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HR Handbook - Chapter 5: Classification Plan

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Chapter 5 Rule Reference

Printable PDF of HR Handbook – Chapter 5

Overview

The Louisiana Constitution, in Article X, Section 10(A)(1), directs the Commission to establish a classification and pay plan and requires that it be applied uniformly. The goal of a classification plan is to group or categorize positions with similar duty assignments so that the same qualification requirements, hiring standards, and schedule of pay may be equitably applied.

The job classification system is the foundation that supports the merit system concepts of accountability for performance and uniformity in pay. The allocation of a position to a particular job classification determines its pay range. Position allocations are used to determine what positions are similar for purposes of pay, promotions, lateral moves, transfers and other parity issues, both within and between agencies.

The rules in Chapter 5 establish the legal foundation for the job classification system, authorize the Director to define the method used to allocate positions, govern the use of dual-career-ladder jobs, and address the status of employees when their position allocations change due to:

  • Significant changes in individual duty assignments (Rule 5.6)
  • Business reorganization within an agency (Rule 5.6.1)
  • Changes in job specifications or allocation standards (Rule 5.8)
HR Impact

The HR community plays an important role in ensuring that duties are documented for positions so that allocations align with appropriate job titles and pay levels. Changes in position allocations, pay levels and agency organization have financial impact on both the agency and employee, as well as impact on the agency’s mission. It is incumbent on the HR professional to understand the effects in order to provide recommendations to the agency’s appointing authority.

Rule-By-Rule Review

Rule 5.1 Adoption of a Classification Plan

(a) This rule determines how the classification plan is designed. It must contain a set of job specifications designed to encompass all classified positions statewide. Each job classification shall have a standard title that must be used consistently by all agencies. This rule also requires the Director to present any changes to the classification plan, such as new or amended jobs, to the Commission on a regular basis at one of its public hearings.

This rule also provides for how these changes are communicated to the public. The Director must post the classification plan on the SCS public website. Proposed new, amended or abolished jobs are circulated to agencies and published publicly for comment prior to being presented to the Commission for approval at a public hearing. This is done at least once a year.

NOTE: Proposed changes to the classification plan fall into two categories:
  • Routine job specification changes or minimum qualification changes, with no pay changes involved, can be approved by the Director without Commission approval.
  • All other proposed changes must be presented to the Commission at a public hearing and require gubernatorial approval before they can become effective. These are usually the multi-user, high-cost, and/or sensitive changes.
  • These changes are accomplished through a job study done in collaboration with SCS and the user agency.

(b) Changes to the classification plan require Commission approval.

(c) This rule allows the Director authority to grant interim approval for proposed changes to the classification plan until these changes can be presented before the Commission. If changes are granted interim approval by the Director within 15 days of a scheduled public hearing, the Commission may choose to postpone their consideration of such changes until the next scheduled meeting. This may be done to allow sufficient time for public notice.

NOTE: When job classifications or associated pay levels change, agencies must make required changes to affected positions and incumbents. SCS staff maintains the LaGov HCM system to update job tables in Organizational Management and will notify agencies when changes have been implemented. Agencies using other automated HR Information Systems are responsible for executing changes in their systems.

Rule 5.2 Allocation of Positions

This rule sets out the authority for allocating an individual position to one of the jobs established in the classification plan.

(a) This rule gives the Director the authority to establish the method used to allocate individual positions based on information provided by the appointing authority. The Director has the authority to assign a position to its appropriate job allocation.

(b) This rule requires the Director to establish standards for allocating positions so that job classifications will be used consistently across all agencies. The job specifications are the primary standards used to allocate positions.

(c) This rule prohibits an agency from employing a person in a position that has not been allocated to a job. All classified positions must be assigned to a job title before the position can be filled.

(d) This rule provides for the position description process. Each position allocation must be based on an official position description that has been certified by the appointing authority as being a true reflection of duties assigned to that position. Falsifying or misrepresenting information on a position description constitutes a violation of the rules, and any allocation based on a falsified position description is void.

Rule 5.3 Review of Classifications

(a) This rule requires the Director to provide a method to ensure that the allocations of all classified positions are systematically reviewed. This means that all position descriptions must be updated on a regular basis.

(b) This rule allows an employee who disagrees with his position’s allocation to ask the Director to review it. The Director may assign staff to conduct such reviews on his behalf. The Director’s review decision is final. After the allocation of the position has been reviewed by the Director, the employee may not further challenge that allocation decision unless he alleges that the decision was discriminatory based on race, sex, religion or political affiliation.

NOTE: The significance of updating positions descriptions on a regular basis is two-fold. First, it provides information to the employee to understand what duties are required to be performed in his job, and secondly, it allows the supervisor to measure the employee’s performance based on the required job duties. When the employee disagrees with the position allocation or duties stated in the position description, a procedure is available to the employee to request a review of that allocation. This is called a “5.3” appeal. For further information, the Employee Request for Allocation Review form may be found in Procedures: Appeals Policy Standards.

Rule 5.4 Use of Job Titles

This rule addresses the distinctions between a position’s “working title” and its officially allocated job title.

(a) This rule allows agencies to call a position something different from its official job title. This is called a “working title.” Each position must be allocated to a job title (or the official abbreviation or code for that job) as shown in the classification plan. However, the agency may also assign a “working title” to the position for other purposes, such as on business cards, memorandums or business correspondence. An example of a working title might be “Fiscal Officer” for an official job title of Accountant Administrator 4. The official job title (and job code) must always be used on all payroll or personnel records and transactions.

(b) This rule requires the employee to be appointed and paid based on the job title and pay level assigned to that official allocation. The use of a working title does not affect this.

Rule 5.5 Force and Effect of Job Specifications

This rule describes how the official job specifications are to be used in allocating positions, thereby assigning them to pay grades.

(a) The definitions and descriptions of work in a job specification are examples of the types of positions that should be allocated to that title. They are not an exclusive or exhaustive list. Even though a particular position’s duties may not be specifically mentioned in a job specification, but are similar, that job may be the most appropriate classification for that position.

(b) This rule establishes that a position’s allocation to a job determines the position’s pay grade. It also provides that the official position description, certified by the appointing authority, is the document that will be used to determine that allocation.

Rule 5.6 Status of Incumbent When Position is Reallocated

(a) This rule states that when a position is reallocated to another job title and the employee meets the minimum qualification requirements of that new job, the employee remains in the position. The employee is not required to re-apply or compete for the position.

(b) This rule states that when a position is reallocated to another job title and the employee does NOT meet the minimum qualification requirements of the new job, one of two things can happen:

  • The agency can choose to remove/restore the duty assignments that caused the reallocation, thus allowing the position to revert to its former allocation, OR
  • The agency chooses NOT to remove/restore the duty assignments that caused the reallocation. This means the Director must declare this a new position with the new job title.
NOTE: SCS staff works with agencies on reallocating positions that are encumbered in order to determine if there is a chance for negative impact on an employee in the position suffering the change. If an employee does not qualify for the new job title being allocated to the position, several options must be considered, and it is recommended that agencies work with SCS staff on appropriate options.

(c) Repealed effective July 1, 2013.

Rule 5.6.1 Effect of Business Reorganization on Encumbered Positions

(a) This rule discusses what happens when the appointing authority decides to rearrange positions and people in an organization. When an appointing authority decides to rearrange work assignments in a manner that will significantly change a position’s required duties and that change has the potential to cause positions to have a lower allocation or assigned to a pay grade with a lower maximum, a business reorganization plan must be submitted to the Director. The business reorganization plan must explain how rearranging the work assignments will help the agency work more effectively or efficiently.

However, if the reorganization will actually reduce the number of positions in the organization and those positions are filled with employees, then the agency must conduct a layoff in accordance with Chapter 17 Rules, not a business reorganization.

(b) This rule provides authority to the Director to determine how the changes in position allocations in a business reorganization will be made, i.e. by:

  1. Job corrections (e.g. all positions in a job class are being changed)
  2. Creation of new positions (as described in Rule 5.6 above)
  3. Reallocations.

Positions that are occupied can only be reallocated downward by following the specific procedures set up in subsections (d), (e) and (f) below. That is, an employee cannot be assigned to a position with a lower pay grade unless those procedures are followed.

(c) This rule provides the procedure for submitting a business reorganization plan and the components of the business reorganization plan.

(d) This rule outlines the notification process to permanent employees when allocations are proposed to be lowered.

(e) This rule describes the actions that may be taken by the Director when a business reorganization plan is submitted.

(f) This rule addresses pay eligibilities in the business reorganization process.

(g) This rule authorizes placement of the employee on the DPRL when his position allocation is lowered in a business reorganization. It also outlines the process for removing employees from the DPRL, hiring from the DPRL and the employee’s ability to ask to remain on the DPRL.

  1. Employees are placed on DPRLs as follows:
    1. Only for the agency or department where the business reorganization occurred.
    2. For the parish where his position was located at the time of the reorganization plus any other parishes the employee requests.
    3. Only for the job title held immediately prior to the business reorganization.
    4. Only if their most recent performance evaluation was successful (or better).
    5. Only if they had permanent status at the time of the business reorganization.
  2. Employees are removed from the DPRL when they:
    1. Are offered a permanent appointment to that job title.
    2. Decline or fail to respond to an offer from the DPRL.
    3. Are found by the Director to be unqualified, unavailable, or, after a formal investigation, found to be unsuitable.
    4. Two years have passed since the date of the business reorganization.
  3. The agency must hire from the DPRL EXCEPT when:
    1. Making an internal demotion.
    2. Restoring an employee returning from military service (See Rule 23.15).
  4. This rule provides for the employee to ask to remain on the DPRL under a new job title when the job classification undergoes a change after a business reorganization. Employees also remain on the DPRL if the pay range of a job is changed up or down after a business reorganization.

    If the minimum qualifications for a job are changed, and the employees on the DPRL do not meet the new requirements, they may ask to remain on the DPRL by providing to the Director evidence to show that their job duties are essentially the same as those they was performing prior to the business reorganization. However, if the new qualification requirement is mandated by law or by an accreditation program, they will not be waived.

(h) This rule allows for the Director or the Commission to make exceptions to the rules regarding business reorganizations for any rational business reason.

(i) This rule provides for an employee with permanent status the right to appeal to the Commission when he is moved to a lower job classification in a business reorganization. The appeal must be filed in accordance with Chapter 13 Rules.

Rule 5.7 Job Evaluation

This rule requires the Director to consider how job changes compare to other Job Classifications in the classification plan.

NOTE: Job evaluations by the Director are completed through a process known as a "job study." Additional information regarding the job study process can be found in both Job Aids & Resources and Procedures.

Rule 5.8 Status of Incumbent Affected by a Job Correction

A job correction is a change in the allocation of a position as a result of revisions to the job specifications and/or the allocation criteria, rather than as a result of changes in the position’s individual duty assignments. Job specifications and allocation criteria are generally changed through a job study.

(a) When the allocation of an employee’s position is changed because his job specifications have changed, the employee remains in the position unless the minimum qualifications now require some type of license, commission, certification or accreditation that the employee lacks.

(b) If the employee does lack such a required credential, his position must be abolished under the layoff rules of Chapter 17, and the employee laid-off or relocated according to Chapter 17 provisions. The employee’s duties will be assigned to a new position allocated to the revised job classification.

Rule 5.9 Dual Career Ladder Classification Program

This rule provides for the establishment of a dual career ladder (DCL) program. A DCL is a set of nonsupervisory jobs in a job series that are assigned to pay grades similar to those of supervisory jobs in that series. DCLs are used to retain technical or scientific employees whose highly advanced, specialized expertise is of such value to the agency that their contribution would be diminished if part or all of their time were devoted to supervisory responsibilities. The DCL provides a route of advancement for such employees as an alternative to promotion to supervisory or managerial positions.

A DCL may contain only a single job title or several. To implement a DCL program, an agency must establish a policy and have that policy approved by the Commission. To be approved, a DCL program must comply with the provisions in this rule.

(a) DCLs can only be used in scientific, medical, engineering or information technology occupations. The occupation must meet the following standards.

  1. Require substantial technical or professional training and expertise beyond a basic level.
  2. Be subject to rapid innovation.
  3. Have established national credentials or licenses for employees to obtain.

(b) A DCL policy must include (but is not limited to) these items:

  1. The program’s goals and expectations.
  2. The performance standards employees must meet to be eligible for DCL jobs.
  3. A description of the process by which employees will be selected for DCL jobs.
  4. Supplemental qualification requirements for each DCL position.
  5. The location and maximum number of DCL positions in the program, with job specifications for each.
  6. A description of how the effectiveness of the DCL program will be evaluated and monitored.

(c) Any change or amendment to a DCL policy must be approved by the Commission before it can be implemented.

(d) Appointments to DCL jobs follow the same pay rules that apply to appointments to any other jobs. (See Chapter 6 for Pay Rules.)

(e) When filling a DCL job the agency must follow the same rules that apply to appointments and reallocations for any other jobs.

(f) An agency with a DCL program must submit a report to SCS each fiscal year describing the program’s use and effect.

(g) The Director must make an annual report to the Commission on how DCL programs are being used by agencies.

NOTE: DCL policy standards and other information may be found in both Job Aids & Resources and Procedures.
Procedures
Job Aids and Resources