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Frequently Asked Questions Classification

How can positions with similar work be classified or graded differently?

We are sometimes asked why positions that seem to involve the same kind of work in different locations or organizations are classified differently.  There are two reasons why positions that seem similar are classified differently:

Because the positions or jobs are actually different.  While the tasks might seem to be similar, the complexity of the work, as well as the level of responsibility, authority, level of contacts, purpose of contacts, or other classification or job grading factor could be sufficiently different to justify a different classification or grading.  The classification or job grading decision is made by agency officials who have the most information about the position or job in question.

Because one or more of the positions or jobs is not classified or graded correctly.  OPM classification and job grading standards may have been interpreted differently by whoever classified or graded the positions or jobs.  When OPM learns of such situations, we remind the agency or agencies of their responsibility to classify or grade similar positions or jobs consistently.

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