1208 - Promotions in Place



Audience List

  • Labor Relations Officers
  • Personnel Officers
  • Transactions Supervisors
  • Administrative Chiefs


This policy provides:

  • The conditions for promotions-in-place.
  • The documentation process for promotions-in-place.


Each state agency shall encourage promotional advancement to employees who demonstrate a willingness and ability to competently perform assigned job tasks. A promotion-in-place provides the opportunity for an employee ready to assume a role of greater responsibility and more complex duties to advance by upgrading their current position.



A department can process a promotion-in-place when all of the following applies:

  • The department has identified a need for the position to perform higher level duties; and
  • The employee has permanent civil service status regardless of time-base; and
  • The employee has demonstrated satisfactorily or higher job performance in their current position, and shown the ability and willingness to succeed; and
  • The employee has eligibility and is reachable on the certification list of the higher classification; and
  • The employee’s current position is reclassified to the higher level without a change in unit or location.

Note: Incumbents who do not have a permanent status in their current position are not eligible for a promotion-in-place


When processing a promotion-in-place, departments shall:

  • Contact their human resources office to determine who has eligibility within the unit before a promotion-in-place can be determined. 
  • Determine that the employee is in one of the top three ranks of the certification list. If the employee is not in one of the top three ranks the appointing power shall not try to clear ranks by sending employment inquiries to candidates ranked higher than the employee.

o  State Restriction of Appointment (SROA) and reemployment lists shall not be considered, since the promotion-in-place is an appointment to a classification to which the employee’s position has been reclassified, rather than an appointment to a vacant position.

  • Document the reasons for selecting the employee for the promotion-in-place. The documentation shall be maintained pursuant to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 26.

Note: A true vacancy means a vacant position in the employee’s unit that is in the employee’s from or to class for which the appointing power is actively recruiting. If there is a true vacancy in the unit, the appointing power may promote in place the employee before filling the true vacancy, if the criteria above is met.  Filling the true vacancy may be subject to the provisions of the Department's SROA program.

  • Notify and meet with the employees who were eligible and reachable, but not selected for the promotion-in-place.

o  This notification shall be given to the employee(s) in person with a written explanation of why they were not selected. This written document shall outline the necessary competencies and training opportunities (such as, work assignments, classroom/desk training) for future success. Refer to California Code of Regulations, title 2, section 76.3.

As a best practice, use the STD. 637 Individual Development Plan (IDP) form to provide employees that were not selected for the promotion feedback on how to accomplish their performance objectives.

In cases where the employee has had an IDP within the last 12 months, there is no need to provide the employee with further documentation regarding employee development or competencies. However, a meeting must still occur and a written explanation of why the employee was not selected is required.

o  The department shall document the date and time and any relevant information regarding the meeting with the employee(s).

As a best practice, the meeting(s) should be held prior to the announcement of the promotion-in-place or within the 30 days of the effective date of the promotion-in-place.

Note: Ensure the work being performed within the unit is based on operational needs. As a reminder, per Government Code 19818.8, positions must be appropriately allocated.

Note: As a best practice, always check the applicable bargaining unit contract.

Note: A unit is where the employee routinely and regularly works. Promotions-in-place are not allowed across multiple units. In this case, departments will be required to recruit.

o For example, an Information Technology Division (ITD) containing three (3) units has an operational need for a higher-level position and wants to do a promotion-in-place within their Customer Service Unit. Eligible employees in the other units within ITD shall not be considered for this promotion-in-place, only those employees within that unit would be considered.

Note: Promotions-in-place from rank and file to supervisory or managerial are not allowed.

Note: Departments should hold a modified internal/informal competitive process for promotions-in-place to high level specialists classifications.





Authorized By

Melissa Russell
Chief, Personnel Management Division

Contact Person

Personnel Management Division
Personnel Program Consultant , Personnel Management Division
Phone: 916-324-9381
Fax: 916-327-1886
Email: pmd@calhr.ca.gov

Superseded Policies

Not Applicable.


View History

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 - Controlled Substance Abuse Testing and Treatment Program

3300 - Apprenticeships

3400 - Temporary Assignment