Administrative Guidelines

Administrative Guidelines 

This document describes the various policies which apply to Pierce County employees. Bold text in the Guidelines document is codified as part of the Pierce County Code.

Examples of topics included are:

  • Benefits and leaves
  • Code of ethics
  • Domestic violence policy
  • Drug free workplace policy
  • Transfers, layoffs, and resignation


Although many provisions of the Administrative Guidelines apply to all County employees, most non-executive branch departments, including Superior Court, District Court, Juvenile Court, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and the County Council have separate guidelines and policies which apply specifically to employees of the department.

2023 Changes to the Administrative Guidelines

On October 10, 2023, Pierce County Council passed Ordinance 2023-39, which caused the below changes to the Administrative Guidelines to become effective on November 3, 2023. Changes include: 

  • Updated to gender inclusive language.
  • Changed all “pay period” to “pay cycle” for consistency.
  • Updated Notice Requirements to reflect modern modes of communication – Adding “email with confirmation of receipt” to 3.40.050 and 3.40.090 (Personnel Board Appeals), 3.12.080 (Code of Ethics), 3.14.040 (Whistleblower Protection), 3.52.033 B1, D, and E1 (Working Conditions).
  • 3.08.110 (Definitions) – Removed the word “sick leave,” which is no longer applicable due to the Washington State Sick Leave Law.
  • 3.14 Whistleblower Policy – Updated to conform with state law.
  • 3.18 (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy) – A new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy has been added, which includes definition for “Diversity,” “Equity,” and “Inclusion” in 3.08.
  • 3.32.010 (Classification Plan) – Removed “character” and added “internal equity, and external market” to align with practice on 3.32.066.
  • 3.32.060 (Classification Plan) – Added “and will be the start of a pay cycle” to better clarify the effective date.
  • 3.36.030 (Salary Plan) – Changed to “Upon recommendation of the Appointing Authority, the Human Resources Director may authorize an appointment exceeding Step 6” to reflect the Executive’s Delegation Memo dated June 2, 2022, naming the Human Resources Director as the authority to approve.
  • 3.69.030 A.1 (Humanitarian Catastrophic Leave Bank) – Changed to “Approval for leave shall be made by the Human Resources Director or designee, after review with the department director and the County’s EEO/ADA Officer” to better reflect the process. 
  • 3.72.040 (Vacation Leave) – Replaced “annual” with “vacation.”
  • 3.72.050 E. (Vacation Leave) – Replaced “terminal” and “termination” with “separation” to reflect the business process change in Workday.
  • 3.76.030 (Leave of Absence with Pay) – Added “to grieve the loss of a family member,” as a reason for using bereavement leave.
  • 3.80.020 (Leave of Absence without Pay) – Removed “or accrued sick leave (if appropriate usage)” which is no longer applicable due to the Washington State Paid Sick Leave Law.
  • 3.80.050 (Leave of Absence without Pay) – Removed “a prognosis for recovery and” as this is not a requirement to receive unpaid leave for maternity reason.
  • 3.98.020 D (Domestic Partnership Benefits) – Updated “health benefits” to “dental benefits” to better reflect current benefit eligibility.

 Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

2022 Changes to the Administrative Guidelines

On March 1, 2022, Pierce County Council passed Ordinance 2022-6, which caused the current changes to the Administrative Guidelines for the Career Service to become effective on March 17, 2022. changing the title of the Administrative Guidelines (removing “for the Career Service”) throughout, replacing references of weekly to “bi-weekly” and division of scheduled weekly hours from five to “ten.”  Highlights of other amendments are as follows:

  • 3.08 Definitions: Changes to section 120C to add pre-approval requirement on Extra Hire position, strike length requirements. Changes to section 140 to strike “for the Career Service.”
  • 3.14 Whistleblower Protection: Changes to section 010A to strike “for the Career Service.”
  • 3.16 Equal Employment Opportunity: Updates to language in sections 010, 030, 070, 080, and 090 to bring in line with current law and add language for deferral to another forum. Update position title to “EEO Officer.”
  • 3.38 Employee Performance Evaluation: Updates to language in section 040 regarding employee response to evaluation for clarification.
  • 3.40 Personnel Board Appeals: Changes to section 020 and 025 to strike “for the Career Service.”
  • 3.52 Working Conditions: Updates to language in section 032C (Wages and Hours) and 034 (Overtime and FLSA). Changes to 040A to pay employees for working a holiday, and 040B to clarify reimbursement for a used but not earned furlough day. Adds clarifying language to 140C (Paid Personal Holiday) and a new section 150 Required Training.
  • 3.67 Family and Medical Leave: Adds and deletes language to keep up with state and federal legislation, including Paid Family Medical Leave. Removes references to state SMLA; repealed 1/1/2020.
  • 3.68 Sick Leave: Change to bi-weekly computation in section 010 & 060. Change to language in 010 regarding extra hire employee’s eligibility for sick leave payout.
  • 3.69 Humanitarian Catastrophic Leave Bank: Updates to language regarding definition in section 020D and a change in language regarding accruals and step counters in section 060B.
  • 3.70 Shared Sick Leave Program: Updates from individual donations to a donation pool and better defines purpose, policy, definitions, permissible uses, eligibility, qualifying use, criteria for approval, donation of hours, administration, and criteria for use. Strike “for the Career Service.”
  • 3.72 Vacation Leave: Changes to section 020 and 040 change to bi- weekly computation. Updated language in section 060.
  • 3.76 Leave of Absence with Pay: Add language in section 010 for clarification. Change from 14 days to 30 days in section 030 Bereavement Leave.
  • 3.80 Leave of Absence without Pay: Updates to language to bring in line with law and PFML. New section 100 Unpaid Leave Due to Reduction of Hours.