Number: V.1.B.3. 
Date Issued: Dec. 21, 1990
Date Revised: April 9, 2001


To identify the requirements for substitute appointments.


County Code Section 4.05.635 Status During Leave of Absence - Substitute Appointment
Civil Service Rule VI.J. Substitute Appointment
Personnel Regulations Section 110.B.78. Substitute Appointment (defined)


  1. Substitute appointments may be made for a paid absence (e.g. vacation,

    sick leave, leave under Labor Code 4850) or unpaid absence (i.e., leave of absence without pay) for a minimum of 20 working days. The maximum length is the period of the paid or unpaid absence or one year, whichever occurs first, except that the leave for an accepted workers' compensation injury may exceed one year.

    If, after one year (or longer period approved for an accepted workers' compensation leave), the substitute employee is not transitioned to a regular probationary appointment, s/he must be terminated.

  2. Substitute appointments only apply to budgeted positions in the Civil

    Service system. They do not apply to positions excluded from Civil Service or to extra-help.

  3. The substitute appointment can be made on a probationary or provision al basis. If there are five or less names on any appropriate employment list, a provisional appointment may be authorized by the Personnel Director. A person appointed on a provisional basis must meet the employment standards for the class, and is subject to other provisions and time limits for provisional appointments (See Appointments - Provisional Personnel Administrative Policy V.1.B.2.).


  4. A person appointed as a substitute cannot obtain permanent status but

    remains probationary (or provisional, pending completion of exam, certification and selection processes) for the period of the substitute appointment.

  5. Time served as a substitute appointment may be counted towards perma nent status upon request by the department and approval of the Personnel Director, under conditions specified in Civil Service Rule II.J.

  6. A person appointed on a probationary basis from any eligible list

    shall remain on that eligible list during the period of the substitute appointment up to one year or upon expiration or abolishment of the eligible list, whichever comes first.

  7. The appointing authority can authorize an overlap of ten working days

    or less at the end of the leave, between the substitute and the employee returning from the leave.

  8. If a substitute appointment is made of a regular employee through

    promotion, that employee has no right to return to her/his former class unless:

    1. the employee fails probation as a substitute AND

    2. the employee had permanent status in the lower class.

      Accordingly, it is recommended that such a substitute's former position be left vacant so the employee will have a position to return to when the substitute appointment ends.

  9. The period of the substitute can be shortened from the original estab lished date or lengthened to the maximum of one year, based on the needs of the department. There is no guaranteed time period for the substitute appointment since is based upon a leave of absence which may change.


Operating Department:

  1. Prepares and submits:

    1. memo which identifies the employee who is absent, with the begin ning and ending dates of the absence;

    2. completed certification form (if appropriate):

    3. completed Action Form for the substitute appointment.

      Note: If the appointing authority authorizes an overlapping appointment, an Action Form will need to be submitted with a memo identifying when the regular incumbent is returning to work and the period of the overlap by the substitute.

    Personnel Department:

  2. Verifies the requirements for the substitute appointment are met and

    that other appointment provisions are met (e.g. provisional appointee meets employment standards); verifies step placement for the substitute; verifies that general requirements (certification, freeze exemptions) are met. 

  3. Notifies the operating department of the decision and forwards paper work accordingly.