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You are here: Home . rules . 2003 . 0128b-059
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Subchapter AA. Employee Training

28 TAC §§1.2702 and 1.2703

The Texas Department of Insurance proposes amendments to §§1.2702 and 1.2703 relating to training for employees of the department. The proposed amendments are necessary to update Subchapter AA to reflect the department´s policies and procedures regarding training offered to department employees. Subchapter AA was adopted to codify department policies and procedures regarding employee training. Section 656.048 of the Government Code requires state agencies to adopt rules relating to the eligibility of employees for training and education supported by the agency and the obligations assumed by the employees on receiving the training and education.

The proposed amendments are also necessary to address certain recently enacted statutory provisions regarding employee training. State agencies are required by Senate Bill 1, Article IX, §9.14 of the 77 th Legislature to use Internet-based training for state-mandated human resources training and other training programs if Internet-based training is available and appropriate. Therefore, the proposed amendments to §1.2702 address the department´s use of Internet-based training when it is available and appropriate for its employees. The proposed amendments to §1.2702 clarify which training courses are eligible for tuition reimbursement or education leave. The proposed amendments to §1.2702 also address the possible tax implications to employees of education assistance paid by the department. In addition, the proposed amendments to §1.2702 set forth the general obligations of employees upon completion of training, under which the employee may be required to conduct training on the information or skills learned as a result of attending the training program. Several non-substantive clarifying amendments are also being proposed to §1.2702.

The proposed amendments to §1.2703 clarify that all employees serve the department as at-will employees regardless of any participation in the employee training program.

Albert Betts, chief of staff, has determined that for each year of the first five years the sections are in effect, there will be no fiscal impact on state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the sections. Mr. Betts also has determined that there will be no effect on local employment or the local economy.

Mr. Betts has determined that for each year of the first five years the sections are in effect the public benefit derived from enforcement and administration of the sections will be a department workforce which is effectively prepared for technological and legal developments; the provision of necessary services; and an increase in the proficiency of the department to deliver the level of regulatory services expected of it under Texas law. Mr. Betts also has determined that no compliance cost results from the proposal of these sections, including no adverse impact on small businesses or on micro-businesses because the proposed rules apply only to the department.

To be considered, comments on the proposal must be submitted in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 14, 2003 to Gene C. Jarmon, General Counsel and Chief Clerk, P.O. Box 149104, MC 113-2A, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. An additional copy of the comment should be simultaneously submitted to Cynthia Villarreal-Reyna, Section Chief, Agency Counsel Section, Legal and Compliance, P.O. Box 149104, MC 110-1A, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. A request for public hearing on the proposed sections should be submitted separately to the Office of the Chief Clerk.

The amendments are proposed under the Insurance Code §36.001 and the Government Code §656.048. The Insurance Code §36.001 authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules for the conduct and execution of the duties and functions of the department as authorized by statute. The Government Code §656.048 provides for the adoption of rules by state agencies relating to training and education of agency employees.

The proposed amendments affect operational procedures pursuant to the following statutes: Government Code §§656.041 through 656.105 and §660.147. and Labor Code §21.010

§1.2702. Employee Training Program.

(a) Components of program. The employee training program for the department consists of agency-sponsored training, seminars and conferences, Internet-based training, and tuition reimbursement, as set out and described in subsections (b) ­ (e)[ (d)] of this section.

(b) Agency-sponsored training. A program of in-house training for agency employees is provided. This in-house training program includes new employee orientation.

(1) (No change.)

(2) Quarterly Training Calendar and Catalog. A quarterly training calendar lists course offerings. A training catalog contains course descriptions of all available courses. [ An employee wishing to register for in-house training courses should contact the training liaison for the employee's division.] The employee's supervisor must approve all requests for in-house training.

(3) ­ (5) (No change.)

(c) (No change.)

(d) Tuition reimbursement. The department may reimburse full-time regular employees for tuition and required fees or may grant education leave in lieu of tuition reimbursement if the criteria set out in paragraphs (1) ­ (5) of this subsection are met.

(1) Eligibility. Eligibility requirements for tuition reimbursement must be satisfied as set out in subparagraphs (A) ­ (J)[ (I)] of this paragraph.

(A) ­ (D) (No change.)

(E) The course work must be related to a current or prospective duty assignment within the agency. A prospective duty assignment may include a position within the agency to which the employee aspires. The associate commissioner -- or highest level manager who reports directly to the commissioner, if not an associate commissioner -- in the employee's chain of command will determine whether a course relates to a current or prospective duty assignment in the employee's division. The Human Resources Division will [ work with an employee´s division to] determine whether a course relates to a current or prospective duty assignment within the agency.

(F) ­ (H) (No change.)

(I) Incomplete courses are not eligible for tuition reimbursement or education leave.

(J) The employee must receive a passing grade and/or receive college credit hours in the course. A passing grade is a grade which will entitle the employee to receive credit for the course from the educational institution offering the course.

(2) Reimbursable costs. Criteria addressing the extent to which cost of tuition may be reimbursed are set out in subparagraphs (A) ­ (F)[ (E)] of this paragraph.

(A) (No change.)

(B) Employees may be reimbursed only for the cost of tuition and related fees at an educational institution.

(C) ­ (E) (No change.)

(F) Employees will not be reimbursed for any federal income taxes incurred because of education assistance paid by the department.

(3) Education leave in lieu of tuition reimbursement. Criteria for taking education leave in lieu of tuition reimbursement are set out in subparagraphs (A) - (F) of this paragraph.

(A) (No change.)

(B) Before requesting education leave, employees must [ should] fully consider and explore education options that would not involve education leave. For example, employees must register [ should consider registering] for classes scheduled before or after work, or during the lunch hour when courses are available at those times. Employees may also request a flex-time or compressed work week schedule that would allow for class attendance without the use of education leave. Such a work schedule must not disrupt or adversely affect performance by the employee or the employee's division, section, program or activity.

(C) ­ (F) (No change.)

(4) Procedure. Specific procedural steps required to complete the tuition reimbursement process are set out in subparagraphs (A) - (G) of this paragraph.

(A) ­ (B) (No change.)

(C) To receive reimbursement for tuition, within two weeks after receipt of the final grade in a course for which reimbursement has been approved, the employee must submit a purchase request, a copy of the final grade report, and an itemized tuition receipt to the associate commissioner -- or highest level manager who reports directly to the commissioner, if not an associate commissioner -- in the employee´s chain of command. Upon approval of the purchase request, the employee must send a copy of the approved purchase request to the Human Resources Division. The department will not reimburse tuition if an employee separates from employment with the department before submitting the final grade report for any courses for which tuition reimbursement was granted.

(D) ­ (G) (No change.)

(5) Use of equipment. Employees may not use department equipment, such as computers, calculators, or typewriters to complete course work for which tuition reimbursement or education leave has been granted.

(e) Internet-based Training. The department shall use Internet-based training for state-mandated human resources training and other training programs if Internet-based training is available and appropriate. The department may establish procedures for employees to use Internet-based training.

(f) Employee obligations upon completion of training. Upon completion of a training program, an employee´s manager may require that the employee assume certain additional obligations, including, but not limited to, the obligations set out in paragraphs (1) ­ (4) of this subsection.

(1) An employee may be required to discuss information obtained at the training with other department employees.

(2) An employee may be required to share materials obtained from training with other department employees, to the extent such sharing does not violate copyright law.

(3) An employee may be required to assume additional job duties for which the training prepared the employee.

(4) An employee may be required to conduct training for other department employees concerning the information or skills taught at the training program.

§1.2703. No Effect on At-will Status.

Approval to participate in a training program, including agency sponsored training, seminars or conferences, Internet-based training or the tuition reimbursement program shall not in any way affect an employee´s at-will status.

(1) (No change.)

(2) Employment status unaffected. Approval to participate in a training program, including agency sponsored training, seminars or conferences , Internet-based training or the tuition reimbursement program, shall not in any way constitute a guarantee or indication of continued employment, nor shall it constitute a guarantee or indication of future employment in a current or prospective position.

(3) Effect of agreement under Texas Government Code §656.103. An agreement in accordance with Texas Government Code §656.103 shall not in any way constitute a guarantee or indication of continued employment, nor shall it constitute a guarantee or indication of future employment in a current or prospective position.



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