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Human Resources Department

Employee Resources

4-8 Advanced Salary Step Appointments

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Approved: County Administrator
Authority: Human Resources / County Administrator
Revised Date: October 1, 2007

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Policy
  3. Responsibilities

I. Purpose

Generally, an appointing authority should hire employees at the minimum rate for each position. However, recognizing that not all employees possess the same salary history or qualifications for a job, this policy provides guidance on the use of advanced salary step appointments, when necessary, to obtain the best qualified candidate for a position.

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II. Policy

An advanced step appointment should only be used when it is necessary to hire a qualified individual, especially when there are no other qualified candidates.

  1. To start an employee at a higher pay step other than step A, upon appointment, reappointment, or promotion, the following criteria must be met: 
    1. Recruitment Difficulty In certain circumstances it can be difficult to recruit employees or there may be a scarcity of qualified applicants for a position. The department should briefly document any difficulty in recruiting employees and the scarcity of qualified applicants for this position. Please be specific in identifying the number of certified candidates and the number deemed acceptable after the interview stage. If there are viable alternative candidates to the preferred one, the need for an advanced step appointment must be supported through addressing the other criteria.
    2. Candidate Possesses Unique Skills An applicant for an advanced appointment step should have exceptional technical, professional, or managerial skills that are required in the operation of a County program. This guideline is intended to be responsive to a program manager’s need for unique skills within a larger job classification.
    3. Base Salary Insufficient to Secure Candidate The advanced step appointment should not provide an extraordinary increase to prospective employee over their current salary. Documentation of the employee’s current and proposed salaries; and if relevant, quantifying the different benefit packages that materially impact take-home pay are required. The difference in cost-of-living between communities may be considered in the request but some justification is required. This process is not to be used to compensate for moving expenses.

    As a general rule, an advanced step appointment should have mutually reinforcing justification satisfying more than one criterion. Many departments go through a preliminary salary negotiation with the prospective employee where they tentatively agree to the necessary salary to get somebody to come here, but with recognition that the offer is subject to subsequent approval. By doing preliminary salary discussion, it is easier to completely cover criteria listed above.

  2. There are three types of appointments to which an Advanced Salary Step may be applied. In all cases, any appointments to rates greater than the minimum rate shall be within the limits for the class:
    1. Advanced Step upon Employment If the prospective employee possesses special qualifications above the minimum prescribed for the particular class and meets the criteria above, the appointing authority may consider giving the employee an advanced salary step upon initial hire.
    2. Advanced Step upon Reappointment A full-time or part-time employee who resigns in good standing and is reappointed on a full-time, part-time or extra-help basis in the same or closely related class in the same or in a lower salary range within five years of resignation, shall not be paid less than two steps below the step paid at the time of resignation. Approval of the County Administrator is only required if the person is rehired at a step which exceeds the step paid at the time of resignation. This could be the case, for example, if the employee has obtained new knowledge, possesses skills above required for the position, and meets the criteria above.
    3. Advanced Step upon Promotion Upon promotion to a new classification, the promotion should be made at the minimum rate within the new classification’s salary range that equates to 5% above the rate the employee previously received. However, the appointing authority has the ability to recommend that the employee receive a rate of pay higher than this minimum in accordance with the criteria above.
  3. Advanced Salary Step Appointment approval authority differs depending on whether the appointment is for a permanent or extra-help employee:
    1. Permanent Employees A department head can approve appointment to steps A-E, but the CAO must approve appointment to steps F-I. A copy of all appointment requests must be sent to the County Administrator’s Office to monitor the advanced step appointments being granted.
    2. Extra-Help Employees While use for advanced step appointments should be rare for Extra-Help positions, it is available when justified. A department head can approve appointment to steps A-E, but the Human Resources Director must approve appointment to steps F-I. A copy of all appointment requests must be sent to the Human Resources Director to monitor the advanced step appointments being granted.

    To streamline the process and to avoid confusion between approval processes, there are separate forms for Permanent Employees and Extra-Help Employees.


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III. Responsibilities

The County Administrator encourages departments to centralize and limit the review and approval process to the department head or other designee within its central department administration. The department head, or designee, is responsible for providing justification that the employee should receive the advanced step appointment. It is the responsibility of the department head, to ensure that copies of the proper Advanced Salary Step Appointment forms are sent to their designated location. A more rapid approval time will result when the department head, or designee, directly respond to the three criteria stated above under Section I.

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