Developmental Job Assignment


The state of Washington strives to attract, develop, and retain a talented and well-prepared workforce.

Providing employees opportunities to explore career interests through assignments that are uncommon in their daily work:

  • Allow them to grow professionally.
  • Allow the agency to pursue initiatives using resources that would not otherwise be available.

A developmental job assignment is a formal opportunity for an employee to develop professional knowledge, skills, and abilities that would not otherwise be available through their normal work activities.

Developmental job assignments should be primarily a product of the employee’s Performance and Development Plan (PDP). However, employees or the agency may pursue those assignments outside of this process.

Developmental job assignments are voluntary. Developmental job assignments will normally last no more than twelve months, and must have prior approval of the current Agency Head. Employees must have a six-month break between developmental job assignments. The time length and extensions of all assignments must include written justification.

Employees in developmental job assignments retain their own position number, draw their current salaries (including any scheduled periodic increments) and do not attain permanent status in any other classifications.

Funding is normally absorbed by the loaning (permanent) program unless prior arrangements are made to pay by the program with the developmental assignment. This includes travel and training. Developmental job assignments may be terminated by any of the parties with at least seven calendar days’ notice, unless a shorter notice period is mutually agreed upon.

Take Action


Responsibility Action
Employee Completes Developmental Job Assignment Agreement and forwards for approval of both current and sponsoring Agency Head.
Current Agency Head Approve or disapprove on Developmental Job Assignment Agreement.
Developmental Job Assignment Supervisor Forward completed Developmental Job Assignment Agreement and Personnel/Payroll Data Sheet (PPDS) to Human Resources.
Human Resources Review and complete all employee action requirements. Process PPDS. File copy in employee’s personnel file.


  1. The scope of the developmental job assignment should be clearly documented and approved by the supervising and hiring managers, the agency head and HR, before advertising the assignment.
  2. Learning goals should be established and documented before the employee begins the assignment.
  3. Developmental job assignments may be part-time or full-time.
  4. Employees are not expected to have all skills necessary to perform the tasks or project independently, but should have the aptitude, ability, and ambition to complete assignments with reasonable oversight.
  5. Since the primary purpose of a development job assignment is to support employee growth, assignments should be beyond current skill level. For example, a Fiscal Analysis with 10 years of experience in accounting would probably not be the best choice for a development assignment in entry level accounting. The assignment would not expand the employee’s skill set and would deprive a less experienced employee of the learning opportunity.
  6. The salary of an employee who accepts a developmental job assignment remains the same.
  7. There are no guarantees of future pay increase, promotion, or permanent job change.
  8. The developmental job assignment should not evolve into a permanent position without competitive recruitment.
  9. Employees are expected to go back to their previous position.
  10. Employees may not accept another developmental job assignment for at least six months after completing an assignment.
  11. At the end of the developmental job assignment, the supervisor and employee should complete a detailed evaluation of the learning experience, and place this documentation in the personnel file.
  12. Developmental job assignments are not transfers, and the employee is expected to return to their previous job. Therefore, the employee’s salary is typically paid by their home program. However, funding sources may be alternatively arranged through prior mutual agreement between programs.
  13. Developmental job assignments may be ended at any time by the employee or hiring manager (with approval by the appointing authority) with seven (7) days’ notice. Reasons to end a developmental job assignment early may include, but are not limited to: unexpected end of project; poor attendance or the unreliability of an employee; performance issues, etc.