Exempt inclusion

Who decides if a position is Exempt?

Exempt positions may be designated exempt either by statute or by the State HR Director at the request of the Governor or other elected official. The State HR Director determines the salary of all positions presently or hereafter exempted, unless otherwise specified in statute.

There are a variety of exemptions identified in statute - most come under RCW 41.06.070 of civil service law. Additionally, specific exemptions may be identified in an agency's enabling legislation.

What is the criteria?

The statutes clearly state the criteria for exemptions and they may differ depending on the agency enabling legislation. The general criteria is as follows:

  • Applies mainly to senior/executive level positions
  • Incumbents are exempt from civil service rules
  • Incumbents serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority
  • Incumbents have no return rights unless they previously served in a classified position
  • Positions under the authority of the State HR Director must have banding procedures approved  and on file
  • Revisions to any exempt position under the authority of the State HR Director must be coordinated through the State Human Resources Classification Team for review and approval

Are there other constraints besides the criteria?

The Governor's Pool is a group of additional exemptions under the jurisdiction of the Governor's Office that must meet the exemption criteria per RCW 41.06.070(3). However, this pool has a one-percent limit. Some agencies may use the Governor's Pool positions if they don't meet the required criteria stated in other exemptions. The State Human Resources maintains and monitors the usage of the Governor's Pool so it remains within the one-percent limit.

Agencies are strongly encouraged to contact their assigned Classification Consultant prior to making any revisions to an exempt position.

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