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(Effective Date November 1, 2013)
1. ISSUING AGENCY: The Human Resources Department.
2. SCOPE: These rules have general applicability to all prospective and current employees, classified and unclassified, including but not limited to interns, volunteers, and seasonal employees.
3. STATUTORY AUTHORITY: City of Albuquerque, New Mexico Code of Ordinances, Ch. 3 art. I, Merit System; Personnel Policy and art. II, Labor-Management Relations Ordinance.
4. DURATION: Until revoked.
5. EFFECTIVE DATE: November 1, 2013.
6. OBJECTIVE: To encourage employees to further their education for their personal career success and for the benefit of the City.
7. RESPONSIBILITY FOR ADMINISTRATION: Director of Human Resources Department.
A. Central New Mexico Community College is commonly abbreviated as CNM as was formerly known as Technical Vocational Institute or TVI.
B. Chief Administrative Officer shall mean the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Albuquerque or designee.
C. City means the City of Albuquerque, a municipal corporation.
D. Department Director means the director of a referenced City department; references include that person’s designee.
E. General Education Development Test is commonly abbreviated herein as GED.
F. Human Resources Department means the City of Albuquerque Department of Human Resources; Human Resources is commonly abbreviated HR.
G. Human Resources Director means the director of the Department of Human Resources; references include that person’s designee.
H. Learning Council is an advisory council to the Director of Human Resources on all employee development matters, including establishing policy criteria of eligibility and financial awards under the Tuition Assistance Program. The Learning Council recommends to the Chief Administrative Officer approval or disapproval of all requests for tuition assistance.
I. Non-probationary employee means an employee of the City of Albuquerque who has successfully completed the prescribed probationary period of his employment.
J. North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools means a membership organization, consisting of colleges, universities, and schools that provides accreditation of educational institutions
K. Public Service University is the division of the Department of Human Resources responsible for training and employee development; abbreviated herein as PSU.
L. Tuition Assistance Program means a program within the City that provides, subject to the availability of funds, reimbursement of certain approved educational expenses subject to the terms and conditions of the Personnel Rules and Regulations and Tuition Assistance Guidelines.
M. Unclassified employee means a City employee who is at-will and serves at the discretion of the Chief Administrative Officer, except for unclassified City Council staff. Unclassified employees have no property interest in continued employment and may be terminated for any or no reason. Unclassified employees shall be entitled to all of the rights and benefits to which classified employees are entitled except for the rights of disciplinary actions, the grievance resolution procedure, appeals and layoffs.
N. The University of New Mexico is commonly abbreviated as UNM.
9. CAREER COUNSELING AND GUIDANCE: Career counseling and guidance is available to employees to encourage and assist them in planning their education, career goals and occupational advancement as they relate to the employee and to the City. Employees seeking career counseling may contact the Human Resources Department, Public Service University (PSU).
10. EDUCATIONAL LEAVE AND TUITION ASSISTANCE:
A. Employees are encouraged to pursue their career interests in City government through education and training. The City, subject to the availability of funding, may provide financial assistance or paid or unpaid leave to attend courses and other approved training programs.
B. Educational Leave and Tuition Assistance Program are available to classified non-probationary employees, unclassified employees with a minimum of six (6) months of service and classified part-time employees working twenty (20) hours or more per work week, to provide the opportunity to the employee to pursue his career interest in City government through education and training. The City may provide employees with financial assistance or paid or unpaid leave to attend courses and other approved training programs. Consideration for funding is based on the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) regular semester cycle.
11. CONDITIONS FOR TUITION ASSISTANCE:
A. If a course or program is not a requirement of the City, an employee may apply for financial assistance through the City's Tuition Assistance Program.
B. In order to qualify for assistance through the City’s Tuition Assistance Program, employees must meet the following criteria:
(1) Courses must be for credit, with the exception of the GED exam at CNM;
(2) The courses, training program or the type of degree being pursued must enhance or create a skill that is related to the employee's profession, skill or craft or career goals, and must demonstrate a benefit to the City;
(3) Employees receiving assistance from other sources will inform the City of the amount of this assistance when application is made with the Tuition Assistance Program. Tuition Assistance may only be available up to the amount of actual educational costs of up to six (6) credit hours for undergraduate courses, or up to three (3) credit hours for graduate courses, less any other assistance received by the employee;
(4) Under the Tuition Assistance Program, the employee assumes responsibility for course selection, scheduling and other matters that are traditionally the responsibility of the student and the educational institution;
(5) Employees requesting tuition assistance for the first time must complete a tuition assistance orientation session with PSU prior to approval of the employee’s first application.
(6) If the demand for tuition assistance exceeds the availability of funds, awards will be granted to employees in the following priority order:
(a) Undergraduate courses, vocational courses, and the GED exam at CNM;
(b) Graduate courses;
(c) A second Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree.
(d) The Learning Council may grant one-time exceptions to this priority order during each semester funding cycle.
C. If an employee is not awarded tuition assistance through the City's Tuition Assistance Program, the employee’s department may provide financial assistance to the employee up to the amount originally requested on the Tuition Assistance application. In order to qualify for assistance through the department, the employee must have an application for assistance on file with PSU.
12. CONDITIONS OF EDUCATIONAL LEAVE: Department directors shall approve or disapprove leave for education and training as provided in detail in the Human Resources Personnel Rules and Regulations, Part 4.
A. The following criteria will be used to determine if an employee qualifies for educational leave:
(1) The employee must be working for the City of Albuquerque on a full-time basis;
(2) The courses are of benefit to the City as determined by the Learning Council;
(3) The employee has maintained a satisfactory academic record during any previous period of tuition assistance and continues to maintain a satisfactory academic record during the semester when the educational leave is exercised;
(4) The employee has maintained satisfactory job performance within the previous 365 days of employment and continues to maintain a satisfactory job performance during the semester when the educational leave is exercised;
(5) The course is not available outside the employee’s normal work schedule; and
(6) The educational institution offering the course must be regionally recognized and certified as an accredited public institution of higher learning by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools or a regional equivalent. The institution must have a physical campus within the state unless the program of study is not offered by any regionally accredited institution within the state.
B. If the department director determines a course or seminar is needed for the employee's current position, the employee will receive leave with pay to attend and such time will be recorded as Work Off-Site.
C. If an employee is enrolled in a course approved by the Learning Council and meets all established criteria, the department director, may grant educational leave not to exceed three (3) hours per week.
13. APPROVED PROGRAMS OF STUDY:
A. Courses, for which either educational leave or tuition assistance or both which are to be taken by eligible City employees, shall be of mutual benefit to the employee and the City, as determined by the Learning Council.
B. The educational institution offering the course must be regionally recognized and certified as an accredited public institution of higher learning by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools or a regional equivalent. The institution must have a physical campus within the state unless the program of study is not offered by any regionally accredited institution within the state.
14. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TUITION ASSISTANCE:
A. The employee is solely responsible for payment of all tuition and related expenses. Reimbursement will be made for the cost of approved courses only. Proper documentation of such payment will be necessary in order to receive reimbursement.
B. Employees must agree to reimburse the City for any course(s) dropped or not completed. Employees must further agree to reimburse the City if they do not attain a satisfactory grade for a completed course(s), as follows:
(1) Undergraduate C or better
(2) Graduate B or better
(3) Vocational Training C or better or Certificate of Satisfactory Completion
C. Employees are required to submit original official documentation to verify their grades to the PSU Division.
D. Reimbursement will not be made for application fees (except for CNM non-degree students), late registration fees, test requirements (except for the GED exam at CNM), parking or transportation expenses, fines, laboratory fees, lodging, typing fees, graduation fees, supplies, tools, equipment, books (except for CNM non-degree students), auditing of courses, noncredit courses, seminar or workshops, and other similar expenses.
15. LEARNING COUNCIL (TRAINING AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE): From time to time, the Human Resources Director will recommend individual employees to the Chief Administrative Officer for approval to serve on the Learning Council. The Learning Council is an advisory council to the Director of Human Resources on all employee development matters, including establishing policy criteria of eligibility and financial awards under the Tuition Assistance Program. The Learning Council will confer with the Director of Human Resources on his recommendations to the Chief Administrative Officer approval or disapproval of all requests for tuition assistance.
16. TRAINING FOR NEWLY APPOINTED SUPERVISORS: Department directors must register all first-time City supervisors for the New Supervisor Development Program within 30 days of the employee assuming the supervisory position. The new supervisor must satisfactorily complete the program within twelve (12) months of assuming the position.
17. TRAINING CREDIT: Employees may accumulate a maximum of two (2) years of training credit or two (2) years of work experience that can be used in qualifying for specific positions through completion of nonacademic courses. Nonacademic courses include both those courses or seminars that the City sponsors or employees take on their own. In applying for training credit, the accumulated credit must be applicable to the position in question. Upon application by the employee, the Director of Human Resources shall make the final decision regarding the grant of credit.
18. SUPERVISORY SERVICE CREDIT: Eligible employees may receive two (2) years of supervisory service credit by successfully completing the City of Albuquerque Pre-Management Development Program. This credit will be recognized as two (2) years of valid supervisory experience when applying for a City position. Upon application by the employee, the Director of Human Resources shall make the final decision regarding the grant of credit.