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Instruction 511-1: Position Classification

Issuance Date:  February 15, 2013

Material Transmitted:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Instruction 511-1, Position Classification, dated February 15, 2013.

Material Superseded:

HHS Instruction 511-1, Position Classification, dated May 9, 2008.

Background:

The Instruction is being updated as a response to the 2012 Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA), Office of Human Resources (OHR) reorganization that assigned classification responsibility to the Operating Human Resources Organizations (OHROs) at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); the Office of the Inspector General (OIG); the National Institutes of Health (NIH); the National Capitol Region (NCR) Human Resources Center; and the Indian Health Service (IHS).  Specifically, this Instruction addresses the designated OHRO under the new HHS Service Delivery Model.

This issuance is effective immediately.  Implementation under this issuance must be carried out in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, bargaining agreements, and Departmental policy.

Denise L. Carter
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources


This Instruction outlines the policies, requirements, and responsibilities for administration of the Department’s position classification program. It also clarifies the responsibility of the Operating Human Resources Organizations (OHROs) to establish classification appeals procedures in accordance with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines.

  • 5 CFR § 511, Classification under the General Schedule
  • 5 CFR § 532, Subparts F and G, Job Grading System and Job Grading Reviews and Appeals
  1. Coverage. This Instruction covers the classification of positions under the General Schedule and Federal Wage Systems.
  2. Exclusions. The following positions are excluded from coverage under this Instruction:
    1. Senior Executive Service (SES)
    2. Scientific and Professional (ST)
    3. Senior-Level (SL)
    4. Administratively Determined (AD)
    5. U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  1. The Department’s Office of Human Resources (OHR) is responsible for developing, administering, and evaluating position classification policies and programs, and shall provide overall management and oversight of the Department's classification program by:
    1. issuing Department-wide classification policies and guidance;
    2. coordinating Departmental response to OPM guidance;
    3. coordinating the Department’s response to OPM's standards development activities;
    4. reviewing all classification appeal cases initiated by OHROs, if requested; and
    5. conducting periodic reviews of OHROs regarding administration of the position  classification program.
  2. OHROs (i.e., HR Centers at CDC, CMS, FDA, OIG, HRSA, NIH, NCR, and IHS) are responsible for ensuring classification programs within their serviced Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) are carried out consistently with the law, regulations, policies, requirements, delegated authorities, and OPM classification standards by:
    1. providing advice and support to their OPDIV managers and employees to ensure compliance with classification policies and programs;
    2. delivering sound position classification and position management services;
    3. establishing procedures for reviewing and deciding classification appeals;
    4. conducting position audits when employees appeal classification determinations;
    5. issuing classification appeal decisions through the Classification Appeals Adjudicating Officer, i.e., the Director of the HR Center function of an OHRO; and
    6. forwarding classification appeal cases to OPM when requested by employees.
  3. Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring every position in their organization has an accurate and certified position description (PD) which provides a clear and definitive description of the primary duties of each position under their scope of responsibility.
  1. GS-905 Attorney Positions
    1. When classifying GS-905 attorney positions in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), officials with classification authority will accept a certification from OGC concerning the type of cases and the level of independence at which the attorney is operating. Classifications will be based on this certification.
    2. Attorney positions may not be established outside of OGC without the concurrence of OGC.
    3. OGC shall respond to requests for concurrence to establish attorney positions within 30 days of the request, in compliance with established classification performance and accountability metrics.
  2. GS-1035 Public Affairs Positions
    1. Public Affairs positions at the GS-1035-14 level and above may not be established outside of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) without the concurrence of ASPA.
    2. ASPA shall respond to requests for concurrence to establish Public Affairs positions within 30 days of the request, in compliance with established classification performance and accountability metrics.
  3. GS-1811 Criminal Investigator Positions
    1. Criminal Investigator GS-1811 positions may not be established outside of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) without the concurrence of OIG.
    2. OIG shall respond to requests for concurrence to establish Criminal Investigator positions within 30 days of the request, in compliance with established classification performance and accountability metrics.
  4. GS-935 Administrative Law Judge Position
    1. OPM retains the authority to establish all GS-935 Administrative Law Judge positions.
  1. New or updated classification standards and/or classification guides must be applied to covered positions within 12 months of OPM’s issuance date.
  2. The following strategies may be considered when implementing new classification standards:
    1. Apply standards first to new positions and positions under classification appeal.
    2. Apply standards to vacant positions prior to initiating recruitment.
    3. Apply standards to positions where a grade change is expected.
    4. Process mass changes, as appropriate, rather than individual personnel actions.
    5. Make pen-and-ink changes for minor revisions with no grade impact.
  1. Each OHRO will establish Classification Appeals application, review, and approval procedures.
  2. OHRO Directors will serve as the Classification Appeals Adjudicating Officers for their respective OPDIVs. Each Classification Appeals Adjudicating Officer will receive incoming employee classification appeal requests and will issue appeal decisions. The OHRO Director will serve as the Department’s Classification Appeal Adjudication official for the positions within their servicing OPDIV. The OHRO can call upon any HHS HR staffer to review the appeal case and develop the report of findings on his/her behalf. However, the final Department classification appeal decision rests with the OPDIV OHRO Director.
  3. General Schedule employees may appeal, at any time, the classification of their positions either within their OHRO or directly to OPM. However, simultaneous appeals to the OHRO and OPM are not permitted. Initial appeals through the OHRO are recommended in order to preserve subsequent OPM appeal rights. General Schedule employees may choose to appeal to OPM through the OHRO. The Classification Appeals Adjudicating Officer must act on the appeal within 60 days or forward it to OPM for action.
  4. Wage grade employees must appeal first to their OHRO. If dissatisfied with the result, they may then appeal to OPM. An appeal to OPM must be filed within 15calendar days after receipt of the OHRO appeal decision. OPM may extend the time limit for filing if circumstances beyond the appellant’s control prevented them from filing within 15 days, or if the appellant was not aware of the 15-day time limit.
  5. If an employee, in a position covered by a new/revised classification standard, files an appeal prior to the implementation of the new OPM standard, the OHRO must immediately apply the new standard in order to properly adjudicate the appeal.
  6. When an OHRO disagrees with a decision rendered by OPM on a classification appeal, a reconsideration of the decision may be requested Such requests are to be forwarded to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources for review and concurrence prior to submission to OPM.

Memorandum

To:

Director, CDC Human Resources Center
Director, CMS Human Resources Center
Director, FDA Human Resources Center
Director, NIH Human Resources Center
Director, IHS Human Resources Center
Director, HRSA Human Resources Center
Director, OIG Human Resources Center
Director, National Capital Region Human Resources Center

From:

Denise L. Carter
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources

Subject:

Position Classification

I hereby delegate the following to:

Operating Human Resources Organizations (OHROs):

  • Authority to classify all General Schedule and Federal Wage System positions.

The following delegation exclusions apply:

  • Written concurrence must be obtained from the Office of General Counsel (OGC) prior to classifying Attorney, GS-0905 series, positions outside of OGC.
  • Written concurrence must be obtained from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA) prior to classifying Public Affairs Specialists, GS-1035-14 and above positions.
  • Written concurrence must be obtained from the Office of the Inspector General prior to classifying Criminal Investigator, GS-1811 positions.
  • The Office of Personnel Management retains the authority to establish all GS-935 Administrative Law Judge positions.

Effective Date: This delegation is effective immediately.

Content created by Office of Human Resources (OHR)
Content last reviewed on September 30, 2016