April 2008

Employee Educational Assistance Program (EEAP)


The EEAP was established to support the development and continued education of TAMIU employees and will reimburse a full-time, benefits-eligible employee for tuition and fees for educational courses taken at TAMIU. TAMIU employees are eligible subject to the conditions listed on the application. Reimbursement is on a first-come, first-served basis, is provided at the end of the semester after grades have been verified, and subject to available funding.

Thirty-six applications have already been received for the 2008 Spring Semester.  And, take a look at the number of employees that the EEAP reimbursed for tuition and fees in 2007:

20 employees in the 2007 Spring Semester

13 employees in the 2007 Summer Sessions

17 employees in the 2007 Fall Semester

TAMIU supports your educational goals so do not hesitate to take advantage of the benefits available to you from the Employee Educational Assistance Program!  For more information about EEAP application rules and deadlines, contact the HR Office via email or at ext. 2365.


PayFlex Meetings For Employees on April 8th!

All employees are encouraged to attend a meeting!  A representative from PayFlex, the carrier for our flexible spending accounts (FSA's), will be on campus to meet with employees and review upcoming plan options and benefits for the new fiscal year.  Whether you are currently enrolled or are thinking of enrolling, the representative will be able to answer specific questions you might have about FSA's.

As you may know, FSA's are voluntary and allow you to pay certain health and dependent daycare expenses with "before-tax" dollars.

Four meetings will be held on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 in WHTC 116 at the following times:

9:00 am

10:30 am

2:00 pm

3:30 pm

No registration is necessary, so please attend the meeting that is most convenient for you!  If you have any questions regarding these meetings, contact Gracy Buentello at ext. 2363.


What Are Tax-Deferred Accounts (TDA) and Deferred Compensation Plans (DCP)?

All TAMIU employees are eligible to enroll in a Tax-Deferred Account (TDA) and/or a Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) at any time during the year.

These plans are often referred to as tax-deferred retirement savings plans because you contribute part of your monthly salary before you pay federal income tax. You can also enroll in a Roth TDA, which allows you to contribute after taxes and pay no taxes on your earnings when you begin receiving your retirement funds. Enrollment in these plans enables you to take advantage of the tax laws to increase your retirement savings.

When you enroll in either a TDA or DCP, you will need to select an investment vendor. A list of TDA vendors is available in the HR Office and online. A list of DCP vendors can be found online also. It recommended that you talk to a number of vendors and carefully review their investment options, charges, and past investment performance before making a choice. You should also consider the type of investment and the level of risk you are willing to assume.

You may contribute as little as $25 per month to a TDA and $20 per month to a DCP. The maximum contribution is determined by the IRS. These limits are available online.

If you have questions regarding your retirement plan, contact Gracy Buentello, HR Manager, at ext. 2363 or Jessica Palacios, Associate Director of HR, at ext. 2362.


Welcome, New Employees!!
  Erika R. Benavides, Executive Secretary WHTC 203 ext. 2480
  COBA (Dean's Office)    
  Patricia Cardona, Staff Assistant SC 118 ext. 2700
  Special Programs    
  Maria E. Cortez Martinez, Student Records Specialist KL 157F ext. 2216
  Financial Aid    
  Martin Longoria, Instructor (Military Science) SC 128 ext. 3011
  Ricardo Vasquez, Groundskeeper H 200 ext. 2325
  Physical Plant    
  Nico J. Wiersema , Director of the ILI PH 302E ext. 2727
  International Language Institute (ILI)    

  Lorena P. Acosta    
  FROM: Student Records Assistant, University Registrar KL 168 ext. 2253
  TO: Student Records Specialist, University Registrar    
  Claudio E. Arias H 207 ext. 2893
  FROM: Coach (Men's Soccer), Athletics Department    
  TO: Coach (Men's Soccer) & Director of Soccer Facilities, Athletics Department    
  Liliana Delgado    
  FROM: User Services Coordinator, OIT KL 257 ext. 2310
  TO: Instructional Technology Coordinator, OIT    
  Gabriela T. Gamez H 200 ext. 2194
  FROM: Staff Assistant, COBA (Dean's Office)    
  TO: Staff Assistant, Physical Plant (Safety / Risk Management)    
  Raymundo Garcia, Jr. KL 005 ext. 2100
  FROM: Police Officer, UPD    
  TO: Police Lieutenant, UPD    
  Sandra B. Garica KL 326A ext. 3022
  FROM: Data and Information Specialist, GSR    
  TO: Graduate Admissions Counselor, GSR    
  Virginia A. Morales KL 326 ext. 3020
  FROM: Executive Secretary to GSR, GSR    
  TO: Executive Secretary, GSR    
  Martha S. Trevino SC 234 ext. 2703
  FROM: Academic Coordinator, Special Programs (CAMP)    
  TO: Program Manager, Special Programs (HSEP)    
  Gloria T. Villalon SC 118 ext. 3063
  FROM: Staff Assistant, President's Office    
  TO: Staff Assistant, Special Programs (GEAR-UP III)    

  Pam A. Bowden, Assistant Coach (Women's Basketball)    
  Athletics Department    
  Tristan C.Brown, Instructor (Military Science)    
  Lisa A. Bruni, Accounting Assistant (Cashier)    
  Business Office (Comptroller)    
  Melissa Gomeztagle, Staff Accountant    
  Athletics Department    
  Robin L. Hill, Staff Assistant    
  Alex R. Martinez, Lab Assistant    
  Killam Library (Computer Lab)    
  Juan M. Martinez, Instructor (Military Science)    
  Leonor Lopez, Staff Assistant    
  Graduate Studies and Research    
  Erika C. Pena, Resident Director    
  RLC & University Village    

System Policies/Regulations & TAMIU Rules are Online!

As an employee of The Texas A&M University System, your employment is governed by the A&M System Policies & Regulations as well as the Texas A&M International University Rules. These policies should be referred to for guidance on issues related to your employment.

The System Policies/Regulations & TAMIU Rules are available online for your reference. You can access them from the HR website. The System Policies/Regulations site even offers a search feature to help you quickly find the item you are looking for.

If you have questions concerning the System Policies/Regulations and/or TAMIU Rules, please contact HR at ext. 2365.




TAMIU's Early Return to Work Program

TAMIU's Early Return to Work Program is designed to help employees who have suffered serious injuries/illnesses ease themselves back into work. This program returns such employees to their pre-injury/illness jobs or to different temporary jobs as soon as they are physically able. The program was originally developed by the Human Resource Department at Texas A&M University in College Station and is now offered System-wide.

TAMIU values its workforce and the daily contributions they make towards the success of the University. For employees who have been away from their jobs due to injuries/illnesses, the Early Return to Work Program will help them remain active and productive, earn full or partial wages, retain their insurance benefits, and receive support from co-workers and friends.

If you have any questions regarding the Early Return to Work Program, please contact Xochitl Kladis at 2364.


Unraveling the Mysteries of Overtime

The deadline for an important project is approaching, so you work a bit late one night. Does that mean you get compensated with extra time off (compensatory time)? It depends. Whether you are compensated depends on your job and how you are compensated is determined by state and federal law.

Under federal law, each job must be designated as "exempt" or "non-exempt" from federal overtime. Only those jobs designated as "non-exempt" are eligible for the 2 types of compensatory time, Overtime Compensatory Time (OCT) and Straight Compensatory Time (SCT). Your supervisor, the HR Office, or the latest Pay Plan can tell you if your position is "exempt" or "non-exempt."

OVERTIME COMPENSATORY TIME (OCT): Only jobs classified as "non-exempt" are eligible for OCT. OCT is release time (time off) that is earned from hours that are physically worked over 40 in a workweek. (For TAMIU, a workweek is Thursday through the following Wednesday.) As required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), those excess hours physically worked over 40 must be calculated at time and a half (multiplied by 1.5). EXAMPLE: If you physically work 44 hours in a workweek, 4 hours are the excess over 40 and are calculated at time and a half (4 X 1.5 = 6). So, you accrue 6 hours of OCT.

In some cases, however, if you work more than 8 hours in one day, your supervisor may require you to work fewer hours another day in the same workweek in order to avoid the accumulation of OCT.

Employees may accumulate up to 240 hours of OCT, however, those in a public safety, emergency response, or seasonal job may accumulate up to 480 hours.

You keep your rights to your accumulated OCT until you use the time or are paid for it. When you leave employment, you will be paid for any remaining OCT, or, with your supervisor's approval, you may remain on the payroll to use it up.

STRAIGHT COMPENSATORY TIME (SCT): In some cases, "non-exempt" employees may be eligible for SCT. If the number of hours physically worked in a workweek are 40 or less, but the combined worked time and time off (i.e., vacation, sick leave, holiday, etc.) in the workweek total more than 40, you will receive SCT for the hours that exceeded 40 in that workweek. Furthermore, those SCT hours are not calculated at time and a half (in other words, for each hour of time in excess of 40, you will receive exactly one hour of SCT). EXAMPLE: If you physically work only 36 hours and are off for 8 hours of sick leave in a work week, so that the combined worked time and time off total 44, then the excess over 40 are 4 hours. These 4 hours are accrued as SCT.

State law prohibits payment for SCT upon end of employment. However, under A&M System policy, you may remain on the payroll to use up your SCT.

USING OCT AND SCT: A "non-exempt" employee must always have permission from his/her supervisor before working overtime. And as is the case with all other requests for time off, an employee must have the supervisor's permission before using any accrued OCT and/or SCT.

If you should have any questions or need more information about OCT and/or SCT, please contact Xochitl Kladis by e-mail or at ext. 2364.


Check Out the HR Website!

The TAMIU HR website contains helpful information that employees can use everyday! Take a look at what's conveniently available to you online at our site. Bookmark the site and visit us often!

  • Single Sign On (gives you access to HRConnect, LeaveTraq, and Time Traq)
  • Benefits (latest news on health plans, retirement issues, legislation affecting your benefits, etc.)
  • HR Newsletters
  • Forms (the most frequently-used HR forms available online)
  • Employee Directory
  • Training (info about TAMIU Enrichment Day and other planned staff development programs)
  • Employment (link to TAMIUWorks and useful resources for hiring supervisors)
  • Leave
  • System Policies/Regulations and TAMIU Rules
  • Holiday Schedule
  • Pay Plan

Notify HR Immediately of Separations of Employment

Immediately upon first knowledge of a separation of employment, please notify the HR Office. Appropriate forms must be generated without delay in order to best facilitate the exiting employee's clearance process (insurance, leave, timesheet, keys, ID, etc.) Call us at ext. 2365 if you have questions regarding separations of employment.

If the separation is from student employment, immediately contact the Office of Financial Aid at ext. 2165.


Employees Must Obtain Approval to Engage in External Employment and Consulting

System Regulation 31.05.02 - External Employment states that if a System employee plans to engage in outside/external employment in addition to working in his/her primary University position, the employee must obtain approval for such employment using the “External Employment and Consulting Application and Approval Form.” This form is available online from the HR website under FORMS. Approvals must be obtained from supervisor(s) and the appropriate VP, then the form must be routed to the HR Office for proper filing. Please note that a new form must be submitted at the beginning of each fiscal year.

The regulation mentioned above also governs all external employment by faculty members that is not directly related to their professional discipline. (NOTE: Faculty engaged in consulting is covered by System Regulation 31.05.01 - Faculty Consulting, External Employment and Conflicts of Interest).

If you have any questions regarding outside/external employment, please contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.




TAMIU Employment Opportunities

For a listing of current TAMIU job vacancies, including full text vacancy announcements, visit TAMIUWorks. TAMIUWorks allows you to view job vacancies as well as apply for them online.

For employment assistance, contact Angie Garcia, HR Employment Assistant, at employment@tamiu.edu or ext. 2360. The HR Employment Office is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.


Getting to Know U!

FACT: Dr. Debbie Snell, Director of Athletics, joined TAMIU on May 3, 2007 with experience as a student-athlete, coach, and athletics administrator. Dr. Snell is an Arkansas native and played college basketball for the University of Arkansas.  She holds 3 degrees from the University of Arkansas:  Bachelor's in Physical Education, Master's in Kinesiology, and Doctorate in Higher Education Management.

Dr. Snell and her husband, John, are parents of two sons (Kyle, Dillon) and a daughter (Calandra).  Recently, Dr. Snell became the proud grandparent of a beautiful baby girl named Ema Presley Gibson.



TAMIU, we want to get to know you! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself, and we will feature it along with a photo in this section of the newsletter. Submit your information to Xochitl Kladis via email or at ext. 2364.

Who is This?  

The first person to email the HR Office and correctly identify this TAMIU employee by name and title will win a prize!


The Answer Corner
The following are frequently-asked questions received in the HR Office. To ask us questions, use the "Ask HR" button on this newsletter.
Who was the baby in the "Who is This?" section of the last issue of "HR News & Views"?

That was Jacqueline Benavides Data & Information Specialist in TCBEED. TAMIU employees who wish to submit their picture for the "Who is This?" section may contact the HR Office via email or at ext. 2365.
Q: I am international employee and my visa status is going to change. Is there anything I need to do with the Office of Human Resources?

If your visa status changes or is to change, you need to notify the Office of Human Resources immediately to update your personnel file and to review your tax withholding, as a change in visa status may affect your tax withholding rate. If you have any questions related to international employees, you may contact Araceli Elizondo at ext. 2367.

That Extra (S)Mile!
This section describes the deeds of TAMIU employees who have been observed going the "extra mile" for our University.

The Office of Financial Aid held its annual "We'll Show You the Money!" Financial Aid Fair on March 6, 2008.  The sports-themed fair was a great success with approximately 2,000 attendees (local high school and current TAMIU students).

The Office of Financial Aid would like to thank the Division of Student Success, as well as the other participating University departments for all the support in coordinating this big event.  Volunteers from the offices of Student Success, Admissions, University Registrar, Recruitment & School Relations, Payroll, OIT, and Receiving were present throughout the day to ensure all students enjoyed their visit to the TAMIU campus.

Also, a special thanks goes out to the University departments that hosted a TAMIU booth at the fair.  COAS and COBA were present all day to speak to potential students, the Housing Office was there to showcase opportunities for living on-campus, and International Programs shared important information with all the visitors.

And, finally, thank you to the Physical Plant Department for going above and beyond with the multiple arrangements needed to pull off an event this size.  Specifically, we would like to recognize Gene Ruiz, Andy Barrientos, and Albert Lopez for going the extra mile!

Once again, our fair was a grand accomplishment, and we are extremely grateful to all of you!

If you know of any employee performing in such a way that deserves mention in this column, send their name and details of their deeds to the HR Office via email.

Phone: 956.326.2365
Fax: 956.326.2359
Location: Killam Library 320