Classification Standards and Adjunct Resources

Classification Standards and Adjunct Resources

Classification Standards

Three formal classification standards comprise the core documentation in the position classification process. These include class specifications, job benchmarks, and allocation guides. A summary of each standard follows.

  • Class Specifications are written descriptions of a class describing representative duties for a group of like positions. The definition of work, which is the most critical part of the class specification, establishes the parameters and provides the internal composition of the class. The specification describes the nature of work and establishes the relative level of the class in relationship to other classes in the same class series and occupational group; formalizes the class content which is used to derive a pay level through pay analysis; provides the documentation essential in arriving at a title; establishes the framework around which the remaining portions of the class specifications are developed; characterizes typical organization relationships, when applicable, by describing the work environment and the supervisory/subordinate structure; and provides the documentation used in formulating a bargaining unit assignment and Equal Employment Opportunity Code assignment.
  • Job Benchmarks These are comparative job standards used in determining position classification. A job benchmark typically describes the functions of a position touching on such aspects as independence of action, scope of responsibility, and sphere of influence. The position under review is compared to a job benchmark, which serves as a standard, in order to identify similarities and differences.
  • Specialized Allocation Guides The Clerical Allocation Method (CAM) is an example of a system used to allocate clerical positions within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Adjunct Resources

In addition to the three classification standards, there are additional resources and tools which are utilized. A list of these adjunct resources follows.

  • Documentation on other positions within the organization is reviewed and analyzed to determine the areas of comparability and/or distinctive differences prior to deciding on a relative ranking for the position under review.
  • Documentation on comparable State System of Higher Education positions is considered.
  • Relevant court decisions or judges' rulings may influence the classification of positions because of the court's interpretation of various pieces of legislation.
  • Employment legislation affects position classification. The Commonwealth/State System must be in compliance with federal and state laws, i.e., Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Classification arbitration decisions are an important resource since decisions by the Advisory Arbitration Panel represent the panel's interpretation of class specifications relative to work assigned to coalition bargaining unit employees.
  • The various labor agreements are referenced since they contain language relative to the classification plan.
  • Certain personnel rules and management directives address and deal with position classification.
  • The United States Employment Service provides for the classification and the coding of job applicants and positions by using an occupational classification system, as incorporated in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Factors to be considered

Position classification is the orderly grouping of positions with similar duties and responsibilities into the same categories or classes. The duties and responsibilities of these positions and the skills required to perform them must be sufficiently similar. This is to ensure that the same titles, pay ranges, qualification requirements, examinations, selection and placement procedures, training programs, and performance standards can be applied uniformly to all positions in the same category or class. Factors which determine classification involve what the incumbent does, the kind of work performed, the responsibility one has, and the skills and abilities necessary to do the job.

Factors considered in classification include:

  • Variety and complexity of work
  • Level of responsibility
  • Supervision received
  • Supervision exercised
  • Guidelines available
  • Finality of decisions
  • Personal contacts
  • Consequence of error

Issued by the Office of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Bloomsburg University June 1994; Revised February 2002