The mission of U.S. Classification is to support Merit Systems Principles through accurately determining the pay plan, series, title, and grade of U.S. civilian appropriated fund positions. This supports providing equal pay for substantially equal work in accordance with Merit Systems Principles. Classifiers work with managers and supervisors to develop efficient, effective positions, while ensuring that information and duties contained in a Position Description (PD) accurately portray the work being performed, assuring the position is given due credit in applying Office of Personnel Management (OPM) classification standards. Our advisory service and analysis helps CHRO get the right people into the right jobs to help our Marine Corps Commands support, strengthen, and enable force projection in the Indo-Asia-Pacific with our allies and partners to protect and defend the territory of the United States, its people, and its interests.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is the required documentation for position review action?
- What do I need to do to update a current PD?
- What do I need to do to upgrade a current position?
- How can I make a position a developmental (career ladder) position?
- Do I really need to complete an RPA to make a couple of minor changes?
- How can positions with similar work in other locations be graded or classified differently?
- How do you determine the grade? / What is the grading procedure?
- My employee has many degrees or knowledge beyond that needed to perform the work and, therefore, take on addition work. Why can’t they get upgraded?
- My employee is swamped with a backlog of work. We work them too hard and they deserve a promotion. Why did they not get a promotion?
- We need to upgrade this position because we are not paying them enough and they may go elsewhere with better pay. How do we do that?
1. What is the required documentation for position review action?
We require submission of Request for Personnel Action (RPA) for Position Review/Position Establish through the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS) by the supervisor. Generally, documentation required to upload in DCPDS:
- Current and Proposed PDs
- Current and Proposed Organization Charts
- Position Management Review (PMR) – as required by Manpower Branch, G-1
- Programming & Budgeting Documentation Database (PBDD) Form for upgrading – as required by G-8
- Other documents required by G-8 and/or G-1 (if applicable)
- Accretion of Duties Document – if requesting a higher-grade reclassification of an encumbered position.
2. What do I need to do to update the current PD?
First, rewrite the PD to incorporate all the changes to the duties and responsibilities since the current PD was written. Then, submit the RPA for position review along with the org charts, if needed.
3. What do I need to do to upgrade the current position?
You need to prepare rewritten PD with additional duties and responsibilities. For the possible upgrade, you need to coordinate with G-8 showing you have funding to compensate difference between the current grade and possible higher grade pay. You also need to prepare a justification letter and Position Management Review (PMR) showing the reason for requesting a higher grade. If the position is encumbered, you may also need to submit a justification for an accretion of duties promotion. Contact the U.S. Classification team for additional details.
4. How can I make a position a developmental (career ladder) position?
Prepare an OF-8 with a Statement of Difference for the lower grade position. In conjunction with the full performance PD, this will serve as the PD of record at the requested grade level(s) if approved. A Statement of Difference should note the differences between grade levels either in the remarks section on the bottom of the OF-8 or by a brief addendum to be attached. For any employee hired on a career ladder, requirements to be recommended for promotion by the supervisor should be stated in an Individual Development Plan.
5. Do I really need to complete an RPA to make a couple of minor changes?
Yes. Our workload is monitored by higher headquarters through DCPDS. A single change in a position description needs to be validated and placed in any incumbent’s eOPF and filed in different systems of record. In order for our full workload to be understood by higher headquarters, we still need that RPA. Thank you for your understanding and compliance.
6. How can positions with similar work in other locations be graded or classified differently?
By law, positions must be classified solely by comparing their current duties and responsibilities to OPM standards and guidelines. Comparison to standards is the exclusive method for classifying positions.
Sometimes the positions or jobs are actually different. While the tasks might seem to be similar, the complexity of the work, as well as the level of responsibility, authority, level of contacts, purpose of contacts, or other classification or job grading factor could be sufficiently different to justify a different classification or grading. In addition, the definitions of some words supervisors commonly use in PDs may have a different meaning, or intent of meaning, according to OPM and it is those definitions that must be used during the classification process.
7. How do you determine the grade? / What is the grading procedure?
Title 5, United States Code, governs the classification of positions in the federal service. All positions shall be classified based upon duties and responsibilities assigned and qualifications required to do the work. Federal agencies bear responsibility for carrying out the General Schedule (GS) and Federal Wage System (FWS) classification systems.
The GS and FWS systems require all civilian employees to have a formal position description (PD). A position description is a statement of the major duties, responsibilities, and supervisory relationships of a position. It should be kept up to date and include information about the job which is significant to its classification. It should clearly define the major duties assigned, the nature and extent of responsibility in carrying out those duties, qualification requirements, specialized requirements not readily apparent, etc. All position descriptions include a statement legally certifying to the accuracy of the position description and are signed by the supervisor.
After a position description has been prepared, it must be classified. Determination of the official title, occupational series, and appropriate pay grade is accomplished next. The final determination is made by CHRO Classifiers by reviewing appropriate classification standards at the various grade levels in order to make the correct determination.
The pay system is the first decision made when classifying a position. Most HR Specialists are concerned only with decisions regarding coverage by the GS and the federal wage system (FWS). The FWS is exempt from coverage under the GS and includes positions requiring trades, crafts, or laboring experience and knowledge as a requirement for the performance of its primary duty. If this requirement is paramount, the position is under the FWS regardless of its organizational location or the nature of the activity in which it exists.
The next decision made by the classifier is which series to assign the position to. This is done by reviewing the PD and determining what the predominant work is. Once a series has been selected, the standard, created and mandated for use by OPM are used to rate the duties assigned by the supervisor and written in the PD. The standards describe work in terms of individual evaluation factors, which are assigned points for different levels. This requires the classifier to select the proper level for each factor, add up the total points assigned, and refer to a point-grade conversion table to determine the overall grade. Many point factor standards are in Factor Evaluation System format.
Finally, OPM has specific titles for most series and may be specific to certain grades in those series, therefore, the title is the last decision made by the classifier.
8. My employee has many degrees or knowledge beyond that needed to perform the work and, therefore, take on addition work. Why can’t they get upgraded?
Classifiers are required to classify positions and grade jobs based on the duties and responsibilities assigned to the position and the qualifications required to perform that work. Qualifications possessed by an employee that are not needed to perform the work assigned to the position in the PD may not be considered in the position classification or job grading process.
9. My employee is swamped with a backlog of work. We work them too hard and they deserve a promotion. Why did they not get a promotion?
According to the guidelines set by OPM, volume of work cannot be considered in determining the grade of a position. It is a position management issue. The Labor Management and Employee Relations team is available to help determine available and appropriate awards for these situations.
10. We need to upgrade this position because we are not paying them enough and they may go elsewhere with better pay. How do we do that?
Classification guidelines set by OPM must still be followed and the desire to keep a particular individual in that position cannot be considered. You may wish to reach out to the Staffing team or the Labor Management and Employee Relations team to determine an appropriate and available retention mechanism.