All of your employees must be enrolled in TCDRS. Only temporary employees may be excluded from enrollment.
You, as the employer, identify any “temporary” employees. When determining if an employee is temporary, ask yourself:
- Will I employ that person only for the duration of a specific project?
- Have I hired this person to fill a position until I can hire a non-temporary employee to fill it?
- Is the position seasonal?
- Do employees in the position customarily and consistently leave employment after a short period?
It is a good idea to review the situation periodically. An employee’s status may change. If an employee’s status changes from temporary to permanent, benefits are not retroactive. If you have any questions regarding enrollment of employees, please call your Employer Services Representative at 800-651-3848.
There are no probationary periods for employees participating in TCDRS. If you have a waiting period for health benefits, you must still deduct retirement deposits starting with the employee’s first paycheck.
Special Membership Categories
There are several special membership categories:
District judges and attorneys: Counties may choose whether or not to enroll district judges and prosecuting attorneys.
Probation department employees: These employees should be enrolled in TCDRS within the county designated by the supervising district judge.
AgriLife county extension agents: Extension agents should not be enrolled in TCDRS.
Employees with multiple TCDRS accounts: Employees who work at the same time for two or more TCDRS participating employers (such as court reporters) should be enrolled in each employer’s retirement plan.
Employees covered by another retirement system: Some employees who receive payment from you may be covered for much of their total salary by another public retirement system:
- Employees Retirement System of Texas
- Teacher Retirement System of Texas
- Judicial Retirement System of Texas
- Texas Municipal Retirement System
- City of Austin Employees' Retirement System
Please contact your Employer Services Representative to determine if these employees are eligible to participate with TCDRS based on the compensation you provide them.
An uncorrected enrollment error could cost your organization additional money, so it’s important that you take steps to correct any errors as soon as possible.
An enrollment error is when you did not enroll an employee who is eligible to join TCDRS. When you discover the error, enroll that employee right away and start including them on your payroll report.
Your next step is to bring that employee’s account up to date. To correct an error, an adjustment to your prior payroll report must be submitted to TCDRS online. Helpful instructions provide more details about the process. If you have any questions, please contact Employer Services as 800-651-3848.
Additional Enrollment Help
You calculate an employee’s retirement account deposit based on his or her gross monthly pay, before federal income taxes and other deductions. Do not deduct an employee’s voluntary pay reductions to 457, 401(k) or other deferred compensation plans from his or her gross monthly salary before determining compensation for TCDRS.
This amount should include:
- Sick pay
- Vacation pay
- Travel allowance*
- Car allowance*
- Uniform allowance*
- Value of non-monetary compensation (such as housing)
- Retroactive pay based on an adjustment or judgment
- Regular supplemental payment (scheduled annual bonus or monthly longevity pay)
- Annual or periodic salary supplement from federal, state or local sources (such as state supplement to county judges)
- Any additional taxable income
*Only include these allowances as part of an employee’s compensation if the allowance amount is greater than the employee’s actual expense.
An employee’s compensation should not include:
- Worker’s compensation payments
- Damages awarded along with retroactive pay
To calculate each employee’s TCDRS deposit, multiply the employee’s compensation by your organization’s employee deposit rate. You can find your employee deposit rate when you sign in to the employer website. Just click Our Plan in the View section on the left menu.
Monthly compensation = $1,750
Deposit rate = 7% (0.07)
$1,750 x .07 = $122.50
This employee’s deposit for the month would be $122.50.
Combine all the deposits from your payroll for the month and report that total to TCDRS.
Because TCDRS is a qualified defined benefit plan, the IRS places a limit on the amount of compensation you use to calculate an employee’s deposits into TCDRS. This limit — also called the 401(a)(17) limitation — may change every year. This limit only affects highly compensated employees. The limit for 2020 is $285,000.