SUBJECT: Extra Help Policy


DATE: January 6, 1997

It is the policy of San Mateo County to use Extra Help employees only in the following circumstances and for a limit of 1,040 hours per fiscal year per employee:

1. Temporary absence of incumbent.

2. Short-term variations in workload, including seasonal work (e.g. elections, lifeguards).

3. Short-term special projects/assignments/pilot programs.

4. Temporary filling of vacant positions.

5. Intermittent work (e.g. library pages, on-call nurses)

6. Temporary staffing prior to implementation of organizational or technological changes (e.g. computer programmers)

The County Manager’s Office (CMO) provides fiscal oversight through periodic budget monitoring and year-end review of both expenditures and trends in utilization and duration of extra help. Employee and Public Services (EPS) provides personnel assistance to assure that extra help employees are hired for acceptable reasons and that appropriate hiring practices are applied.


The revised policy transfers approval process from the CMO to the Departments. The policy does not change the justification categories or annual hourly limit (1,040 hours) for extra help employment. It is the responsibility of the Departments to assure that extra help employees are being hired for appropriate purposes and within budgetary constraints. Approval at the Department level can be assigned to Division or Department Heads, depending on the configuration and preference of the Department Head.

The revised policy allows for a more streamlined ex1ra help hiring process by allowing Departments to submit extra help requisitions directly to EPS for review and processing. EPS will review requisitions for completion, appropriateness and sign-off approval. County Manager approval continues to he necessary for extending extra help employee hours beyond the 1,040 limit.

The new policy adds a year-end review of use of ex1ra help to the budget process to provide fiscal and management oversight. The year-end review is conducted by the County Manager’s Office with the Department, in conjunction with EPS as necessary. The year-end review will include:

1. Review of extra help expenditures

2. Review of extensions beyond 1,040 hour limit

3. Trends expected in following budget cycle

4. Reasons for utilizing extra help

5. Review of requests for conversion of extra help to permanent positions

The year-end reviews will focus primarily on those Departments that employ large numbers of extra help employees and Departments that have used extra help employees beyond the 1,040 hour limit.


1. Department informs assigned EPS Personnel Analyst of need for extra help.

2. Department completes requisition, which is signed by Department or Division Head. A blank requisition is attached.

3. Department submits request to assigned EPS Personnel Analyst.

If extra-help employee(s) have been pre-selected, include application.

4. EPS Personnel Analyst reviews requisition for appropriateness of hire, completeness and approval signatures. Applications are reviewed for minimum qualifications.

5. EPS notifies department to pr,.oceed or a’lsists department in extra help hiring process.

6. Department arranges fingerprinting and/or pre-placement physicals if appropriate.

7. Department sends job offer letter to applicant; notifies applicant of ineligibility for benefits, etc.

8. Extra help employee is hired and necessary paperwork is completed by department’s Payroll Clerk.


1. EPS sends notification to Departments of those extra help employees approaching 1,040

hour limit. A cover letter from County Manager’s Offic(CMO) accompanies notification explaining policy on extending extra help.

2. Departments submit requests for extension beyond 1,040 limit to CMO within two weeks of receipt of notification from EPS. Requests should include name of employee, number of additional hours requested and justification for extension.

3. CMO approves/denies request within 10 working days, notifies department and forwards approved extensions to EPS.

4. Review of extra help utilization included in annual budget process.

Download B-18_Personnel_Requisition Form

Hiring Procedures

1. Complete the requisition and forward it to the Employee and Public Services’ TRAC Coordinator, EPS-121.

If the requisition is for an Extra Help position and you have pre-selected your candidate, please send us the application along with the requisition for our review.

2. Once we receive the requisition, we will process it:

If an eligible list exists, we will send a certification list to your designated contact.

If no list exists, your EPS Personnel Analyst will contact you to discuss recruitment plans.

If you are looking to fill an Extra Help position with no known candidate, we will contact you to discuss the use of regular or alternate eligible lists.

3. With the completion of the recruitment process and/or the receipt of the certification list you will need to:

a) Interview candidates

b) Check references

c) Make a written job offer pending completion of pre-placement physical and fingerprinting requirements

d) Notify all candidates of results

e) Notify EPS of results (We require that you return the certification list to us, letting us know the results of each interview. See the certification list for specific coding instructions.)


NOTE: You must inform your department Personnel/Payroll Specialist of the impending hire well in advance of the employee start date in order that s/he can arrange for the pre-placement physical and fingerprinting appointments and process the necessary new hire paperwork.