Job Classification - FAQs

Before you fill out the Request for Review Position Description Form, you may find it helpful to review the questions and answers below.  They pertain to the policies that guide the overall job classification system.

  1. Why do we have a job classification system and what purpose does it serve?
  2. In general, how does the Willis Position Evaluation System work?
  3. How do I know if I should complete a request for review?
  4. Now that I have decided the job should be reviewed, what do I do?
  5. What should I do after I fill out the Request for Review?
  6. I am an employee, so what happens if the department takes more than 15 working days to forward on my Request for Review?
  7. What happens next?
  8. How will the decision be communicated?
  9. What can I do if I have questions about the decision?
  10. As an employee, what are my appeal rights?
  11. Does management or the supervisor have a right to appeal a decision?

Why do we have a job classification system and what purpose does it serve?
Vermont law requires the Department of Human Resources to adopt a “uniform and equitable plan of classification for each position in state service…” using a “point factor” method of comparison.  The broad aim of the classification, or job evaluation, is to maintain comparable pay grade assignments for comparable work across all agency lines.  Through job evaluation, we rank all classified positions in relation to each other, by gauging them against the same “ruler.” Among the many factors considered are the difficulty, demands and responsibility of each role. The key to fairness is the uniform approach to evaluation.  The Department of Human Resources uses the Willis Position Evaluation System to rate all classified jobs.

In general, how does the Willis Position Evaluation System work?
The Willis Position Evaluation System enables an analyst to compare very different kinds of work by the same system of measurement.  Using detailed information about the role, the analyst scores the four main components of a position.  These are:  Knowledge and Skills, Mental Demands, Accountability, and Working Conditions.  The total score for all four categories equals the final rating.  (It is important to note that job evaluation does not measure workload or your performance, nor does it measure things such as longevity or your particular education and experience.)

How do I know if I should complete a request for review?
There are three ways to answer this question.  First, during the annual performance evaluation, supervisors should also discuss any changes in major duties, and whether classification review is warranted.  Second, anytime there is a major change in assigned duties, the level of responsibility, or any change in the knowledge, skills or abilities necessary to perform duties.  Third, if the position has not been reviewed for several years, classification review may be necessary.

Now that I have decided the job should be reviewed, what do I do?
The employee and/or supervisor should complete the full version of the Request for Review (Form A).  Before beginning read the instructions and all of the questions carefully.  If there are questions about completing the form your Human Resources Administrator or someone from the Classification Unit can help you.

What should I do after I fill out the Request for Review?
Sign and date the form, submit the original to your supervisor to begin the department review of your request.  Department managers have 15 working days to review, comment, and forward an employee’s Request for Reclassification to the Department of Human Resources.  Any pay adjustment resulting from classification review, will be effective as of the first pay period following the date on which the Human Resources Department received the Request for Review.

I am an employee, so what happens if the department takes more than 15 working days to forward on my Request for Review?
As noted above, the effective date will be the beginning of the first pay period following the date on which the Classification Unit receives the Request for Review.  However, to ensure that the effective date of any reallocation (should there be one) is not delayed, you may file your Request for Review concurrently with your department and the Department of Human Resources.  Submit the original to your own department.  File a copy with the Department of Human Resources, including a cover memo noting that you have concurrently filed the original with your department.  If there is any change in the level of your position following an evaluation, the change will take effect on the beginning of the first pay period that follows the 15 working days allowed to managers to forward your request to the Department of Human Resources.

What happens next?
In some cases, the Request for Review cannot by itself convey the full nature of the work involved.  As such an analyst from the Classification Unit or the Classification Committee for the department/agency may perform an audit, or the employee and the supervisor might be invited to discuss the job duties during a regularly scheduled Committee meeting. It is particularly important for the analyst to understand the changes in duties or circumstances that prompted your request for a review. Based on the changes in duties, a new Willis rating will be applied to your position. You should understand that a change of duties may not necessarily warrant a change in classification, and could in some cases result in a downward reallocation.

How will the decision be communicated?
The analyst first notifies the Human Resources Administrator, and then prepares a written notice for the employee which contains an explanation of the decision and the Willis Point rating.  For a single position review, the contractual response time for a decision is 60 days from the date of filing, for reviews involving multiple positions the response time is 90 days.

What can I do if I have questions about the decision?
Employees have the option to call the analyst or employees may request an informal meeting with the analyst or the Classification Committee to discuss the rating.  Employees must request such a meeting by contacting the analyst at the email or phone number indicated on the notice form, within ten working days of receiving notice of the decision.

As an employee, what are my appeal rights?
If your position was not reallocated upward at least one pay grade, or if it was reallocated downward, you may file a formal classification grievance.  The grievance must be filed within 15 days of receiving any decision that may result from the informal meeting.  You may also bypass the informal meeting step.  In that case, you have 30 days from receipt of the original decision to file a formal grievance.  And remember this process is only available to you if your position was not reallocated up at least one pay grade, or was downward reallocated).

Does management or the supervisor have a right to appeal a decision?
If management has questions or concerns about a decision they are encouraged to contact the HR Administrator or Classification Analyst to discuss, before the decision is finalized.