1107 - Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP)



Audience List

  • Department Directors
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Officers
  • Human Resources Chiefs
  • Labor Relations Officers
  • LEAP Coordinators
  • Personnel Officers


This policy:

  • Details the Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP) including changes to the law and regulations affecting state departments.
  • Specifies pertinent timelines related to program administration and requirements for compliance.


It is the policy of the State of California to ensure efforts are made towards the recruitment, hire and retention of persons with disabilities. The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) is responsible for certifying individuals’ eligibility for LEAP. The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) is responsible for the administration of LEAP.

LEAP is a voluntary, competitive, and alternative method of hiring persons with disabilities for state employment. Through the LEAP program, the workplace becomes more inclusive by extending opportunities to qualified applicants with disabilities.


LEAP appointments made to vacant positions shall be consistent with merit selection rules. Any job classification may be designated as a LEAP-certified classification and shall have the same qualifications as the parallel (non-LEAP) classification.

Individuals selected from a LEAP referral list are appointed to a LEAP-certified classification as limited term and must serve and successfully pass a job evaluation period (JEP) prior to permanent appointment to the classification. During the JEP, the employee must demonstrate their ability to successfully perform the duties of the position.

To facilitate implementation of the LEAP examination and appointment process, appointing powers may designate coordinators. Coordinators may act as liaisons for the appointing authority, LEAP candidates/incumbents, and CalHR during the examination appointment.


Eligibility for a LEAP Referral List

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.55, individuals with disabilities may apply for LEAP certification through the DOR. To become certified, candidates should take documentation of disability as well as a photo identification to a local DOR office. If appropriate, a DOR counselor will certify the individual as LEAP eligible and provide the candidate with a certificate. The candidate then must provide the certificate to CalHR to be entered into CalCareers.

Candidates take a LEAP Examination (also known as Minimum Qualifications Assessments/Readiness Evaluations) for placement on a LEAP referral list. Once on a LEAP referral list for a specific classification, the candidate may apply for any job openings for that classification. California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.57, et.seq., provides that candidates whose names have been placed on a LEAP referral list shall remain on the list until they are selected for a full-time appointment after successful completion of an examination appointment or for two years (24 months) from the date the applicant’s name is placed on the list, whichever occurs first.

LEAP candidates who are selected for a part-time or intermittent appointment after successful completion of an examination appointment shall remain on the LEAP referral list unless one of the following occurs:

• When the notice of certification on the list is returned as not deliverable to their last known address; or,

• When CalHR or the appointing power receives a written request from the candidate to have their name removed.

Note: In accordance with California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.57.4, a qualified candidate may simultaneously be on both a LEAP referral list and a non-LEAP eligibility list. Furthermore, a transfer between a LEAP-referral list and a non-LEAP eligibility list is not permitted.

Requesting a LEAP-Referral List

To increase employment of qualified individuals with disabilities within the state workforce, appointing powers may request a LEAP-referral list to fill a job vacancy. Pursuant to Government Code section 19057.1, subdivision (b), an appointing authority may request a LEAP-referral list. A LEAP-referral list includes the names of qualified persons with disabilities, including persons with developmental disabilities successfully completing internships pursuant to Government Code section 19242, who are eligible for an examination appointment to a LEAP certified classification. It also includes the names of state employees with State Restriction of Appointments (SROA) and Reemployment eligibility. The purpose of only requesting a LEAP-referral list is so appointing powers may utilize targeted recruitment for persons with disabilities as only LEAP, SROA, and/or Reemployment candidates would be notified of the opportunity to apply for the vacant position. In such instance, it is permissible for the list of candidates provided to the hiring manager by the HR Office to indicate which candidates are LEAP eligible and which are SROA or Reemployment eligible.

Either method may be used to recruit and appoint individuals to a LEAP examination appointment. However, for those appointing powers who have failed to meet disability parity in their workforce and are required by Government Code Section 19232 to develop and implement an affirmative action employment plan for individuals with a disability, ordering a LEAP referral list serves as an effective recruitment strategy to increase the participation of persons with disabilities in their hiring process.

Correction of a LEAP-Referral List

In accordance with California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.57.2, appointing powers shall correct LEAP-referral lists and cancel incorrect lists if it becomes apparent that omissions, errors, or irregularities have occurred. Cancellations of LEAP-referral lists shall not invalidate any examination appointments, unless the reason for the cancellation is due to the selected candidates not being eligible for appointment. If the reason for the cancellation would have made the selected candidate ineligible, their appointment must be voided.

Abolishing a LEAP-Referral List

Appointing powers may abolish a LEAP-Referral list if three or fewer candidates remain on the list or if they determine that it is in the state’s best interests to abolish it. Once the list is abolished, the appointing power shall notify any candidates on the list of its abolishment, pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.57.3.


An appointing power interested in increasing the representation of persons with disabilities in its workforce may conduct targeted recruitment by advertising job vacancies indicating a hiring preference for LEAP candidates. This can be an important part of an affirmative action employment plan for persons with disabilities pursuant to Government Code section 19232, especially for departments where persons with disabilities are significantly underrepresented.

LEAP-preferred advertisements do not preclude non-LEAP candidates from applying for the job vacancy. However, an appointing power may request a LEAP-referral list (see below) and choose to restrict hiring to only applicants from that list. The appointing power may choose to restrict consideration to applicants on the LEAP-referral first before considering non-LEAP applicants or it may choose to consider the LEAP and non-LEAP applicants simultaneously.

When an appointing power elects to utilize a LEAP-preferred advertisement, the appointing power should include the following language in the job advertisement: “[The XYZ Department] may provide hiring preference to LEAP candidates to fill this position. Non-LEAP candidates may still apply.”

Hiring Manager’s Report

If an appointing power does not request a LEAP-referral list, and instead, requests any type of promotional or open employment list to fill a vacant position, any existing corresponding LEAP-referral list is merged with the requested employment list to create the Hiring Manager’s Report. The Hiring Manager’s Report provides a list of all eligible candidates (both LEAP and non-LEAP) and is given to the hiring manager, panel, and/or any other person with the authority to approve the appointment, pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 155.

The Hiring Manager's Report shall not specifically identify whether a candidate's eligibility is based upon a LEAP-referral list, non-LEAP employment list, or both. The name of candidates with dual eligibility shall be listed only once. The non-disclosure of candidates’ LEAP eligibility reduces the risk of bias against persons with disabilities during the hiring process. For this reason, an appointing power is not permitted to simultaneously request a LEAP-referral list and a non-LEAP employment list in order to prevent a hiring manager from identifying LEAP-referral candidates on the Hiring Manager’s Report.

A candidate with dual eligibility who is selected for the job vacancy may choose whether to be appointed from the LEAP-referral list or the non-LEAP employment list, regardless of which process is used.

Appointment of LEAP Candidate and Job Examination Period

When departments hire a candidate through the LEAP process, a JEP will be conducted to allow the candidate to demonstrate their ability to perform the essential functions of the position.

1. The appointment type during the JEP shall be limited-term, not to exceed one year in duration except in the case of permissible absences.

         A. Prior to commencement of the JEP, the candidate shall be provided with the position duty statement and the evaluation standards that will be applied.

2. According to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.58.1, the JEP shall be the length of the probationary period for the parallel classification.

          A. For LEAP appointments in positions that are a part-time or intermittent time base, the length of the JEP shall be based on the following:

  •  If the probationary period for the parallel classification is 6 months, the JEP shall be 840 hours.
  • If the probationary period for the parallel classification is 1 year, the JEP shall be 1680 hours.
  • If the position has an intermittent time base and the classification has a one-year probation period, departments may allow the candidate to work in excess of the 1500-hour working limitation (during the JEP) within 12 consecutive months where there is availability of work and funds.

3. The appointing power may only extend or shorten the JEP when approved by CalHR under the following:

  • Extending the duration of the JEP shall only be considered based on permissible absences.
  • Shortening the duration of the JEP is allowed when the candidate has demonstrated the ability to perform all duties. Reasons for shortening the JEP must be documented. In no event may a LEAP candidate serve less than three quarters of the JEP.

4. Hours worked toward completion of the JEP must be physically worked. Time off shall not be counted.

Salary and Benefits

1. LEAP candidates shall not acquire permanent civil services status but shall receive the same salary, health, dental, vision and leave benefits as other state employees in limited term positions.

2. Time spent in the JEP counts as time served in the classification.

3. Hiring Above the Minimum authorizations for extraordinary qualifications do not apply to LEAP appointments.

Bargaining Unit Designation

All candidates hired via the LEAP process shall be placed in the appropriate bargaining unit of the civil service classification and receive the same employment rights and privileges pursuant to the appropriate memorandum of understanding.


California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.58.3, requires the appointing power to assess job performance and provide written evaluations to LEAP candidates at least once every four weeks, regardless of time base.

Evaluations may be completed using CalHR Form 273. Departments are no longer required to submit a request to CalHR for approval to transition the employee to the non-LEAP appointment upon completion of the JEP.


Only authorized persons shall have access to information regarding a candidate’s participation in LEAP. Information regarding a LEAP candidate’s eligibility or participation in the hiring process shall not be available to any member of an oral interview panel, performance-testing panel, or the appointing power or appointing power’s representative prior to appointment to civil service. Duty statements, electronic communications and any other written or verbal communications shared with unauthorized staff, or documents included in Official Personnel Files, shall not include references to LEAP candidates or make a distinction to identify such individuals.

Reasonable Accommodations

LEAP candidates may request and receive reasonable accommodation during the JEP in accordance with applicable laws and the department’s reasonable accommodation policy, pursuant to Government Code section 19230.

Transition upon Completion of JEP

According to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.58.7, upon successful completion of the JEP, the candidate shall qualify for appointment to the civil service classification. Civil service status shall then accumulate. Candidates transitioned to a permanent civil service appointment after the JEP are not required to serve a probationary period.

Termination of JEP

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 547.58.8, if the LEAP candidate fails to satisfy the JEP’s job specific related criteria, the candidate’s examination appointment shall be terminated. The appointing power must provide written notice of the proposed action at least five working days prior to the effective date of the termination. The notice shall specify the reasons for termination, the right to respond to the appointing power, and the right to appeal the action to the State Personnel Board (SPB). The notice shall include any applicable SPB regulations related to appeals.

If the appointing power fails to terminate the appointment of a LEAP candidate within 30 days after the end of the JEP, it shall be presumed that the candidate satisfied the JEP job specific related criteria.


The following LEAP related concerns may be appealed to the SPB:

• Refusal by the DOR to certify eligibility to participate in LEAP

• Disqualification from the LEAP Readiness Evaluation

• Disqualification after interviewing with an interview panel

• Denial of reasonable accommodation during the JEP

• Termination of the examination appointment during the JEP




  • Form 273: Job Evaluation Period Evaluation

Web Pages

Authorized By

Chris Dainard
Chief, California Department of Human Resources

Chief, Policy Division
State Personnel Board

Contact Person

Selection Division
Policy Program , Selection Division
Phone: 916-909-3757
Email: SDPolicy@calhr.ca.gov

Superseded Policies

Guidelines for Implementing the Statutes and Regulations Governing the Limited Examination and Appointment Program dated October 2005 (LEAP Manual) - 1/1/2021


View History

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Table of Contents

1000 - Equal Employment Opportunity

1100 - Selection

1200 - Appointments

1300 - Exempt Employees

1400 - Benefits and Insurance

1500 - Work Schedules

1600 - Third Party Pre-Tax Parking

1700 - Compensation

1800 - Savings Plus

1900 - Bona Fide Associations

2000 - Collective Bargaining

2100 - Leave

2200 - Travel/Relocation

2300 - State Owned Housing

2400 - Employee Recognition

2600 - Layoffs

2700 - Retirement

2800 - Training

2900 - Workforce Planning

3000 - Examination and Hiring

3100 - Drug-Free Workplace

3200 - Medical Screening

3300 - Apprenticeships

3400 - Temporary Assignment

3500 - Classification Plan