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In This Section

Classification & Qualifications Appeal Decisions

Washington, DC

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Classification Appeal Decision
Under section 5112 of title 5, United States Code

Stephanie Anderson et al.
Human Resources Assistant (Military)
GS-203-7
Deployability Assessment Branch (PERS- 454)
Distribution Management Division (PERS- 45)
Career Management Department (PERS- 4)
Navy Personnel Command
Bureau of Naval Personnel
Department of the Navy
Millington, Tennessee
Human Resources Assistant (Military)
GS-203-6
C-0203-06-05

Linda Kazinetz
Classification Appeals and FLSA Claims
Program Manager
Agency Compliance and Evaluation
Merit System Accountability and Compliance

03/20/2017


Date

As provided in section 511.612 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this decision constitutes a certificate which is mandatory and binding on all administrative, certifying, payroll, disbursing, and accounting officials of the Government.  The agency is responsible for reviewing its classification decisions for identical, similar, or related positions to ensure consistency with this decision.  There is no right of further appeal.  This decision is subject to discretionary review only under conditions and time limits specified in the Introduction to the Position Classification Standards (Introduction), appendix 4, Section G (address provided in appendix 4, section H). 

Since this decision lowers the grade of the appealed position, it is to be effective no later than the beginning of the sixth pay period after the date of this decision, as permitted by 5 CFR 511.702.  The applicable provisions of parts 351, 432, 536, and 752 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, must be followed in implementing the decision.  If the appellants are entitled to grade retention, the two-year retention period begins on the date this decision is implemented.  The servicing human resources office must submit a compliance report containing the corrected position description and a Standard Form 50 showing the personnel action taken.  The report must be submitted within 30 days from the effective date of the personnel action to the OPM Agency Compliance and Evaluation (ACE) Washington, DC, office.

Introduction

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Agency Compliance and Evaluation (ACE) accepted a position classification appeal from Stephanie Anderson, Kathy Lowe, Isaac Mills, and Sandra Thomas.  The appellants’ position is currently classified as Human Resources Assistant (Military), GS-203-7, and is located in the Deployability Assessment Branch (PERS- 454), Distribution Management Division (PERS- 45), Career Management Department (PERS- 4), Navy Personnel Command (NAVPERSCOM), Bureau of Naval Personnel, Department of the Navy (DON), in Millington, Tennessee.  In their initial request to OPM, the appellants indicated they believe their position should be classified in the Human Resources Specialist Series,GS-201, at the GS-10 grade level.  However, after further review of the position classification standard (PCS) covering the GS-201 series, they requested their position be classified at the GS-11 grade level.  The appellants perform essentially identical duties and are currently assigned to the same official position description (PD).  Therefore, we have processed this case as a group appeal and have accepted and decided it under section 5112 of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.).

General issues

The appellants indicate that two years ago, when they were transferred from PERS-4013 to PERS-454, they “moved away from performing administrative duties to more technical duties” when they were tasked with additional duties causing an increase in their workload and scope of responsibilities. They describe their current work as including responsibility for making placement determinations not only for members in a temporary limited duty status, including pregnant personnel, but also for members diagnosed with bloodborne infections or diseases and for members under the Safe Harbor Wounded Warrior Program who are undergoing a critical condition or illness.  Further, they are also responsible for correcting unacceptable placement determinations and for processing when a member is returned to duty from a limited duty status.  However, volume of work in itself cannot be considered in determining the grade of a position (The Classifier’s Handbook, chapter 5).

The appellants and their immediate supervisor have certified to the appellants’ official position description (PD), number 15918.  However, both note the position is not under the general supervision of a Temporary Limited Duty Section Lead as indicated in the PD.  The appellants also note that not all systems used to perform their work, particularly the Limited Duty Sailor Marine Readiness Tracker (LIMDU SMART), are listed in their PD.  Our review disclosed that while the description of duties in the PD is essentially accurate, the descriptions under Factor 2, Supervisory Controls, and Factor 3, Guidelines, are not.  Specifically, the appellants’ work is not distributed based on geographic assignment and, as later discussed in this decision, the types of guidelines used by the appellants are overstated.  Therefore, the appellants’ PD of record does not meet the standard of adequacy as addressed on pages 10-11 of the  Introduction to the Position Classification Standards, and the agency must revise the PD to reflect our findings.

Position information

The Deployability Assessment Branch (PERS-454) manages the Temporary Limited Duty (TLD) Program, commonly known and hereby referred to as Limited Duty (LIMDU), and the Bloodborne Pathogen Program (BPP).  These programs support the Navy’s ability to identify sailors who are not immediately deployable as a result of being in a status of medically restricted duty due to illness, injury, or disease.  Under the TLD program, PERS-454 has authority to approve or deny limited duty for all Officer Temporary LIMDU and for all enlisted sailors who have exceeded the 12-month maximum career TLD allowed.  Additionally, PERS-454 is the central coordinator for the placement and assignment of LIMDU and pregnant sailors.  Thus, it is responsible for finding shore-based units in close proximity to a medical facility where the sailor will receive the proper care needed or, in the case of pregnancy, transferring the sailor from an operational to a non-operational unit as set forth by DON policy. 

The appellants are primarily responsible for performing placement functions for the TLD Program.  These functions include processing what are described as enlisted TLD and pregnancy availabilities, known as “avails.”  Availabilities are requests submitted by a command or Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) servicing LIMDU members or pregnant sailors requiring reassignment to a shore-based unit based on their need for medical treatment, prenatal care, or transfer to a non-operational unit.  The appellants are responsible for reviewing these requests, obtaining and consolidating pertinent information to make a placement and assignment determination.  However, once the appellants submit their determinations, other personnel located in different units under PERS-40 complete the placement process (e.g., creating the billet and writing the order).  Moreover, all orders must also go through a quality assurance and a cost review process before they can become final.  Placement- and assignment-related problems found before final approval of the order are referred to the NPC Medical Advisor (i.e., the appellants’ immediate supervisor) for final resolution.  If any case requires elevation for resolution, final approval authority for placement and assignment determinations lies with the Admiral of NAVERSCOM (PERS-4).  Furthermore, when making these determinations for LIMDU and pregnant sailors, the appellants must apply the Navy’s “Fair Share” policy, which ensures the command does not exceed their fair share of LIMDU and pregnant sailors.  Additionally, they conduct reviews known as “scrubs” to ensure pending limited duty or pregnancy requisitions have been submitted and orders written.  They are also responsible for correcting unacceptable placement and assignment determinations which, if denied, are sent to them for reprocessing.   

The appellants also input “YO avails” into the personnel system for newly diagnosed sailors with bloodborne pathogen infections or diseases (e.g., HIV or chronic hepatitis) under the BBP program.  However, they may input requests only after the NPC Medical Advisor has verified whether the members are receiving the appropriate care and, in coordination with staff from NAVPERSCOM (PERS-40BB), made the final decision as to the placement location of the sailors.  Also, for members (not in LIMDU) such as those under the Safe Harbor Wounded Warrior Program who have medical conditions requiring their transfer to  locations where they can receive medical care, the appellants are responsible for finding appropriate jobs for the members after their supervisor has determined the locations of the medical facilities that will provide treatment.  Moreover, when the cognizant medical treatment facilities determine the members may be returned to duty (RTD) from the TLD program, the appellants make the appropriate notification entries into the personnel system. 

The appellants communicate with various individuals within and outside their organization.  For instance, they communicate with Limited Duty Coordinators at commands and Transient Personnel Units (TPUs) to advise them on the status of their TLD and pregnant sailors and to explain placement procedures.  They use different types of computer programs, databases, and/or tracking systems, such as but not limited to LIMDU SMART, the Career Management System Interactive Detailers (CMS ID), the Web Enabled Placement Portal (WEPP) and basic Microsoft programs to access, update, input, and/or retrieve information to document placement actions and request requisitions.  The appellants are also called upon to provide training in placement procedures and command responsibilities to command personnel.

In reaching our classification decision, we have carefully reviewed all information provided by the appellants and their agency, including the official PD which, although not completely accurate, we find sufficient for classification purposes when relied upon in conjunction with information obtained from our fact-finding, and have incorporated by reference into this decision.  In addition, to help decide the appeal, we conducted separate telephone interviews with the appellants and their current supervisor, Branch Head for PERS-454 (Family Physician) and NPC Medical Advisor.

Series, title, and standard determination

The appellants disagree with the agency’s assignment of their position to the GS-203 series.  This series covers one-grade interval administrative support positions that supervise, lead, or perform human resources (HR) assistance work.  The work requires substantial knowledge of civilian and/or military HR terminology, requirements, procedures, operations, functions and regulatory policy, and procedural requirements applicable to HR transactions.  It does not require broad knowledge of Federal HR systems or depth of knowledge about HR concepts, principles, and techniques.  HR assistants provide support for HR specialists in using information systems and in delivering services in the various specialty areas of HR.  They process and document HR actions for a wide variety of employee categories that involve different forms, authorities, action codes, regulatory authorities, or pay systems.  The appellants believe their work warrants classification to the GS-200 Human Resources Management Group, and specifically to the GS-201 Human Resources Management Series.

The GS-201 series covers two-grade interval administrative positions that manage, supervise, administer, advise on, or deliver HR management products or services.  In contrast, the GS-203 series covers one-grade interval administrative support positions that supervise, lead, or perform HR assistance work.  Since some tasks are common to both types of occupations, both the GS-201 and GS-203 standards discuss how to distinguish between specialist and assistant work.  Guidance on distinguishing between administrative and support work is also contained in The Classifier’s Handbook. 

Support work usually involves proficiency in one or more functional areas or in certain limited phases of a specified program.  Normally, a support position can be identified with the mission of a particular organization or program.  The work usually does not require knowledge of interrelationships among functional areas or organizations.  Employees performing support work follow established methods and procedures.  Specifically, HR assistants have boundaries that narrowly restrict their work.  They use a limited variety of techniques, standards, or regulations.  The problems HR assistants deal with are recurring and have precedents.  These limitations impact the breadth and depth of knowledge required, the complexity of problem solving, the applicability of guidelines, and the closeness of supervisory controls.

On the other hand, administrative work primarily requires a high order of analytical ability combined with a comprehensive knowledge of (1) the functions, processes, theories and principles of management; and (2) the methods used to gather, analyze, and evaluate information.  Administrative work also requires skill in applying problem solving techniques and skill in communicating both orally and in writing.  Administrative positions do not require specialized education, but they do involve the types of skills typically gained through college-level education or through progressively responsible experience.  In particular, full-performance HR specialists use broad HR management knowledge, concepts, and principles to perform a wide variety of work in one or more HR specialty areas.

The appellants believe their work warrants classification to the GS-201 series for the following reasons: (1) they are required to have knowledge and skills in applying practices and procedures in reviewing, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing enlisted billet assignments; (2) they are responsible for reviewing and deciding where limited duty and pregnant personnel will be placed based on qualitative and quantitative billet distribution of each command; (3) they are consultants and points-of-contact for the Rating Detailers and Command Limited Duty Coordinators; and (4) they review shore commands’ manning and determine if they have exceeded their “fair share” for limited duty and pregnancy and, when it is determined that a command has exceeded its “fair share,” they close the command from receiving future limited duty and pregnant members.

To decide the proper series for the appellants’ position, we examined the characteristics and requirements of the work, as well as management’s intent in establishing the position.  Typical of support work in their functional area, the appellants are chiefly responsible for (1) determining appropriate shore-based units to temporarily assign a LIMDU member and request a requisition; (2) reviewing shore commands for potential enlisted placement, ensuring the Navy’s “Fair Share” policy is applied and that the command is not restricted from receiving TLD or pregnant personnel per Manning Control Authority (MCA); (3) communicating with commands and TPUs and other related personnel advising them on the status of their TLD and pregnant personnel and their responsibilities; and (4) taking appropriate action to ensure unacceptable placements are corrected.  Their work affects the timeliness and adequacy of temporary limited duty placements.  Although the appellants assert that their position requires them to have “knowledge and skills in applying practices and procedures in reviewing, analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing enlisted billet assignments,” which is a description quoted  from Level 1-7 in the PCS covering the GS-201 series, we find they perform their placement and assignment related duties based primarily on their knowledge of the organization’s missions, goals, and functions in combination with a practical knowledge of the procedural requirements involved in the distribution of TLD, pregnant, and BBP positive members, as well as knowledge of various information systems used to obtain information needed in processing placement actions.

The appellants describe their responsibility for reviewing and deciding placement of TLD and pregnant personnel based on “qualitative and quantitative billet distribution of each command” as support for their position to be placed in the GS-201 series.  The appellants consider qualitative factors such a member’s rate, geographic location, jobs in their occupational specialty, and availability of Unit Identification Codes (i.e., commands), as well as quantitative factors such as the number of LIMDU and pregnant sailors a command is allowed to accept.  In contrast to administrative occupations, however, the collection and/or review of these factors does not require applying a high level of analysis or judgment typical of administrative occupations, where the information collected is used in planning for and developing systems, functions, and services; or formulating, developing, recommending, and establishing policies, operating methods, or procedures.  Instead, the appellants make placement determinations within established parameters following pre-determined criteria and can approach situations encountered by referring to applicable regulations, Navy operating instructions, and agency- specific procedures.   

Further, although they are responsible for ensuring a command does not exceed their fair share of LIMDU or pregnant sailors, they do this by applying the Navy’s “Fair Share” policy to verify that a command is not restricted from receiving TLD or pregnant personnel.  The policy consists of ensuring that a member can be transferred to a command without the command exceeding its fair share at any one time based on LIMDU sailors projected to be onboard in a three-month period.  This does not require analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing enlisted billet assignments as the appellants assert.  Instead, they use available information obtained from various databases to compute the number of members allowable using a pre-defined formula and once a command has exceeded its fair share, they close the command from receiving future LIMDU and Pregnant members.   

Although the appellants describe performing work ranging from acting as consultants to the Command Limited Duty Coordinators and primary points-of-contact for the Rating Detailers, to recommending new procedures and developing local standard operating procedures (SOP), these procedures are related to the appellants’ assignment or immediate work unit rather than to, for example, other organizational levels within the HR hierarchy.  The inquiries received or problems encounter are recurring and have precedents.  For instance, the appellants are involved in the update of instructions applying to their branch procedures and create standard operating procedures such as the LIMDU and Pregnancy Scrub and the Pregnancy Avail Processing SOPs.   Further, the inquiries received or problems encountered are recurring and have precedents, often involving situations relating to the status of requests or orders and guidance on form requirements and/or command responsibilities.  Thus, we find this work does not require the application of the skills (i.e., analysis, research, writing, and judgment) indicative of administrative positions. 

Furthermore, we understand the appellants receive guidance from their immediate supervisor in fairly limited situations.  For example, they ask for verification or guidance on appropriate placement actions if the situation is unique or controversial, or if placement is dependent on medical information which is only available to their supervisor as medical advisor.  In all other situations, the appellants perform their duties and responsibilities independently.  However, the degree of independence exercised by the appellants is within a framework of established guidelines and procedures from which they are not allowed to deviate without prior review and approval.  Moreover, unlike HR specialist positions at lower levels, the appellants are not in a developmental position.  Their position was not intended to encompass the development of the full range of HR specialist skills at various grade levels (e.g., analysis, research, writing, and judgment) over time, leading to a full performance level administrative position within a designated career ladder.  They are currently at the full operating level for their position, performing the full scope of assistant assignments typical of that level, with no further non-competitive promotion potential. 

For the preceding reasons, the appellants’ position is properly classified in the GS-203 series and must be evaluated by applying the grading criteria in the Job Family PCS for Assistance Work in the Human Resources Group, GS-200 (GS-203 JFS).  The basic title for this occupation is Human Resources Assistant with the parenthetical title “Military” since the work of the position involves support of military HR programs and functions.

Grade determination

The GS-203 JFS is written in the Factor Evaluation System (FES) format, under which factor levels and accompanying point values are assigned for each of the nine factors.  Under the FES, each factor-level description demonstrates the minimum characteristics needed to receive credit for the described level.  If a position fails to meet the criteria in a factor-level description in any significant aspect, it must be credited at a lower level unless an equally important aspect that meets a higher level balances the deficiency.  Conversely, the position may exceed those criteria in some aspects and still not be credited at a higher level.  

Factor 1, Knowledge Required by the Position

This factor measures the nature and extent of information or facts the employee must understand to do acceptable work (e.g., steps, procedures, practices, rules, policies, regulations, and principles) and the nature and extent of the skills needed to apply the knowledge.

At Level 1-4, work requires knowledge of, and skill in applying, an extensive body of HR rules, procedures and operations to perform a wide variety of interrelated and/or non-standard HR support work.  HR assistants at this level plan, coordinate, develop facts and/or resolve support problems in one or more HR specialties.  They use personal computers with office applications to perform operations or to prepare complex documents containing tables or graphs and use online HR resources to obtain information accessible over the internet as needed. 

At Level 1-5, work requires knowledge of, and skill in applying, a comprehensive body of HR rules, procedures, and technical methods sufficient to carry out limited projects, analyze a variety of routine facts, research minor complaints or problems that are not readily understood, and summarize HR facts and issues.  A work illustration in the GS-203 JFS of an HR Assistant (Military) at Level 1-5 describes a position having knowledge of, and skill in applying, a comprehensive body of military HR rules, procedures, and technical methods sufficient to research appeals or other inquiries relating to the validity or efficiency of fitness ratings to establish the conditions existing at the time the rating was rendered.  The employee studies the military personnel records of both the member being rated and rating officials, Board testimony and proceedings, Inspector General’s investigations and reports, and organizational records, duty code books, medical records, and similar documents.  The employee also analyzes the information in relation to the requirements, spirit, and intent of governing regulations, and determines the propriety (or lack thereof) of the rating of record.

The position meets Level 1-4.  As at this level, the appellants’ work requires knowledge of NAVPERSCOM policies and procedures, as well as skill in applying an extensive body of HR rules and military personnel LIMDU procedures and operations to perform a wide variety of interrelated HR support work.  Furthermore, like the work at this level, they plan, coordinate and develop facts to arrive at a placement solution primarily for sailors who need to be moved from sea to shore units due to being in LIMDU or pregnant.  This includes reviewing requests for required information, accessing or verifying factual data relating to the member, retrieving command information (e.g., lists of UICs), and ensuring any document or form requirements are in conformance with existing regulations and established procedures (e.g., waiver forms).  Similar to the work at this level, when performing LIMDU and pregnancy scrubs, they screen the list of open requisitions to monitor those that have not been created or follow up with the individuals responsible for writing the orders.  Comparable to Level 1-4, the appellants use a variety of personnel and tracking systems to access, input, and retrieve information to support and document placement actions.  For example, to retrieve diagnoses they must access the agency’s Medical Board Online Tracking system, currently replaced by LIMDU SMART.

The position does not meet Level 1-5.  The appellants’ work does not require the application of research, judgment, and analytical skills indicative of those required at Level 1-5.  The appellants make decisions based on a defined set of guidelines, and the conditions, procedures, requirements, and criteria for each program are well established.  They screen associated information and ensure that all necessary documentation is provided to support placement function responsibilities conducted by PERS-454.  The preponderance of their time is focused on performing the various tasks associated with processing LIMDU and pregnancy availabilities.  Unlike Level 1-5, their work does not involve application of a comprehensive body of HR rules, procedures, and technical methods sufficient to handle substantive HR problems and issues.  For example, the appellants are not required to make placement determinations for the BBP positive members; they only assist in the input of the request for requisition as directed by their supervisor.  Further, they are not involved in the review of complicated and in-depth placement-related issues such as those involving finding medical treatment facilities with specialized treatment requirements, as those functions are performed by their supervisor in coordination with individuals from another branch.  Also, unlike the criteria at this level, the appellants are not responsible for researching minor problems that are not readily understood.  Instead, the inquiries and the problems they encounter are recurring, well defined, and have precedents.  Such inquiries often involve situations relating to the status of a request or order and guidance on form requirements and/or command responsibilities.  

This factor is evaluated at Level 1-4 and 550 points are assigned.

Factor 2, Supervisory Controls

This factor covers the nature and extent of direct and indirect controls exercised by the supervisor, the employee’s responsibility, and the degree to which work is reviewed by the supervisor.

At Level 2-3, the highest level described in the JFS under this factor, the supervisor discusses issues and defines objectives, priorities, and deadlines.  HR assistants independently plan the work, carry out successive steps of assignments, resolve problems, and make adjustments using established practices and procedures.  In addition, they recommend alternative actions to the supervisor; handle problems and/or deviations that arise in accordance with instructions, policies and guidelines; and refer new or controversial issues to the supervisor for direction.  The supervisor reviews work products for technical soundness, appropriateness, and conformance with policies and requirements.

The position meets but does not exceed Level 2-3.  The appellants’ work is primarily driven by requests received from commands or Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) units servicing a member for reassignment of a LIMDU or pregnant sailor.  They use initiative and independently plan their work by distributing the work requests received among themselves and resolving problems within established policies or overall objectives.  Their experience and knowledge of LIMDU placement procedures allows them to work independently with little or no day-to-day supervision and to complete their work in conformance with standing priorities and deadlines.  Their work does not receive a detailed review as these duties are handled largely in accordance with established policies, instructions, and guidelines.  Comparable to this level, the appellants also seek assistance from their supervisor for unusual or controversial problems with no clear precedents, and they keep their supervisor informed of any potential problems or issues that may impact making the proper placement of a member.  For instance, if the appellants have not received from the requestor or are unable to retrieve a diagnosis using LIMDU SMART, not allowing them to make a placement assignment, they seek assistance from their supervisor, who can retrieve diagnosis and other medical information needed to make a valid requisition request. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 2-3 and 275 points are assigned. 

Factor 3, Guidelines

This factor considers the nature of guidelines and the judgment needed to apply them.

At Level 3-2, HR assistants use a number of established procedural guidelines such as operating procedures and manuals, references, and work samples.  They use judgment in locating and selecting appropriate guidelines, manuals, references, and procedures for application to specific cases.  The assistant refers significant proposed deviations or situations to which guidelines cannot be applied to the supervisor or a higher-graded coworker.

At Level 3-3, HR assistants use guidelines that have gaps in specificity and are not applicable to all work situations.  The employee selects the most appropriate guideline and decides how to complete the various transactions.  Assistants use judgment to devise more efficient methods for procedural processing, gather and organize information for inquiries, or resolve problems referred by others.  In some situations, guidelines do not apply directly to assignments and require the employee to make adaptations to cover new and unusual work situations.

The position meets Level 3-2.  As at this level, available guidelines provide enough specific information for the appellants to complete most of their work.  They refer to various placement guidelines in the Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) and Operating Navy Instructions (OPNAVINST) that clearly indicate procedures to be followed for various types of situations (e.g., Limited Duty Availability Procedures, Availability Processing, “Y” type availabilities).  The appellants specifically identified using guidelines such as the MILPERSMAN 1306-1714, the Naval Personnel Command Instruction (NAVCOMINST) 1300.1A, and the OPNAVINST 6000.1C (currently being updated).  Comparable to Level 3-2, the appellants must select the appropriate guidance based on the circumstances of the specific case, apply judgment to determine which of several alternatives to use, and then apply the criteria or established precedents.  Situations not governed by regulations or procedures or those requiring significant deviation from guidelines are referred to the supervisor or higher-level official.  For instance, a situation relating to a LIMDU member who is already receiving care but requests a second move is forwarded to the supervisor as the decision is based on factors such as medical changes and available funding.

The position does not meet Level 3-3.  Unlike expectations at this level, the appellants have access to established policies, procedures, and precedents to assist them in performing their work.  Although the appellants may have to choose between a number of guidelines, these guides are specific to the case and do not require, as typical of Level 3-3, that they devise new or revised HR methods or processes.  Although the appellants indicate the NAVADMIN 256/08(c) guideline regarding servicewomen requesting to remain with operational units after the twentieth week of pregnancy is a guideline which lacks specificity, this guidance is an instruction used in coordination with the available guideline OPNAVINST 6000.1C, which is often used by the appellants and which contains procedures and explanations of the documentation requirements for this type of situation.  The appellants did not provide additional examples of guidelines which are not specific to their work.  Thus, unlike guidelines used at Level 3-3, which often lack specificity or are not completely applicable to the work requirements or circumstances, the appellants follow established methods and procedures to perform their work and refer situations to which existing guidelines cannot be applied to their supervisor.  Level 3-3 may be assigned when an individual must react, i.e., make decisions about the work in light of or despite the shortage in guidelines.  During the audit interview, the appellants stated they are not allowed to deviate from policy.  If they believe an exception to policy can be made, they would need approval from their supervisor or from the policy branch. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 3-2 and 125 points are assigned.

Factor 4, Complexity

This factor covers the nature, number, variety, and intricacy of tasks, steps, processes, or methods in the work performed; the difficulty in identifying what needs to be done; and the difficulty and originality involved in performing the work.

At Level 4-2, the work consists of related steps, processes, and standard explanations of methods or programs in an HR function.  HR assistants at this level make decisions on appropriate actions from various choices and differences among easily recognizable situations and use information that is factual in nature.  HR assistants recognize different processes required to assist customers and HR specialists, and act or respond differently in factual ways depending upon the variety of organizations served, the variety of positions filled, and similar factors.

At Level 4-3, the work consists of different and unrelated steps in accomplishing HR assignments and processes.  HR assistants at this level consider factual data, identify the scope and nature of the problems or issues, and determine the appropriate action from many alternatives.  Assistants identify and analyze HR issues and/or problems to determine their interrelationships and to determine the appropriate methods and techniques needed to resolve them.

The appellants’ position meets Level 4-2.  Commensurate with this level, the appellants perform work that consists of related steps, processes, and standard explanations of methods or transactions in military placement functions.  This involves obtaining factual information from different systems to obtain member data (e.g., social security numbers), retrieve applicable lists of commands, and obtain information to calculate the number of LIMDU and/or pregnant sailors a command is limited to accepting in order to obtain all necessary information to process availabilities.

The appellants’ position does not meet Level 4-3.  Unlike work at this level, due to the repetitive nature of the appellants’ assignments which do not encompass different and unrelated steps, they are not responsible for identifying and analyzing problems to determine their interrelationships and to determine the appropriate techniques to resolve them.  Instead, their work is primarily driven by command requests which provide certain information needed for the appellants to find a job assignment in a shore unit near a medical facility that can provide the care for a member with LIMDU.  Other work includes processing RTD for military officers and correcting unacceptable placements.  The work focuses on using standard personnel systems such as the Enlisted Assignment Information System (EAIS) to retrieve member data and billet distribution information as well as online sources such as BUPERS Online and the Online Distribution Information System to retrieve member data and member orders information and to pull various distribution reports to gather information and identify placement assignments.  These and other decisions typical of the appellants’ work require consideration of readily identifiable steps to communicate with LIMDU coordinators, obtain additional or missing information, and present placement options within the requirements of the program.

This factor is evaluated at Level 4-2 and 75 points are assigned.

Factor 5, Scope and Effect

This factor covers the relationship between the nature of the work (i.e., the purpose, breadth, and depth of the assignments) and the effect of work products or services both within and outside the organization.

At Level 5-2, the work involves technical services and practices such as verifying job content establishing identical additional jobs.  The employee applies specific rules or procedures to complete action in the HR organization.  The work affects the accuracy and reliability of further efforts to perform HR functions within the organization.  Work also affects the accuracy of employee records, benefits, and other personnel data maintained by the HR office. 

At Level 5-3, the work involves treating a variety of routine problems, questions, or situations using established procedures such as rating employees in specific lower-graded jobs for promotion on the basis of their relative abilities, as well as ranking employees into categories.  The employee applies appropriate standards in determining titles, grades, and series codes of lower-graded positions and counsels employees on a variety of minor disciplinary problems.  The work has a direct effect on the quality and adequacy of employee records, program operations, and services provided through the HR office.  Work also affects the social and economic well-being of persons serviced through the HR office.  A work illustration in the GS-203 PCS of a Level 5-3 HR Assistant (Military) describes a position where the work involves reviewing military records and other case documentation on actions that may affect the career of the military member.  The employee ensures documentation is procedurally correct and complete, and adheres to military policy and regulation.  The employee also summarizes relevant facts and issues regarding a proposed action.  The work requires outlining options and recommending appropriate action.  Cases include allegations of inequitable, prejudiced, or similar treatment having major effects on career or service where unfavorable outcomes may result in military member’s career separation and loss of status.

The position meets Level 5-2.  Like the work described at this level, the appellants’ duties involve verifying common factors when processing LIMDU and pregnancy availabilities, such as geographic locations, physical restrictions, location of spouse or dependents, member’s occupational specialty, and availability of medical facility in close proximity to shore activity to determine assignment options for sailors in LIMDU.  Also, like this level, they apply specific rules or procedures to complete actions in the HR organization such as determining the number of LIMDU members a command can accept by using assignment caps (i.e., percentages) and predetermined ranges for commands’ Billets Assigned (BA) provided in the Navy’s “Fair Share” policy.  The goal of this policy is to minimize the impact of short-term personnel assignments while still retaining the flexibility to accommodate the assignment of potentially large numbers of LIMDU sailors.  Thus, the appellants calculate how many LIMDU personnel may be assigned at any one time based on LIMDU sailors projected to be onboard in three months.  For example, a command with BA between 50-500 provides a cap of 25 percent.  Using this percentage, the appellants would determine that a command with a BA of 300 should have no more than 75 LIMDU personnel assigned.

Comparable to this level, as the initial coordinators for the placement and assignment of LIMDU and pregnant sailors, the accuracy and reliability of their work affect further efforts of those performing other placement functions or reviewing the actions within the organization.  Similar to Level 5-2, the appellants’ work also affects the accuracy of employee records, benefits, and other personnel data maintained by the HR office.  For instance, if the appellants do not process when a member has RTD and fail to input a notification into the proper manning system indicating the member’s medical condition has been resolved, it can affect a member’s employee records and other benefits the sailor may be entitled to receive when performing viable work.  

The position does not meet Level 5-3.  Unlike work described at this level, the complexity of the types of problems, questions, or situations in which the appellants are involved is limited by the established uniform practices and procedures required by PERS-454 relating to members in TLD status.  The appellants do not summarize relevant facts regarding proposed actions or recommend appropriate actions involving the more substantive problems, questions, or situations intended at this level.  While the appellants review records and other documentation, the work is procedural and factual, e.g., to ensure that a proper placement determination is made for the member in LIMDU and to verify applicable information to make the placement determination.  Due to the routine and standard nature of the appellants’ work, their assignments do not typically involve the variety of problems or have the broad impact on the organization intended at this level.  In contrast to Level 5-3, their cases do not involve consideration of issues such as allegations of inequitable or unfair treatment, and do not have a comparable negative affect on adequacy or quality of records or on the economic or social well-being of the sailor. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 5-2 and 75 points are assigned. 

Factors 6 and 7, Personal Contacts and Purpose of Contacts

Personal contacts include face-to-face and telephone contacts with persons not in the supervisory chain.  Levels described under this factor are based on what is required to make the initial contact, the difficulty of communicating with those contacted, and the setting in which the contact takes place.  These factors are interdependent.  The same contacts selected for crediting Factor 6 must be used to evaluate Factor 7.  The appropriate level for personal contacts and the corresponding level for purpose of contacts are determined by applying the point assignment chart for Factors 6 and 7.

      Personal Contacts

At Level 2,  which is the highest level described in the JFS under this factor, the HR assistant has contact with employees and managers in the agency, both inside and outside the immediate office or related units, as well as applicants, retirees, beneficiaries, and/or the general public, in moderately structured settings.  Contact with employees and managers may be from various levels within the agency, such as headquarters, regions, districts, field offices, or other operating offices in the same location. 

The position meets but does not exceed Level 2.  In addition to contacts typical of Level 1 with coworkers from other units (e.g., Detailers), the appellants’ personal contacts also include individuals outside the immediate office such as LIMDU Coordinators at commands or PSDs, staff at TPUs, personnel at medical facilities, and other employees from various levels within their agency.   

      Purpose of Contacts

At Level b, which is the highest level described in the JFS under this factor, the purpose of contacts is to plan, coordinate, or advise on work efforts, or to resolve issues or operating problems by influencing or persuading people who are working toward mutual goals and have basically cooperative attitudes.

The position meets but does not exceed Level b.  The purpose of the appellants’ contacts ranges from coordinating and exchanging factual information to responding to problems with people who are typically working toward the same goals and have cooperative attitudes.  For example, when a command requests a specific placement location for a member that cannot be made due to not meeting the criteria, the appellants may attempt to persuade the command personnel to accept the most appropriate assignment by explaining applicable criteria and NAVPERCOM policies and procedures.

This factor is evaluated at Level 2b and 75 points are assigned.

Factor 8, Physical Demands

This factor covers the requirements and physical demands placed on the employee by the work assignments.

At Level 8-1, which is the only level described in the JFS under this factor, the work is primarily sedentary.  Some work may require periods of standing at a counter.  Employees frequently carry light items such as employee files or pamphlets.  The work does not require any special physical effort. 

The position meets but does not exceed Level 8-1, since it is primarily sedentary and does not involve any special physical effort. 

This factor is evaluated at Level 8-1 is and 5 points are assigned.

Factor 9, Work Environment

This factor considers the risks and discomforts in the employee’s physical surroundings or the nature of the work assigned and the safety regulations required.

At Level 9-1, which is the only level described in the JFS under this factor, the work environment consists of an office setting that is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated.  The work involves everyday risks or discomforts requiring normal safety precautions.

The position meets but does not exceed Level 9-1, which describes a typical office environment.

This factor is evaluated at Level 9-1 is and 5 points are assigned.

Summary

Factor Level Points
1.  Knowledge Required by the Position 1-4    550
2.  Supervisory Controls 2-3    275
3.  Guidelines 3-2    125
4.  Complexity 4-2      75
5.  Scope and Effect 5-2      75
6. & 7. Personal Contacts and Purpose of Contacts 2-b      75
8.  Physical Demands 8-1        5
9.  Work Environment 9-1        5
Total  1185


 The total of 1185 points falls within the GS-6 range (1105 to 1350 points) on the grade conversion table in the JFS.

Decision

The position is properly classified as Human Resources Assistant (Military), GS-203-6.

 

 

 


 

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