCare 1-HD, 1, 2 or 3.

To decline coverage: Complete sections 1, 2 and 9 of the Enrollment Application and Change Form to voluntarily
decline coverage for self and any dependents and to provide the reason for declining. Submit the form to Benefits
Administrator annually. Declinations must be made every year.

To     Enroll  all    employees     in    Health    Insurance:           TRS     Blue   Cross        Blue     Shield
https://employers.hcsc.net/employers/signon_tx.html or mail in the application to BCBS.
Termination: If the person is terminated they can elect to take COBRA insurance. Blue Cross Blue Shield handles
the Cobra information and payments directly with terminated employee.


                                       Supplemental Insurance Benefits
Policy CRG
At their own expense, employees may enroll in supplemental insurance programs for specific coverage areas.
Insurance plans are available in areas such as dental, vision, supplemental life, catastrophic illnesses, disability, and
cancer. Premiums for these programs can be paid by payroll deduction. Employees should contact the Employee
Benefits/Risk Manager’s Office for more information.

New employees must have paperwork completed and returned within 10 days of hire in order to sign up for
supplemental benefits. Existing employees may make changes to their supplemental benefits for the NEW school
year by August 31. Changes to supplemental insurances sheltered under the IRS Section 125 Cafeteria Plan cannot
be made during the current school year.

Enrollment: Each employee has to be enrolled into the Region 8 TIPS program.
https://www.thebenefitshub.com/Login.cfm

         Go to employee administration, add employee, enter employee information and add. Go back to main
         menu , click lookup employees. Find the new employee, add address, dependent information, and
         benefits, add beneficiary. Every full time employee gets base life insurance that is provided by the district
         add deduction 5750 to each employee. The base life is age banned so all employee do not get the same
         benefit. When adding employee salary be sure to mark no on Omaha Spouse Life Takeover by FDL
         for spouse.

Termination: Employees can elect to take COBRA on some supplemental products. All supplemental insurance
COBRA is handled through the benefits office and Financial Benefits Service, the District’s third party administrator.


                                     Cafeteria plan benefits (Section 125)

Employees may be eligible to participate in the Cafeteria Plan (Section 125) and, under IRS regulations, must either
accept or reject this benefit. This plan enables eligible employees to pay certain insurance premiums on a pretax
basis (i.e., disability, accidental death and dismemberment, cancer and dread disease, dental, and additional term
life insurance). A third-party administrator handles employee claims made on these accounts. New employees
must accept or reject this benefit during their first month of employment. All employees must accept or reject this
benefit on an annual basis and during the specified time period.

                                                   Direct Deposit

Employees can have their paychecks electronically deposited into an account at the financial institution of their
choice. A notification period of one month is necessary to activate this service. With automatic deposit, an
employee’s pay is immediately available on the pay date. Contact the Mount Pleasant ISD Benefits Office for more
information about the automatic payroll deposit service. If the employee has elected the option of direct deposit,
the last check due an employee will be a standard “paper check” and may be picked up at the District’s
Administrative Offices or their campus.
                                      Tax Sheltered Annuity – 403(b)

All investments must be made via Salary Reduction Agreement with the District’s third party administrator, Great
American. Changes in investments (annuities & 403b) need to be submitted on a Salary Reduction Agreement
from Great American and signed by the employee.

Tax-sheltered annuity – 403(b)
This benefit allows employees to reduce their taxes by deferring their salary into a retirement fund.
What is a Tax-Sheltered Annuity? A Tax-Sheltered Annuity is a retirement plan authorized by the Internal Revenue
Service under Section 403(b). Through two types of plans, Section 403(b) allows employees to reduce their salary,
before taxes, by an elected deferral.
What is the difference in the 403(b) Annuity and the 403(b)7 Annuity? The 403(b), a fixed annuity, is available
from insurance companies with some consumer guarantees.
Interest rates are shown at guarantees and current rates. Make sure interest rates (current and guaranteed) and
any bonus and/or additional interest on first-year deposits and annuity payouts are disclosed by the agent or
financial planner. The 403(b)7 can be a variable annuity or a mutual fund. These plans are available from only
insurance companies, brokers, and financial service organizations certified by the Teacher Retirement System
(TRS). How it works: The amount you contribute to a TSA is deducted before taxes from your salary.
The MPISD does not match contributions by employees into a 403(b) plan. The
minimum amount of contribution is usually determined by the investment company. The
maximum contribution is determined by the exclusion allowance formula. This calculation’s limits are governed by
years of service, gross income, prior contributions, etc. Contributions can be increased, decreased, started and/or
stopped any time throughout the calendar year. If a plan is surrendered, a new plan cannot be started until the
next calendar year.
Supplements retirement income: A TSA provides an excellent supplement to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS)
of Texas without changing that plan’s benefits. You may get income from your TSA at any retirement age selected.
You may choose when and how you
Withdrawal Restrictions: You may not withdraw any part of your account balance before employment termination
except for one of these reasons: Attainment of age 59½; death; disability; use of funds to pay medical expenses to
the extent the medical expenses are deductible on your federal income tax return; early retirement at age 55 or
later; use of funds to buy a lifetime payout annuity; divorce settlement; or financial hardship. Withdrawals are
subject to taxation. There could be an annuity surrender charge for early withdrawal. For a withdrawal because of
employment termination before age 55, except for death or disability, or for financial hardship other than major
medical expenses, a 10% federal penalty tax will be charged. want to receive retirement income benefits from
several options.
Immediate tax break, tax-deferred earnings, cash accumulation: TSA contributions are excluded from your
taxable income for an immediate tax reduction. Your TSA accumulates earnings on a tax-deferred basis. Earnings
are not taxed until withdrawn. The accumulated value of your TSA will depend on the amount of contributions,
account earnings, and the period of accumulation.


                                    Workers’ compensation insurance
Policy CRE
The Mount Pleasant ISD, in accordance with state law, provides workers’ compensation benefits to employees who
suffer a work-related illness or are injured on the job. The District has workers’ compensation coverage from a
third-party carrier. Benefits help pay for medical treatment and make up for part of the income lost while
recovering. Specific benefits are prescribed by law depending on the circumstances of each case. All work-related
accidents or injuries should be reported immediately to the employee’s supervisor. Employees who are unable to
work because of a work-related injury will be notified of their rights and responsibilities under the Texas Labor
Code.




Workers’ compensation benefits

An employee absence from duty because of a job-related illness or injury may be eligible for Workers
Compensation weekly income benefits if the absence exceeds seven calendar days. Workers’ Compensation
benefits help pay for medical treatment and make up for part of the income lost while recovering. Specific benefits
are prescribed by law depending on the circumstances of each case.

All work-related accidents or injuries shall be reported immediately to the Employee Benefits/Risk Manager’s
Office. Employees who are unable to work due to a work- related injury will be notified of their rights and
responsibilities under the Texas Labor Code. In the event of a lost time injury, employee’s regular wages from the
District cease at the end of the day of the injury and the employee may elect in writing to:
• use accrued personal leave to offset loss of earnings during the time he/she is absent
because of an injury; but at no time may the injured employee receive more than a full day’s pay for each day
absent. If the employee elects to use accrued sick leave, the sick leave benefits will begin and end as requested by
the employee; or,
• Workers’ Compensation benefits only. Any employee electing to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits only
will not receive compensation benefits (regular wages) during the seven calendar days immediately following an
accident. The amount of Workers Compensations benefits paid to the employee will be deducted from the
employee’s pay check if an election is made to use accrued sick leave.

Once an employee’s Workers’ Compensation claim has been filed and approved, employees shall provide
information to the Employee Benefits Office about pertinent medical services received related to the claim.

District’s Responsibility

The District shall provide to the District’s insurance carrier a report on each:

First Report of Injury

Death

On-the-job injury that results in an employee’s absence from work for more than one day; and occupational
disease
of which the District has received notice of injury or has knowledge. “Knowledge” means receipt of written or
verbal
information regarding diagnosis or diagnosis through examination or testing by a doctor employed by the District.

The report shall contain the information and be in the form, format, and manner prescribed by the TDI, and be filed
no later than the eighth day after the employee’s absence from work for more than one day or upon first
knowledge of absence for more than one day. The District shall maintain a record of the date the report of injury is
filed with the insurance carrier.

Any Workers Compensation accident needs to be filed within 5 days of the accident or the District could be fined.


Copy to Employee
A copy of the report of injury, including a summary of the employee’s rights and responsibilities under the Texas
Labor Code, shall be sent to the injured employee at the time the report is filed with the insurance carrier. The
summary shall be written in plain language in English and Spanish, or in English and any other language common to
the employee, and shall contain the words prescribed by the TDI.

Notice of Modified Duty Program

The District shall, on the written request of the employee, a doctor, the insurance carrier, or the TDI, notify the
employee, the employee’s treating doctor if known to the District, and the insurance carrier of the existence or
absence of opportunities for modified duty or a modified duty return-to-work program available through the
District. If those opportunities or that program exists, the District shall identify the District’s contact person and
provide other information to assist the doctor, the employee, and the insurance carrier to assess modified duty or
return-to-work options.

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:2
posted:10/3/2012
language:Unknown
pages:59