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ESO Questions & Answers

ESO Questions and Answers



Must I participate in a retirement program?               

State of Texas law requires all non-student employees who are hired for a term of 4 ½ months or longer at 50% Full Time Equivalency or greater to participate in a retirement program.

What percentage of my pay is deducted for retirement and Social Security?

You are required to contribute 6.4% of your gross salary to the Teacher Retirement System (or 6.65% of gross salary if you participate in the Optional Retirement Program).  The Social Security contribution is currently 6.2% of taxable income.  In addition, you contribute 1.45% for Medicare tax.

If I terminate employment, are retirement contributions refunded to me?

You are eligible to receive a refund of all retirement contributions upon termination of employment.  To do this you must complete an application for refund in the Benefits Office.

Can I change ORP and/or TDA vendors once I enroll?

Yes. Under State of Texas regulations, you may change vendors twice per year.

How long may I cover dependents on insurance?

ERS currently permits dependents to be covered under the group insurance up to age 25 provided the dependent is single.  Coverage automatically terminates the end of the month during which the dependent turns age 25.  Effective with the FY 12 plan year dependents may be covered to age 26.

How do I get a group insurance membership card?

When an employee first becomes covered under the medical or dental plan, an ID card is sent shortly after the start date of the coverage.  Employees can request additional or replacement ID cards simply by calling the insurance company.

How often may I change my primary care physician?

There are no restrictions on changing primary care physicians.  You can change as often as needed.  Also, a different primary care physician may be selected for each covered family member.

Is there a form to apply for Family and Medical Leave?

The Department of Labor Physician Certification form and UHD Application for Family and Medical leave (FMLA) must be submitted to the Benefits Office to apply for leave.  In addition, if you are applying for military caregiver leave available through the FMLA you must submit the Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Service member or Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave.

Who is eligible to receive sick leave hours from the Sick Leave Pool?

Employees who are benefits-eligible and accrue sick leave on a monthly basis are eligible to apply for leave hours from the sick leave pool.  However, the state regulations stipulate that an employee must have work 1240 hours during the 12 months immediately preceeding the proposed start date for sick leave pool.  This is the equivalent to 60% FTE.  Therefore, a benefits eligible employee whose FTE is less than .60 may not meet the hours worked requirement to be eligible for sick leave pool.

What happens to my accrued vacation and sick leave if I terminate my employment?

If you have been employed with the State of Texas for six continuous months either during the current period of employment or during a previous period, you will be paid for your accrued vacation.  If you do not have six months of continuous employment, you lose your accrued vacation.  Sick leave is not payable under any circumstances when employment terminates.

What do I do if I am injured at work?

Report an injury at work immediately to your supervisor so that an On-the-Job Injury Report can be completed and submitted to the Benefits Office.  Also, notify the campus safety office so that an investigation may be conducted in order to correct any underlying conditions that may have caused the accident.  Also, if necessary seek medical attention.



Who is eligible to receive overtime pay?

At UHD non-exempt or hourly paid employees are eligible to receive overtime pay.

What are the requirements to receive overtime pay?

In accordance with the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an eligible employee must physically work forty (40) hours in a workweek before being eligible for overtime pay at time and one-half their regular rate of pay.  If the employee has accumulated 40 hours  in a workweek as a result of hours worked, vacation, sick leave, holiday, or other paid leave, and then works extra hours, that employee is entitled to be compensated for the extra hours.  However, the compensation is at the regular pay rate.  Also, an employer can elect to give an employee compensatory time off at  1.5 in lieu of overtime pay.

How do I correct time I incorrectly reported?

In order to correct time that has been reported incorrectly you must submit a correcting timesheet approved by your supervisor.  Biweekly employees should make a copy of the original timesheet and write “Corrected timesheet” on top, make the corrections, and then give to their supervisor for approval.  Monthly paid employees report exception time on-line.  They should open the timesheet for the month to be corrected, make the changes to leave hours reported and submit through the on-line approval process.

Can my payroll check be deposited into more than one account?

Yes.  You must have one primary account and may have up to three additional accounts.  You must request a specific dollar amount for the additional accounts and then the remaining balance is deposited into your primary account.

What must I do if I have to close my account?

The University of Houston System requires the direct deposit of all paychecks.  If you have to close your account, you should immediately open a new account for payroll direct deposit.  If you are unable to open a new account, then you will need to sign up to have your payroll check deposited into a pay card through Bank of America.  You cannot cancel your primary account in PASS.  You will need to come to the Payroll Office to change your direct deposit to the new account or to the pay card and cancel the old account.

Is there a limit on the amount of compensatory time that I can accrue?

Non-exempt employees may accumulate an overtime credit of up to 240 straight time hours of FLSA overtime (160 overtime hours converted to straight time).  Non-exempt employees of the Police Department who are engaged in public safety or emergency response, may accumulate up to 480 hours of FLSA overtime credit.

Who is eligible to receive longevity or hazardous duty pay?

All regular full-time non-faculty employees who have a minimum of two years of service with the State of Texas are entitled to longevity pay at a rate of $20.00 for every two years of service up to and including 40 years of service. Longevity pay commences the month following the second year of service anniversary date unless the anniversary date is the first day of the month. If the anniversary date occurs on the first day of the month, then longevity pay commences that month. State service refers to all employment for the State of Texas, including temporary, part-time, student employment, and legislative service. Not included is employment at a public school district or junior college.
Police Department personnel, who are in positions that are considered hazardous, will receive hazardous duty pay, in lieu of longevity pay. The amount of an employee’s hazardous duty pay is based on the number of months served in a hazardous duty position, which is also known as “lifetime service credit.”  The amount of a full-time employee’s hazardous duty pay for a particular month is $10 for each 12-month period of lifetime service credit accrued by the employee.

How does the pay card work?

The pay card is used for direct deposit of payroll checks.  A pay account is established for you at Bank of America and funds from your payroll check are deposited into the account.  The pay card works similar to a bank debit card.  You are issued a card from Bank of America that allows you to make withdrawals for up to $200 at any ATM.  You are charged a fee for each withdrawal.

Am I exempt from Social Security taxes since I am a student?

Being a full-time student does not necessarily exempt you from Social Security taxes.  If you are employed part-time then you are entitled to an exemption.  If you work “ 40 or more” hours during a workweek you are required to pay taxes.  Also, the exemption only applies to pay periods when you are actively attending classes.  During class breaks such as spring break and Christmas break when you are not in class, you will have Social Security deducted from your check. 


Is the University of Houston-Downtown currently hiring?

Yes, the University of Houston-Downtown is currently accepting applications.  Simply visit our website at and review the many opportunities we have available.

How do I check the status of my application?

In order to check the status of your application, simply login to your account at  The system will provide you with an update.

I don’t remember my username and password.  How do I get this information?

There are two ways to get your username/password.  You can visit our jobs website at, click on the “I forgot My Username/Password” link and follow the easy steps or you can contact the Employment Office at 713-222-8060 and a member of the Employment team will be glad to reset your password.

The job posting requires that I submit my transcripts and letters of references.  Who do I send this information to?

Each job posting will list in the “Notes to Applicants” section the contact person to send documents that cannot be attached to the posting.

How do I get service credit for previous State of Texas service?

You should complete a Verification of Prior State Service form in the Employment Office.  Upon written confirmation of previous State of Texas service, your service date for benefits will be adjusted to include the other state of Texas service.

I’m having trouble uploading my documents what should I do?

There can be several reasons causing you to have trouble. The best option is to come to our office (One Main St. Houston, Texas 77002 Suite 910-S) so that we can upload the documents for you.

Can I apply for a staff position within UH-D even if I’m currently a student UH-D?

Yes you can.

What do I need to do to get Hiring Manager Access?

Go to our Employment Website; scroll down and click on the Manager’s Portal Link. Now click on the CREATE USER ACCOUNT tab on the top left hand corner. Fill out the application with your information and click on continue. Employment will receive your request and process it accordingly.

How do I check a positing that is pending my approval when I log into people Admin as a hiring manger?

Click VIEW PENDING on the top left hand corner of the screen and you will see the pending posting.

I cannot find a specific applicant in my applicant pool, what should I do?

Contact the Employment Office.

If I haven’t worked at UHD for 1 year do I need to submit a new background check and new employment paperwork?

A new background check as well as new employment paperwork must be completed, if there has been a break in service with UHD for 1 year or more.



How do I register for ESO training?

Registration for ESO and other department training is completed in PASS. Click here to log into PASS and register for classes.

How do I know what ESO sponsored training is available?

A list of upcoming ESO training opportunities may be found at the on the ESO website  and the University Public Events Calendar. Training announcements are also made in the Skyline e-news, a publication produced by the Division on Public Affairs, which is emailed to employees on a daily basis.

Do I have to register in advance for training?

Registration is highly recommended to assure enough training materials are available and that the class is not canceled due to low enrollment.

Do I get a confirmation of my training request?

      If registering through PASS, employees receive an automatic confirmation of registration.

What if I have to cancel my registration?

Cancellations for training should be completed through the PASS.

Who can attend training offered by ESO?

Faculty and staff are eligible to attend ESO sponsored training. Classes are offered at no cost. Occasionally, programs are open to student workers. Staff members must have the consent of their supervisor to attend programs.

How do I find out about other training offered to faculty and staff?

Training sponsored by departments other than ESO may be found on the University Public Events Calendar and are also announced in the Skyline e-news which is emailed to employees on a daily basis.

What if I have a particular training need for myself or my department?

Call or email Linda Biddle at x-8264 or at for guidance or requests for specialized training.

What is the College Release Program?

The College Release Program provides non-probationary full-time, benefits-eligible staff up to three (3) hours per week release time from normal duties to take credit-bearing courses toward a degree plan at an accredited institution of higher learning. Details of the College Release Program may be found in the Employee Training and Development Policy.

Can I get reimbursed for my classes?

The Staff Education Reimbursement program is an educational benefit that reimburses tuition and course-related fees to full-time, benefits-eligible staff attending credit-bearing classes through an accredited institution of higher learning in the regular semesters (fall or

Who has to attend new employee orientation?

All newly hired benefits-eligible staff members are required to attend new employee orientation.  Faculty Orientation is held at the beginning of the fall semester.

What is mandatory training?

Mandatory training classes are identified by the State of Texas and/or the UH System Board of Regents that require new employees to complete within the first thirty (30) days of employment. The training is also required of all faculty, staff on an annual or a bi-annual basis thereafter. Any employee who fails to complete the required training by the announced deadline will not have met their job expectations and are not eligible for merit increases (SAM 02.A.11 , SAM 02.A.26  and PS 02.B.12). All mandatory training is available online via the UHS Online Training website.

What other departments offer training to faculty and staff?

Information Technology, Applied Business and Technology Center, Business Affairs and Sports and Fitness also offer training to faculty and staff.

Are there any training opportunities available online?

  Two ESO trainings are online: Retirement Manager and Time and Labor. Skillport is also now available. Skillport offers online courses, online books, express guides, mentoring, skill briefs, job aids, and much more.



May I view my personnel records?

All employees are permitted to view their personnel records.  Since all files are electronic, you should schedule an appointment in advance to view your personnel file.

Does anyone have access to my personnel records?

Personnel records are confidential and require written authorization from you to be viewed under the supervision of an ESO staff member.  However, your supervisor(s) have unrestricted access to your file, except for any benefits or medical information.  Certain employees in the ESO department who are responsible for the maintenance of your personnel records have unrestricted access to them.

What information is given if someone contacts ESO to verify my employment?

In responding to an employment verification request, ESO will release your dates of employment, title, and department information.  Salary data may be released for mortgage verifications.

May I add documents to my personnel records that I feel are important?

You may submit documents that you wish be added to your personnel records to ESO.  The Vice President will review the document, consult with General Counsel if necessary, and decide whether or not to add the documents to your records.

Is there a fee to get copies of documents in my file?

Normally there is no charge for copies of documents in your file provided the request is within reason.

How do I update my degree?

You may submit an official transcript to the Records area and your educational level will be updated in the PeopleSoft System.

How can I update my office telephone or room number?

To update your office telephone or room number, submit and email with the requested changes to the Records office.

Campus Relations

Am I entitled to a break?

There is no state or federal law that requires or prohibits the establishment of breaks or meal periods. The State of Texas permits State agencies and institutions of higher education to develop their own policy regarding breaks.  UHD allows all employees a lunch break of up to one hour.  Also, at the discretion of the supervisor, non-exempt employees may be granted a morning and/or afternoon break not to exceed 15 minutes.

Can I take off one week and make the hours up the following week?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determination of hours worked for overtime pay is based on the 40 -hour workweek and not the pay period.  Taking off one week and working extra hours the next week to make up could cross work weeks and result in overtime pay rate for the extra hours.  Hours should not be made up unless they are worked within the same workweek.  

What are the standard work hours for non-exempt staff at UHD?

The State of Texas has established the standard hours for non-exempt staff as Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Can I be denied Family and Medical leave based on my job performance?

Job performance is not an evaluation factor for approval of Family and Medical leave.  If you satisfy the one year employment and 1,240 hours worked in the 12 months immediately prior to the start of the leave, denial can only be based on insufficient or no physician certification of the need for leave, already having exhausted your 12 weeks of FMLA for the year, or your having key employee status with your employer.

Am I allowed leave for jury duty for the full day even if not selected?

The Texas Government Code Section 659.005 allows you to serve on a jury without a deduction in pay and without having to use accrued leave.  If you attend the selection process and are not selected, you have been discharged from jury duty and should report back to work.

Another employee makes comments about the way I dress – what can I do to make him/her stop?

The University of Houston-Downtown is committed to workplace that is free from inappropriate sexual conduct. The Sexual Harassment policy (PS 02.A.1) provides the only internal forum in which to claim, resolve and/or appeal sexual harassment complaints. Sexual misconduct and sexual harassment are unprofessional behaviors and individuals who engage in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action. 

The University encourages informal resolution of grievances or complaints as the most effective solution to problems. Thus, complainant is encouraged to consult with the respondent, a supervisor or the CR/AAO to seek an informal resolution prior to filing a formal complaint. The goal of an informal complaint is to notify the alleged offender of the conduct the complainant alleges is sexually harassing, and to end or otherwise properly address the alleged inappropriate behavior. The purpose of such a complaint is not to determine the validity, or the lack thereof, of a complaint or to establish guilt or innocence, but instead to provide notification and resolution.

My supervisor makes comments about my age and regularly asks me when I plan to retire – is that okay?

The Title IX and Other Discrimination/Harassment Complaints policy (PS 02.B.09) prohibits discrimination/harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

The University encourages informal resolution of grievances or complaints as the most effective solution to problems. Thus, complainant is encouraged to consult with the respondent, a supervisor or the CR/AAO to seek an informal resolution prior to filing a formal complaint. The goal of an informal complaint is to notify the alleged offender of the conduct of which the complainant alleges and to end or otherwise properly address the alleged inappropriate behavior. The purpose of such a complaint is to not determine the validity, or the lack thereof, of a complaint or to establish guilt or innocence, but instead to provide notification and resolution.

What is a hostile work environment?

A hostile work environment occurs when unwelcome comments or conduct based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Anyone in the workplace might commit this type of harassment – a manager, co-worker, or even a non-employee, such as a contractor, vendor or guest. The victim can be anyone affected by the conduct, not just the individual at whom the offensive conduct is directed.

Can my supervisor take disciplinary action against me for filing a complaint of harassment/discrimination?

No, this can be a form of retaliation.  Retaliation is a punitive action taken against an employee based on that person’s good faith participation in a protected activity. A protected activity under this includes, but is not limited to: the filing, or believed filing of an internal discrimination/harassment complaint; the filing, or believed filing of an external complaint under state and/or federal nondiscrimination/harassment statutes; the assisting of a person who has filed an internal or external complaint pursuant to this policy; the participation in, and/or with, the investigative or resolution process regarding a discrimination/harassment complaint filed with the CR/AAO or regarding external complaints filed under state and/or federal nondiscrimination/harassment statutes; serving on a Title IX or Sexual Harassment Hearing Panel or protesting practices alleged to violate nondiscrimination/ harassment policies, regulations or statutes.



Where can I find a copy of my current job description?

All UHD staff job descriptions are posted on the ESO web site.

If my job description is not accurate, what should I do?

You should review the job description with your supervisor and together make the necessary corrections.  The supervisor will then submit the revised job description to Compensation for review and to update the web.


Management Systems

I've forgotten my User ID for PASS. Where can I find it?

The User ID for UHD employees is your employee identification number. You can locate your ID number on your timesheet. If you cannot locate your ID number, please contact Payroll at 713-221-8060.

I've forgotten my password for PASS. How can I retrieve it?

From a web browser, navigate to Click on the link Forgot My Password to proceed to the next page. You will now begin the process of obtaining a new password. Enter your User ID in the box (if you do not know your User ID, please follow the instructions on the previous question) and then click on the Continue button. On the next page, you'll be asked to enter your date of birth (DOB) in MMDDYYYY format (example: enter 09012008 if your DOB is September 1, 2008). After entering your DOB, click on Email New Password. The system will autogenerate a new password and email it to your primary email account (for current UHD employees, it will be your email account; for former employees, it will be your personal email account such as gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc.). After receiving the email with your autogenerated password, navigate back to the PASS web page. Proceed to enter your User ID and new password into their respective boxes and click the Sign In button.

How do I change my PASS password?

From a web browser, navigate to Sign in to your PASS account with your User ID and password. Click on the P.A.S.S. Site link. On the next web page, there will now be a navigation menu on the left. Click on the Change My Password link. You will now be taken to a web page where you can change your password. Begin by entering your current password (if you recently requested a new autogenerated password from PASS, please enter it in this field). On the next two fields, enter your desired password followed by the Change Password button. Your new password must follow these criterias:

I've forgotten my login credentials for eAppraisal. How do I retrieve them?

eAppraisal utilizes the exact same login credentials for your Windows NT account (the credentials you use to log into your computer). If you have forgotten your login credentials, you must contact the Information Technology help desk to retrieve them at 713-221-3000.

From a web browser, navigate to Click on the Login link from the left hand navigation pane. On the next web page, click on I Forgot My Username/Password link.



Work Life

What does Work/Life mean?

The simplest definition of Work/Life is having a balance between your work and home life. As the separation between work and home life has diminished, this concept has become more relevant than ever before.

What are “Work/Life issues”?

Those things that could be considered “work/life” issues vary. However, childcare, elder care, and financial concerns are just a few included in this topic. For other examples, please visit our Work/Life website.


Why is Work/Life balance important to the University of Houston-Downtown?

Employees who are better able to balance both their work and personal lives experience greater job satisfaction. Therefore, an institutional climate that offers programs to assist an employee in finding their work/life balance leads to better recruitment, retention, and productivity. This is important as the University of Houston-Downtown works towards becoming an “Employer of Choice.”

What is flextime and how does it work?

It is an optional work schedule, which must be approved by department managers, in which the employee works the regular number of weekly hours (based on 40 hours) on a time schedule other than the regular 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday hours.
Flextime has been introduced to UHD as an effort to improve productivity and a positive attitude toward work and to assist employees in their work/life balance.


How do I access the University of Houston-Downtown’s Employee Assistance Program?

UTEAP may be accessed by calling 713-500-3327 or 1-800-346-3549. You will be immediately connected to an experienced EAP specialist, which are available 24/7. They are located at 7000 Fannin, Suite 1670, Houston, TX. You may also visit their website at You will need the password “uteap” to enter the website.



Page maintained by ESO

Last updated or reviewed on 6/13/12

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