State Universities Civil Service System
1717 Philo Road, Suite 24
Urbana, IL 61802
217.278.3150
www.sucss.illinois.gov
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Frequently Asked Questions

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The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is a compilation of questions and answers that University/Agency employers, employees, or applicants have consulted with our office.

Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information on our website or from other sources.

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Classification

Can I work part time “on and off” at an agency or university of the State Universities Civil Service System?

Yes, if a match can be found between an employer’s staffing and funding needs and an individual’s desire to work on a part-time occasional basis, they can be hired through the Civil Service employment process as a nonstatus employee in either a temporary appointment or an extra help appointment.

Do temporary appointments require taking a Civil Service exam?

Yes. Candidates are called in the same manner they are for a status appointment. However, refusal to accept such an appointment will in no way effect the candidate’s position on the register regardless of the number of refusals or appointments.

How are work hours and position hours monitored?

Employers are to review the status of Extra- Help positions and monitor position usage as well as employee work hours. If at any time it is found that the position has become an appointment which is other than Extra Help, the Rules stipulate that the employer is to terminate the appointment.

How do I request a job audit?

To request an audit the employee will need to update their job description and ensure that all current duties and responsibilities are captured. Once the job description has been updated and signed, the employee can request that the human resources office audit the position.

How many hours can an Extra-Help employee work?

An Extra-Help appointment may only serve for 900 consecutive hours and then an individual cannot resume employment in another Extra-Help appointment for thirty (30) calendar days.

How many hours can an Extra-Help position be utilized?

An Extra-Help position may only be utilized for a maximum of 900 hours of actual work in any consecutive 12 calendar months. If an Extra-Help position has accrued 900 consecutive hours, the position shall not be reestablished until six (6) months has elapsed.

I cannot locate the class spec for a class title on your web site.

If you have performed a search on our Class Specification page and are unable to find what you are looking for, please email Cindy Neitzel.

If I think my job duties and responsibilities have changed, how can I have my position reviewed?

Employees can request a desk audit of their position if they believe their duties and responsibilities have changed or increased. Though the System Office recommends that an employee coordinate a desk audit with their supervisor or departmental representative, each employee has a right to request an audit.

What are Extra-Help Appointments?

Extra-Help Appointments are non-status appointments and positions which an employer attests to be casual or emergent. Unlike traditional status appointments requiring the completion of a civil service examination, an Extra-Help employee can be hired based on an application review, interview and other supplemental employer recruiting processes. These supplemental processes may include completion of a skills test, such as a typing test, if required by the position being filled. Classifications for these positions are also broad in nature such as administrative, professional, technical, clerical, trades, and service. Compensation of Extra-Help employees is based on the limits established for comparable service in similar status employment positions. Extra-Help employees do not receive benefits such as health insurance or paid vacation leave

What happens during a job audit?

The human resources office will assign an employee to audit the position. The auditor will most often visit the employee at the worksite and review the job description with the employee and the supervisor. Often the auditor will review documents and other pertinent information related to the position. You will be contacted by your human resources office concerning the outcome of the audit.

What is a temporary appointment?

A temporary appointment can be made to any position which the affiliated agency or university certifies to be emergent, temporary or transitory. However, such an appointment is typically only for three months. An appointment for beyond that time period can be renewed with approval from the Executive Director of the System Office for 3 more months less 1 day.

Custom Classifications

Can a waiver of a degree be requested?

Remember that these classifications attempt to formalize a professional series of classifications, similar to many AP positions. For now and until such time that the universities make the request for a waiver option, we felt that we must attach the degree requirement to give these classes that professional distinction.

How are values assigned to areas of specialization? Is there a point value, or does meeting that requirement trump the score?

There is no point value attached to areas of specialization assigned to these positions. Satisfactory verification and fulfillment of the stated requirement, along with the other basic education and experience requirements, affords the applicant a minimum passing score.

How will changes/increases in position duties and responsibilities be handled? Is there a promotional track that will be established, or is the next position level expected to be an academic professional position? How are different levels of positions within the class differentiated?

The job specifications for these positions are so generic that any changes in position duties and responsibilities can be handled in a similar and consistent manner as with any other non-Civil Service professional position. The Employer is allowed to use discretion on salary upgrades and job content. Local policies in this regard generally operate on a change in working title along with a salary adjustment. The only restriction from this perspective would be that the salary remain within the established university/agency pay range. It is not our intent to establish different levels within the class or a promotional track.

Is the intent that after three months the register will be cleared and then the recruiting process will start over or can viable candidates be kept on the register in anticipation of the next vacancy? As an alternative, should the register be cleared once an open position has been filled, rather than clearing the register every three months?

Maximum flexibility in this respect has been accomplished and Employers are allowed to determine when to void the registers, but must void them after one year.

Is the movement of a civil service employee from an existing class to a classification under the Pilot Program considered a lateral or a reclassification/reallocation (i.e. Accountant IV to Accounting Associate or Personnel Officer III to Human Resources Associate)?

In any case, this type of move would be defined as a reallocation. The final determination of whether a move like this is ‘lateral’ should be based simply on the assessment of whether the duties and responsibilities of the position have changed. Since these new classifications are not contained in any current classification series, such moves are not subject to any traditional Civil Service System designated promotion and, if the job duties have not changed, then could be considered a lateral move. Please be reminded though that many universities and/or agencies have supplemental internal policies, which may look at the salary range or earning potential of each classification when establishing the final salary in these transactions. An additional review of all local policies may be necessary.

Is there a risk of anyone with the broad title bumping a person with the needed specialization?

There is no risk of this unless that individual has demonstrated and verified their fulfillment of the specialization requirements and they are on an active register for that specialized position.

Should required attributes of the class spec, which can be verified on the applicant’s resume and/or application, be part of the rating sheet?

Many of these attributes are abstract characteristics that cannot easily be assessed by a simple examination of the resume and/or application. It would be difficult to formalize a consistent process for assessment of these components and we do not envision this component to be included as part of this initial rating process.

We have concerns with the Accounting Associate rating sheet. It appears that some qualifications could be counted twice under the minimum qualifications and again under the education, experience, or special certification sections.

That only happens if the Special Certification (CPA or LPA) is used to minimally qualify the applicant. In that instance, we felt that the Special Certification (CPA or LPA) should carry more weight than just allowing the applicant to minimally qualify. We incorporated this concept into the scoring procedure. That is the only instance where it appears that a category of qualification also merits some additional points in the final point allocation. Our general intent is not to allow any additional scoring for components that the applicant used to meet the minimum qualifying score, except if they were beyond the expressed minimum level for qualification.

What are the positives for the individual in one of these classifications?

Typically in this employment scenario, these employees are FLSA-exempt, which may immediately qualify them for a higher level of benefit accrual. Additionally, with no direct tie to promotional lines, it affords a clean synergy between salary, merit, job assignment, and performance. The employment process and relationship associated with this classification structure is consistent with the true merit and quality-based concepts prevalent in the higher education employment arena, particularly as related to professional and academic appointments.

Who keeps the registers?

We feel that this program will stimulate communication between the campus HR office and the internal hiring department. That will be required if this program is to be utilized, since HR should keep the registers and at least be informed of the initial assessment of the resume/application.

Who will define the areas of specialization (Civil Service or the Campus HR offices working with departments)?

The Campus HR offices and the employing departments are to define any area of specialization to be attached to any positions in this new program.

Will the person hired into a position with an area of specialization be protected from being bumped (in the layoff process) by a more senior employee who does not possess the area of specialization?

That is correct. Individuals employed in positions with a defined area of specialization cannot be displaced in the layoff process by someone who does not possess the defined area of specialization.

Will the proposed classifications eventually replace some of the existing classifications?

That is one of the long-term objectives. Please understand that we view this program as a major shift in our conceptual foundation and requires somewhat of a major cultural change in operations. This program actually requires the employing department to look first at the objective in the employment transaction and then look at the method and means of accomplishing that objective. Our movement in this program is to afford the flexibility in procedures to allow the employing department to reach that goal. We believe then that, as employing departments are asked to first look at the objective in their employment decisions, there may still be some need for many of the traditional rules and procedures to remain as an alternative to meet that objective.

Will we have to provide applicants their score? How is the proposed rating to be explained?

Program guidelines define the type of communication required to all applicants. The communication of specific scores is not suggested and required initially, but can be provided upon inquiry.

Employment

Does the State Universities Civil Service System currently have any job openings?

Any employment opportunities at SUCSS will be listed on our Employment Opportunities page.

Where can I find details about certain job titles?

Our Class Specifications page is a searchable database of every valid class title. You can view the details and the associated specifications link for more details.

Where can I find information about employment at a University?

Our Universities page contains links to all of the State Universities and their respective Human Resources website. Please check with the University about any specific job openings.

Exams / Testing

How can I find out my test score once I take an exam?

It is the responsibility of each employer (university/agency) to notify an applicant of their exam score and register placement.

How can I qualify and complete an exam for a Civil Service position and where do I take the examination?

In most instances an applicant will complete the examination at the place of employment (university/agency) where the applicant is pursuing employment. Any applicant wishing to take a Civil Service exam must first complete an employment application and in most instances the employer will also require the applicant to complete a test/exam request form. The applicant must identify the classification title for the position they are interested in and through a self-evaluation determine if their experience and education meet the Minimum Acceptable Qualifications for position/class specification. Staff at the university/agency will ensure that the applicant is qualified for the position and will schedule a date and time for the applicant to complete the examination. There are opportunities to complete an examination and transfer a score but this is not the normal procedure.

How long can my score remain effective after I complete an exam?

There is no established maximum time limit for scores to remain on an employment register. However, periodically an employer (university/agency) may contact an applicant to determine if the applicant is still interested in employment. If the applicant is no longer interested in a position with that employer, the applicant’s name can be removed from the employment register. In addition, when an examination is revised or rewritten all scores are removed from the employment register and applicants are required to reapply and complete the new examination. Each completed examination is maintained by the employer for a minimum of two months following the date of the exam. The System Office receives and retains the original answer sheet (blue/pink-bubble-sheet) for 7 1/2 years. The answer sheet includes scores for all sections of the examination.

How often can I retake an exam to improve my score?

An applicant is allowed to initially complete an examination and then is afforded the opportunity to retake the examination for a specific classification three times within a 12 month period. There must be at least a one month time lapse between every rewrite (retake). The applicant’s highest score will remain on the register. Dependent upon position turnover and need for employees, a specific examination may be offered on a limited basis.

Once I have taken an exam, how can I transfer my exam score to another University System employer?

A candidate may make a request to the Human Resources Director (Designated Employer Representative) to transfer a passing examination score from one University System employer to another. Upon transfer, the score will be placed on the Original Entry Register at the ‘new’ University System employer. The Designated Employer Representative will complete the required transmittal forms and send a copy of the applicant’s employment application along with the scoring information to the ‘new’ place of employment.

What is an E-Test?

E-Test is a State University System examination that is provided through electronic distribution. The examination is completed on a computer at a university/agency location by using a monitor, mouse and keyboard (if necessary).

Furlough

Can I use vacation or sick leave to not have to take a furlough day?

No. Employees cannot use accrued benefit time during a furlough period.

Do I retain my benefits (other than pay) during the furlough or do I lose them?

An employee who is designated for furlough will retain all standard benefits during the furlough period.

Does the university/agency have to notify me of the furlough?

Yes. Prior to implementing a Furlough Program, employees must be provided a minimum of 30 days notice.

How long will I be on a furlough?

There is a maximum of 15 furlough days per fiscal year. The University/Agency decides when the furlough days are implemented.

What is a furlough?

A furlough is the placement of an employee in a non-pay, non-work status for a designated period of time. It was developed to provide employers/employees with a tool in continuing to deliver student services, with the goal of ultimately eliminating the need for layoffs, or at least to potentially reduce the number of layoffs.

Who decides if my university/agency can implement a furlough?

Each university/agency will make an independent determination as to whether a furlough program will be implemented. The furlough rule was developed to provide employers/employees with a tool in continuing to deliver student services, with the goal of ultimately eliminating the need for layoffs, or at least to potentially reduce the number of layoffs.

For employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement, whether or not they will be furloughed may have to be negotiated through their union. Employees in a union can contact their union representatives if they have questions.

Who monitors a university/agency if they implement a furlough?

University/Agency management are required to provide status reports to the State Universities Civil Service System which shall include any additional furlough or cost cutting programs that would apply to campus administrators, principal administrative appointments (PAA), and faculty.

Layoffs

Can an employee decide not to exercise their seniority rights and be laid off rather than move to another position?

Yes, if an employee chooses not to exercise their seniority rights, they should sign a statement indicating such and be placed on the appropriate register, reemployment or restoral, whichever applies. An employee may refuse two additional offers of employment in the classification and then shall be removed from the applicable register.

Can I move to another position rather than be laid off?

Civil Service employees may exercise their seniority rights in another classification within the promotional line or to a classification previously held. Movements of this nature occur in a prescribed descending order of seniority first within the current classification, then within the promotional line, and finally to previously held classifications outside the promotional line. Specific questions should be directed to the campus/agency Human Resource Office or the System Office.

Do I retain my current rate of pay if I exercise my seniority rights and move to another position?

When an employee moves to another position in the same classification in lieu of being laid off, an employee’s pay will not be effected. In instances that require the movement to another classification, System Rules only require that the employee’s salary shall not exceed the pay range maximum for their new classification. Other campus/agency policies may apply in setting the new pay rate in these instances. It is important that you contact your local Human Resource Office to obtain further clarification.

How much notice is required prior to a Civil Service employee layoff?

Civil Service Rule 250.110(c) states that a status employee shall receive a written notice, at least 30 calendar days in advance of the effective date of layoff, when such layoff exceeds 30 consecutive work days; however, the effective date of layoff may be extended up to 15 days without the requirement of further notice. This Rule also implies that there is no minimum notification timeframe for layoffs of 30 days or less. However, in layoff situations of 30 days or less, employers are encouraged to provide notification as soon as possible.

In a Civil Service layoff situation, which employee(s) is(are) laid off first?

Civil Service employees are laid off within their current Civil Service Classification in the following order, beginning with nonstatus appointments:
  1. Temporary Appointment Employees
  2. Temporary Upgrade Employees
  3. Provisional Employees
  4. Probationary Employees
  5. Status Employees

When status employees are laid off, the employee who has the least amount of seniority in the classification shall be laid off first. In cases of identical seniority, an employee with a lower examination score will be laid off first. If tie scores exist, the employee with the least amount of years of service at the place of employment shall be laid off first. If both test scores and years of service are identical, the employee with the latest application date for the examination for the class subject to layoff will be laid off first.

In some instances, employees may exercise their seniority rights to claim a position in another classification previously held or in the promotional line. Specific questions should be directed to the campus/agency Human Resource Office or the System Office.

Who determines which Civil Service classifications are going to be effected by a layoff?

The Employer, through a workforce analysis and budget planning process, makes the determination as to what Civil Service Classifications are effected in the layoff process. Within classifications, layoff is determined first by status and then by seniority.

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Salary

I am interested in applying for a position at a University. What is the salary range for this position?

The Operations Division approves salary rates and ranges for each approved classification in use by Employers. Employers request Merit Board approval to establish, revise, correct, or delete pay rates or ranges by using designated forms. All approved rates and ranges are compiled into a monthly report. This report is available on our Salary Range Report page, updated on the 15th (approximately) of each month.