Section 8. Payroll Procedures and Compensation

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8.01 EMPLOYMENT EFFECTIVE DATES AND OTHER PRELIMINARY MATTERS

8.011 The County Auditor establishes procedures for payroll forms and documents. Departments must complete and retain information about the appointment, compensation, and separation of employees. The Texas Payday Act does not apply to Harris County.

8.012 No employment is effective until:

  • the County Budget Officer approves the use of funds;
  • the Department completes and signs the employee compensation form;
  • the County Auditor certifies the availability of funds;
  • the person completes and signs the direct deposit or pay card form (the County does not issue pay checks); and
  • the person begins Active Duty.

8.013 Employees under 18 years old and unmarried when they start work must have their parent or guardian complete the I-9 and sign a parental release and indemnification agreement on County Auditor Form 3399.

8.014 Departments must send a copy of the signed employee compensation form and all other forms required by law or by the Auditor, to the Auditor immediately upon completion.

8.015 The Auditor verifies that the employment conforms to the maximum salary approved by Commissioners Court. The Department Head can set the employee’s salary at any level up to the approved budget maximum for the position.

8.016 If your name, address, telephone number, or emergency contact change, update the information on the employee portal or tell your department payroll person immediately.

8.02 CHANGES IN STATUS

8.021 Position control changes and changes in status (new positions, title changes, rate of pay, hours required, etc.) are prospective only and generally become effective on the first day of a pay period.

8.022 Department Heads must ensure all Temporary and Model Positions do not exceed the maximum allocated hours authorized by Commissioners Court.

8.03 PAY OF ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICIALS

8.031 The County will prorate the pay of elected or appointed officials who vacate their positions prior to the end of their term based on the number of normal business days (Monday-Friday) in that month.

8.04 TIME RECORDS, DEDUCTIONS, AND CORRECTIONS

8.041 You must prepare time records on forms approved by the County Auditor. You must report your time accurately and check your records each pay period to make sure the County processed it (including time, benefits, and incentives) correctly. Report any issues to your payroll clerk. Supervisors review time records for accuracy. Department Heads are responsible for preparing timely and accurate time records and submitting their payroll to the Auditor. The County Auditor or designee may inspect time records at any time and may make payroll deductions for any overpayments.

8.042 Except for certain qualified changes under the County’s Group Health and Related Benefit plan(s) and those required by law, payroll deductions are effective on the date requested by the employee or in the pay period processed by the County Auditor, whichever is later.

8.043 Except for corrections, payrolls are final upon approval by the Department Head. Department Heads must submit changes that may result in an overpayment to a terminated employee immediately. Department Heads submit other changes as a supplemental payroll. Payroll changes or corrections are limited to the 2 preceding pay periods, except as required by law (e.g. Workers’ Compensation) or court order.

8.044 You cannot reclaim vacation hours accrued beyond the maximum or expired floating holiday hours through a supplemental payroll.

8.05 UNEXCUSED ABSENCES AND DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSIONS

8.051 Harris County is accountable to the taxpayers for spending public funds; therefore, our pay system is based on principles of public accountability that prohibit the government from paying employees unless they actually perform work or have Paid Leave available. Thus, even Exempt Employees are subject to deductions for partial-day absences.

8.052 Department Heads may choose whether to allow an employee to substitute Paid Leave for Dock Time.

8.053 Department Heads may suspend employees without pay or terminate their employment for disciplinary purposes, including unexcused absences and excessive absenteeism. Non-Exempt Employees may be suspended for any period of time. Department Heads may only suspend Exempt Employees in accordance with the Salary Basis Rules below. Department Heads with questions about this policy should contact the Harris County Attorney’s Office.

8.06 SALARY BASIS RULES AND SAFE HARBOR PROVISION

8.061 Exempt Employees are treated differently in the public sector than in the private sector with regard to certain salary deductions. Deductions may be made under the following circumstances.

  • a. When an Exempt Employee does not work at all in a workweek;
  • b. When an Exempt Employee begins or ends employment in the middle of a workweek;
  • c. When an Exempt Employee is absent for personal reasons (including illness or injury) and:
    1. has not asked for Paid Leave;
    2. has asked for Paid Leave, but the request was denied;
    3. has exhausted all Paid Leave; or
    4. has chosen not to use Paid Leave;
  • d. When an Exempt Employee is suspended in increments of one full workweek for any reason;
  • e. When an Exempt Employee is suspended for any period of time for violating a safety rule of major significance, including those rules relating to the prevention of serious danger in the workplace or other employees.
  • f. When an Exempt Employee is suspended in full day increments for violating a written workplace conduct rule (other than absenteeism or performance);
  • g. When an Exempt Employee takes Unpaid Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act; and
  • h. When a Department Head orders a furlough for budgetary reasons.

8.062 Harris County prohibits Department Heads from making or authorizing improper deductions from an Exempt Employee’s salary. Be aware of this policy and report any improper deductions to your supervisor or to the Auditor’s Office Payroll Director. We will review it and correct any mistakes. Retaliation against employees who file a report under this section is prohibited.

8.07 DUAL COUNTY EMPLOYMENT

8.071 Generally, an employee cannot work for two departments. If a department wants to hire someone who is already employed by another office or department of the County, the Department Head must first submit a written request to Commissioners Court.

8.08 LONGEVITY PAY

8.081 Department Heads and Regular Position Employees receive Longevity Pay equal to $60 per year for each full year of Creditable Service, subject to a maximum credit of 30 years. State district court judges, masters, and referees do not receive Longevity Pay.

8.082 For purposes of determining Longevity Pay, Creditable Service is calculated on the first day of the fiscal year. Fractional years are not considered. Longevity Pay increases begin with the first paycheck after the beginning of the fiscal year.

8.09 SOCIAL SECURITY

8.091 The County participates in the Social Security and Medicare programs.

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