Frequently Asked Questions
This page is provided as a quick reference for questions most frequently asked by our employees. Click on a topic to view the questions and the answers.
When is the Annual Enrollment period?
What are the different types of "Changes in Status" and how do they impact my benefits?
Federal regulations define situations called Changes in Status that allow employees and retirees to change their Flexible Spending Accounts contributions or health, dental, vision or AD&D coverage during a plan year within 60 days of the Change in Status. Changes in Status are:
- Employee’s marriage, divorce or death of employee’s spouse
- Birth, adoption or death of a dependent child
- Child becoming ineligible for coverage due to reaching age 25 or marrying
- Change in employee’s, spouse’s or dependent child’s employment status that affects eligibility for coverage
- Change in employee’s, spouse’s or dependent child’s residence that affects eligibility for coverage
- Employee’s receipt of a qualified medical child support order or letter from the Attorney General ordering the employee to provide (or allowing the employee to drop) medical coverage for a child
- Changes made by a spouse or a dependent child during his/her employer’s annual enrollment period
- The employee, spouse or dependent child becoming eligible or ineligible for Medicare or Medicaid
- Significant employer-initiated or carrier-initiated changes in or cancellation of the employee’s, spouse’s or dependent child’s coverage
- Change in day care cost due to a change in provider, change in provider’s fees (if the provider is not a relative) or change in number of hours the child needs care (for Dependent Day Care Spending Accounts)
A court order against the spouse of an A&M System employee does not constitute a Change in Status. Also, a change in income, which may affect coverage affordability, does not constitute a Change in Status.
How do I report a "Change in Status" and what is the deadline?
I need to change by beneficiaries. What do I do?
If you participate in the Teacher Retirement System, complete the TRS 15 form or contact TRS at (800) 223-8778 to request this form. If you participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP), Tax Deferred Annuity Program or Deferred Compensation Plan, notify your vendor(s) of your new beneficiary.
How do I change my name on my records?
You will need to apply for and obtain a new Social Security card reflecting your new name and provide a copy of the card to your departmental employment processor. Upon receipt of the appropriate paperwork from your department, your Human Resources office will update your personnel and payroll records. If you want to add or drop dependent(s), complete a Dependent Enrollment Form/Certification.
Can I add my grandchild to my insurance coverage?
What forms do I need to complete and how can I continue my insurance coverage if my employment is ending?
I am under the care of a periodontist and have my teeth cleaned twice a year at the periodontist’s office and twice a year at my regular dentist’s office. Will the plan cover all of my cleanings?
How do I find a Delta Network or Premier dentist in my area?
How do I find a DeltaCare USA dentist in my area?
What is the difference between Basic Life/Basic AD&D, Alternate Basic Life and Optional Life?
If my doctor submits evidence that I must have a drug not on the formulary list for medical reasons, can I get the nonformulary drug by paying the formulary copayment?
What is a formulary list?
The formulary is a list of preferred brand-name drugs that have been compared and evaluated with other brands and provide maximum quality and value. Many therapeutic categories (for example, ulcer medications) have two or more brand-name drugs that are used for the same purpose.
To maximize your savings, you should present the list to your physician each time you are to receive a prescription and, when possible, ask your physician to consider the use of generically equivalent alternatives. You are not required to use the drugs on this list, and they are not the only drugs covered by the plan.
How will I know if my prescription will be filled with a brand-name or a generic medication?
What are the key phone numbers for BlueCross BlueShield of Texas?
Precertification: (800) 441-9188
Mental health precertification: (800) 528-7264
BlueCard (for network physician information outside Texas): (800) 810-BLUE
Both precertification numbers can be dialed directly or accessed by calling member services. Member services representatives will be available from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
What online services/information is available?
The HRConnect online information system is located at sso.tamus.edu. You will need to enter your Universal Identification Number UIN) and a password. If you do not already have a password or do not remember your password, follow the instructions on the login page. HRConnect provides personal, employment, benefits and payroll information on you. It also has a searchable database to help you find answers to your questions on human resource programs. The utilities function can help you calculate your TRS and/or Social Security benefits, how your net pay will change if you contribute to (or increase your contribution to) a Tax-Deferred Account and how much you need to be saving to meet your retirement goals.
More information is also available online. Check the System Benefits website at tamus.edu/benefits for information on benefits and retirement or the System Human resources website tamus.edu/offices/hr/ for information on holidays and employment opportunities.
I need to change my address and other personal data. What do I do?
You can update or correct your residence and/or mailing address and phone number in HRConnect, or you may contact your Human Resources office for the appropriate form. To change or correct your personal data, such as employment address/phone number, e-mail address, gender, marital status, education level, EEO minority code, disabled/handicapped indicator, veteran status and privacy flag, you may submit your changes through HRConnect or complete an Employee Personal Data Form.If you participate in the Teacher Retirement System, complete the TRS 358 Change of Address form or contact TRS at (800) 223-8778 to request this form. If you participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP), Tax Deferred Annuity Program, or Deferred Compensation Plan, notify your vendor(s) of your new address.
Compensation, Position Descriptions, and Job Postings
What username and password do I use to log-in to Tarleton Connection?
How do I update to my job duties that are listed on my job description?
Please contact your immediate supervisor and discuss the changes with him/her. If the changes are needed, your supervisor will then begin a new action in Tarleton Connection as an update ONLY, which will then be approved by Human Resources to make the changes permanent.
What does "Reclassification" mean?
Reclassification is a change from one job position/title to another that typically results in an increase in pay.
Reclassification usually occurs as a result of one of the following:
- A vacant position exists that a supervisor wants to change to a different position to better meet the needs of the department.
- An employee in a current position has mastered all job elements to the point where they now meet the requirements of an existing higher level position.
- An employee in a current position has mastered all job elements to the point where they should meet the requirements of a higher level position, but none currently exist within the University's classification plan.
How do I get my position reclassified?
Employee-Discuss your need to have your position reclassified with your supervisor. Have a list of all of your current duties available to discuss with your supervisor.
Supervisor-You will need to show that the position warrants the need to be reclassified and not just the fact that the employee does more than required. It could be that additional duties are going to be required of the position or that an employee who is currently holding the position has mastered that level of the job. If it is to reclass a current employee a job evaluation will also need to be prepared to accompany the reclass action.
If I am non-exempt how is my salary grade determined?
Your salary grade is determined by comparing the market value for similar external positions to yours and then comparing your position to the pay of other jobs in the organization that require the same level of knowledge, skills and abilities.
How do employees document their leave request?
What happens to an employee’s accrued vacation leave if it exceeds the employees maximum annual carry forward amount at the end of the fiscal year?
When I retire, how will I be compensated for the annual leave (vacation leave) I have not used?
Are eligible employees who terminate state employment, but remain on the payroll to exhaust vacation entitlement or accrued state or FLSA compensatory time entitled to payment of longevity?
What is the vacation and sick leave accrual rate for 75- or 50-percent budgeted employees?
For example, a 50%-effort leave-eligible employee with less than two years of state service will earn 4 hours of vacation and 4 hours of sick leave per month.
What absences qualify for Sick Leave use?
You may use sick leave for the following reasons:
- Your Condition – when injury, illness, or pregnancy prevents you from performing your duty
- Care for Your Immediate Family
- Who lives in your household
- Eligible: related by kinship, adoption, or marriage
- Who do NOT live in your household
- Eligible: employee’s child, spouse, parent; must have a documented medical condition
- Who lives in your household
When must I provide documentation associated with my sick leave?
You must account for your use of sick leave in the following instances:
- Absences of three continuous working days or less
- Family member not residing in your household: Must provide an explanation of the immediate family member’s relationship and need for care and assistance that results from a documented medical condition.
- Absences in excess of three continuous working days
- Your Condition: Medical documentation required indicating estimated date of recovery and cause of illness or some other written statement of the facts concerning the illness that is acceptable to the CEO or his/her designee
- Care for Immediate Family
- Must specify if leave is for family member
- Eligible family members residing and not residing in your household: Must provide a physician’s statement that indicates the cause or nature of the illness and estimated recovery date, or other written statement of the facts concerning the illness that is acceptable.
What happens to my sick leave when I retire?
Employees who retire may not have their previous sick leave balances restored in the event they re-employ with another state agency. Employees planning to retire have three options regarding sick leave upon retirement:
- Donate any or all remaining sick leave to the sick leave pool.
- Apply any or all remaining sick leave toward retirement service credit.
- Lose any remaining sick leave upon retirement.
An employee may use any or all of these options; however, upon retirement, the employee’s sick leave balance will be zero.
How often can I change my contribution amount to my Tax-Deferred Account (TDA)?
How often can I change Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or TDA vendors?
Am I permitted to transfer my account to a vendor that is not on the approved ORP or TDA list?
Do I have to transfer my existing ORP or TDA account in order to change vendors?
What is the difference between a “Roth” TDA and a traditional TDA?
With a traditional TDA, your contribution is deducted from your pay before federal income tax is calculated, so you do not pay current income tax on your contributions. Likewise, you do not pay current income tax on the investment earnings on your TDA savings. When you make withdrawals from your TDA account upon retirement, you will pay federal income tax on the withdrawals.
With a Roth TDA, your contribution is deducted from your pay after federal income tax is calculated, so you pay current income tax on your contributions. You do not pay income tax on your investment earnings now or in the future. When you make withdrawals from your Roth TDA account upon retirement, you will not pay federal income tax on the withdrawals.
Are loans or hardship withdrawals allowed from an ORP account?
Are loans or hardship withdrawals allowed from a TDA account?
Am I permitted to take a distribution from my ORP account while employed with the A&M System?
Am I permitted to take a distribution from my TDA account while employed with the A&M System?
How much am I permitted to contribute to a TDA account?
How much am I permitted to contribute to the Texa$aver 457 Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) account?
Can I contribute to the TDA and the Texa$aver DCP at the same time?
Can I contribute to both a traditional TDA and a Roth TDA?
Student Worker and Graduate Assistant Employment
Where can I find a Student Worker?
How do I hire a Graduate Assistant?
What paperwork do I submit to hire a GA or Student Worker?
New hire packets for Student Workers and Graduate Assistants can be found on the Human Resources’ website under employment packets at: http://www.tarleton.edu/hr/manager/index.html
Do I have to submit a PBA to terminate my GA even though I put a stop date on the PBA?
Can a GA be employed as a Student Worker also?
What paperwork do I need to submit if I am hiring a GA that is currently or has been a Student Worker?
Do I need to submit a new I-9 Employment Verification form for each employee?
How do I hire a Work Study Student?
Training and Development
Are student workers and graduate assistants required to complete the assigned on-line training?
How do I access the required training courses?
First, you must log-in to Single Sign On (https://sso.tamus.edu), then click on TrainTraq. When TrainTraq opens your assigned training should be listed and you will click on "Start" to launch the course.
The following link web page provides links to more detailed instructions for logging in to Single Sign On and navigating through TrainTraq:
Where can I find a listing of upcoming training classes?
How do I make training assignments for new requirements, such as new training mandated by legislation or regulation?
How do I request a training course be offered?
When are performance evaluations required?
Performance evaluations are required at least annually for budgeted faculty and staff positions. Normally, the annual evaluation period will start near the beginning of March and end near the middle of May. The exact dates may vary depending on specific requirements for the evaluation.
New staff employees are required to have a performance evaluation completed within the first six months of employment.
Existing employees who have been promoted are required to have an evaluation completed within the first 90 days of the promotion.
The supervisor has the option of performing an evaluation more frequently, especially if it is in conjunction with a performance improvement need.
Student workers must be evaluated before a pay raise can be submitted. Periodic evaluation of a long term student worker is recommended as part of that workers development.
How do I initiate a self appraisal?
Self appraisals for faculty and staff are initiated in Tarleton Connection. Instructions for initiating the self appraisal are located on the Performance Management web page in the Human Resources web site.
What are my actions as a supervisor for performance evaluations?
As a supervisor, you have on-going actions associated with performance management, such as setting goals, communicating expectations, and providing periodic feedback on performance.
The performance evaluation is the formal culmination of all of those actions and instructions are provided on the Performance Management web page in the Human Resources web site.
Can I view previous year's evaluations?
What is Workers' Compensation Insurance?
What is a compassable injury?
What is course and scope?
Are there any exceptions to what may be covered by Worker's Compensation?
You may have the right to receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for your injury with a few certain exceptions, such as:
- You were intoxicated at the time of the injury
- You injured yourself on purpose or while trying to injure someone else
- You were injured by another person for personal reasons
- You were injured by an act of God
- Your injury occurred during horseplay
- Your injury occurred while voluntarily participating in an off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity
If I am injured on the job and need to seek emergency medical attention (ER), will I have to use my paid leave to seek such attention?
What is the employer required to provide to the employee?
Upon hire a Notice of Coverage is given to all employees to sign.
When an injury occurs the injured employee will receive a Copy of employee's rights and responsibilities along with a copy of the first report of injury via mail to the last known address of the employee.
A Notice of the Ombudsman Program is posted for employees to review along with a notice regarding certain work-related communicable diseases on the employer's premises.
What should the injured employee provide to the employer?
The injured employee is responsible for informing his/her employer and Insurance Carrier about any changes regarding the following items:
- Changes in home address or phone number
- Changes in work address or telephone number
- Changes in salary, such as income increase or decrease, or change in employer
What is a Bona Fide letter of employment?
It is a letter that is put into place when employee is returned to work at light duty status. It should be signed and dated before employee returns to work.
What makes a Bona Fide offer valid?
- Offer must be in writing
- Offer must include copy of Work Status Report the offer is based upon
- Location where the employee will be working
- Schedule the employee will be working
- Wages the employee will be paid
- Description of the physical and time requirements of the position
- Statement that the employer will only assign tasks consistent with the employees physical abilities, knowledge and skill, and will provide training if necessary