Classification & Compensation Frequently Asked Questions

What is total compensation?

Total compensation is the complete pay package for employees, including all forms of money, benefits, services, and in-kind payments.

What are the responsibilities of the Compensation/Classification Unit?

The Compensation/Classification Unit is responsible to appropriately classify and compensate represented staff positions and non-represented positions in the Professional and Support Staff (PSS) and Management and Senior Professional (MSP) programs.

How do I request a reclassification?

An employee should work with the supervisor to update a position description and request a classification review when there has been a substantive change in the duties and responsibilities assigned to the position. Managers should submit the request to the Compensation/Classification Unit for review.

How does a Compensation Analyst determine the appropriate classification?

An analyst reviews the position description to gain an understanding of the nature of the work being performed and the level of responsibility assigned to the position. He or she compares the position description to the classification specifications to determine the appropriate classification series for the position, as well as the appropriate level within the series. The position being reviewed may also be compared to other similar positions and to market data if available and appropriate.

How do I inquire about the status of my classification review?

Employees should consult with their immediate supervisor regarding the status of their classification review. Managers and supervisors may consult with the Compensation/Classification unit regarding the status of a classification review for an employee in their unit or department. The Compensation/Classification unit has a goal of completing a classification review within 30 days of receipt of complete request paperwork.

What is the difference between a classification review and a position update?

A classification review request asks the Compensation/Classification Unit to review a position whose duties have changed to determine the appropriate classification. A position update is submission of a revised job description where the changes are minimal and no change in classification is anticipated.

How long does the classification review process take?

The Compensation/Classification Unit has a goal of completing a classification review within 30 days of receipt of complete request paperwork. The subsequent steps of union notice (if required), input of a reclassification by the Records unit, and processing of salary changes and retroactive payments by Payroll, add to the length of time before the entire process is complete.

When does the union need to be noticed on a reclassification?

A union must be noticed when a position is proposed for reclassification to a title that is outside the bargaining unit that represents the employee's current classification, e.g., when an employee is proposed for reclassification to a supervisory title. A union must also be noticed when a position is proposed for downward reclassification, both within and out of the bargaining unit. Notice requirements vary according to specific UC/union contracts.

What is the difference between a promotion and an upward reclassification?

A promotion is the voluntary movement of an employee by way of a recruitment process from one position to another position in a classification having a higher salary range maximum.

An upward reclassification is the change in job title of an employee's current position to a different job title having a higher salary range maximum, as a result of a change in the duties assigned to the position.

What is a downward reclassification?

A downward reclassification is the change in classification of an employee's current position to a different classification having a lower salary range maximum, as a result of a change in duties assigned to the position.

What is red-circling or red-lining?

Red-circling is maintaining an individual's pay rate that is above the established range maximum for that individual's classification. Employees' salaries may, at management's discretion, be red-circled when their positions are downward reclassified and their current salaries are above the range maximum for the new classification. Employees whose salaries have been red-circled usually are not eligible for further base-building pay increases until the range maximum surpasses their current pay rates.

What is a step-based salary structure?

A step-based salary structure is a salary range with standard rates established at specified intervals within the range. An employee's salary must be assigned to a specific step. Employees may progress from step to step via merit increases, based on performance. Progression through a step-based salary range is governed by the applicable UC/union contract.

What is an open range salary structure?

An open range salary structure is a salary range with a minimum and maximum value, with no steps in between. An employee's salary can be at any point between the range minimum and maximum. Employees progress through the range via merit increases, based on performance, or via equity adjustments.

What is a range adjustment?

A range adjustment for step-based salary ranges is an increase to the value of each step of the range. When step-based salary ranges are range-adjusted, the employee's salary increases by virtue of the increase to the employee's assigned step.

A range adjustment for open salary ranges is an increase to the value of the range minimum and the range maximum. When open ranges are range-adjusted, the employee's salary does not increase, unless his or her rate was at the old range minimum.

What is an exempt position?

An exempt position is one that is not covered by the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In addition to meeting a salary basis test, positions must meet the requirements for one of three defined exemptions: executive, administrative, or professional.

What is a non-exempt position?

A non-exempt position is one that is subject to the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Can a supervisor be non-exempt?

Yes. A supervisory position can be non-exempt.

Is the FLSA status of a position (exempt or non-exempt) considered final, or can determinations be appealed or changed based upon management comment?

FLSA status has been determined for each classification/job title. However, individual positions may require analysis by the Compensation/Classification Unit to ensure that each is assigned to the appropriate classification. Compliance with FLSA standards for exemption is always a consideration, as is meeting the requirements of the classification specifications. Positions will not be reclassified for the purpose of avoiding overtime payments.

Can exempt employees work part-time?

Yes. Exempt part-time employees must also be compensated on a salaried basis. For example, if an exempt employee has a 50% appointment, she/he would be paid at 50% of the established biweekly rate for the position. The employee's workload should be adjusted as appropriate.

If a nonexempt employee works overtime without obtaining prior approval from his/her supervisor, is the department obligated to pay premium overtime?

Yes. As a general rule, overtime must be authorized in advance by the supervisor. However, it still accrues as a liability when the employee works overtime and the supervisor knows or "should have known" that the work was performed and did nothing to stop it from occurring. Corrective action may be appropriate if the employee has not followed department procedure for obtaining advance approval for overtime.

Can detailed time reporting records be kept for exempt employees for purposes other than compensation or salary?

Yes. Detailed records to the quarter-hour can be kept for employees who charge a percentage of their salary to various grants, or who are working on a number of accounts and the work charged to each account varies, or for other purposes such as management reports, as long as the recording of time does not relate to pay.

What is premium overtime?

Premium overtime is a payment for hours worked calculated at 1.5 times the employee's base hourly rate. It is paid for all hours worked exceeding 40 hours in a workweek.

Are departments required to pay premium overtime to nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week, or do departments have the discretion to provide compensatory time off (CTO)?

For non-represented staff covered by Personnel Policies for Staff members: At the time overtime work is assigned, managers need to discuss the method of compensation prior to authorizing the overtime. Management may offer either payment or CTO, and the employee may select the method of compensation. For represented employees: This may vary depending on the employee's bargaining unit. Please consult the appropriate union contract for current practice.

What is the difference between a supervisor and a lead worker?

A lead worker is an employee who has some oversight responsibilities for a group of employees working on a project or a specific assignment basis. The lead worker does not have full formal supervisory authority for staff assigned; however, in order to complete project assignments, the lead worker must be able to schedule and control the daily working arrangements for that group of employees. For a full definition, see the guideline for Lead Workers.

A supervisor is an employee who customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more permanent employees, and has the authority to make decisions or effective recommendations regarding hiring, evaluating, disciplining, or dismissing those employees. For a full definition, see the guideline for Supervisors.

What is a confidential employee?

A confidential employee is one who is required to develop or present management positions related to collective bargaining, or whose duties normally require access to confidential information that contributes significantly to the development of management positions related to collective bargaining. Confidential employees are not included in collective bargaining units.