HR Bulletin | December 2020
Reporting Time for Winter Break
Texas State will observe the winter break December 21, 2020 through January 1, 2021. Texas State will re-open January 4, 2021. December 21 is designated as an energy conservation (EC) day with a skeleton crew. December 22 through January 1 are designated as paid holidays.
Since comp time may not be granted in advance, you will need to acquire the necessary state comp time or FLSA overtime for the EC day prior to December 21. Supervisors must provide ample opportunity for employees observing the EC day to earn the comp time in advance. If comp time is not available, you must use available vacation or take leave without pay (LWOP).
Employees are required to be on a paid status at least part of the regular workday immediately before a holiday in order to receive holiday pay. Therefore, if you do not have comp time or vacation available for the EC day in December, you will not receive pay for the holidays in December unless you work part of the day on December 21. State law will not allow us to pay for holidays when a person is on a LWOP status the entire day before a holiday.
Some offices have been designated as “essential offices” to remain open with skeleton crews for the EC day. Other offices may be requested by their vice president to remain open as well. To view a list of departments designated as essential offices, visit the Holiday Schedule.
If you will be terminating December 1 – December 17, your last day worked will be your termination date. If your last day worked is December 18, your termination date will be December 31 provided you have state comp time, FLSA overtime or vacation to cover the EC day on December 21. If you work in an essential office and are required to work the EC day, your last day worked is December 21 and your termination date will be December 31.
Questions about timekeeping should first be addressed to your supervisor or departmental time administrator. If you need further assistance contact the HR Benefits team at 5.2557.
Tips from the Training Corner
Have you started working on your new year’s resolutions? Are you, like many others, waiting until the new year or are unsure where to start? Although it may be intimidating or daunting, our team has your back in case one of your resolutions focuses on developing your competencies.
In this issue, we’re highlighting four of the seven Texas State competencies – communication, customer service, professional knowledge and time management – in which we offer training and development opportunities that were also requested by staff.
In this LinkedIn Learning tutorial, you will learn how to communicate more effectively in professional settings.
In this LinkedIn Learning tutorial, you will learn how to communication and understand Generation Z.
In this LinkedIn Learning tutorial, you will learn how to communicate with angry or upset customers.
This webinar will overview unique challenges and considerations in supporting the mental health, well-being, and academic success of first-generation college students. Recommendations and strategies to build a supportive and inclusive environment for first-generation college students will be discussed.
Join the hundreds of staff and faculty that have attended this event. Learn how to move courses into Canvas and build platforms that help our students succeed.
In this LinkedIn Learning tutorial, you will learn how to master your daily to-do list, schedule effectively, and assess your progress. To learn more about how to enhance your competencies, please visit our learning resources website or email OD & Communications.
Remember to use your mid-cycle reviews as an opportunity to identify what competencies and behaviors you would like to improve or develop in the upcoming year.
Do you know of other similar resources that your fellow Bobcats would like? We’d love for you to share it with us! Email ODC with details.
Academic Release & Tuition Support
Paid Class Release Time Opportunity!
Are you thinking about taking academic credit courses this fall? Our team would like to remind you that if you are a full-time benefits-eligible employee and in good academic standing, you can participate in the Academic Release & Tuition Support Program where you can apply to take university credit courses and have certain fees and designated tuition waived. You may also receive paid class release time to attend courses.
How to participate:
If you are interested in participating and will either request paid leave, wish to opt-out of the waiver, or request department funds to help pay for your tuition and fees, you must complete the Academic Release & Tuition Support online form available in SAP, under ESS+. Please note that you do not need to complete this form if you only wish to receive fees and designated tuition waivers. Student Business Services (SBS) will identify eligible employees and apply the waivers after grades post.
Form submission deadline for spring 2021.
All approved forms are due to HR by February 3, the 12th class day of the spring semester.
Where can I find more information?
You can learn more about the program by viewing our new Academic Release & Tuition Support video or by visiting the Academic Release & Tuition Support website. For guidance and instructions on the process and form completion, please review the Employee User Guide and Supervisor User Guide. You may also review UPPS 04.04.35 Professional Development and Educational Opportunities for more details on the requirements and restrictions about this program.
Please contact Organizational Development & Communications at 5.7899 if you have any questions.
HR Essentials for TXST Managers Video Library
The newest HR Essentials website features multiple instructional videos facilitated by subject matter experts that overview key administrative topics, policies, and procedures managers must navigate to better lead their team at Texas State. With a focus on Human Resources policies and procedures, these videos are around 15 - 25 minutes each and offer you the information you need right when you need it. No more waiting for the next course offering; head on over to start learning!
- Accommodating Employees with Disabilities
- Employee Benefits: Your Role As A Manager
- Employee Relations: Understanding Your Resources
Make sure to visit the HR Essentials for TXST Managers Video Library Website to access all 18 videos!
Child Development Center Class Openings!
The Child Development Center has class openings and is currently looking to fill several available spots. Please see age requirements and class information below:
|Classification||Age Range||Number of Available Spots||Monthly Cost*|
|Buttercups & Poppies||2.4 - 3.3 years||6||$815|
|Tiger Lillies & Zinnias||3.4 - 4.3 years||5||$785|
|Marigolds & Bluebonnets||4.4 - 5.3 years||11||$785|
*CCS Tuition Subsidy is accepted for qualifying families.
Classrooms have low teacher-to-child ratios, and teachers undergo weekly COVID testing to ensure the safety of each teacher, child, and family member.
For more information, please contact the Child Development Center at 5.2621.
IRS Announces Contribution Limits
Recently, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2021. The chart below lists some of the increases that may affect your Texas State retirement plans. For the next year, there is no change to the 403(b) or 457 elective deferrals.
If you would like to increase the amount you are currently contributing to your 403(b), make sure to complete a new Voluntary Retirement Savings Plan Authorization form. Agreements received by the 10th of the month will be effective with the next paycheck. To increase your 457, you will need to log in to your TexaSaver account or call TexaSaver directly at (800).634.5091.
415(c) Defined Contribution Annual Dollar Limit
457 elective Deferrals
403(b) Elective Deferrals
Age 50 Catch Up (403(b) & 457)
TexFlex Carryover Limit
Did you participate in TexFlex last year? If so, you can log in to your TexFlex account to view your balances. You have until December 31, 2020 to file any claims from September 1, 2019 – December 31, 2020. On January 1, 2021, if you have more than $500 left from the last plan year, you will forfeit that amount.
The TexFlex Dependent Day Care account does not have a carry-over. The last day to submit claims for day care expenses incurred from September 1, 2019 – November 15, 2020 (2 ½ month grace period) is December 31, 2020.
Create A Gratitude Attitude
By Farooq Deep
WellCats Group Exercise Instructor and Graduate Assistant
Department of Health & Human Performance
Do you know which two words are so powerful they can make you feel happier just by saying them? These two words are: THANK YOU!
Gratitude has been defined as “the willingness to recognize the unearned increments of value in one’s experience”, and “an estimate of gain coupled with the judgment that someone else is responsible for that gain.”
Gratitude is an attitude, or way of thinking, that everyone can learn. Like learning anything new, it takes time and practice. Gratitude changes the way you see the world. How you can develop and maintain gratitude in your life?
Focus on Blessings In Life:
One of the most effective approaches for maximizing one’s happiness is to be regularly grateful for one’s blessings. Rather than focusing on hassles or complaints in life, focusing on the blessings in life will help you with well-being and to have an attitude of gratitude. Focusing on blessings in life and not comparing with others lead to greater optimism with a sense of connectedness to others and less negative energy in life.
Being thankful to people in your life and focusing on the benefits we receive from others leads to feelings of being loved and cared for by others. Gratitude builds friendships and other social bonds. Gratitude, thus, is a form of love, a consequence of an already formed attachment as well as a precipitating condition for the formation of new affectional bonds.
Gratitude facilitates coping with stress and helps you to feel good in the present, increasing the likelihood of functioning optimally and feeling good in the future.
Join us in welcoming our new employee Bobcats!
Employees hired between October 1 - October 31
Andrew Phillips, Grant Specialist |, Center for Archaeological Studies
Annette Campos, Accounting Clerk II, Accounting Office
April Rock, Administrative Assistant III, Department of Respiratory Care
Augustin Cancino, Head Facilities Maintenance Worker, Department of Housing and Residential Life
Bennie Seltzer, Assistant Coach, Men’s Basketball
Bret Rosen, Custodian, Department of Housing and Residential Life
Isabelle Antes, Program Coordinator, Honors College
Johanna Prado-Lazareno, Residence Hall Director, Department of Housing and Residential Life
Jose Molina, Grant Specialist, ALERRT Center
Justin Shimek, Guard, University Police
Katherine Stapp, Grant Specialist, Small Business Development Center
Lauren Dacy, Visual Resources Specialist, School of Art and Design
Kelsie Hart, Grant Specialist, Center for Archaeological Studies
Loyd Brown, Police Officer, University Police
Maritza Salazar Morales, Program Specialist, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Khoi Nguyen, Emerging Technology Supervisor, University Libraries
We remind all new staff employees hired during the past month that N.E.W. is designed to provide useful information to new staff regarding the resources, benefits, and opportunities associated with employment at Texas State University. For more info and to connect with other new bobcats access the official new employee website.
Friday, December 11, 2020
In accordance with CDC guidelines of social distancing, monthly N.E.W. II sessions will be held virtually via Zoom from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Visit our updated N.E.W. II website for more information.
Contact the Office of Human Resources with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5.7899.
Bobcats On The Move
Congratulations to the following employees who were promoted or reclassified. Employees promoted or reclassified between October 1 - October 31
Abigail Miller, Promoted to Sr. Administrative Assistant, The Graduate College
Amy Thaxton, Promoted to Buyer III, Facilities Management
Ana Hicks, Promoted to Technician, Facilities Management
Cynthia Martinez, Promoted to Administrative Budget Specialist, Department of Housing and Residential Life
Elizabeth Longoria-Cardenas, Promoted to Accountant IV, Accounting Office
Jeremy Newberry, Promoted to Steam and Water Works Mechanic II,
Jose Garcia, Promoted to Head Facilities Maintenance Worker, Department of Housing and Residential Life
Laura Shearer, Promoted to Accountant I, Accounting Office
Samuel Brakhage, Promoted to Steam and Water Works Mechanic II,
Velda Escamilla, Promoted to Program Manager, Texas School Safety Center
Zachary Webb, Promoted to Career Advisor, Career Services
Texas State Employee Discount Program
The Texas State University Employee Discount Program is the exclusive discount marketplace for you and your fellow employees. Thank you so much for all your hard work and continued support!
- Sam’s Club | Stock up on winter necessities with 40% off a Sam’s Club membership
- Sennheiser | Need to hear some good cheer? Save up to 50% premium sound quality headphones!
- Samsung | Get 40% off TVs phones, tablets, and more.
- Nationwide | Get pet insurance that covers the cost of holiday-related pet hazards!
December 3 | Student Emergency Services
December 10 | Diversity 101
December 17 | Diversity 102
Texas State Quareterly Team Awards
For just the second time in 25 years, we’re featuring two teams for the Texas State Quarterly Team Award! Please note: both the November and December Employee of the Month Awardees will be featured in the January 2021 HR Bulletin.
Student Health Center Staff
Administrative and clinical staff and the physicians at the Student Health Center have gone above and beyond to ensure that the well-being of the Bobcat community was of paramount importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff implemented Zoom Virtual Visits for patients and ensured staff and patient safety while administering thousands of COVID-19 tests on-site. Because of their persistent and continued efforts in communicating with the campus community about the importance of wearing masks and social distancing, infection rates on campus remained low, allowing students, faculty, and staff to feel a level of safety while studying and working on campus.
Thank you to the Student Health Center staff for developing and communicating plans to protect the Bobcat Family by keeping our community safe and our students advancing toward their educational goals.
Bobcat CARES Emergency Grant Team
The multi-departmental Bobcat CARES Emergency Grant team awarded approximately $15.9 million in emergency grant funds to more than 17,000 who were financially impacted by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds enabled students to complete their spring 2020 semester and ultimately persist with their education into the following summer and fall semesters in many cases.
The team’s work in awarding and disbursing aid to students in need helped reduce attrition and maintain enrollment in the spring semester after the university transitioned to an online education environment. The work of this team resulted in many of the team regularly working weekends, evenings, and into the early mornings to ensure that students in need were assisted as quickly as possible.
Thank you to this team for their selfless and tireless work to ensure our students received much-needed financial aid!