Benefits

Salaries, wages, and stipends

Employees are paid in accordance with administrative guidelines and a pay structure established for each position. The District's pay plans are reviewed by the administration each year and adjusted as needed. All District positions are classified as exempt or nonexempt according to federal law. Professional and administrative employees are generally classified as exempt and are paid monthly salaries. They are not entitled to overtime compensation. Other employees are generally classified as nonexempt and are paid based on hourly wages or provided compensatory time for each overtime hour worked. (See Overtime, next page)

Salaries and wages are reviewed on an annual basis and adjusted according to the budgeted amounts approved by the Board. All employees will receive written notice of their pay and work schedules before the start of each school year. Classroom teachers and librarians will be paid no less than the minimum state salary schedule. Contract employees who perform extracurricular or supplemental duties may be paid a stipend in addition to their salary according to the District's extra-duty pay schedule.

Employees should contact the Personnel Office for more information about the District's pay schedules or their own pay. The District pay schedules are listed in Appendix A-5 through A-9.

Paychecks

Employees are paid twice monthly. During the school year, paychecks are delivered to each campus. Paychecks will not be released to any person other than the District employee named on the check without the employee's written authorization. During summer breaks, paychecks will be mailed to the last address on file or may be picked up at Central Office.

An employee's payroll statement contains detailed information including deductions, withholding information, and the amount of leave accumulated.

Automatic payroll deposit

The District offers employees automatic payroll deposit. Employees can have their paychecks electronically deposited into an account at one of the District's approved banks, credit unions, etc. A notification period of 30 days is necessary to activate this service. With automatic deposit, an employee's pay is immediately available on the pay date. Contact the Payroll Office for more information about the availability and requirements for automatic payroll deposit service.

Payroll deductions

Automatic payroll deductions for the Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and federal income tax are required for all full-time employees. Medicare tax deductions are required for all employees hired after March 31, 1986. Temporary and part-time employees who are not eligible for TRS membership must have their Social Security contributions deducted.

Some other payroll deductions that employees may choose to utilize include deductions for the employee's share of premiums for health, dental, life, and vision insurance; annuities; and savings deposits and loan payments through one of the District's approved agencies. Employees also may request payroll deduction for payment of membership dues to professional organizations. Salary deductions are automatically made for unauthorized or unpaid leave.

Overtime compensation

The District compensates overtime for nonexempt employees in accordance with federal wage and hour laws. All employees are classified as exempt or nonexempt for purposes of overtime compensation. Professional and administrative employees are ineligible for overtime compensation. Only nonexempt employees (hourly employees and paraprofessional employees) are entitled to overtime compensation. Nonexempt employees are not authorized to work beyond their normal work schedule without advance approval from their supervisor.

Overtime is legally defined as all hours worked in excess of 40 hours weekly and is not measured by the day or by the employee's regular work schedule. Employees who must work beyond their normal schedule but less than 40 hours per week will be compensated in straight-time pay or compensatory time off. Employees must work more than 40 total hours in a week to earn overtime compensation.

For the purpose of calculating overtime, a workweek begins at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and ends at midnight (12:00 p.m.) on Saturday. Employees may be compensated for overtime with compensatory time off or direct pay at time-and-a-half rates. The following applies to all nonexempt employees:

  • Employees can accumulate up to 60 hours of compensatory time.
  • Compensatory time earned must be used according to a schedule that is mutually agreeable to the employee and supervisor.

    Weekly time sheets will be maintained on all nonexempt employees for the purpose of wage and salary administration.

    Travel expense reimbursement

    Before any travel expenses are incurred by an employee, the employee's supervisor and superintendent must give approval. For approved travel, employees will be reimbursed for mileage and other travel expenditures according to the current rate schedule authorized by the Board of Trustees and the Internal Revenue Service. Employees must submit receipts to be reimbursed for expenses other than mileage. Individuals who are authorized to travel on school business must submit a "Request for Trip Advance/Refund" to the principal at least ten days prior to the trip. (See Appendix A-10). Failure to complete this could cause the individual to bear the financial costs related to the travel. Within three days of the completion of the trip, the "Request for Trip Advance" form must be completed, receipts attached, and any money left over must be turned in. In order to use the District's vehicles for travel, you must make arrangements with your principal, and complete the vehicle requisition form to insure the availability of the vehicle you would like to use. Vehicle requests* must be submitted at least ten days in advance.

    *Note: In the event of the availability of a school vehicle, a personal vehicle will not be approved for mileage reimbursement.

    Health, dental, and life insurance

    Group health insurance coverage is available to employees who are considered full-time by working 20 or more hours per week. The District's contribution to employee insurance premiums is determined annually by the Board of Trustees. Detailed descriptions of insurance coverage, prices, and eligibility requirements are provided to all employees in a separate handout called "Explanation of Benefits."

    The insurance plan year is from September 1 through August 31. New employees must complete enrollment forms within the first 10 days of employment. Current employees can make changes in their insurance coverage by contacting the Personnel Office.

    Supplemental insurance benefits

    At their own expense, employees may enroll in supplemental insurance programs for life, dental, vision, disability, and cancer. Premiums for these programs can be paid by payroll deduction. Employees should contact the Human Resource Coordinator for more information.

    Cafeteria plan benefits

    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 during the specified time period.

    Workers' compensation insurance

    The District, in accordance with state law, provides workers' compensation benefits to employees who suffer a work-related illness or are injured on the job. 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 Central Office - Human Resources. 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.

    Unemployment compensation insurance

    Employees who have been laid off or terminated through no fault of their own may be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits under the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act. Employees are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits during regularly scheduled breaks in the school year or the summer months if they have employment contracts or reasonable assurance of returning to service. Employees with questions about unemployment benefits should contact the business manager.

    Teacher retirement

    All personnel employed on a regular basis for at least one-half of the normal work schedule are members of the Texas Teacher Retirement System (TRS). Substitutes not receiving TRS service retirement benefits who work at least 90 days a year are also eligible for TRS membership and to purchase a year of creditable service. TRS provides members with an annual statement of their account showing all deposits and the total account balance for the year ending August 31, as well as an estimate of their retirement benefits.

    Employees who plan to retire under TRS should notify the Personnel Office as soon as possible. Information on the application procedures for TRS benefits is available at the Central Office. Additional inquiries should be addressed to: Teacher Retirement System of Texas, 1000 Red River Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2698, or call 800-223-8778 or 512-397-6400. TRS information is also available on the Web (www.trs.state.tx.us).

    Other benefit programs

    The Tornillo Independent School District also provides additional benefits including:
  • Free Admission Passes to Home Athletic Events with employee ID badge
  • Tuition-free attendance for children of nonresident employees
  • Tax Sheltered Annuities under Section 403(b)