The Hire-Above-Minimum (HAM) procedure allows payment above the minimum rate in the salary range of a classification for situations when it is necessary to obtain a person with extraordinary qualifications.

The Department of General Services (DGS) has delegated authority to approve HAM requests to the HAM criteria for extraordinary qualifications without prior review/approval by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR), for all new state employees. HAM requests for current state employees must be submitted to CalHR in all cases.

HAM salary rate must be requested and approved prior to the candidate accepting employment.

If an applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses salary history information to DGS, then DGS may consider or rely on that voluntarily disclosed salary history information in determining the salary for that applicant.

Government Code section 19836 authorizes CalHR to allow payments above the minimum rate in the salary range of a classification for situations when it is necessary to obtain persons with extraordinary qualifications. 


In exercising delegated authority for extraordinary qualifications, prior to approving a HAM request, the request should meet all of the following standards:

Contribution to the Agency
Applicants with extraordinary qualifications should contribute to the work of the DGS significantly beyond what other applicants offer.    

  1. Extraordinary qualifications may provide expertise in a particular area of DGS’ programs. This expertise should be well beyond the minimum qualifications of the classification.
  2. Unique talent, ability, or skill, as demonstrated by previous job experience, may also constitute extraordinary qualifications. The scope and depth of such experience is more significant than its length.
  3. The degree to which an applicant exceeds minimum qualifications should be a guiding factor, rather than a determining one. When a number of applicants offer considerably more qualifications than the minimum, it may not be necessary to pay above the minimum to acquire unusually well-qualified people.    
  4. The qualifications and hiring rates of state employees already in the same classification should be carefully considered, since questions of salary equity may arise if new, higher, entry rates differ from previous ones.

Recruitment Difficulty
Recruitment difficulty is a factor to the extent that a specific extraordinary skill should be difficult to recruit, even though some applicants are qualified in the general skills of the class.

If there is no difficulty in recruiting qualified employees, there is no need for a HAM.   

Department personnel applying these standards to applicants with extraordinary qualifications should balance the need to hire highly qualified individuals and the need to keep the cost to the state as low as possible.

In most cases, entry level classifications would not be considered appropriate for a HAM.


In order to justify all HAM requests and ensure DGS maintains compliance with the HAM policy, the civil service merit principle, and all applicable laws, rules, regulations, or other legal requirements, DGS Office of Human Resources (OHR) must document the basis for each HAM request and retain the documentation in a separate file as well as maintain a tracking log for audit purposes in accordance with the five (5) year retention schedule.

The following documentation is required to support a HAM Request for Extraordinary Qualifications:

  • Comprehensive justification detailing compliance with the standards:
    • Extraordinary Education
    • Extraordinary Experience
    • How the candidate’s extraordinary qualifications contribute to the department
    • Recruitment Difficulty, including:
      • How is the candidate superior to other eligible candidates interviewed?
      • How does the candidate’s experience and qualifications compare to current employees in the same class/same location?
  • A copy of the candidate’s written denial of the job offer and/or request for salary negotiation
  • The selected candidate’s current employment application (STD. 678)
  • Application screening criteria and scores, including the number of applications received
  • Interview ranking sheet
  • Applications of all candidates that applied

 CalHR HAM Request Form 684


The table below provides the steps and action required to process the recruitment for a HAM. Prior to completing the steps, the Hiring Manager must extend a job offer to the selected candidate with a proposed salary, if known, and the candidate must decline the offer or request to negotiate the offer based on salary, before accepting the offer.

The HAM process should take approximately 7 calendar days from the date the complete HAM request package is submitted to OHR.


Employee Resource Liaison (ERL)

  • Submits the HAM request package via email to the Classification & Pay (C&P) analyst with the required documents outlined above in the “Documentation” section. 

C&P Analyst

  • Records the date the HAM is received in the HAM log in the shared drive.
  • Reviews the HAM documents and writes an analysis and recommendation to C&P management within 4 calendar days.

C&P Management

  • Reviews the analysis and recommendation.
  • Makes determination and recommendation to Personnel Officer, Human Resources within 2 calendar days.

Personnel Officer, Human Resources

  • Reviews the analysis and recommendation.
  • Makes a determination and replies to the C&P analyst with the decision within 1 calendar day.

C&P Analyst

  • Records the final determination into the HAM Log to track the approval or denial.
  • Prepares memorandum utilizing the template format specifying the approved salary on the same day the determination is received by the Personnel Officer.
  • Informs the ERL of the determination by providing the memorandum to the program via email.
    • If approved, copy the Personnel Specialist in OHR Personnel Transactions Unit (PTU), program, C&P Management, and Chief of Human Resources.
    • If denied, copy the C&P Management, and Chief of Human Resources.


  • Informs the candidate of the outcome.
    • If approved, program makes offer to the candidate with the approved salary.
    • If denied, the program makes offer to the candidate with the minimum rate in the salary range of a classification.
  • If the candidate accepts, the ERL informs the C&P analyst and the RPA is processed accordingly.

C&P Analyst

  • Attaches all the documentation outlined in the “Documentation” section to the RPA in Tracker and ABMS.
  • Completes the “Additional Salary Substantiation” portion in ABMS.
  • Attaches the memorandum to the RPA in Tracker and ABMS.
  • Routes the RPA to PTU in ABMS.

PTU Personnel Specialist

  • Keys the appointment at the approved salary according to the memorandum.

Types of HAM

Prospective employees with prior state service should be evaluated in the same manner as other applicants. However, to qualify for a higher rate of pay than they received in prior state employment, they should clearly have enhanced their qualifications above those they possessed in the prior state employment.

Appointing authorities may request HAMs for state employees with extraordinary qualifications under certain circumstances as outlined below:

  1. A promotional relationship shall not exist between the employee's current class and the prospective class.
  2. Hires made under these standards should represent a career change for the individual.
  3. It is typically necessary to offer an extraordinary HAM to recruit candidates for the class.

Departments must obtain approval from CalHR in all cases. Delegated HAM authority does not apply to current state employees.

DGS may approve HAMs for former legislative employees who are appointed to a civil service class and received eligibility for appointment pursuant to Government Code section 18990. The salary received upon appointment to civil service shall be in accordance with the salary rules specified in the California Code of Regulations.

A salary determination is completed by comparing the maximum salary rate of the former legislative class and the maximum salary rate of the civil service class to determine applicable salary and anniversary regulation. Typically, legislative employees are compensated at a higher rate of pay; therefore, they will be allowed to retain the rate they last received, not to exceed the maximum of the civil service class.

CalHR 691 Form – HAM: Former Legislative Employee

DGS may approve HAMs for former exempt employees appointed to a civil service class. The salary received upon appointment to civil service shall be competitive with the employee’s salary in the exempt appointment.

For example: An employee appointed to a civil service class which is preceded by an exempt appointment may be appointed at a salary rate comparable to the exempt appointment up to the maximum of the salary range for the civil service class.

CalHR 685 Form – HAM: Former Exempt Employee


Responsible Control Agency

  • California Department of Human Resources

Laws and Regulations

  • Government Code section 18990, 19836
  • Labor Code Section Assembly Bill 168, 432.3

Other Resource Materials

  • CalHR Human Resources Manual 1707
  • CalHR Personnel Management Liaisons 2010-005


Classification and Pay Unit

Department of General Services
Office of Human Resources

707 3rd Street, 7th Floor
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Contact your assigned Classification and Pay Analyst.