Recently, the Dept. of Personnel and Administration announced that it has begun work on deconsolidating the General Professional series of workers.
At this point Colorado WINS is the only entity looking to provide clarity and educate members about the process that should be followed in the deconsolidation of these classified positions.
If you are in the GP job class, below are some frequently asked questions about the process.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a deconsolidation?
The Department of Personnel and Administration (a separate department from Personnel/Human Resources offices in individual departments) is tasked by statute each fiscal year with conducting an evaluation of classified positions for compensation practices, levels and cost. The evaluations include a comparison of classifications within the state classified system and determine if they effectively describe the work being done and whether the positions mirror the industry standard for work being done in the private sector.
DPA determined several years ago that the General Professional series was way too broad and it was not possible to compare that extensive of a classification to market trends and salaries. Therefore, the idea of creating several “bands” of classification that describe a particular job segment was implemented, and DPA has been working on this project ever since. The new classifications will take effect for the 2016/17 fiscal year. They also did the same thing for the IT series.
What does this process include?
The process of comparing classifications in the state with market trends is also referred to as a system maintenance study. For a technical guideline to system maintenance studies, visit http://bit.ly/maintstudy
What does this mean for me if I am classified as a General Professional?
Currently, departments are looking at all of the new “capsules” and asking employees to collaborate with their supervisors and HR on which “capsule,” their job is most closely related to. HR will give all employees a “crosswalk,” meaning a guideline to which capsule is intended to dovetail with employees’ current duties. There is abit of urgency attached to this task because DPA is gearing to have implementation of this change by July of 2016.
Your HR department and supervisor should be working with you to pick the most appropriate capsule. Although you won’t have an extended time frame to do this, you should have time to research it, ask questions, and feel comfortable with whatever band is chosen. If you do not feel that the capsule is adequate, you should express your thoughts in an email as soon as possible and stress that you would like as much input as possible. Most jobs will not fit every descriptor in the new band, but the bulk of it should dovetail.
Who has the final say in picking the new capsule?
There are Human Resources Analysts across the state whose job it is to determine job classifications. They are working together to make sure there is consistency in evaluating the crossover to the new capsules. They will be listening to input and working with supervisors and employees, but HR Analysts have the final say about job classifications.
Will my job duties change?
Your job duties and Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) should not change. If your PDQ has not been updated in several years, then it potentially could because it should have been updated to match what is expected of you each year. You should have significant input in this process, in partnership with HR and your supervisor. Make sure to ask whether your PDQ is being revised or updated as a side-bar to this process, and that you are kept apprised of any changes before they are finalized.
Do these new bands affect my pay?
The transition to the new capsules is not intended to give demotions or promotions to anyone. The idea is for a lateral transition.
Most bands will have a maximum and minimum pay range that should be similar to the one you are already in. If your current salary fits within the new band’s salary range, you will stay at the same salary and your job will just be classified with a new name. A common misconception is that if you are in the mid range of the old classification, then you will be at the mid range of the new classification. This is not true and your salary will just laterally move into the new classification range at the current level.
Reaching maximum of pay ranges
If you are at maximum of the old classification range, your pay may or may not be equal to the maximum of the new range. Your HR representative can tell you that. If you were not at maximum in the old range, but find that you are at the maximum of the new range, you should carefully look to see if that new range adequately and accurately describes what you do. If you are at maximum of any pay range, you will not get any more cost of living raises that put you above maximum. So not only should you look at the classification for its description of job duties, but also try to make sure that your compensation is not unduly limited in the future.
Part of the idea of creating new bands is for DPA to conduct follow-up maintenance studies to determine if a new classification is under-compensated, according to market trends for similar positions. So there is a chance that you can get a higher pay range through that process, but that could take years and there is no guarantee that one classification band will be looked at before another. Each new compensation plan must be approved by the legislature, so the timing can be drawn out significantly.
What if my salary exceeds the maximum in the new pay scale?
Employees will not lose pay, at least not at first. If their salary falls above what the new maximum allows, employees should receive what’s called “saved pay.” This means that their salary level would be protected, but only for three years.
What if I don’t feel my questions are being answered?
DPA is required to have “meet and confer” meetings to address questions and concerns. A schedule of your department’s meet and confer sessions is available through your HR department.
If you are being forced into a band that you do not feel is the right one, and there is another band that you feel is more appropriate, contact Pamela Cress, WINS Grievance Coordinator, to discuss a possible grievance or strategy.
Can I change the capsules?
No. You must fall within one of the new bands established by DPA.
What if I was out on leave when my new capsule was discussed?
You have the right to have input. Your HR office finalizes the capsules before everything is ratified by the legislature. If you are currently out on leave, you can call your WINS representative to ask them to advocate for you.
Does performance have anything to do with this process?
No, only as it relates to your salary and how that fits into the new classification capsules.
What if someone else doing the same duties is put into a different capsule than me?
Each position has individual duties and expectations. You have the right to ask about, and should have input during, the process by which the new bands are chosen. This includes explanations about why you might be different than a co-worker, if that is the case. You can’t challenge someone else’s plan, but you do have the right to challenge whether you think something about your own job is miscalculated.
What is Colorado WINS doing about this issue?
There will be a workshop with Pam Cress, Grievance Coordinator, to address questions people may have about the transition. The meeting will take place on March 23, 12 pm — 1 pm at DHS HQ (1575 Sherman St, Denver). There will be a conference call line for people who can’t make it in person. This is open to all GPs, not just those in DHS.
WINS staff will be calling through GPs to turn out to a state-wide call in the near future, but that date is TBD.
State Personnel Board Rules on saved pay:
3-7 Saved pay applies to downward movements due to individual allocation, system maintenance studies, and the annual compensation survey to maintain an employee’s current base pay when it falls above the new grade maximum. It may also apply when retention rights are exercised pursuant to the “Separation” chapter. Base pay shall be moved to the maximum at the first available opportunity that does not cause a loss in the employee’s pay. However, in no case will the employee’s base pay remain above the grade maximum after three years from the action, even if it results in a loss in pay. (2/1/07)
3-12. Downward movement is a change to a different class with a lower range maximum (e.g., nondisciplinary or disciplinary demotions, individual allocations, system maintenance studies including class placement, or the annual compensation survey).
3-13. In the case of system maintenance studies and individual allocations of positions, the employee’s base pay shall remain the same, including saved pay.
A. A department head has sole discretion to grant saved pay when employees exercise retention rights and the decision must be applied consistently throughout the retention area. If saved pay is granted, the employee’s name shall not be placed on a reemployment list. (7/1/07)
(In system maintenance studies, appointing authorities do not have the discretion not to grant saved pay.)
Have other questions?
With questions about deconsolidation beyond this FAQ, members can contact Pam Cress (firstname.lastname@example.org, please use “GP Deconsolidation Question” as your subject line).
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