T0: Department and Agency Personnel, Human Resource and Affirmative Action Offices
FROM: James W. Sever, Director of Staffing Services
SUBJECT: Appointment Letters and Personnel Transaction Notification Letters
It is important that employees are aware of their rights, and the limitations of their rights, that may or may not accrue to them as a result of any appointment or personnel transaction. Most agencies send appointment letters to their new employees upon initial hire, and/or notification letters to their current employees when they are promoted, reassigned or some other transaction affects them. Labor management agreements may also require these kinds of written notices. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide some guidelines on the content and use of these very significant documents.
Appointment Letter Basics:
Every appointment letter should include the following:
Eligibles being offered an appointment should be told in writing to bring with them:
New employees must also often be given information about their work location, name of supervisor, working hours, shift, and "house-keeping" essentials such as parking, building security, safety and health information. It is suggested that agencies develop handouts as appropriate.
The personnel field has become increasingly complex, and some of the terms we use in appointment letters or our discussions with employees are likely to be misunderstood if not explained. Several such areas are discussed below. We suggest agencies develop a series of handouts or form letters about these topics which can be attached to appointment and notification letters to provide appropriate information.
Tenure: Provisional and temporary employees should be told they have no tenure in the positions to which they've been appointed. Provisional employees should be told they are expected to take the next examination for their title, and, where known, when this examination is expected to be held. Employees appointed permanently to exempt class positions or non-competitive class positions designated policy influencing or confidential should be advised that pursuant to section 75 of the Civil Service law employees in such positions do not gain tenure protection, except if they are an exempt volunteer firefighter or an honorably discharged veteran of the armed forces, provided, however they do not hold the position of private secretary, cashier or deputy of any official or department.
Hold Items and Leaves of Absence: When employees are promoted or transferred, and, in some cases, appointed from an open-competitive or reemployment list, they must be given a leave of absence for usually the duration of any required probationary period. Any leaves beyond these mandatory leaves are discretionary. Employees who are being given a leave must be notified in writing as to the kind of leave they've been given, its expected duration and the procedures for requesting return to a hold item. (See appropriate memoranda in this section and 2200 of this manual.)
Probationary Periods: (See also section 2010 in this manual) Employees serving probation must be told their minimum and maximum periods and the schedule for their evaluations. If probation is being waived (e.g., for transfers) they must be told this at the time of appointment. If they were a probationer at the time of appointment to another, higher level position, they must be told whether or not their service will also count toward the completion of probation in their former, lower-level position.
Traineeships: Employees appointed to traineeships must be told the title and level of their journey title, the length of their traineeship, and any requirements they are expected to meet (e.g., training courses, performance levels, etc.) in order to successfully complete their traineeships.
Contingent Permanent Employees: Contingent permanent employees must be told that they can be displaced by the return of a prior permanent incumbent, and that, if appropriate, they have been granted a leave from any hold item for as long as he or she remains in contingent permanent status. They should also be informed that they will be given a permanent position when one becomes available (See 1810 in this manual), and, that once they have completed any required probationary period, they may return to this hold item ONLY if displaced by the prior permanent incumbent.
Some agencies use form letters for the different types of appointments and transactions, (e.g., transferees, new hires, promotions, appointments to positions in a different jurisdictional class, reassignments, etc.) because each requires different, although relatively standard, information. Some agencies use a standard personnel status change form with check boxes to indicate these changes. However it is done, as long as it is done, is up to the agency. However, these letters and forms should be reexamined periodically, but especially whenever changes in Civil Service law, rules, regulations or policies occur. Your Staffing Services Representative can help you review these letters, forms and handouts to ensure that all the information is included and correct.