Exploring the CalHR HR Manual: Personnel Policies and Policy Memos

Are you an HR professional working with the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR)? Navigating the complex world of personnel policies and procedures can be a daunting task. The CalHR HR Manual is here to help. This comprehensive manual covers various aspects of managing personnel policies and procedures in the California state government, ensuring a just, unbiased, and legally compliant selection process. This blog post will guide you through the essential aspects of the HR Manual, from understanding its structure and key components to accessing forms and staying updated with changes.

Key Takeaways

  • The CalHR HR Manual is an essential resource for understanding and adhering to California’s civil service laws, regulations, rules and policies.
  • The manual contains categories, authorized individuals with relevant work experience and contact information providing a comprehensive resource for HR professionals.
  • Subscribing to the updates allows staying informed about changes in personnel policies & procedures while superseded policies must be replaced with up-to-date ones outlined in the manual.

Understanding the CalHR HR Manual

The CalHR HR Manual is a comprehensive compilation of policy statements that superseded Policy Management Liaison Memos (PMLs). It is designed to provide guidance for creating a just, unbiased, and legally compliant selection process. The California Department of Human Resources and the State Personnel Board (SPB) come together for a common purpose. They work to develop laws, rules, regulations, policies, and best practices that support a merit-based selection process. The HR Manual is organized into an easily navigable online format, with approximately 100 policy statements and various forms that may be opened with Adobe Reader.

For HR professionals, a thorough comprehension of the HR Manual is key to adhering to all pertinent civil service laws, regulations, rules, and policies established by CalHR and SPB. The manual is designed to be easily accessible and user-friendly, with forms that can be downloaded and saved to your computer for future reference.

Exploring the CalHR HR Manual: Personnel Policies and Policy Memos

Transition from PMLs to HR Manual

Before the HR Manual came into existence, CalHR used Personnel Management Liaisons (PMLs) to convey new policies, procedures, and essential information to state departments and agencies. However, the PMLs have now been replaced by policy statements found in the HR Manual, which were based on the PMLs that comprised active policy. These PMLs not associated with an active policy have been archived.

The HR Manual now contains new policies and updates to existing ones. Emails have also been sent to the PML subscription list. This shift to the HR Manual guarantees easily accessible, well-organized, and updated information for both HR professionals and authorized individuals.

Navigating the HR Manual

Thanks to the search function on the CalHR HR Manual website, navigating the Manual becomes a straightforward process. By entering keywords related to the section you are looking for in the search bar, the website will display relevant results, making it easy to locate specific policies or information.

The HR Manual covers a wide range of topics and areas of HR policies and procedures, such as:

  • Nondiscrimination statements
  • Nepotism
  • Disability insurance
  • Work schedules
  • Layoff process
  • Workplace violence prevention
  • Political activities
  • Civil service selection process
  • Employee leave management
  • Payroll and benefits administration
  • Workforce and succession planning

While the HR Manual is designed to be user-friendly, it is not without its challenges. Some users may encounter difficulties locating specific policies or information, outdated or conflicting information, and limited search functionality within the manual. Nevertheless, a seamless experience navigating the HR Manual can be achieved by using the search function and becoming familiar with the manual’s organization and structure.

HR Manual Template

An HR manual template serves as a foundational document outlining the policies, procedures, and guidelines within an organization’s human resources framework. Crafting an effective HR manual template is crucial to ensure consistency and clarity in how employees are expected to conduct themselves and navigate various HR-related processes. When designing an HR manual template, it’s vital to tailor the content to align with the specific needs, values, and goals of the organization. The HR manual template typically encompasses aspects such as employee onboarding, code of conduct, leave policies, performance evaluations, and disciplinary procedures. This comprehensive resource not only standardizes HR practices but also helps in educating employees about the organization’s culture and expectations, promoting a cohesive and compliant work environment.

Key Components of the HR Manual

A document with categories, authorized individuals and contact information

The HR Manual is divided into various components that cover different aspects of human resources management in the California state government. These components include categories, authorized individuals, and contact information. Each component significantly contributes to maintaining the HR Manual as a comprehensive and valuable resource for HR professionals.

The manual is organized into categories such as forms, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and policy statements, making it easy to locate and access the information you need. Additionally, the HR Manual provides contact information for employment and salary verification, media inquiries, HR office queries, and departmental contacts for verifying employee employment.


The CalHR HR Manual is organized into categories that provide information and guidelines on various topics related to human resources management in the California state government. These categories include:

  • Delegated Agreements
  • Discretionary Salary Action Corrections
  • Dental
  • Disability Retirement
  • Decertification
  • Domestic Partners
  • Dependent Re-verification
  • Job Analysis
  • Policy Memos
  • Special Consultant
  • Promotion in Place
  • Best Hiring Practices
  • Examination Certification and Online System (ECOS)
  • HR Confidentiality and Security
  • Writing Effective and Compliant Duty Statements
  • Personnel Classification Plan
  • Minimum Qualifications Withhold Determination Worksheet
  • Withhold for Cause Determination Worksheet

The purpose of these categories is to help HR professionals quickly access the information they need for successful HR management. The categories include:

  • Employee recognition
  • Training and development
  • Classification
  • Recruitment
  • And more

The organized framework of the HR Manual makes it an invaluable tool for managing personnel policies and procedures in the California state government.

Authorized Individuals

Authorized individuals in the HR Manual are HR Officers and HR Liaisons who are approved to access the manual. These individuals have a range of duties and responsibilities, including:

  • Supervising the operations of their assigned unit or department
  • Ensuring adherence to HR rules and regulations
  • Managing the recruitment process
  • Executing performance appraisals
  • Managing employee relations matters
  • Administering employee benefits
  • Implementing training and development programs
  • Preserving employee records
  • Implementing workplace policies
  • Acting as a point of contact for employees regarding HR-related matters.

The qualifications necessary to be authorized for the HR Manual may vary depending on the organization or institution but typically include:

  • Relevant work experience in HR or HR-related duties
  • Certification in HR
  • Expertise in HR abilities and knowledge
  • Fulfilling the qualification requirements established by the organization or institution.

Contact Information

The HR Manual provides contact information for various purposes. To contact the Selection Division in CalHR, you can send an email to MQassistance@calhr.ca.gov for any inquiries related to minimum qualifications. Chris Dainard serves as the head of the Selection Division in CalHR.

In addition to the Selection Division contact person, the HR Manual offers contact information for the following:

  • Employment and salary verification
  • Media inquiries
  • HR office queries
  • Departmental contacts for verifying employee employment

This ensures that HR professionals and authorized individuals have access to the right resources and contacts for their specific needs and inquiries.

Personnel Policy Manual

A personnel policy manual, also known as an employee handbook, serves as a comprehensive guide outlining an organization’s policies, procedures, and expectations for its employees. This vital document is designed to communicate the company’s stance on various aspects of employment, including but not limited to, code of conduct, disciplinary procedures, employee benefits, leave policies, and performance expectations. The personnel policy manual acts as a valuable resource for both employees and the organization, offering clarity on rights, responsibilities, and the organizational culture. Employees can refer to it to understand their rights and obligations, fostering a sense of transparency and promoting a harmonious work environment. Moreover, the personnel policy manual provides a framework for consistent decision-making and ensures compliance with legal and ethical standards, ultimately contributing to the overall efficiency and integrity of the organization.

The California Civil Service Selection Process

A document with California civil service selection process

The California Civil Service Selection Process plays an indispensable role in HR management within the California state government. This process is designed to guarantee fairness, impartiality, and legality. It seeks to ensure a selection process that is legally defensible..

The six steps of the California State Service selection process are:

  1. Examination Planning
  2. Job Analysis Study
  3. Examination Development
  4. Examination Administration
  5. Examination Audit and Finalization
  6. Hiring Process

These stages are essential in creating a merit-based selection process, whereby individuals hired and promoted in the civil service are selected based on job-related criteria.

Adhering to these steps allows HR professionals in the California state government to guarantee the hiring and promotion of the most competent candidates for each position.

Examination Planning

An image of the CalHR HR Manual open on a desk with a planner and pen next to it, representing effective examination planning.

Examination Planning is the first step in the California State Service selection process and is crucial in designing and planning the examination process to generate a pool of qualified applicants who are eligible for employment. This stage involves:

  • Reviewing relevant job analysis and examination information
  • Determining the examination base
  • Identifying suitable locations
  • Establishing timelines
  • Identifying necessary subject matter experts
  • Creating a work plan

Recognizing subject matter experts is essential, as they offer substantial knowledge and proficiency in a particular subject, ensuring that the examination is reliable, valid, and legally defensible. Their input contributes to ensuring the accuracy and quality of the examination content.

Job Analysis Study

The Job Analysis Study is the second step in the California State Service selection process. It involves gathering, examining, and interpreting data pertaining to the tasks and responsibilities of a job, ultimately identifying the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to successfully carry out the job assignments.

The key takeaway from the Job Analysis Study is that it allows for the gathering and analysis of information regarding:

  • Duties
  • Tasks
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Qualifications

This information is needed for a specific job within the California State Service, ensuring a fair and effective selection process. For further assistance, please contact us at phone 916 323.

The objective of the Job Analysis Study is to inform the selection process and guarantee that individuals hired and promoted in the civil service are selected based on job-related criteria, such as applicant qualifications, job duties, responsibilities, and market factors.

Examination Development and Administration

The Examination Development and Administration steps are the third and fourth steps in the California State Service selection process, focusing on the creation and administration of examinations. The examination development process involves:

  • Examination planning
  • Job analysis
  • Development/revision of testing components
  • Recruitment/publicity activities
  • Access to examination bulletin
  • Assessment and evaluation.

Once the examination is developed, it is administered to candidates, assessing their knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualifications required for the position. By ensuring that the examinations are fair, impartial, and legally defensible, HR professionals contribute to a merit-based selection process in the California state government.

Audit, Finalization, and Hiring

The final steps in the California State Service selection process involve:

  1. Auditing: This process ensures that the selection procedures are job-related and based on the knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualifications required for the position.
  2. Finalizing results: Once the audit is complete and any issues or concerns are addressed, the examination results are finalized.
  3. Hiring process: After the results are finalized, the hiring process can begin.

The hiring process in the California State Civil Service selection process consists of:

  1. Examination Planning
  2. Job Analysis Study
  3. Setting up a CalCareer Account
  4. Searching for and taking exams
  5. Applying for jobs
  6. Preparing for interviews and final selection

By following these steps and adhering to the established guidelines, HR professionals can ensure they are hiring the most qualified candidates for each position in the California state government.

Accessing PDF Forms and Documents

A document with instructions on how to open and save PDF forms

As part of the CalHR HR Manual, various forms and documents are provided in PDF format. To access these PDF forms, Acrobat DC is required, as Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are not compatible. Some forms may not be opened directly in your browser and may require downloading and saving to your computer to be opened and viewed correctly. Forms may be downloaded for your convenience.

While accessing PDF forms and documents is straightforward with the right software, it is common to encounter issues such as outdated PDF viewers, browser compatibility issues, and PDFs opening in the browser instead of a PDF reader. To troubleshoot these issues, it is recommended to update the PDF reader or browser, check the PDF settings, disable browser extensions, and try a different browser.

Opening and Saving PDF Forms

To open and save PDF forms from the HR Manual, you can save the form to your computer and open it using Adobe Acrobat or a similar PDF reader. To save a PDF document from a website, right-click on the PDF document, select ‘Save As’ or ‘Save Link As’ (depending on the browser), choose a location on your computer, and click ‘Save’.

When attempting to open and save PDF forms from the HR Manual, some users may encounter difficulties locating the saved file or incompatibility with their computer. To overcome these issues, ensure that you remember the location where the file was saved and navigate to that location to open it. If the form is not fillable on your computer, you may need to print it and fill it out manually.

Potential Browser Compatibility Issues

When accessing PDF forms and documents, note that some pdf files may have potential browser compatibility issues. Some common issues include:

  • Incompatibility of PDF forms with Chrome
  • Inability to open PDFs in Safari
  • Non-display of dynamic PDF files in Firefox
  • Lack of support for fillable PDF forms in certain browsers
  • Unsupported XFA-based PDF forms in Firefox and Chrome. However, it is important to be aware that pdf forms may also encounter other compatibility issues not listed here.

To troubleshoot browser compatibility issues when opening a PDF document, consider the following steps:

  1. Update the PDF reader or browser to the latest version.
  2. Check the PDF settings to ensure they are compatible with your browser.
  3. Disable any browser extensions that may be interfering with the PDF display.
  4. Try opening the PDF in a different browser to see if the issue persists.

Being aware of these potential issues and knowing how to address them can help ensure a seamless experience when accessing PDF forms and documents in the HR Manual. Please note that this awareness is crucial for smooth operations.

Templates for Training Manuals

Creating effective training manuals is essential for imparting knowledge and skills efficiently. Utilizing well-designed templates for training manuals can significantly streamline this process. These templates provide a structured framework, enabling the organization of content in a logical and coherent manner. The use of predefined layouts for sections such as objectives, procedures, and assessments ensures consistency and enhances comprehension for the trainees. Moreover, templates can incorporate visual elements like diagrams, charts, and images, enhancing the visual appeal and engagement of the training materials. By utilizing templates for training manuals, organizations can optimize the development process, saving time and resources while delivering high-quality training materials.

Staying Updated with HR Manual Changes

A document with instructions on how to stay updated with HR manual changes

Being an HR professional necessitates staying abreast of updates and changes to the HR Manual. Subscribing to email notifications regarding the HR Manual is the most effective way to stay informed. The CalHR regularly releases new policies and updates to existing policies in the HR Manual, and notifies the PML subscription list via email.

Keeping up to date with HR Manual changes helps sustain your knowledge and understanding of personnel policies and procedures, ensuring they remain current and relevant. This will help you maintain compliance with the latest laws, rules, and regulations, and ultimately lead to more effective HR management in the California state government.

Subscribing for Updates

To subscribe for email updates on the CalHR HR Manual, you can visit the CalHR website and manage your subscription preferences. You are already subscribed to receive changes to the HR Manual if you are getting notices of new PMLs. These notices indicate that you have successfully subscribed to receive any changes. Various subscription options are available for the CalHR HR Manual updates, and you may be able to customize the type of updates you receive.

By subscribing for updates, you can ensure that you are always informed about the latest changes and updates to the HR Manual, allowing you to stay current with the ever-evolving world of personnel policies and procedures in the California state government.

Superseded Policies

Superseded policies in the CalHR HR Manual refer to policies that have been replaced or rendered obsolete by more recent policies or updates in the HR Manual. These superseded policies are no longer applicable and have been superseded by the up-to-date policies outlined in the HR Manual.

A keen awareness of superseded policies is critical in maintaining your understanding of personnel policies and procedures as current and relevant. Staying informed about updates and changes to the HR Manual will help you maintain compliance with the latest laws, rules, and regulations, and ultimately lead to more effective HR management in the California state government.


In conclusion, the CalHR HR Manual is an invaluable resource for HR professionals in the California state government. Understanding its structure, key components, and how to access forms and documents is essential for effective HR management. By staying informed about updates and changes, you can ensure that your knowledge and understanding of personnel policies and procedures remain current and relevant. With the guidance provided in this blog post, you can confidently navigate the HR Manual and excel in your role as an HR professional in the California state government.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CalHR rule 1715?

CalHR Rule 1715 is a policy that outlines the process for submitting employee compensation requests for bargaining units with contracts expiring in 2024, as well as for related excluded employees.

What is included in a HR manual?

A HR manual includes the employer’s mission statement, equal employment opportunity statement, purpose of the employee handbook, background information on the company and processes for dealing with employees who violate the code of conduct or how employee incentives are delivered.

What are the best practices for CalHR hiring?

To ensure fair and consistent hiring practices, CalHR should select the most appropriate interview method for each position, ask open-ended questions relevant to the role, and retain a written record of their evaluation criteria.

What is the difference between HR manual and employee handbook?

The employee handbook outlines the policies and expectations of your organization, while the HR manual provides guidance for how to follow those policies and expectations consistently and in accordance with applicable laws.

What is the purpose of the CalHR HR Manual?

The CalHR HR Manual provides guidance for developing a fair and legal selection process in the California state government.

Important Disclaimer:

The article presented here does not serve as a representation of the company’s actual policies or code of conducts mentioned in this article.

Our discussions and insights regarding the policies or code of conducts are based on assumptions about what may be considered significant in this companies’ policies. These assumptions are drawn from available information and industry knowledge. Readers are advised that the content provided is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an exact reflection of any company’s official policies or procedures. For precise and accurate details regarding a company’s policies, individuals should refer directly to the company’s official documentation or consult with appropriate representatives.

Please be aware that the content on this page has been generated by using artificial intelligence language models and may contain errors, inconsistencies, or outdated information. It is provided as-is without any warranties or guarantees of accuracy. We strongly recommend using this content as a starting point for further research. We disclaim any liability for damages or losses resulting from the use or reliance on this content.

Tehsin Bhayani

AirMason was born when Tehsin was trying to create a digital culture book, but couldn’t find any solutions in the market that had all the features he needed. In 2016, AirMason officially launched. In five years, AirMason has created thousands of handbooks for more than 1,000 clients around the world.

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