Reclassification Procedure

Classified Staff


The classification of a position is determined by the duties and responsibilities assigned to the position. Reclassification is the assignment of a filled position to a different classification based upon a logical and gradual change to the duties or responsibilities of the position, or in the case of a position in a progressive series, the attainment of specified education or experience by the incumbent.

Reallocation occurs when position changes are not gradual and/or logical. In the case of a reallocation, it must be determined if it is appropriate to regrade the incumbent or if a new position has been created, in which case, the position must be open to competition.

Positions, not persons, are reclassified. A reclassification is not based on an employee's rate of pay; length of service; special training or experience not required for the job; volume, quality, or quantity of the work.

Reclassification criteria:

Higher level or different level responsibilities must be performed for a minimum of six months before reclassification can be initiated.

There must be a significant, logical and gradual change of a permanent nature in the job duties performed. This change must involve increased levels of responsibility in terms of decision-making and problem solving for a reclassification to a higher level classification.

The job is a natural outgrowth of the duties initially assigned.

The position standard for a higher or different class more appropriately identifies the major functions of the position a majority of the time. As a result of the increased responsibilities, the position is more accurately described by the position standards of a higher classification.

The position must be compatible with the allocation pattern established for the comparable positions at the UW-Superior campus and the other UW System campuses.

A position which is in a progressive series will have a defined objective level at the time of recruitment. Reclassification through a progressive series to the objective level is based on the determination that the duties and responsibilities of the higher classification level have been satisfactorily performed for at least six months prior to the reclassification, with the actual amount of time required depending on the complexity of the available work assignments and the ability of the incumbent. A request for reclassification above the objective level will require the review of the position similar to other reclassifications where the duties and responsibilities warrant the establishment of a new objective level.

Logical changes:

Logical changes are changes which are reasonably related to the previous duties or responsibilities of the position. If 50% or more of the duties or responsibilities of a position have changed since written notice was last given to the Human Resource manager (written notice is usually a revised position description), the changes are not a logical change to a position but are the creation of a new position.

Important: Initial assignment or complete removal of leadwork, supervisory or managerial duties or responsibilities are not logical changes.

Gradual changes

If the duties which constitute the reason for the class change were previously at least 26% of the position, the expansion of such duties up to 51% of the total position is considered to be a gradual change.

Changes are not gradual if they:

Constitute a significant portion of the position (more than 25%) and occur abruptly (over a period of less than six months).

Result from a reorganization, changes in equipment used to perform the work, or reassignment of duties from a vacant or abolished position.

Departmental procedures

A supervisor and employee who feel a position meets the criteria for reclassification should work together in updating the position description to reflect job changes and increased responsibilities. It is the supervisor's responsibility to complete the new revised position description approving the content and accuracy of assigned duties and tasks. In contrasting the old and new descriptions, it is critical that job change is apparent. In other words, some old duties may be deleted and new duties added; some duties reduced, and some expanded. After the employee and supervisor agree that the description accurately describes the duties as they have been performed for at least six months, both sign and date all pages of the position description.

The following materials will then be forwarded to the Office of Human Resources:

  • The signed position description using form DER-PERS-10 (available through the Human Resources Office), attached to the description of duties.
    Note: Do not enter the current classification title of the position (that will be entered at the completion of the audit)
  • A current organizational chart showing reporting relationships in the department/office.
  • The Reclassification Job Change Review Form, completed by the supervisor, explaining the changes that have occurred.

Human Resources procedures

When the position description, organizational chart, and Job Change Form are received by Human Resources, the request is date-stamped and "logged-in". Audits are generally performed in the order of log-in.

The Human Resources Office begins the evaluation process by reviewing the old and new position description, the position descriptions of the supervisor, other positions in the work area, and other positions on campus considered to be comparable. An initial determination is made whether job change has occurred, whether higher level duties have been performed at least six months, and whether the change is significant, logical, gradual, and a natural outgrowth of the position's original duties. The Human Resources manager also compares the position to the job standards (classification specifications) and allocation patterns in the UW System for the position's present class, proposed class, and all related classifications which might identify the duties and responsibilities of the position.

After this preliminary review, the employee and supervisor are normally interviewed. Usually a "field audit" is conducted to gain information about the responsibilities performed. Factors used to establish levels of responsibility include decision making; consequence of errors; problem solving; complexity of duties; knowledge requirements; variety and impact of work; degree of supervision; public contacts; accountability; and size, scope, and diversity of programs. In evaluating class level, focus is placed on major job functions performed a majority of the time, not back-up or incidental duties.

These same review procedures are used regardless of whether the final decision is delegated or not delegated to the campus. When reclassification authority for the position is delegated, the campus Human Resources Office has the authority to approve or deny or modify the classification requested with written notification to the employee and supervisor of the decision. If the reclassification authority is not delegated, a recommendation and documentation from the campus is forwarded to UW System Administration and/or the Office of State Employment Relations for a final decision. In all cases, the employee may appeal the decision to UW System and may ultimately appeal the decision to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) if dissatisfied with the campus and UW System decision. To appeal the on-campus decision, the incumbent will need to appeal in writing within 30 days of receiving the campus decision. Additional documentation or information to assist in the review by UW System should be submitted at that time. The appeal will be processed very similar to the on-campus audit, with the same criteria used for the review. The time required to process your appeal will depend on the work load of the UW System staff who are responsible for the appeals for several UW institutions. If the reclassification is denied by UW System you may appeal to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. A $50 fee will be charged by the WERC.

Additional Considerations

When a position is reclassified to a higher level, the incumbent receives the hourly rate in the seniority grid of the new classification. The effective date is the beginning of the first pay period after the audit requested "log-in" date. Consequently, even though it may take some time for the audit to be accomplished, the employee receives retroactive pay based on the effective date, if the position is reclassified.

As a result of an audit, it is possible that the position will remain in it's current classification, be reclassified into the requested classification or another more appropriate classification, or be reallocated. In the case of a reallocation, it is possible that the incumbent may not be reallocated into the new classification but the position would have to opened for competition. It is also possible that duties and responsibilities, which are deemed to be inappropriate in the classified service or the classification, may be removed from the requirements of the position.

Guidelines for preparing Position Descriptions

1. List only duties/responsibilities which are a permanent part of the position and have been performed for more than six months.

2. The position description should be attached to the Position Description Transmittal form DER-PERS-10 (available in the Human Resources Office) using the current title in item (6). Follow the instructions on back of the forms for preparation of the position description.