Rules Q&A

Who is covered under the civil service rules?

All non-represented classified state employees are covered by the Civil Service Rules (Title 357 WAC). Represented employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

When does my prior state service time count towards my vacation leave accrual?

Once your total years of service add up to four complete years, all of your state time counts when determining your leave accrual amount. For example:

  • Employee A has been working for the state for 17 years earning top amount of leave (22 days per year) and then has a break in service, upon reemployment employee A would begin earning at the amount they left (22 days per year) because their total years of service is over four complete years.
  • Employee B works for the state for one full year then has a break in service. Employee B is reemployed and works for another two full years then has another break in service. Employee B is reemployed again. At this point, employee B will start over accruing eight hours per month. Once the employee works one more complete year (for a total of four complete years) they will start accruing 10 hours per month per WAC 357-31-165(1)(d).

Does my periodic increment date (PID) change if I take a promotion?

No, your PID remains the same unless:

  • It is advanced or postponed in accordance with WAC 357-28-070 and 357-28-075; or
  • It is adjusted for leave without pay in accordance with WAC 357-31-345.

When my employer fills a position do they have to post the opening first?

Yes.

How are vacant positions posted?

Employers determine how to solicit job seekers. Employers may use public announcements, search the state’s central talent pool or use an employer maintained talent pool.

How do I apply for vacant positions?

Each recruitment announcement or job posting tells how to apply for, or express interest in, positions which may come open for recruitment.

Can I use leave with pay to take an examination or participate in a job interview during scheduled work hours?

Yes. Your employer must let you use leave with pay to take an examination or participate in a job interview during scheduled work hours when you apply for or are being considered for a position with a state agency, higher education institution or related higher education board. See WAC 357-31-325 for exceptions.

What is exempt employment?

Exempt employment is considered "at will". This means that there are no contractual employment rights and exempt employees serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

Do the Civil Service Rules apply to exempt employment?

No. The Civil Service Rules do not apply to positions specifically exempted in individual agency statutes and chapter 41.06 RCW.

Does an exempt employee accrue vacation leave?

Many agencies follow the civil service rules covering leave and holidays for exempt employees. However, there is no requirement for them to do so. Agencies are required to adhere to the RCWs pertaining to vacation (i.e. annual) leave.

Can exempt employees appeal their termination?

No. Exempt employees do not have appeal rights when they are terminated.

Does an exempt employee have return rights to classified service?

Exempt employees who were appointed from permanent classified positions have return rights.

Exempt employees who were not appointed from permanent classified positions do not have return rights.

What classified position would an exempt employee be returned to?

The employee is returned to the highest classification held permanently, or to a position of similar nature and salary, if the return right is to a filled position, the employee with the lowest retention rating or the least seniority is laid off.

When my employer determines inclement weather exists, do I have to use my leave?

This depends on your employer’s leave policy. Your employer’s leave policy may allow you to be paid when you are absent due to inclement weather. At a minimum, the policy must allow you to use accrued vacation leave, accrued sick leave up to a maximum of three days in any calendar year, and leave without pay in lieu of paid leave at your request.

When do employees qualify for holiday compensation?

Full-time general government employees are paid for the holiday when they are employed before the holiday and are in pay status for the entire work shift preceding the holiday.

Full-time higher education employees and cyclic year employees who work full monthly schedules qualify for holiday compensation if they are in pay status for the entire work shift preceding the holiday.

Cyclic year employees scheduled to work less than full monthly schedules throughout their work year qualify for holiday compensation if they work or are in pay status on their last regularly scheduled working day before the holiday(s) in that month.

Part-time general government employees who are in pay status during the month of the holiday qualify for holiday pay on a pro rata basis in accordance with WAC 357-31-020. But, part-time employees hired during the month of the holiday will not receive compensation for holidays that occur prior to their hire date.

Part-time higher education employees who are employed before the holiday and are in pay status for at least eighty non-overtime hours during the month of the holiday OR are in pay status for the entire work shift preceding the holiday are entitled to the number of paid hours on a holiday that their monthly schedule bears to a full-time schedule.

We have an employee who is close to 240 hours of vacation leave, must we defer their leave?

If an employee's request for vacation leave is denied by the employer, and the employee is close to the maximum vacation leave (240 hours), the employer must grant an extension for each month that the employer defers the employee's request for vacation leave.

How do we defer vacation leave over 240 hours?

A statement of necessity must be done prior to the employee accruing over 240 hours. Any leave accumulated above 240 hours without a statement of necessity between anniversary dates must not, regardless of circumstances, be deferred.

What’s the difference between a trial service period, a probationary period, transition review period and a review period?

  • Trial Service Period - The initial period of employment following promotional appointment to a position in a new class or the initial period of employment following a transfer or voluntary demotion, or elevation when required by the employer under the provisions of WAC 357-19-030. The trial service period lasts for six to twelve months as determined under the provisions of WAC 357-19-050.
  • Probationary Period - The initial period of employment following certification and appointment to, or reemployment in, the classified service. The probationary period lasts for six to twelve months as determined under the provisions of WAC 357-19-040.
  • Review Period - The initial period of employment when a permanent employee promotes to a permanent WMS position or when an employee who does not have permanent status in the classified service is appointed to a permanent WMS position. The review period lasts for 12 to 18 months as determined by the appointing authority.
  • Transition Review Period - A six-month evaluation period that allows the employer and employee to determine whether a placement into a position as a layoff option or appointment to a position from a layoff list or the general government transition pool is a good match.

What happens if while serving my trial service or probationary period I accept a new appointment?

Time served in the initial probationary or trial service period counts towards the probationary or trial service period of the new position if the employer determines the positions or classes to which the positions are allocated are closely related. The probationary or trial service period starts over if the employer determines the positions or classes to which the positions are allocated are not closely related.

How long can a nonpermanent appointment last?

Agencies are encouraged to limit the duration of a nonpermanent appointment to twelve months from the appointment date.

If the nonpermanent appointment was for one of the following reasons, the appointment must not exceed 24 months unless the State Human Resources has approved an extension:

  1. A permanent employee is absent from the position;
  2. The agency is recruiting to fill a vacant position with a permanent appointment;
  3. The agency needs to address a short-term immediate workload peak or other short-term needs; or
  4. The agency is not filling a position with a permanent appointment due to the impending or actual layoff of a permanent employee(s).

Can an employee donate the excess leave over 240 hours that they would not be able to use before their anniversary date?

There is nothing in the civil service rules that prevents an employee from donating excess leave over 240 hours that cannot be used before their anniversary date.