Glossary of Terms
Abolition of Positions - the abolition of positions is a prerequisite to the termination of permanent employees in the classified service for the reason of economy. (Attorney General's decision, 1976) Agencies may not layoff employees without abolishing positions.
Agency Reduction Transfer List - a mandatory list established prior to the date of layoff containing the names of employees in impacted titles at impacted locations ranked by seniority who are eligible for transfer to positions in other agencies in their current title and direct line lower level titles.
Allocate - to assign a salary grade in the salary schedule to a class of positions based on an evaluation of the relative worth of the work performed. To reallocate is to change the existing allocation of a class to a different salary grade in the schedule.
Alternative Work Schedule - work schedules which are other than the standard 5 day, 7 1/2 or 40 hour week; such schedules are authorized by the Governor's Executive Order #68 and include such options as flextime, staggered hours, compressed workweek, and shared or part-time jobs.
Appeal - an action against the Department of Civil Service or a challenge to a Department determination brought before the Civil Service Commission. Civil Service Commission decisions may be appealed in court under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Appointing Authority - an officer, commission or body that has the power to select and appoint applicants for employment.
Appointment - the act of naming a person to fill a position or office.
Appointment Above the Minimum - Section 131.1(a) of the Civil Service Law provides that the Director of Classification and Compensation may authorize additional compensation, called an Appointment Above the Minimum (i.e., minimum is the statutory Hiring Rate of a salary grade), not to exceed the Job Rate of the salary grade of the title to which a person is to be appointed, when the training or experience of the appointee substantially exceeds requirements necessary for appointment. All such determinations are subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of the Budget.
Attendance Rules - the rules established by the Civil Service Commission pertaining to sick leave, vacation, time allowances and other conditions in employment, codified as the "Attendance Rules for Employees in New York State Departments and Institutions." Agreements negotiated pursuant to the Taylor Law may also contain leave provisions.
Band Scoring - a scoring technique which groups raw scores into a limited number of ranges within which all candidates are treated as tied, assigned the same final score and deemed equally reachable for appointment.
Bargaining Unit (also collective bargaining unit, negotiating unit) - employees grouped by the similarities or community of interest of the classes of positions in which they serve (e.g. security services; professional, scientific and technical, institutional services, etc.). Employees in a collective bargaining unit may be represented by an employee organization (union) recognized by the employer and the Public Employment Relations Board which shall negotiate with the public employer on the terms and conditions of employment.
Basic Workweek - under the Civil Service Law, the basic workweek is 40 hours. However, where a shorter workweek would not interfere with the proper performance of government functions, an appointing authority, subject to rules and regulations set forth by the Director of the Budget, may establish a basic workweek of not less than 37 1/2 hours.
Certification - the names of people certified by the Civil Service Department as eligible for appointment to a specific position; a certification is normally valid for 60 days. Certifications differ from eligible lists. While an eligible list records the names of all candidates who qualify for appointment to the title class, a certification includes the names of people interested or eligible for an appointment to specific positions in the title class.
Certification of Payroll - the Civil Service Department's certification that all employees in the classified service are employed in accordance with law and rules; employees may not be paid without such certification.
Civil Service Commission - the three member administrative panel, appointed by the Governor, that is responsible for establishing and promulgating rules, hearing appeals, and conducting investigations concerning employment in the classified service of the state and its civil divisions. The President of the Commission also serves as the head of the Department of Civil Service.
Class of Positions - positions sufficiently similar in respect to duties and responsibilities that the same title may be used to designate each position in a group, the same salary may be equitably applied, the same qualifications required, and the same examination used to select qualified employees. A Class may sometimes consist of one.
Classification Standard - A Classification Standard is a document that provides detailed information describing a class of positions. They are descriptive, not restrictive; their purpose being to portray for each class of positions the duties and responsibilities which, if present in an individual position, will cause the position to fall in that class.
Classified Civil Service (Classified Service) - Those positions in the Civil Service of the State that are not in the Unclassified Civil Service (Unclassified Service). The Classified Civil Service (Classified Service) is divided into four Jurisdictional Classes: Competitive, Non-Competitive, Exempt, and Labor.
Classify - To group positions (new and existing) according to the similarity of duties and responsibilities and assign a class title. Reclassify is to change the title of an existing position based on a change of duties and/or responsibilities.
Competitive Jurisdictional Class (Competitive Class) - The Jurisdictional Class under the Classified Civil Service (Classified Service) composed of positions for which it is practicable to determine the merit and fitness of applicants by competitive examination.
Contingent Permanent - a permanent appointment or promotion to a position left temporarily vacant by the leave of absence of the permanent incumbent of the position; such appointees have the same rights as permanent appointees; however, a contingent permanent employee may be displaced by the return of the permanent incumbent. (The term contingent permanent is not used in the Civil Service Law or Rules; rather, Rule 4.11 refers to "permanent appointments to encumbered positions.")
Continuous Recruitment - a type of examination for which applications are accepted continuously, and the test itself is administered periodically; successful candidates are added to the eligible list for a specified period of time and in rank order without regard to the date of the addition of their names.
Contract (also collective bargaining agreement) - a written agreement between a public employer (for instance, New York State) and an employee organization, setting terms and conditions of employment on behalf of a specified group of employees for a period defined within the agreement. (See Bargaining Unit)
Decentralized Examinations - a competitive examination for which all or part of the development, administration and scoring has been decentralized to the appointing authority that will make use of the resulting eligible list. The Department of Civil Service maintains authority and oversight over decentralized examinations held for positions in the State civil service.
Department of Civil Service - New York State's primary personnel management agency, responsible for the development and maintenance of statewide agency personnel systems; the classification and allocation of State positions; and the recruitment and administration of selection procedures for State employment. The head of the Department is the President of the Civil Service Commission.
Disciplinary Proceedings - due process procedures for the removal of or other disciplinary action against an employee charged with incompetence or misconduct as set forth in Civil Service Law, other State law or in a negotiated agreement.
Earmark - the term used when a position has been designated for restudy before refilling once the position becomes vacant. An earmark may be placed by the Division of Classification and Compensation, the Civil Service Commission, or the Division of the Budget.
Examination - a formal selection process which includes minimum qualifications, tests, employment interviews and probationary periods; used to evaluate the qualifications and suitability of candidates for public employment. An examination for a competitive class position ranks candidates against each other. An examination for a non-competitive class position constitutes the assessment of a candidate's background and credentials against the established minimum qualifications.
Examination Announcement - a document issued to inform potential applicants of an upcoming competitive examination; the announcement contains but is not limited to the following information: the number and title of the examination, the date of the examination, filing information, minimum qualifications, type and scope of test(s), and salary or salary grade; it may also contain vacancy information and a duties description.
Exempt Jurisdictional Class (Exempt Class) - The Jurisdictional Class under the Classified Civil Service (Classified Service) of positions deemed impracticable to fill by tests of any kind. No minimum training and experience requirements are established for exempt positions.
55-b and 55-c - Sections of the Civil Service Law that permit the permanent appointment, without regard to eligible list standing, of a person determined by the Department of Civil Service to be a qualified disabled person. Vacant competitive class positions which would otherwise be filled by appointment from an open competitive eligible list can be jurisdictionally reclassified to the non-competitive class to permit appointment under S55-b or 55-c. There is a statutory limit to the number of positions that may be filled under these provisions.
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) - a term used to equate the service of an employee or the total number of employees to a full time position; (e.g., an employee who works 50% of the time would be counted as 1/2 FTE position; two part-time employees who each work 50% time would be counted as 1 FTE position).
Geographic Pay Differential - Section 130.7 of the Civil Service Law provides that the Director of the Division of Classification and Compensation may authorize payment of additional compensation, called a Geographic Pay Differential, to State employees in one or more areas of the State when private or other non-State employers in such areas pay substantially higher wage rates for a similar occupation. All such determinations are subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of the Budget.
Hazardous Duty Differential - Section 130.9 of the Civil Service Law provides that the Director of the Division of Classification and Compensation may authorize payment of additional compensation, called a Hazardous Duty Pay Differential, to employees exposed to hazardous working conditions in certain locations and under specified criteria for "people-related hazards." All such determinations are subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of the Budget.
Interdepartmental Examination - a promotion examination open to qualified employees of all agencies. (See DEPARTMENTAL EXAMINATION.)
Job Analysis - the systematic study of a job to provide information which will enable examination planners to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities required for successful performance on the job; a detailed statement of work behaviors and other information relevant to the job.
Job Description - a written summary of the tasks, duties and responsibilities of an individual job.
Job Rate - established by Section 130 of the Civil Service Law as the highest salary paid for a specific salary grade; an employee advances from the hiring rate to the job rate based on time in title and performance.
Jurisdictional Classification - designation by the Civil Service Commission of positions in the classified service in either the non-competitive, labor or exempt class; positions not so designated by the Commission are competitive class. Positions in the exempt or non-competitive classes must be specifically named in the Rules, which, in the State service, are subject to the approval of the Governor.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA's) - The knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform a job. Knowledge is an understanding of facts or principles relating to a particular subject area; skill is the application of knowledge resulting from a development of basic abilities through formal training and practical experience; ability is capacity in a general area that may be utilized to develop detailed, specific skills.
Labor Jurisdictional Class (Labor Class) - The Jurisdictional Class under the Classified Civil Service (Classified Service) designated for positions for which competitive tests are impracticable because of the unskilled nature of the duties. Minimum qualifications for Labor Class positions other than the physical ability to perform the duties of the position are generally not established.
Layoff - another term not in the law; it is used whenever an employee is separated or loses status in his/her position as a result of the abolition or reduction of positions. For example, employees whose positions are not abolished but are "bumped" have been laid off.
Layoff Unit - separate units designated by the President of the Civil Service Commission, within which occurs the suspension or demotion of employees upon the abolition of positions; these units may represent an entire agency, separate institutions or facilities, geographic areas, etc.
Leave of Absence - a consideration granted employees which provides them the right to return to a position in their former title within a specified period of time; leaves are granted for such things as probationary service upon promotion or transfer, military service, jury duty, and pregnancy, childbirth, and child care; depending upon specific circumstances, leave may be mandatory or optional and may be either paid or unpaid.
Location Compensation (Location Pay) - referenced in most State employee contracts under the heading Locational Compensation. Most State employees generically use the term "Location Pay" to describe additional monies provided to employees who work in various counties. Technically, however, the term "Location Pay" is now only applicable to employees whose principal place of employment or whose official station in 1985/1988 was located in Monroe County, received location pay at that time, and such employees continue to work in that County. There are two other categories of negotiated locational compensation: the Downstate Adjustment and the Mid-Hudson Adjustment.
- Downstate Adjustment - referenced in most State employee contracts under the heading Locational Compensation or Downstate Adjustment. Eligible employees, whose principal place of employment or show official station is in New York City, Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, or Westchester Counties, will receive a negotiated adjustment in addition to their basic annual salary.
- Mid-Hudson Adjustment - referenced in most state employee contracts under the heading Locational Compensation or Downstate Adjustment. Eligible employees, whose principal place of employment or whose official station is in Orange, Dutchess, or Putnam Counties, will receive a negotiated adjustment in additional to their basic annual salary.
Management or Confidential (also Managerial/Confidential) - a designation of positions by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB); such positions are excluded from membership in any may not be represented by employee organizations for the purposes of collective bargaining.
Merit and Fitness - phrase summarizing the requirement in the State Constitution that appointments and promotions shall be made according to merit and fitness to be ascertained, as far as practicable, by competitive examination; Civil Service is, hence, called a "merit system."
Minimum Qualifications - Education, training, and/or experience requirements established to give reasonable assurance that all candidates certified for appointment can satisfactorily perform the essential duties of the position of appointment.
Negotiating Unit - Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, entitled The Public Employees Fair Employment Act (also known as the Taylor Law), grants public employees the right to organize and to be represented by employee organizations of their own choice; requires public employers to negotiate and enter into agreements with public employee organizations regarding their employees' terms and conditions of employment; and establishes a state agency to administer the Law - The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB). Positions are then placed in an appropriate Negotiating Unit based on the community of interest among job responsibilities.
Non-Competitive Jurisdictional Class (Non-Competitive Class) - The Jurisdictional Class under the Classified Civil Service (Classified Service) designating positions not in the Exempt or Labor Classes and for which it is found by the Civil Service Commission to be not practicable to ascertain the merit and fitness of applicants by competitive examination.
NS (Non-Statutory) - The administrative designation for salaries established by the Division of the Budget pursuant to Section 44 of the State Finance Law for positions not allocated to a statutory salary grade.
NYSTEP - Acronym for the New York State Electronic Personnel System which is the automated personnel and transaction processing system that allows State agencies to submit personnel transactions and classification requests to the Department of Civil Service. The data maintained in NYSTEP is the State's official record of items and appointments in the Classified Service.
Oral Test - Also known as "structured interview" in some jurisdictions. A formal portion of an examination in which, typically, candidates are asked to respond orally to hypothetical problems presented by examiners; the examiners evaluate the candidates' responses against an established set of objective standards.
Other Statutory (OS) - designates a salary which is established by a statute other than the Civil Service Law.
Parenthetic - A descriptive designation in parentheses following a common base title, to distinguish a specialty within a given field - i.e., Head Clerk (Personnel).
Payroll Period - a two-week work period, beginning on a Thursday and ending on a Wednesday, for which a State employee is paid for services. (There are two payroll cycles - the Administrative and the Institutional.)
Performance Evaluation - a process in which supervisors assess employees' job performance on the basis of agreed upon performance objectives of the job.
Performance Test - a test which requires candidates to demonstrate the skill to be measured (e.g., operation of a machine, typing, taking dictation, repairing an engine or assembling objects) under standardized conditions which permit the rating of candidates on a scale.
Permanent Appointment - an appointment made to a position in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations; a permanent appointment may provide rights and privileges, such as due process for dismissal, eligibility for promotion examinations, transfers, and future reinstatement and certain protections in the event of abolition of positions.
Physical/Medical Standards - standards that a successful candidate on an examination must meet prior to being appointed to the position he or she is eligible to fill. These standards are part of the examination and selection process and must be job related.
Policy Influencing (Managerial/Confidential) - a term used in the Taylor Law as descriptive of Managerial/Confidential employees; applies to employees who formulate policy, assist the employer directly in preparing for or conducting collective negotiations or play a major role (involving independent judgment) in administering labor agreements.
Position Description - Detailed descriptions (also known as duties descriptions) for each title that provide information with regards to the nature and purpose of the work, the organizational and supervisory relationships, and the basic duties and responsibilities.
Preferred List - an eligible list established as a result of a reduction in force, or where otherwise provided by law, which consists of the names of displaced employees ranked by seniority; a preferred list must be used before any other means of filling a position (except certain special military lists); the top acceptor on a preferred list must be appointed or the position left vacant ("Rule of One").
Promotion - generally, in the competitive class, an appointment from a promotion eligible list to a higher level position; in the non-competitive class, the appointment of an employee to a higher grade position without competitive examination.
Promotion Examination - an examination for a higher level position open only to permanent State employees who are currently serving in or who have served in qualifying titles for periods of time specified in the minimum qualifications.
Promotion Unit - subdivisions in State service designated and/or approved by the Department of Civil Service for the purpose of determining the order of certification of promotion eligible lists; generally promotion unit lists are certified before departmental lists which are certified before the general portion of interdepartmental lists; normally, each agency is a separate promotion unit; however, an agency may have more than one promotion unit.
Reachable - the status of a person on an eligible list who ranks high enough to be legally appointed (i.e., one of the top three scoring candidates willing to accept the appointment). (See RULE OF THREE)
Reallocation - to change the salary grade of a class with no change in title or duties or responsibilities. [See allocation]
Reinstatement - based on his or her former status, the return of an employee following a leave without pay or the reappointment of an employee following layoff, termination because of a physical or mental disability, or resignation. Reinstatement after resignation is at the discretion of the appointing authority if effected within one year of separation; such as reinstatement following a separation of greater than one year requires Civil Service Commission approval.
Reemployment Roster - a mandatory list established as of the date of layoff containing the names of laid off employees for appointment to titles other than those for which they are eligible for reinstatement from a preferred list. These generally are titles in their former occupational fields determined to be appropriate by the Department of Civil Service. The names are certified in random order without regard to seniority, status as a probationer or layoff unit.
Retention Rights - the rights of one employee as compared to another to retain a position in a layoff. There are two factors which affect any employee's retention rights. First, appointment status in the title, and second, seniority. Permanent employees have rights, while employees in the same title and layoff unit who are serving provisionally or temporarily have none. Among permanent employees, those who are not on probation have greater rights than those on probation, and employees who are equal in terms of this variable are then ranked by seniority.
Rule of One - the legal provision that appointments must be made from a preferred list certification in strict seniority order. (See Certification)
Rule of Three - the legal provision that appointments must be made from among the three highest ranking candidates on an open-competitive or promotion eligible list who are willing to accept the position. (See Reachable; certification)
Seasonal Position - a position where the service is not needed throughout the year, but recurs at the same time each succeeding year. A position must be specifically designated as seasonal upon classification.
Section 211 - A section of the New York State Retirement and Social Security Law that provides for a retiree to earn more than the maximum under Section 212 when it is not practicable to fill the position with a qualified non-retiree and it is in the State's interest to do so. Requires Civil Service Commission approval.
Seniority - generally, the time of an employee's permanent classified service. Seniority is used to determine order of layoff and ranking on preferred lists. Negotiated agreements between the State and employee organizations also contain various definitions of seniority which are used to determine job assignments, vacations scheduling, etc.; such definitions should not be confused with seniority as defined above, or with the recording of vacation or personal leave anniversary dates pursuant to the Attendance Rules.
Special Salary Treatments - The Civil Service Law authorizes the Director of the Division of Classification and Compensation to enhance baseline State salaries under certain circumstances. The general purpose of Special Salary Treatments is to assist State agencies as they address recruitment and retention difficulties. Special Salary Treatments include Increased Hiring Salaries, Shift Pay Differentials, Geographic Pay Differentials, Hazardous Duty Differentials, Safety Incentive Differentials, Occupational Pay Differentials, and Appointments Above the Minimum. The Director retains the statutory authority to reduce, enhance, or terminate (i.e., rescind) existing Special Salary Treatments.
Spoils System - (from the phrase "to the victors belong the spoils of the enemy") A term coined in 1832 by New York Senator William L. Marcy to describe the practice by political parties of rewarding the party faithful with public jobs; party loyalty rather than job competence was the criterion for appointment. The civil service reform movement of the late 1800's led to adoption of the merit system of selection for public sector employment.
Subject Matter Expert (SME) - a person who has particular knowledge of a job or subject area; SME's may assist in analyzing jobs, preparing test questions, examining candidates, etc.
Taylor Law - the Public Employees' Fair Employment Act, Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, enacted in 1967 to recognize the rights of public employees to representation by unions and to have organizations collectively bargain on the employees' behalf; obligates public employers to negotiate with recognized employee organizations on the terms and conditions of employment.
Temporary Project Appointment - a temporary appointment to a position established for a special study or project, limited to a maximum duration of eighteen months; the appointee must render professional, scientific, technical, or other expert services.
Title and Salary Plan - the Title and Salary Plan is the complete listing of job titles in the Classified Civil Service (Classified Service). The Title and Salary Plan is arranged alphabetically by title for all established Competitive, Non-Competitive, Exempt, and Labor Jurisdictional Class positions. The Title and Salary Plan contains title specific information listed in the following separate columns: Title Code; Jurisdictional Class (JC); Salary Grade (SG); Negotiating Unit (NU); Title Name; Classification Standard Number (STD No); Level; and Decentralization Status (1A and Decntrl Lvl).
Title Series - A group of titles (two or more) that perform similar duties but at different levels of responsibility.
Title Structure Change - the change of the title of a class where there are no substantial changes in duties or responsibilities.
Trainee Plan - a formal employee development plan (which is required for the creation of a traineeship) approved by the Department of Civil Service and the Division of the Budget governing the appointment and advancement of employees in training status leading to permanent status.
Traineeship - a position to which an individual is appointed for a specified period of time to learn to do a job; if the traineeship is satisfactorily completed within a designated period of time, the individual is advanced to the next higher level position without further examination.
Training and Experience Evaluation (T&E) - an unassembled test which evaluates the relevant training and/or experience of candidates.
Transfer - the movement, usually without further examination, of a permanent employee from a competitive position under the jurisdiction of one appointing authority to a similar position with a different appointing authority, or to a position in a different title under the same appointing authority; a transfer may only be made to a position at the same or similar salary grade (currently no higher than two salary grade or one M-grade).
Transfer, Administrative - a transfer between "administrative" positions as defined in Section 52.6 of the Civil Service Law; administrative positions include those in law, personnel, budgeting, methods and procedures, management, records analysis and administrative analysis.
Transfer, Regular - a transfer (pursuant to Section 70.1 CSL) between titles determined by the Civil Service Department to be satisfactorily "similar."
Transition Examination - examinations which provide an opportunity not normally available through promotion examination for employees to move into other occupational fields or across organizational levels (e.g., allowing clerical employees to compete for paraprofessional titles or for entry into professional traineeships).
Unclassified Civil Service (Unclassified Service) - positions specified under Section 35 of the Civil Service Law. Examples are: elected officials, appointees of the Governor or Legislature (including heads of Departments and legislative employees), and employees in professional positions in certain colleges whose principal functions are teaching or supervision of teaching in a public school, academy or college, or in the State University.
Veteran - a member of the armed forces of the United States who served therein in time of war and who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances fro such services. Armed forces is defined as the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, including all components thereof, and the National Guard when in the service of the United States pursuant to call as provided by law on a full-time active duty basis, which does not include active duty for training purposes. Service must have been on a full-time basis other than active duty for training purposes. New York State law defines "time of war" as: World War II (December 4, 1941 - December 31, 1946), Korean War (June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955), Vietnam War (February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975), Persian Gulf Conflict (August 2, 1990 - the date upon which such hostilities end) and the armed forces expeditionary medal, Navy expeditionary medal or Marine Corp expeditionary medal for hostilities in Lebanon (June 1, 1983 - December 1, 1987), hostilities in Grenada (October 23, 1983 - November 21, 1983), hostilities in Panama (December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990) or commissioned corps of the United States public health services (July 29, 1945 - September 2, 1945 and June 26, 1950 - July 3, 1952).
Veteran's Credits - points authorized by the State Constitution added to passing examination scores of veterans who are New York residents.
Written Test - a formal assessment which presents candidates with written questions or problems and/or requires candidates to give written answers or responses. Commonly used written test formats include multiple-choice questions, job simulation exercises, and constructed-response or essay tests.