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Hiring Near Relatives

This guidance serves to implement the university policy on APM 520 Employment of Near Relatives and PPSM-21 Selection and Appointment, Section III. D. 3. F. The APM shall prevail if there is an apparent discrepancy between the APM and the following guidance.

The employment of near relatives in the same department may only be permitted when such concurrent employment serves the best interests of the University.

A near relative is defined as:

  1. An appointee's child (including the child of a domestic partner (same sex or opposite sex)), parent, spouse; domestic partner, sibling, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, or first cousin; or
  2. In-laws or step-relatives in one of these relationships, including relatives of the domestic partner in one of the relationships listed above; or
  3. Other persons for whom the employee is legally responsible; or
  4. Any other person residing in the same household.


To avoid a conflict of interest, an employee may not participate in the process of reviewing or decision-making on any matter concerning the appointment, promotion, salary, retention, termination, or other management decisions or personnel-related decisions regarding a near relative. Prior approval by the Dean is required when near relatives would have:

  1. A direct or indirect supervisory relationship with each other;
  2. The same immediate supervisor; or
  3. When two employees become near relatives and any of the work situations listed above apply


Approval is also required when the familial or work relationship of two current employees changes so that the employees become near relatives in the same department/program/unit whose work relationship meets any of the criteria above. The employees shall both inform their department head(s) as soon as possible after the change.



  1. When two near relatives are employees in the same department/program/unit and at least one is in an academic title, the employees will complete a Near Relatives Identification and Approval Form. This form provides the two employees with the instructions necessary to outline and manage their relationship at work. This form requires acknowledgement by the two employees, approval by the department/unit chair/head and final approval by the Dean/Vice Chancellor.
  2. The Chair/unit head forwards the document to the Dean/Vice Chancellor for approval.
    1. If the Near Relative relationship involves an administrator (Chair/Dean), the form must be reviewed and approved at the next higher level as a higher level may be required to serve as a third-party supervisor or approver.
  3. The Dean/Vice Chancellor will provide a copy of the completed, approved form to Academic Personnel (and to Human Resources if one of the employees is a staff employee). 
    1. Note: For staff employees who are near relatives, Human Resources may also require completion of additional forms, per Human Resources policy.
  4. The final approved form shall be retained in the Academic Personnel Office.



  1. Each near relative shall recuse him/herself from voting on any action pertaining to his/her near relative.
  2. No near relative shall participate in the review or decision-making on any matter concerning appointment, promotion, tenure, evaluation of performance, salary, retention, discipline, or termination of a near relative in the same or a different department.
  3. If the working relationship would normally require one near relative to supervise the other, an unrelated and qualified third-party shall be identified as supervisor to avoid a perception of a conflict of interest. The department chair/unit head will develop written procedures for the third-party to review performance, and these procedures will be included with the Near Relatives Identification and Approval Form. The third-party supervisor will also sign the form.



There are situations in which a department chair or other academic leader, e.g., dean, has a near relative in the same department or in a larger unit with a reporting line that goes to or through the academic leader for personnel decisions. For these cases, the third-party supervisor shall be a level higher than the academic leader or an alternate leader, e.g., vice chair, former chair, associate dean, alternate dean, etc.

In the case that the relationship of near relatives ends and the appointments with UC Merced are unchanged, the near relatives agreement remains in place. In order to end the near relatives agreement, a written request from both parties to rescind the agreement is required.