Special Policy Advisor

The Department of Industrial Relations is seeking an innovative and service-minded individual for the role of Special Policy Advisor to the Director and Chief Deputy Director.

Please join us in building an inclusive and culturally diverse workplace at all levels of the department.

The Organization

The mission of the Department of Industrial Relations is to protect the workforce in California, improve working conditions, and advance opportunities for profitable employment.

DIR is composed of four divisions, the Division of Occupation Safety and Health, the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, the Division of Workers' Compensation, and the Labor Commissioner's Office. These divisions focus on workplace safety and health, apprenticeship, workers’ compensation and labor law enforcement.

The Position


Under the general direction of the Director and Chief Deputy Director (CDD), the Special Policy Advisor is responsible for the research, creation, and facilitation of policy-making activities.

In this role, the Special Policy Advisor:

  • Will manage department-wide, cross-functional implementation efforts to ensure newly passed laws are fully enacted. This will include leading and facilitating working groups for high profile, especially complex, or cross-departmental policies with enforcement, legal, legislative, and external affairs staff to define the scope and develop implementation plans that include identifying and scheduling milestones, assigning roles and responsibilities, and facilitating opportunities for collaboration and engagement with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Directly influence and oversee division and program implementation efforts to ensure successful completion of milestones and alignment with statutory authority and legislative intent, and regularly brief the Director and Chief Deputy Director on progress, as well as advise on solutions when potential challenges or obstacles arise that may hamper progress. Collaborate with Deputy Director of External Affairs, Deputy Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs and Division leadership to design and execute communications and outreach strategies for external inquiries from the press or legislature on implementation efforts, as well as develop departmental policies and resource aids to support consistency.
  • Anticipate, identify, and analyze issues relevant to various policy issues impacting the department including, but not limited to: wage and hour, paid leave, retaliation, workplace health and safety, and worker's compensation. Conduct independent research on policies, programs, and approaches related to labor laws, including a comparative evaluation of strategies implemented on an international or local level. Prepare reports, presentations, and issue briefs including background information and key findings to DIR and LWDA leadership. Provide recommendations to the Director and Chief Deputy Director and then develop and lead departmental policy agenda implementation efforts including future policy and legislative changes to improve the health and economic well-being of California workers.
  • Develop policies and procedures that outline member selection, onboarding, content, facilitation expectations, public posting and notification and language access requirements. Develop a process to identify and recommend advisory members to the Director and Chief Deputy Director, ensuring geographic and demographic diversity. Solicit internal feedback on policies and procedures and regularly evaluate and update as appropriate. Manage and organize advisory committees related to recently passed legislation to offer a forum for external and internal stakeholders to communicate perspectives, share expertise, and suggest opportunities for improvement. Clarify purpose and legislatively mandated deliverables to develop. Collaborate with relevant DIR Division leadership to develop meeting agendas and create presentations or materials to provide advisory committee members with relevant background on DIR programs and operations. Convene and facilitate advisory committee meetings to ensure accessibility and in accordance with the Bagley-Keene Act.
  • Participate in the development of the Department’s strategic plan and its business plan initiatives; develop strategies to implement the goals and objectives of the Department’s strategic plan related to policy analysis, lead the execution of cross-departmental and priority implementation initiatives, facilitate evaluation and reporting efforts in consultation with Division and program leadership. In collaboration with the LWDA Deputy Secretary of Evaluation, develop and execute a department-wide evaluation process to assess the effectiveness of DIR’s policy and enforcement programs.
  • Serve as departmental liaison to cultivate, maintain, and grow a positive working relationship with local, state, and federal agency personnel to identify and pursue opportunities for collaboration and alignment on policy and implementation initiatives to protect and improve the well-being of workers in California. This includes other LWDA departments, as well as with other agencies and departments such as Department of Public Health.
  • Provide general direction and serve as a liaison between DIR Division and program units such as the Labor Commissioner's Office, Cal/OSHA, and the Division of Worker's Compensation. Represent the Department and division, and/or support representation of Department and division leaders at priority external forums, events, and networks.
  • Perform other duties necessary for the effective implementation of these program areas within DIR such as attending trainings or meetings.


The position is located in Northern California with the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), headquartered in the beautiful Elihu Harris Building in Oakland, CA. The position consists of both in-office and tele-work and can be based out of either Sacramento or Oakland. The Oakland headquarters is centrally situated in the Bay Area with easy access on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail system, a short drive to the state capitol in Sacramento or historic San Francisco, Napa wine country, Lake Tahoe winter sports, and other beautiful cities in California. Sacramento, home of the state capitol, is the region’s largest employer for government agencies. It is conveniently surrounded by a selection of outstanding universities, expanding companies, and area fueled by opportunities in leisure and hospitality. Ethnic diversity, lower cost of living, and increasing employment opportunities have drawn working professionals and growing families to the area.

The Ideal Candidate

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is looking for an effective leader and diplomatic individual with exceptional interpersonal skills. A viable candidate would have a high level of personal and professional integrity, sound judgment, and quality decision making skills. In addition, the DIR is seeking a seasoned professional with:

  • Demonstrated commitment to transparency and strong communication
  • Demonstrated ability to handle sensitive and confidential materials and matters in a professional manner
  • Demonstrated utilization of improvement methodologies including: data, metrics, and measurements
  • Experience in media relations and high-profile media inquiries
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain effective working relationships with diverse stakeholder groups including labor and management groups, federal, state, and local communities
  • Demonstrated commitment and innovation related to diversity, inclusion, and equity policies.

The Compensation

The annual salary range for this position is $117,060 - $141,684.

A comprehensive benefits package is also offered which includes:

  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Pension plan
  • 401(k)/457 retirement plans
  • Short-term and long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending account to save on medical and child care expenses
  • Paid vacation and holidays

To Apply

If you are interested in this outstanding opportunity, please apply online through the CalCareers Job Posting:

C.E.A. Level A - Special Policy Advisor

If you have any questions, please email Recruitment@dir.ca.gov

February 2024