This page focuses on assisting you with situations that you might encounter and questions or concerns that you might have concerning the classification of individual State positions as it pertains to the work of your department, division, unit, and staff. Within the following you will find information and guidance on the role of Classification in personnel administration.
Some of your own questions or concerns may lead you elsewhere within our site. However, we may also be able to address them here. We encourage you to investigate all of the prospective questions and concerns, even if at first glance they don't initially appear to cover yours.
Classification Client Service Standards and Priorities
Classification Services utilizes service standards to express turnaround times and accuracy rates for positions submitted by each department. Individual Allocations (single position description reviews) are assigned 1 of 6 different priority levels. Position Descriptions (PDs) of permanent positions are reviewed and processed in priority order (e.g., priority 2 bumps priority 3, etc.). Each priority level also has a specific target processing time. Below depicts the priority levels and definition, with the new client service standards.
|Priority 1||DEPARTMENT PRIORITY||TARGET: 21 calendar days|
|A PD may be designated as a department priority by the Administrative Services Director (ASD). When this occurs, the priority PD bumps other department PDs that are being processed. If a department has 4 or more department priority PDs at the same time, the ASD may then be asked to prioritize the priority 1 PDs, and they will be reviewed and allocated in that priority order.|
|Priority 2||NEW POSITION / VACANT AWAITING RECRUITMENT||TARGET: 21 calendar days|
|This priority includes all vacant positions that are going to be recruited for within 60-days (i.e., Reclassification of the position is requested; there are significant changes to an Update PD request; or the PD is at System Startup in the Online Position Description [OPD], requiring the submittal of a full PD); or positions that have been authorized in the budget, but have not yet been established and classified (i.e., a Position Control Number [PCN] and job class that have not yet been assigned). NOTE: This does not include positions requesting flexible staffing – see priority 4 for flexibly staffed position.|
|Priority 3||FILLED RECLASS or FILLED BU CHANGE||TARGET: 30 calendar days|
|The position has an incumbent and the department is requesting the position be allocated to a different job class (Reclassification) -or- The position has an incumbent, and the department requests a bargaining unit change for the position.|
|Priority 4||VACANT POSITIONS - NOT AWAITING RECRUITMENT / ESTABLISH FLEXIBLE STAFFING||TARGET: 60 calendar days|
|The position is not expected to have an active recruitment within 60-days -or- vacant positions requesting to be flexibly staffed.|
|Priority 5||FILLED UPDATE||TARGET: 90 calendar days|
|The position has an incumbent, the department is updating the position description, and no change in job class is anticipated.|
|Non-Perm Positions||TARGET: 4 business days|
|A temporary position in State service that is not in the exempt or partially exempt service and is not a permanent or an emergency position.|
Writing, Updating, or Changing PDs
2) I need to recruit immediately due to a time-sensitive situation, but the PD must be updated first. I don't expect the allocation to change. What should I do?
Contact Classification or your appropriate Recruitment staff to ask about recruiting while the position is in Classification. If approved, you will be able to start the recruitment process, but will not be able to make a job offer or hire until Classification has approved the position and it is finalized and public in OPD.
PDs must be submitted to Classification when one or more of the following has occurred:
- The supervisory authority assigned to the position is changed or modified (e.g., direct report positions added, changed, deleted);
- A new primary duty (the main duty for which the position exists to perform) has been assigned;
- The position's focus has shifted (e.g., responsibility shifts from reviewing a form for completeness to approving the action requested on the form, or the position supports Program B while its PD indicates it supports Program A);
- The mission, goals, or objectives of the position, or the program the position supports is changed or modified (e.g., new statutory mandates alter the program function, department executive team establishes new goals or mission that impacts the work performed by the position in question);
- Essential duties have been added, deleted, or modified; and/or,
- The Work Demands section has been modified. This information is necessary to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) blood borne pathogens standards.
PCCs are used when the submission involves changes to a position's location, organizational routing code, position type, and/or transfers between divisions and departments that involve no change in duties. All other changes would require updating the full PD.
Again, there are too many variables to provide a detailed description; however, you may want to review our Individual PD Allocation Workflow Chart (PDF) for an overview of the process, ranging from initiation of the submission through its closeout in OPD.
A Classification Analyst cannot give this information to the department until their supervisor has reviewed the allocation analysis and concurs with the analysis.
7) Why didn't the review of the submitted PD conclude within the time determined by the Client Service Standards?
These timeframes are tentative and not contractual. There are numerous factors that may impact the overall turnaround time from PD origination to finalization by Classification. Delays to the review, allocation, and finalization of a PD may occur as a result of any combination of:
- Staffing charts that are incorrect and/or not attached;
- Incomplete and/or inconsistent Duties and Other Work Details statements;
- Incomplete and/or inconsistent Supervisory Authority pages;
- Incomplete and/or inconsistent Organizational Routing Codes;
- Incomplete, inconsistent, and/or non-attached Training Plans for flexibly staffed submissions;
- Incomplete, inconsistent, and/or otherwise non-descriptive Questionnaire responses for new position or reclassification requests; and/or,
- Delayed responses to requests for clarification from Classification staff.
The OPD System
There is no formal training for the OPD system. However, training aids are available at the OPD Homepage.
If you have questions concerning the program, please contact the Classification Operations Team.
|For Departments of||Call|
|Administration; Law; Revenue; Education & Early Development; Health & Social Services; Labor & Workforce Development; or Commerce, Community & Economic Development
|Military & Veteran's Affairs; Natural Resources; Fish & Game; Public Safety; Environmental Conservation; Corrections; or Transportation & Public Facilities||465-8427|
Go to the OPD Home page and access the submission via the 'Manage Submissions' column (on the left-hand side) and then click the appropriate type of submission that is indicated under 'My Submissions'. If you are the reviewing supervisor, check the 'Supervisor' section in the left column as well.
10) What if I'm editing a position and I get a message in red that says…"Note: Another submission is already in the workflow for this PCN"?
This means that another action for the same PCN is in process (i.e., a position control change—PCC—or an edit to an existing position). The message indicates that you cannot create a new PCC if one is already in process, or create a new full PD if one is already in process. If a position is in Classification and you need additional changes, contact the Classification analyst assigned to the position (determined by checking the Submission History in OPD).
11) Why does the Workflow History for my PD say that it has been "Suspended" when I check its status?
Classification Analysts may place a submission into “Suspense” to temporarily pause the clock in relation to calculating Client Service Standards. This only occurs when the Analyst requires additional or clarifying information necessary to complete the review, allocation, and/or finalization of a PD. The review is immediately resumed upon receipt of the necessary information.
12) When a PD is returned, does it have to go back through the certification process (i.e., Originator, Supervisor, Division, and Department steps)?
Yes, any significant changes that warrant the return of PDs to a department must be re-certified at all levels before coming back to Classification for further review.
13) Help! The employee who originated a critical PD is unavailable to forward the submission in OPD. What can I do?
Submissions in OPD may be reassigned using the “Reassign Submission” tool, which is available to your department’s Division and Department-level Reviewers and Approvers. You may also contact your appropriate Classification Operations Team member.
Establishing Flexible Staffing to Positions
Flexible staffing is governed by AAM 130.270 (PDF) and is a management tool originally designed for use when the entry level of a job classification series is a trainee. Use of this tool has been expanded to aid in recruitment, provide for retention of employees, and allow maximum flexibility to hiring managers while streamlining the “reclassification” process. Flexible staffing is designed to aid in the recruitment and retention of employees within a job class series by facilitating entry into a job class series and providing a training path in order for journey or higher (e.g., advanced) level work to be performed.
In almost all instances, the position must be vacant.
Classification evaluates the following for approving flexible staffing:
- The higher-level work exists within the agency;
- The organizational structure - typically, not all positions within a unit would be flexed;
- The recruitment history of the position for the past two years (Please Note: If you have limited your recruiting criteria to State of Alaska employees only, you will be advised to broaden your recruitment to ALL Alaska residents or even ALL applicants nationwide);
- What position will be doing the higher-level work when the flex position is working at the lower level;
- Verify that the position is vacant.
Additional information may be obtained by reviewing the:
- Overview (Excel) chart displaying an overview of flexibly staffed, multiple class, and coupled class positions; and,
- Flexible Staffing Worksheet (Word), which was developed as a tool to use when creating a flexible staffing plan.
Or, by contacting either:
- Your appropriate Individual Allocations Supervisor; or,
- Emailing us directly at the Classification Section.
The definition of a supervisory employee under 8 AAC 97.990(a)(5) is used to determine whether or not a position is placed in the Supervisory Bargaining Unit. In keeping with Alaska Labor Relations Agency’s Decision and Order 198, et al., placement in the SU bargaining unit requires that two standards be met. First, the employer must have conferred on an employee the authority to act or effectively recommend action in any one of the three supervisory functions: employing, discipline, or grievance adjudication. Second, the employee must exercise independent judgment in performing the function when the opportunity arises.
The above standards are met when the authority over a permanent position is conferred, whether it is full-time, part-time, or seasonal. Authority over non-permanent positions, including student interns, is by its nature a temporary assignment that will not move a position into the Supervisory Bargaining Unit. There may be rare, special cases when nonpermanent subordinate positions support placing the superior in the supervisory bargaining unit (such as a long-term project position supervising other long-term project positions; authority over long-term nonpermanent positions that will continue for several years; or similar possible exceptions). Such exceptions require the approval of the Director of the Division of Personnel and Labor Relations or designee.
TA position may be assigned responsibility for common supervisory duties such as writing performance evaluations, mentoring, training, determining how work is performed, assigning work and monitoring workloads, and participating in interviews and filling out rating sheets on applicants without authority to act or effectively recommend actions regarding hiring, discipline, or grievance adjudication. This responsibility will not cause a position to be placed in the Supervisory Unit. This work is also indicative of a lead worker, and that position’s level of authority for hiring, discipline, and grievance adjudication would be represented on the supervisory grid in the PD at levels 3 or 4.
A position who, whether they do all of the above supervisory functions or not, which has the authority to act or effectively recommend action in any one of the areas of hiring, discipline, or grievance adjudication would have their level of authority in at least one area represented as 1s or 2s in the supervisory grid and they would therefore be appropriate for the SU bargaining unit.
The levels of authority assigned to the position on the supervisory grid in the areas of hiring, disciplining, and grievance adjudication must be accurate for that position, and those levels of authority represented on the supervisory grid should be substantiated in all other portions of the position description where it is appropriate (i.e., in sections 2.1 (main purpose), 2.2 (duties), 3.3 (guides and references regularly used should mention Personnel Rules, bargaining unit contracts), 3.5 (Nature of contacts), 5 (Supervisory or lead level authority), and the staffing chart.
16) What numbers should I use on the Supervisory Grid in the PD to indicate the employee’s appropriate level of supervisory responsibility?
Please note that these ratings are not dependent upon whether the position has actually exercised the authority, but rather what level is assigned to the position.
|Level||Definition of Level of Authority Assigned|
|1 =||Has authority to take action with direct report; notification to own supervisor may or may not be necessary afterward. This level of authority is consistent with a supervisory employee in the areas of hiring, discharge, discipline, or grievance adjudication.|
|2 =||Effectively recommends and discusses decision with own supervisor; then takes action with direct report. This level of authority is consistent with a supervisory employee in the areas of hiring, discharge, discipline, or grievance adjudication.|
|3 =||Presents recommendations to own supervisor; supervisor makes decision and directs position to take action. This level of authority is more consistent with a lead employee in the areas of hiring, discharge, discipline, or grievance adjudication.|
|4 =||No authority to take or recommend action. This level of authority is more consistent with a lead employee in the areas of hiring, discharge, discipline, or grievance adjudication.|
The levels of authority assigned to a position on the supervisory grid in the areas of hiring, disciplining, and grievance adjudication must be accurate for that position. The represented levels of authority must be substantiated in all other portions of the position description where it is appropriate (i.e., in sections 2.1 (main purpose), 2.2 (duties), 3.3 (guides and references regularly used should mention Personnel Rules, bargaining unit contracts), 3.4 (actions & decisions made), 5 (Supervisory or lead level authority), and the staffing chart.
Bargaining Unit Changes
It depends on if the position is vacant or filled:
- If the position is vacant, the BU change will be effective immediately.
- If the position is filled, there are steps that must be taken prior to processing the BU change:
- Once the allocation and classification action (e.g., reclass-up, reclass-down, or update) is processed by Classification, the bargaining unit will change following a contractual notification period;
- The affected unions will be notified of the change through separate correspondence; and,
- Unless the union files a petition for unit clarification with the Alaska Labor Relations Agency, the position will be considered eligible for movement to the new bargaining unit effective following the contractual period from the date the bargaining unit receives notice of the BU change.
Overtime eligibility is determined according to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA (i.e., overtime) status of a position is based on the primary duty of the position and not the job class or bargaining unit. There are four commonly used exemptions that may apply:
- Professional; or,
- Computer Employee.
Strike Class Determinations
Strike Classes are determined in accordance with statute and prior decisions by the Alaska Labor Relations Agency (ALRA). Specifically, AS 23.40.200 (a), (b) states: "
- "(a) For purposes of this section, public employees are employed to perform services in one of the three following classes:
- (1) those services which may not be given up for even the shortest period of time;
- (2) those services which may be interrupted for a limited period but not for an indefinite period of time; and,
- (3) those services in which work stoppages may be sustained for extended periods without serious effects on the public."
- "(b) The class in (a)(1) of this section is composed of police and fire protection employees, jail, prison, and other correctional institution employees, and hospital employees. Employees in this class may not engage in strikes. Upon a showing by a public employer or the labor relations agency that employees in this class are engaging or about to engage in a strike, an injunction, restraining order, or other order that may be appropriate shall be granted by the superior court in the judicial district in which the strike is occurring or is about to occur. If an impasse or deadlock is reached in collective bargaining between the public employer and employees in this class, and mediation has been utilized without resolving the deadlock, the parties shall submit to arbitration to be carried out under AS 09.43.030 or 09.43.480 to the extent permitted by AS 09.43.010 and 09.43.300."
Supervisors will be informed prior to finalization if the Strike Class has changed.
Please Note: Partially exempt positions that are not governed by a bargaining unit contract will have a strike class designation of "N". This is an OPD designation to identify those positions with no union representation or strike eligibility.
Although a variety of situations arise that call for nonpermanent positions, they are usually established to assist departments with special projects, help with heavy workloads, or while permanent employees are on leave. Nonpermanent positions are composed of:
- Short Term positions, which are:
- 120 days or less for GG and KK (90 days, or less for SU);
- Not eligible for leave or benefits; and,
- Whose appointment is rarely extended.
Please Note:In the event the position is extended, incumbent may be eligible for leave accrual, holiday, and health benefits retroactive to their appointment.
- Long Term positions, which are:
- 121 days and less than 12 months for GG and KK (91 days and less than 12 months for SU); and,
- Eligible for leave accrual, health, and holiday benefits upon appointment.
- Project positions, which:
- Can be either short or long term; and,
- Are created with a specific project that is not a continuing, recurring function of the Division/Department.
Please Note:Short Term Project positions are not eligible for leave and benefits, and are rarely approved for extension.
- Substitute positions, which:
- Can be either short or long term;
- Fill in for regular permanent employees while they are on approved, extended leave; and,
- Must be established as the same job class as the permanent position.
- Program (i.e., Intern) positions, which:
- Must have an attached training plan; and,
- Are typically placed at the level representing their current year of school. For example: A College Intern II would be in the 2nd year of college.
- On-Call Substitute positions, which:
- Consist of multiple substitute employees to fill one PCN; and,
- In the event that a regular, permanent employee takes sporadic leave, the supervisor has a pool of incumbents to call on to work the necessary shift.
There are six primary steps to establishing a nonpermanent position:
- The Hiring Manager or Supervisor fills out the Nonpermanent Position Request form via the OPD system. The request submission is forwarded to the Division Step for review and approval.
- The Administrative Services Director (ASD) approves the nonpermanent position request and forwards the submission to the Department Step for review and approval.
- The Department Approver approves the nonpermanent position request and forwards the submission to Classification.
- Classification will review the submission to ensure all the necessary information and attachments are present and finalizes within two business days of receipt.
- 5. A confirmation email containing the new PCN is sent to all the contacts, as well as to the ASD, Payroll, and the appropriate HR and Recruitment staff serving your department.
- The position is usually established in the AKPAY position screens by the following business day.
Please refer to either the Recruitment Concerns page or contact your appropriate Recruitment staff for further assistance related to the appropriate recruitment for nonpermanent positions.
You must have Administrative Services Director (ASD) approval. ASD approval is requested to the Department by the Director, Deputy Director, Division Operations Manager, Budget Manager, Administrative Operations Manager, or Administrative Officer.
23) When submitting a request to OMB for approval of a new nonpermanent position, what PCN do I use since the position is new?
When creating a new position using OPD, it will assign a tracking number that starts with 'New' followed by numbers, such as 'New12349'. Please remember to include "New" when referring to the tracking number. When the PD arrives in Classification, we will assign it a PCN, but the tracking number will always be associated with the PCN.
Extension requests will be considered, and must be submitted at least ten (10) days before the designated end date, or earlier. Extensions are approved depending upon the type of nonpermanent position and the bargaining unit. The duration of short-term and long-term nonpermanent positions may, in appropriate circumstances, be extended. Short-term nonpermanent position extensions will normally be limited to ninety days or less; or 120 days for GG and KK bargaining units. Long-term nonpermanent position extensions are limited to one year. The following link provides more information concerning nonpermanent positions.
25) Why do I need OMB approval to extend a nonpermanent position past the initial end date when the Director has already approved and verified that we need the extension?
The Revised Program Manual (PDF) issued by OMB provides guidance on when approval is necessary for position changes. Classification, as well as all managers, must ensure the requirements are met.
The staffing chart must include the subject position and subordinate positions, if any; the subject position's supervisor; and, all subordinate positions of the subject position's supervisor.
For each position, at a minimum, the following data must be included: position control number (PCN), job class title, position location. For the subject position, the requested title should be used.
All job class titles for flexible, coupled, and multiple classes need to be listed, in addition to identifying the job class title the position is being allocated to. For example, if the position is being allocated from an Administrative Assistant I to a Retirement and Benefits Technician I (Flex I/II), the title of the position should be Retirement and Benefits Technician I (Flex I/II) to indicate it is also a flexibly staffed position.
The designation line needs to show the correct relationships between positions. A solid line from one position to another, underneath, signifies a supervisory correlation in accordance with 8 AAC 97.990(5), between the two positions. A dashed line signifies either a lead, indirect responsibility, or a correlation to a specific function of the position.
You may also find additional information in HR Update, FY 11 – Issue 04 (PDF).
A position inactivation is performed only by the department. Please contact your department's Administrative Services Director.
We encourage you to continue reviewing our other pages. However, if you are either certain that your questions and concerns are not covered elsewhere, or have looked and still not found an answer, please do not hesitate to email us directly at the Classification Section.