3501 - Establishing and Revising Classification Specifications


Classification Plan

Audience List

  • Administrative Chiefs
  • Examination Managers
  • Human Resources Chiefs
  • Labor Relations Officers
  • Personnel Officers
  • Personnel Transactions Staff
  • Personnel Transactions Supervisors


This policy:

  • Outlines the responsibilities of SPB and CalHR to administer and maintain the State’s Personnel Classification Plan. (Classification Plan)
  • Outlines SPB, CalHR and departmental responsibilities relative to classification specification development and revisions.


The California Constitution, Article VII, section 3, subdivision (a), vests with SPB the responsibility to prescribe classifications. 

Additionally, Government Code section 18800 provides that SPB shall create and adjust classifications in the State civil service. All of the classes adopted or revised by SPB shall be known as the Classification Plan. 

Furthermore, Government Code section 19818.6 directs CalHR to administer the Classification Plan, including the allocation of every position to the appropriate class in the Classification Plan. Each position in State civil service is allocated to a classification based on its duties and responsibilities.  Positions shall be included in the same class if:

  • The positions are sufficiently similar in respect to duties and responsibilities in that the same title may be used;
  • The positions require that incumbents have substantially the same education, experience, knowledge, and ability;
  • The same tests for fitness may be used in choosing qualified candidates; and, 
  • The same compensation can be applied with equity.

Also, Government Code section 19818.10 requires CalHR to assess the adequacy of the Classification Plan and recommend any needed changes to SPB. 

The Classification Plan is dynamic and should be reviewed and revised, as needed, to reflect changes in law, technology, duties and responsibilities, or other concerns. The Classification Plan should ensure positions in state government are attractive and available to Californians from all backgrounds. Formal education requirements, including degrees, certificates, and licenses, may create unnecessary barriers for applicants and should not be required unless supporting data demonstrates a direct nexus between successful performance of the essential job functions and the proposed job-related educational requirements.  

No classification should be established or revised unnecessarily. Classification specifications should be developed with longevity in mind, so the use of departmental or divisional names in the class title should be avoided.  Careful analysis is required for each and every proposed change.  For purposes of this policy, establishing new classifications will be considered an amendment to the Classification Plan.

Proposals to amend the Classification Plan may originate from various sources, including, but not limited to: Executive Orders, Board Orders, departmental requests, Collective Bargaining Agreements, CalHR initiatives, or Legislation. However, CalHR determines suitability for submission of Classification Plan revisions to the SPB for calendaring with the Board. As SPB and CalHR have closely related and distinctly important responsibilities in revising and maintaining the Classification Plan, this policy provides information and guidance to departments seeking to establish or revise a classification specification.

Note:  The State Personnel Board as an entity is referenced in this policy as SPB.  The five Board members who have been appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate will be referenced in this policy as the Board. 


At different points in the review cycle, Classification Plan Revision (CPR) proposals will be carefully evaluated by both CalHR and SPB to ensure that changes are consistent with the State Constitution, applicable laws and regulations, and the merit system.  Revisions also will be reviewed to ensure there is no adverse effect on the following:

  • Employee status and return rights;
  • Job-related, supportable, and consistent minimum qualifications (MQ) patterns;
  • Opportunities for prospective applicants and employees;
  • Relationship to other classes and parallel classes; and
  • Integrity of the overall Classification Plan and associated compensation.

Discussion between the proposing entity and CalHR and/or SPB may be required. Once the proposal is deemed sufficient, CalHR submits the proposal to SPB, which schedules the item for consideration by the Board during a regularly scheduled Board meeting.


Steps and Responsibilities for Requesting Revisions to the Classification Plan

CPR Proposal – Step 1: Consultation

Departments must confer with their assigned PMD Consultant to discuss their needs and potential CPR ideas before submitting any proposed revisions to the Classification Plan.  After the consultation meeting(s), CalHR will either (1) notify the department that they may move forward with the CPR and draft a complete CPR proposal package (see Step 2) or (2) direct the department to perform additional work, research, etc., to make the proposal viable.

CPR Proposal – Step 2: Draft / Submit

Upon receipt of CalHR’s preliminary approval, the department will complete the Considerations for Classification Plan Revision (CPR) Proposals form (CalHR-735) along with any applicable draft documentation (i.e. classification specifications, ARCs, etc.) and submit the package to PMD for review. Each question in the form must be answered fully. Please refer to Section 100 of the Classification and Pay Guide for guidance in conducting classification studies.

The salary analysis portion of the Considerations for Classification Plan Revision (CPR) Proposals form (CalHR-735) must be completed if the proposal would establish a new class, develop a deep class, or modify any classification in a way that impacts salary (also see Section 200 of the Classification and Pay Guide).

Note: The draft classification specification must incorporate the revisions in “track changes” format. See Classification and Pay Guide Sections 170 and 171.

CPR Proposal – Step 3: Evaluate

CalHR’s Role: In addition to ensuring proposals meet the merit-based standards outlined in the Statement section above, CalHR reviews CPR proposals for other feasibility considerations, including, but not limited to, whether they:

  • Involve deep or non-deep Alternate Range Criteria (ARC);
  • Negatively impact bridging classes or upward mobility as outlined by Government Code section 19403;
  • Require a bargaining unit designation or work week group change;
  • Impact base compensation or pay differentials;
  • Impact other classifications or user departments;
  • Are subject to any specific collective bargaining agreement provisions or any legal restrictions;
  • Include supporting data for any proposed educational requirements;
  • Propose MQs that are written broadly enough to yield a sufficient candidate pool.

Once PMD deems the draft proposal sufficient, CalHR provides the draft CPR to SPB for preliminary review and feedback.

SPB’s Role: SPB staff provide feedback to CalHR regarding the CPR, particularly related to any merit concerns and consistency with Board regulation and direction for the overall Classification Plan.

CPR Proposal – Step 4: Notification

All revisions to the Classification Plan require CalHR to provide notification to the appropriate collective bargaining organizations for civil service employees (also see Section 160 of the Classification and Pay Guide). 

Based upon bargaining unit agreements, issues relative to salary may not be addressed until after Board adoption of the CPR (see Step 6 below).

CPR Proposal – Step 5: Board Calendar

CalHR’s Role - Submission for Board Approval
After the union notification process has been completed and any union concerns have been addressed, CalHR staff will prepare the finalized amendment(s) to the Classification Plan and transmit those documents to SPB for Board approval.

SPB’s Role - Board Approval
Once SPB receives the materials from CalHR, the matter is placed on the agenda for the Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting.  Meeting agendas are posted on SPB’s website 10 days prior to the meeting date for the public to review.

During the meeting, the Board will accept public comments about the proposed changes and will vote to approve the proposal(s). If not approved, the Board will remand or reject the proposal with comments. In these instances, CalHR and the proposing department should evaluate the Board’s feedback before determining next actions (e.g., abandoning the proposal altogether and/or revising and resubmitting the proposal at a future Board meeting). If approved, the proposals are officially adopted and become the new Classification Plan.

CPR Proposal – Step 6: Implementation

CalHR’s Role: Upon adoption of the Classification Plan Revision proposal, CalHR will determine the appropriate course of action regarding salary, if applicable.

Upon receipt of the Board’s meeting minutes indicating the proposals have been adopted, CalHR will prepare the official Pay Letter, which documents the changes to the Classification Plan and provide(s) instructions for keying impacted employees into the payroll system (see also Classification and Pay Guide Section 115). CalHR staff will also publish an updated classification specification on CalHR’s public website.

Department’s Role: Ensure timely keying of Board-approved employee movements as outlined in the CalHR Pay Letter.

In order to access the Considerations for Classification Plan Revision (CPR) Proposals form (CalHR-735), click the link, save the form to your computer, and open the form via Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you need assistance, contact PMD@calhr.ca.gov.




  • CalHR-735: Classification Plan Revision Proposal

Related Policies

Web Pages

Authorized By

Michelle La Grandeur
Chief, Policy Division, State Personnel Board

Melissa Russell
Chief, Personnel Management Division

Contact Person

Personnel Management Division
Personnel Program Consultant , Personnel Management Division
Phone: 916-909-3709
Fax: 916-327-1886
Email: pmd@calhr.ca.gov

Superseded Policies

Personnel Management Policy and Procedures Manual, Section 100 - 10/22/1979


View History

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Table of Contents

1000 - Equal Employment Opportunity

1100 - Selection

1200 - Appointments

1300 - Exempt Employees

1400 - Benefits and Insurance

1500 - Work Schedules

1600 - Third Party Pre-Tax Parking

1700 - Compensation

1800 - Savings Plus

1900 - Bona Fide Associations

2000 - Collective Bargaining

2100 - Leave

2200 - Travel/Relocation

2300 - State Owned Housing

2400 - Employee Recognition

2600 - Layoffs

2700 - Retirement

2800 - Training

2900 - Workforce Planning

3000 - Examination and Hiring

3100 - Drug-Free Workplace

3200 - Medical Screening

3300 - Apprenticeships

3400 - Temporary Assignment

3500 - Classification Plan