About Civil Service

If you work in a Central or administrative role, it’s important to know a little bit about your civil service status. You can find your civil service title in the offer letter you received, by asking your local HR Manager, or by contacting HR Connect at (718) 935-4000. Most civil service titles fall under one of two classes: competitive and non-competitive:

  • For non-competitive titles there are no standardized tests and no formal lines of promotion.
  • For each competitive title, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) periodically offers a test (“civil service examination”) and creates a list of eligible and qualified candidates based on the results.
  • Employees in competitive titles can become permanent workers protected by federal, state and local laws. In general, they have job security, promotional opportunities, and due-process rights.
    • If you have been appointed to a competitive position, but haven’t taken the test for the relevant civil service title, you’re a provisional employee. 
    • If a test has been given and an eligible list has been issued, the DOE is obligated to hire a candidate from the eligible list for that title on a permanent basis. If you are a provisional employee, you must take the exam for your title when it is offered, or you may be replaced by a candidate from the eligible list.
    • Although provisional employees are notified when the exams for their titles are offered, you can check for upcoming tests on the DCAS website and in The Chief, a newspaper for City employees. You can also ask your HR Manager.

Provisional Status

Although provisional and permanent workers receive similar benefits, greater restrictions are placed on provisional employees, who:

  • Must be employed for three months before they are eligible for health benefits, unless their union contract states otherwise. 
  • Must be employed for four months before they can take any annual leave. They also must submit a doctor’s note for any sick leave taken during their first three months.
  • May be entitled to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), if they meet the requirements. (Permanent employees are entitled to additional leave opportunities beyond those covered by FMLA.)
  • May be discharged at any time unless their union contract states otherwise. (Permanent employees may not be terminated without proving just cause and going through due-process procedures.)
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