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Rule 9 - Probationary Period

Section 9.1 - Purpose of Probationary Period

The probationary period shall be used by the appointing authority to determine the employee's fitness for permanent status.

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Section 9.2 - Status of Employee

  1. Except as otherwise provided, a probationary period is required upon initial appointment to any class in the classified service.
  2. A probationary period shall not be required in the case where a permanent employee transfers to another position in the same class or to a closely related class within the same or different department. (revised 7/1/10)
  3. A probationary period shall not be required when an employee with permanent status voluntarily demotes to a class in the same class series or to a closely related class. (revised 7/1/10)

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Section 9.3 - Duration of Probationary Period

  1. Prior to attaining permanent status in any class, an employee must complete a probationary period of not less than six months of work in the class, except as provided in this section. In the case of alternate classes where the probation period for the lower class is designated to be longer than six months, the appointing authority may, at their discretion, waive part of the six month probation period in the higher class upon evidence of satisfactory performance in the higher class. (revised 04/18/19)
  2. In the case of appointment or other actions, as described in Section 9.2A, to a part-time position, the length of the probationary period shall be 1,040 hours of work (excluding overtime), but shall not exceed one year from the date of hire.
  3. The Civil Service Commission may extend the probationary period for any position for a period which shall not cause the total probationary period to exceed one year.
  4. The probationary period shall date from the time of appointment to an allocated position, but shall not include time served as a provisional employee or extra-help employee, except as provided in this section. 
  5. The Civil Service Commission may establish a probationary period of longer than six months for certain job classes on the basis of the cycle of work or because the duration of the required training is such that it is not possible to adequately evaluate performances within a six month period.
  6. Service as a provisional employee or time spent on a temporary promotion shall count toward completion of a probationary period as long as the individual is appointed to an allocated position in the same classification and as long as there is no break in service between the provisional appointment or temporary promotion and the permanent appointment.
  7. Time spent on leave without pay shall not count toward completion of the probationary period. Sick leave and disability leave in excess of 160 hours cumulative for six month probation periods and in excess of 320 hours cumulative for one year probation periods shall not count toward completion of the probation period.
  8. One year probation period for all Administrative Management and Attorney classes due to the difficulty in adequately evaluating performance in a lesser period of time. This section shall only apply to individuals hired or promoted into an Administrative Management or Attorney class after its effective date.
  9. Hours worked as an extra-help employee shall count towards completion of up to 520 hours of a six month probationary period or 1,040 hours of a one year probationary period if the individual is appointed to an allocated position reporting to the same supervisor, in the same department, classification, and assignment worked immediately prior to appointment, and they did not have a break in service in excess of six months immediately preceding their permanent appointment.

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Section 9.4 - Interruption of Probationary Period

  1. In the following instances, an employee shall resume the status which they had during their most recent employment in the same class.  A permanent employee shall resume their permanent status.  A probationary employee shall be required to complete only the balance of their probationary period:
    1. when they are restored to a position in the same department in a class from which they were separated because of lay-off or displacement;
    2. when they return to work in a position following a suspension or leave of absence;
    3. when they are transferred in the same class within the same or different department. (revised 04/18/19)

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Section 9.5 - Waiver of Probationary Period

  1. An appointing authority, employee or employee organization may request that all or any part of a probationary period be waived by the Human Resources Director upon written request under the following circumstances:
    1. an employee is reappointed to the same job class within two years of a resignation submitted in good standing;
    2. an incumbent of a reclassified position has been placed in the new class by the Civil Service Commission.
  2. If one of the parties does not agree with the decision of the Human Resources Director, they may appeal the decision to the Civil Service Commission. Such appeal shall be made in writing stating the specific reason for the appeal. Such appeal shall be filed within ten regular County business days from the date of the decision and shall be placed on the agenda of the earliest meeting of the Civil Service Commission. (revised 04/18/19)

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Sections 9.6 - Expiration of Probationary Period

  1. The County Human Resources Director shall, in writing, notify the appointing authority of the date on which each employee's probationary period will expire. Such notification shall be made not less than one month prior to the date of expiration.
  2. The appointing authority shall, in writing, reply to such notification not less than two weeks prior to the date of expiration, and shall inform the employee of the nature of the reply. The reply shall specify or request one of the following actions:
    1. the employee shall assume permanent status;
    2. the probationary period should be extended for a specified period;
    3. the employee will be separated or demoted.
  3. An employee in the classified Civil Service shall be deemed to have permanent status if they were still employed at the end of the shift which began on the last working day of the designated probationary period. (revised 04/18/19)
  4. If an appointing authority wishes to extend the probationary period of an employee, they must obtain the approval of the Civil Service Commission prior to the expiration of the probationary period. The appointing authority shall submit a written request to the Civil Service Commission specifying the reasons for the extension. (revised 04/18/19)

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Section 9.7 - Dismissal of Probationary Employees

  1. A probationary employee may be dismissed at any time during the probationary period without right of appeal or hearing.
  2. An employee who is dismissed (released from probation) during a probationary period shall be restored to any position in the class from which they had permanent or probationary status immediately prior to the position for which they are serving the new probationary period and in which they are being dismissed. (revised 7/1/10, 04/18/19)
  3. If an employee's dismissal during the probationary period is governed by 9.7B but the employee's former department prior to promotion has been renamed or functions of that department merged into another department, the employee shall be restored to a position in the class in the renamed or merged department from which they had permanent or probationary status immediately prior to the position for which they are serving the new probationary period and in which they are being dismissed.. (revised 7/1/10, 04/18/19)

    If the employee's former department has not been merged and the functions are no longer performed by the County, Rule 11 applies. (revised 5/3/95)
  4. If an employee’s dismissal during probationary period is governed by 9.7B-C and the employee’s return to their former position creates a layoff, Rule 11 applies. (added 7/1/10)
  5. If an employee's dismissal during the probationary period is governed by 9.7B but the employee's former class from which they had been promoted has been retitled with the same or less pay range, the employee shall be restored to any position in the retitled class in accordance with Rule 9.7B. If the former class has been abolished rather than retitled, Rule 11 applies. (revised 5/3/95, 04/18/19)

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Contact Information

Marissa Georges
Executive Secretary
Civil Service Commission
Human Resources Department
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
Suite 116B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464975, -122.725632

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Rule 11 - Layoffs

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