S&T contract can help pay for your continuing
Public Service Workshops up and running again
By SHERRY HALBROOK
Thanks to your PEF contract, if you are a state
employee in the PS&T unit you are now free to take a workshop at no charge
offered through the Public Service Workshops Program (PSWP).
For details and to register, go to NYS-Learn, the
state’s new online learning management system, at
You also can access this site through the
Development page of the PEF Web site at
This link will take you to the NYS-Learn welcome page.
If your agency has already provided you with a username and password for
NYS-Learn, simply click on the “NYS-Learn login” button.
If your agency has not given you a username and
password, select “Create an account” on the NYS-Learn welcome page.
Or contact your state agency’s PSWP liaison for
information and to register.
Since 1983, PSWP has developed and delivered workshops
tailored to meet the diverse training and professional development needs of
PEF’s PS&T members and the work force development goals of NYS agencies.
Workshops are developed and delivered by an extensive network of colleges,
universities, and professional associations.
PSWP is overseen by the Joint PEF-NYS Professional
Development Committee and is administered by the Professional Development
Program at Rockefeller College.
The workshops are offered at sites throughout the
state. Most workshops address the professional development needs of employees in
job titles or professions within seven major occupational groups.
In addition, workshops of more “general” interest are
available to all PS&T Unit employees.
If no workshop is offered that meets your
professional-development need, tell the liaison or submit a workshop request
form online. If enough members request it, a new workshop may be developed.
All current workshop offerings are online and updated
frequently. Check now to see what they offer to help you.
Get reimbursed for
taking certification, licensing exams
By SHERRY HALBROOK
If you are in the state’s PS&T unit and have taken an exam since April 1,
2008, to obtain your initial professional certification or license, you now
can be reimbursed for that cost.
The Certification and Licensure Exam Fee Reimbursement Program (CLEFRP) is
funded through the PS&T contract. Currently, the program covers exams taken
and passed April 1, 2008, through March 31, 2009. You can be reimbursed a
maximum of $600 annually for certification and licensure examination fees.
The minimum reimbursement amount is $25. However, if you take multiple tests
costing less than $25 between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, you may
combine the requests on one application. Remember, the IRS considers CLEFRP
reimbursements a taxable fringe benefit.
This program does not cover fees for Civil Service exams, which are
reimbursed through PEF Membership Benefits.
To qualify for CLEFRP reimbursement you must be (at the time of exam
registration or at the time of successful completion of the exam) either:
• A state or Roswell Park employee covered by the PS&T attendance rules who
is either full- or part-time and has completed the 13 biweekly pay period
qualifying period to earn and use vacation; or,
• A state or Roswell Park employee in the PS&T unit laid off in the past
year, not rehired, and on the appropriate preferred list; or,
• A state or Roswell Park employee in the PS&T Unit on full-time
non-disciplinary leave without pay (must be documented with a letter from
agency personnel or human resources director).
To be eligible for reimbursement an exam must:
• Be job-related, career-related or both;
• Result in certification or licensure for an occupation in state service;
• Be administered by an accredited body.
The documentation of your exam result must accompany the application for
If you took the exam between April 1 and October 1, 2008, your reimbursement
application had to be postmarked before December 1.
You may qualify for one of two possible levels of maximum reimbursement,
depending on how much you work.
Eligible employees employed to work 50 percent or more will be reimbursed
for the full cost of each exam up to a total of $600 during the state fiscal
year ending March 31, 2009.
If you work less than 50 percent, or are full-time but on non-disciplinary
leave without pay, you will be reimbursed half the cost of each exam, up to
a total of $300 for fiscal 2008-09.
If you’re in a Voluntary Reduction in Work Schedule (VRWS) agreement you are
Your status during the pay period when you took the exam will determine the
You can get more information and application forms from your agency/facility
training or personnel offices, the PEF Education Department or online at
www.pef.org or at
When you’ve taken the exam and received your grade, complete a CLEFRP
application form and attach the following documents:
• The original invoice or receipt showing payment made and the title date
and cost of the exam; and
• Documentation showing your passing grade.
Keep a copy for your records, then mail the original application and
documentation by certified mail, return receipt requested, to:
Governor's Office of Employee Relations
Certification and Licensure Exam Fee
2 Empire State Plaza, 7th Floor
Albany, New York 12223
Save a copy of the returned receipt as proof your package was mailed by you
and received by GOER. Late applications will not be processed. You may not
fax or e-mail your application or documentation, nor will photocopies be
accepted. You will be notified at your home e-mail or mailing address of
acceptance or denial. You may not appeal the decision.
By SHERRY HALBROOK
If you are a state PS&T unit employee or a PEF-represented employee at
Roswell Park Cancer Institute taking job- or career-related college-credit
courses, you now can get reimbursed for some of your tuition expenses. And
you may be reimbursed for attending certain conferences or other training
The 2007-2010 PS&T contract re-establishes the Public Service Training
Programs (PSTP) to provide tuition assistance programs that maintain and
build the skills of PS&T employees to allow greater career mobility within
state service and address future work force needs.
Since this program is paid for with joint contract money, oversight is by
the joint PEF and Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER)
Professional Development Committee.
Currently, PSTP provides assistance for tuition in the state fiscal year
which began April 1 and ends next March 31. It consists of the College
Tuition Reimbursement (CTR) Program and the Voucher Alternative (VALT)
“These are excellent programs that many of PEF’s PS&T unit members have used
to help defray the cost of continuing their educations and advancing their
careers,” said PEF Director of Education and Human Resources Clifford
Merchant. “Members were eagerly awaiting the resumption of PSTP and other
educational programs under the contract. I ask everyone to be patient about
receiving their notification of acceptance or denial, because the PSTP staff
at GOER has already received and is processing many applications.”
The programs reimburse tuition. They do not provide release time or
reimburse other costs associated with taking courses or attending programs.
Eligible employees working less than 50 percent of a full-time schedule or
on non-disciplinary leave will be reimbursed at 50 percent.
The PSTP guidelines have not yet been established for the fiscal year that
begins April 1, 2009.
The CTR provides reimbursement to current PS&T employees for qualifying
courses at all accredited colleges or universities that began on or after
April 1, 2008, through March 31, 2009.
The application deadline for qualifying courses that ended on or before July
1, was September 1.
For courses ending after July 1, apply within 60 days after the end of the
You must have passed the course to be reimbursed for it.
You may be reimbursed for up to two courses per fiscal year. The maximum
reimbursement for an undergraduate course is $600 for up to three credit
hours or $725 for four credit hours or more.
For graduate courses, the maximum reimbursement is $1,200.
The VALT program reimburses current PS&T Unit employees up to $600 for
attending qualifying conferences, workshops, seminars, and
non-credit-bearing courses by accredited providers that began on or after
April 1, through March 31, 2009. The minimum amount for which you may be
reimbursed is $25. However, you may combine two or more courses or events
within the same fiscal year that cost less than $25 to reach the minimum.
Again, the deadline was September 1 to apply for reimbursement for events
that ended on or before July 1.
And, again, you have 60 days after the event to apply for reimbursement for
events ending after that.
You must successfully complete the non-credit course work, workshops, or
seminars in order to be reimbursed for them.
It may be taxable
Educational benefits that exceed $5,250 are generally taxable, unless they
can be excluded as a “working condition fringe benefit.” The Office of the
State Comptroller will withhold estimated taxes at the end of each calendar
year from employees whose benefits from this program and any additional
educational benefits from their agency exceed $5,250, so be prepared to take
that additional hit in your December pay.
If you receive tuition assistance from any source in addition to PSTP, that
source and the amount must be reported on the paid invoice or a separate
list. This amount must be subtracted from the covered tuition expenses for
which reimbursement is sought. If you fail to report it, you must repay any
reimbursement overpayment you receive from PSTP and you may be excluded from
participating in PSTP in the future.
How to apply
The same application form is used for both the CTR and VALT programs. You
can find and download it at www.pef.org or at
www.goer.state.ny.us/train/pst or get a copy from your agency or
facility training or personnel office, You also may request a copy from the
PEF Education Department.
Separate application forms must be completed for each course. Be sure to
read the form and guidelines carefully and provide all the information
required. Incomplete and illegible applications will be denied.
For many more details about PSTP visit the PEF or GOER Web site, or contact
the PEF Education Department at 800-342-4306, ext. 240.