Continuing Education Policy & Guidelines

Funding Criteria:

TSCPL provides funding for specialized training, specialized meetings, and conferences when the following criteria are met:

  1. Funds are available in a given year’s budget.
  2. The event is directly related to an employee’s current job.
  3. The employee meets the eligibility requirements.
  4. The request fills one of the following purposes.
    • The Library has asked the employee to attend due to his or her current job assignment or project responsibilities.
    • The Library approved a staff member to serve on a committee of a professional organization for a defined period of time.
    • The Library approved a staff member’s request to attend for development purposes.

Eligibility:

Full time staff, who have completed their first year of employment, and have earned a satisfactory designation on their last evaluation are eligible to apply for funding to attend conferences or specialized training that relate to their current job. Part-time staff will generally not be funded unless the Library asks them to attend a special conference. The Library will fund attendance commitments that new employees have made prior to their employment with TSCPL only if it was specifically agreed to as a condition of acceptance of the job offer.

Funding Priorities:

The number of conferences, specialized training, or specialized meetings funded annually, as well as which conferences and development opportunities are priorities, will vary from year to year according the Library’s budget and goals. The Library does not have the resources to send the same staff to attend more than one annual professional conference per year (For example, no ALA and PLA conferences in the same year). No ALA Mid-Winter meetings will be funded unless an employee serves on a committee.

Funding Definition:

  • Registration paid at the “early bird” and member rate. Employees are encouraged to apply for conference scholarships. TSCPL’s Finance Office will finish the registration process with the employee’s completed registration form, Continuing Education Application, and payment for uncovered fees, special events, or tours. Do not register yourself or you may become personally responsible for all registration fees. Finance will send an e-mail to the employee as notification of approval/non-approval. The employee informs their supervisor/manager of approval/non-approval. If the employee is not a member of the organization sponsoring the event, the employee pays the difference between the member and non-member registration amount. One professional membership per year will be paid by the Library for level 8 or above job classifications with their supervisor’s authorization. If the membership is not with the organization sponsoring the event, the employee pays the difference between the member and non-member registration amount.
  • Transportation expenses by air, train, or car up to the amount of the most cost effective and/or efficient method. For instance, air transportation to an east coast conference would be most efficient, so vehicle mileage greater than the best round trip airfare rate would not be paid. TSCPL will book flights for employees at times of day which allow for the best possible rates. Do not make non-refundable travel arrangements or you may become personally responsible for the expenses incurred. Car mileage is reimbursed following a trip.
  • Hotel room and taxes at one of the event’s participating hotels or a similar alternative. Employees are encouraged to seek and reserve lodging at one of the least expensive alternatives first and to share rooms with another employee or a person from another organization if possible. If an employee wants to share a room with a non-participant, the employee will include payment with the Continuing Education Application for the difference in cost. TSCPL will issue a check to the hotel and the payment will be hand carried by one of the participants. Non-business long distance phone charges are the responsibility of the employee placing the call.
  • Meals and incidentals paid to employees prior to an event that involves at least one overnight stay. The per diem will be based on the General Services Administration Office (GSA) Continental United States (CONUS) meals and incidental (M & IE) rate for the current year and the city visited. http://www.gsa.gov Travel days are paid at the GSA “First and Last Day of Travel” rate (75% of M & IE) and the event days are paid at the full M & IE rate. People who travel on an event day are paid at the full rate for that day. Lunch for full workday, out-of-town trips (usually in the State) will be paid at the GSA rate for the city visited. TSCPL Finance Office will email employees when the per diem check is ready to be picked up. The employee does not need to save meal and tip receipts to turn in to the Library. Unused per diem funds may be kept by the employee.
  • Reimbursement afterwards for miscellaneous expenses with receipts submitted with the Travel Expense Report available on the “L” drive in the Library Forms for Staff folder. Examples of miscellaneous expense include mileage to and from the event or the airport paid at the current federal rate, airport parking at the satellite rate, turnpike tolls, taxis in the host city, and shuttle service. Expense reports with receipts must be submitted within 14 days of the end of the event, or reimbursement is forfeited.

Cancellations:

Situations leading to a cancellation will be reviewed by Library Administration. An employee may be liable for non-refundable expenses.

Pre/Post Events and Additional Charge Activities:

Funding for attendance of pre or post conferences/training is not specifically covered but may be requested as an additional expense. Requests will be reviewed for job relevance and overlap with other employees. Meals/speakers/tours/social activities offered for an additional charge above the registration amount will not be covered by the Library, but an employee may choose to spend their per diem allowance or personal funds for the event.

Car Rentals:

Usually attendees stay in hotels at or close to the event site and use public transportation or shuttles for local travel. Therefore, car rentals are not included in event funding unless there are unusual circumstances involved. Car rentals must be authorized in advance and receipts are required for reimbursement. Insurance offered by the rental agency must be purchased.

Time Sheet Records:

Time spent traveling is paid during the employee’s regular scheduled hours. This stipulation is outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act. Record travel time that occurs within regular hours only for normal workdays and nonworking days. For instance, if you are normally scheduled 8:30 – 5:30, Monday through Friday, travel time during these hours is hours worked on Saturday and Sunday, also. Travel time outside of your normal hours is not hours worked. For instance, you travel the day before a conference begins in Denver, leaving Topeka for the airport at 5:45 AM for a 9:00 AM flight, arriving in Denver at 10:30 (CST), and the hotel at 12:00 (CST). Unless you have additional conference business that day, your reportable time is 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM. If an employee drives to an event when flying is more efficient, no more than one day each for coming and going is allowed. Actual time spent at training, exhibits, or a workshop should be recorded on the time sheet. If the agenda indicates more than the number of regularly scheduled hours, employees should reduce their work hours during the event week. If travel time or the agenda is less than regular 8-hour days, employees may use vacation to make up the difference.

Committee Participation:

If TSCPL specifically asks an employee to serve on a professional committee because of the Library’s interests, conference and travel costs will be funded for the duration of the assignment. Employees who wish to volunteer to serve on a committee of a professional organization or to present a program at a state, regional, or national conference must submit a written request to the Executive Director for approval before making the commitment. Each request will be evaluated to see if the activity contributes to the Library’s priorities and plans, can be incorporated into the employee’s job responsibilities, and if the activity can be managed in the Library’s budget for the year(s) involved.