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6.511.1  Position Management and Classification Policy and Operational Guidance

6.511.1.1  (03-19-2010)
Policy Provisions

  1. This section describes program policy for Position Management and Classification (PM/C).

  2. The legal and regulatory bases for Federal service PM/C are in 5 U.S.C. Chapter 51, sections 5101 to 5115. Further, 5 C.F.R. Part 511, sections 511.101 to 511.203, state that positions are classified based on the duties and responsibilities assigned and the qualifications required to do the work.

  3. The legal and regulatory bases for the Job Grading System are in 5 U.S.C. Chapter 53, section 5346 and 5 C.F.R. Part 532, Subpart F.

  4. Specific citations and references are in documents listed in Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 6.511.1.8.18, Position Management and Position Classification Web Sites. Delegation Order 81, Delegation of Authority in Various Personnel Matters, as revised, identifies PM/C delegations under 5 U.S.C. and 5 C.F.R.

6.511.1.2  (03-19-2010)

  1. Provisions of this document apply to all positions subject to 5 U.S.C. Chapter 51 (General Schedule positions), and Chapter 53 (Federal Wage System positions).

  2. Provisions of this document also apply to positions in other pay systems unless specifically exempted by special instructions and authority governing the specific pay system involved.

6.511.1.3  (03-19-2010)
Objectives of the IRS Position Management and Classification Program

  1. Establish a position structure which delivers work appropriately balanced among quantity, quality, and cost by:

    1. Achieving work unit effectiveness with a minimum of supervisory and staff resources,

    2. Clustering grade-controlling duties into the minimum number of positions, and

    3. Reconfiguring position structures to achieve cost-effective operations.

  2. Ensure that jobs are accurately classified in accordance with published Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position classification standards and supplementing IRS classification guides by using descriptions which clearly distinguish each position's appropriate title, series, and grade and serve as an effective aid in human capital decisions.

  3. Establish a position structure consistent with employee skill and development objectives while maintaining a cost-effective operation.

6.511.1.4  (03-19-2010)
Program Responsibility

  1. The Human Capital Office (HCO) has responsibility to:

    1. Develop and coordinate the Service’s Position Management/Classification (PM/C) program;

    2. Develop and provide PM/C plans and program goals;

    3. Develop and issue PM/C operational and policy guidance/instructions;

    4. Develop classification guides and classify/issue Standard Position Descriptions (SPD);

    5. Provide PM/C training to new managers; and

    6. Serve as consultant to embedded Human Resources and management.

  2. Division Commissioners (or equivalent level) are responsible for ensuring that:

    1. The PM/C program is used as a management tool;

    2. A climate is provided in which subordinate executives and managers, in partnership, propose or make effective PM/C decisions; and

    3. The Division’s position management program effectiveness is reviewed.

  3. Embedded Human Capital Office has the responsibility to:

    1. Provide PM/C advice to management;

    2. Develop Business Operating Division-specific policy based on agency policy; and

    3. Implement agency PM/C policies and goals.

  4. All executives, managers, and supervisors that have day-to-day operational responsibility should:

    1. Understand the general principles and procedures of PM/C and be able to explain them to their employees;

    2. Utilize the workforce economically and effectively through optimum organization and assignment of work;

    3. Identify the duties and responsibilities of positions under their supervision;

    4. Ensure that positions are accurately described;

    5. Develop SPDs to reflect significant changes in an existing position, to describe a new position as necessary, or to replace local position descriptions and submit them for approval through appropriate management channels;

    6. Provide a copy of the appropriate SPD to each employee after signing the supervisory certification;

    7. Initiate classification actions;

    8. Provide position classification appeal rights to employees;

    9. Follow established procedures when responding to employee position classification complaints or appeals; and

    10. Ensure that the SPD is associated with an appropriate performance plan (e.g., critical job elements, responsibilities and commitments) when issued to an employee.

  5. Employees should:

    1. Review their position description (PD) to ensure that it accurately reflects the duties they are performing;

    2. Raise discrepancies between the PD and the work with their immediate manager; and

    3. Understand their placement in their organization.

6.511.1.5  (03-19-2010)
Relationship of Position Management to Position Classification

  1. Position management is essentially a responsibility of line management and manifests itself in the way in which management combines duties and responsibilities, assigns work, and establishes organizations. Position management is reflected in the manner in which management elects to formulate jobs and structure organizational entities. As such, position management encompasses position classification and provides the framework upon which position classifications are based.

  2. Position classification primarily concerns itself with the application of Governmentwide job standards and classification principles to positions in order to establish the proper pay plan, title, series, and grade (all of which contribute to a position’s rate of pay) by dealing with duties, responsibilities, and work assigned by management in an organization structure established by management.

  3. Nonetheless, the position classification process is not complete until and unless adequate consideration has been given to position management, both by those authorized to effect changes in organization and job structure and by those authorized to classify the positions thereby affected.

  4. As a result, position management, rather than position classification, is the dominant element influencing the extent to which an organization approaches the maximum possible utilization of human resources, particularly in terms of financial resources.

  5. While determining job content and organizational structure is the prerogative of line management, support entities (including human resources staff, finance personnel, and advisory analysts) play a key role in advising and assisting management in carrying out these responsibilities in line with sound position management concepts. A full and open partnership should exist between line management and staff personnel in weighing the position management and classification impact and consequences of proposals affecting organization, work assignment, and changes in job content.

6.511.1.6  (03-19-2010)
Position Management Program

  1. This section describes the Position Management Program objectives, responsibilities, and principles.

6.511.1.6.1  (03-19-2010)

  1. Position management is the assignment of work to positions within an existing or planned organization in a manner that will best achieve mission goals, efficiency of operations, and effective employee utilization within approved resource levels, while also promoting employee development.

6.511.1.6.2  (03-19-2010)
Purpose of Position Management

  1. The purpose of position management is to ensure efficiency and economy in attaining the objectives of the Service through maximum use of human resources. However, in all cases, the cost of an action should be weighed in terms of the benefits derived. Long-range benefits may, in some instances, override considerations of immediate costs. Continual cooperation between line managers and PM/C specialists is vital to ensure that all aspects of position management principles and concepts are explored.

  2. The objectives of position management are:

    1. To establish a position structure which will best serve organizational and program needs by providing optimum balance among such factors as economy, efficiency, skills utilization, employee motivation, and employee development;

    2. To contribute to employee productivity by appropriate utilization of positions, including supervisory and administrative support positions;

    3. To ensure that the duties and responsibilities of each position are clearly delineated, do not conflict with the duties of other positions, and serve as an effective aid in recruitment, placement, career progression, performance appraisals, and awards;

    4. To take positive actions to eliminate unwarranted fragmentation of grade-controlling duties;

    5. To ensure that jobs are accurately classified in accordance with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position classification standards and supplementing IRS classification guides;

    6. To abolish positions which become vacant if their duties can be redistributed or eliminated without seriously affecting the accomplishment of essential functions;

    7. To lend maximum support to equal employment opportunity, upward mobility, and competitive merit placement programs through establishment of effective job structures; and

    8. To ensure that position analysis is effectively accomplished and that position descriptions are current, specific, and accurate.

  3. Position management affects:

    1. Work outcomes,

    2. Customer satisfaction,

    3. Cost of operations, and

    4. Employee satisfaction.

  4. The position management program directly affects balanced measures outcomes.

6.511.1.6.3  (03-19-2010)

  1. Division Commissioners (or equivalent level) have primary responsibility for the Position Management Program. They are responsible for ensuring that their subordinate managers, supervisors, and staffs coordinate efforts toward optimum staff utilization, and ensure adherence to the principles outlined in this manual.

  2. The IRS Human Capital Officer is responsible for developing, advocating, implementing, evaluating, and monitoring Position Management Program policies and operational objectives for the IRS.

  3. Other managers and supervisors have primary responsibility for the exercise of position management by determining the duties and responsibilities to be assigned to individual positions; determining whether positions should be established, abolished, or changed; determining the number and types of positions necessary to accomplish the work of the organization; and determining how to best organize the work and positions to achieve an optimal organizational structure. Position management decisions must take into consideration the availability of financial and human resources in addition to the utilization and development of employee skills.

6.511.1.6.4  (03-19-2010)
General Principles

  1. General principles that can be used as guideposts when making position management decisions are identified in the following:

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Organizational Changes

  1. Organizational changes should improve the effectiveness and/or efficiency of an organization. They should produce efficiency and economy through the optimum use of staff, while effectively accomplishing the organization’s goals and objectives. The cost of proposed changes should be weighed in terms of benefits derived. Reducing unnecessary subdivisions, supervisory levels, and positions will often accelerate work flow by broadening supervisory span of control, reducing the number of reviews, and shortening lines of communication and decision-making.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Controlling Positions

  1. Continuing efforts should be made to obtain or devise equipment, processes, or work methods which enable the Service’s objectives to be accomplished more efficiently while keeping staffing to a minimum.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Movements of Employees

  1. Assignments or reassignments of subordinates to supervisors should be based strictly upon the needs of the supervisor’s work program, rather than the effect of additional employees on the supervisor’s grade. For example, additional higher-grade employees should not be assigned to a group supervisor merely to permit the upgrading of the group supervisor’s position.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Organization of Duties and Responsibilities into Positions and Organizational Entities

  1. Clerical support duties should not be assigned to non-clerical positions to the extent possible.

  2. Unless higher-graded duties are assigned for developmental purposes, employees should be assigned only those duties and responsibilities appropriate to the grades of their positions.

  3. The number of organizational entities should be based on such factors as amount and complexity of work, supervisory span of control, and geographical dispersion. Levels of supervision and review should also be limited to a minimum.

  4. In lieu of creating additional first-level supervisory positions, serious consideration should be given to establishing work leader or team leader positions.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Assignment of Higher-Graded Work

  1. Upgrading a position based on adding higher-graded work to existing lower-graded work should be avoided wherever possible. Higher-graded work should be concentrated in the fewest number of positions needed to accomplish the work of the organization, and not spread to support higher grades for more employees.

  2. Before recommending more senior working positions, there must be a careful analysis to determine what part of the total amount of work available is above the first full-working-level. Then a determination must be made as to what part of this higher-level workload can be absorbed by the higher-graded position(s) already available and concentrated in as few additional higher-graded positions as are absolutely necessary.

  3. The assignment of a limited amount of higher-graded work (generally, this should not exceed 20 percent of the direct work time) to lower-graded employees for developmental purposes is an accepted management practice. Typically, this provides lower-graded employees with an opportunity to demonstrate the potential to perform work at the higher level.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Need for Skills and Knowledge

  1. Whenever possible, work should be simplified and employees specialized so that lower- grade duties may be performed at lower skill levels. This would include the appropriate use of paraprofessional or bridge positions in lieu of certain professional or specialist positions. Doing so will both enrich lower-grade positions and leave those in higher grades more time to perform work appropriate to their level. Also, it would contribute directly to providing upward mobility opportunities as well as assisting management with accomplishing its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) objectives.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Use of Paraprofessional Positions

  1. In determining the best ways to utilize current staff, the use of paraprofessional positions is strongly encouraged.

  2. The paraprofessional concept serves to:

    1. Concentrate paraprofessional duties into lower-level positions (e.g., Tax Fraud Investigative Assistant, Management Assistant, Budget Technician); and

    2. Establish an additional means of qualifying (i.e., providing a broader base of recruitment) for professional, administrative, and technician-level positions.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Vacant Positions

  1. When a position is vacated, the appropriate line official should review it to see if the position can be eliminated or the work modified and assigned to another existing position.

  2. A vacant position should be abolished if it is one of several similar positions and other employees can absorb the duties, or if there has been a workload reduction equivalent to that of the vacated position.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Establishment of Full Assistant/Deputy Positions

  1. Full assistant or deputy positions will be established and maintained only when absolutely necessary.

  2. A full assistant/deputy position, regardless of title, is one which shares in the direction and supervision of a program or organizational segment headed by the immediate manager. A full assistant/deputy position generally entails an additional level of review and supervision, and is usually graded one grade level below that of the immediate superior in the General Schedule classification system.

  3. Full assistant/deputy positions are established only if:

    1. The chief’s duties require considerable travel, extensive external contacts, significant amounts of special project work, etc.; and/or

    2. The organization requires considerable program and managerial planning, coordination, and direction of numerous subordinate organizational entities, production control, and considerable follow-up work.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Establishment of Staff Assistant Positions

  1. Staff assistant positions will be established and maintained only when absolutely necessary.

  2. A staff assistant position, regardless of title, is one which aids the immediate manager by performing a consultative or staff support role, but does not directly share in directing or supervising subordinate staff.

  3. Staff assistants are normally established only where:

    1. The work of the organization entails extensive and frequent changes in systems and procedures;

    2. The complexity of the organization’s work and the manager’s span of control are such that the manager cannot be expected to perform required special projects and studies;

    3. In large organizations, a routine production control job must be conducted, but does not warrant establishing a full assistant position; and/or

    4. One segment of the organization’s work is highly-specialized or must integrate with other components of the organization, but is of insufficient volume to warrant an independent organizational entity.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Impact of the Person on the Job (Incumbent-Only Position)

  1. The policy for classifying positions based on "impact of the person on the job" (commonly referred to as "incumbent only" for IRS purposes) is based on the premise that the special knowledge, skills, abilities, talents, or achievements of an individual may have an important effect on the duties, responsibilities, and expectations of the job held. As such, the impact of the person on the job is reflected in the classification when the performance of a particular individual actually makes the job materially different from what it otherwise would be, i.e., a higher-graded position.

  2. The establishment of a position based on the concept of " impact of the person on the job" does not supplant the responsibility to classify the position’s additional duties and qualifications by reference to appropriate classification standards and guidelines. It is not acceptable to use "incumbent only" classifications to further the continuance of a misclassified position.

  3. An incumbent-only position which has been created to accommodate a particular incumbent should be either abolished or restored to its normal classification when the position is vacated.

  4. An incumbent-only position should be reviewed annually to verify/validate the continuing conditions which warranted the original "incumbent-only " designation. The PM/C Branch will initiate contact with the Embedded Human Resources Office (or equivalent) to begin the review process.

  5. In those situations where an encumbered position does not sustain the current grade level based on the actual work performed, the concept of "impact of the person on the job" or "incumbent only" does not apply and, therefore, corrective action will be taken by the business operating division.

6.511.1.7  (03-19-2010)
Position Classification Program

  1. This section outlines the Position Classification Program objectives, authorities, and principles.

6.511.1.7.1  (03-19-2010)

  1. Position classification is the analysis of a position’s duties, responsibilities, and qualification requirements to determine the position’s title, series, and grade level in accordance with classification standards issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

6.511.1.7.2  (03-19-2010)

  1. The objectives of position classification are to:

    1. Ensure pay is based on the principle of equal pay for substantially equal work, and

    2. Ensure that positions are classified consistent with the criteria and guidance issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

6.511.1.7.3  (03-19-2010)
Delegation of Authority

  1. Position classification authority is the authority to determine and certify the proper pay plan, title, series, and grade of a position. Only an official who is delegated classification authority may certify the classification of a position by signing the Classification Approved section on the position description cover sheet.

  2. The authority to classify positions is limited to those officials identified in IRS Delegation Order 81, as revised. Delegation Order 81 delegates to Human Resources Specialists (Classification), or Human Resources Specialists assigned position classification responsibilities in the Human Capital Office, the authority to classify all General Schedule or equivalent positions and Federal Wage System positions covered by this IRM. This authority may not be re-delegated.

6.511.1.7.4  (03-19-2010)
General Principles

  1. The position classification system is vital to the structure and administration of employee compensation. In this context, the agency will ensure that the duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required to perform work are classified in a manner which ensures that:

    1. Pay is based on the principle of equal pay for substantially equal work; and

    2. Differences in pay are in proportion to substantial differences in difficulty, responsibility, and the knowledge and skills required to perform the work.

  2. Current OPM policy stipulates that the grade of a position may be determined by the performance of higher-graded duties which constitute at least 25 percent of an employee’s work time. Human Resources Specialists will ensure that positions are classified consistent with this policy and will seek management input to validate the extent to which higher-graded duties are performed relative to the overall duties performed.

  3. Position classification recognizes/acknowledges the duties, responsibilities, and qualifications inherent within a position, and not those of an individual. Nevertheless, certain circumstances will exist whereby an individual distinguishes himself/herself by bringing to the job a greater set of skills and knowledge that enables management to recognize the position’s true value at a higher grade level (refer to 6.511., "Impact of the Person on the Job" ("Incumbent-Only Positions" ). In those situations, the additional duties and qualification requirements will be classified by reference to the appropriate classification standard(s) and guidelines, and the position will be identified as "incumbent only" on the Standard Position Description coversheet. Once vacated, the position will revert to its original classification or be abolished.

6.511.1.8  (03-19-2010)
Policy and Operational Guidance

  1. This section provides policy and operational guidance relative to position management and position classification program areas.

6.511.1.8.1  (03-19-2010)
Role of the Human Resources Staffs in Organizational Change Initiatives

  1. The Human Capital Office (HCO) has a significant role to play in support of organizational change initiatives.

  2. Human Capital support may involve labor relations, recruitment, retirement counseling, use of strategies to mitigate impact on employees, classification of positions, advisory services for position management, and a variety of other support activities.

  3. The first point of contact in HCO for any major organizational change initiative is within the Workforce Progression and Management Division (WPMD) of HCO. The WPMD will facilitate review by governing bodies and collaborate and facilitate Operations Support activities. Major organizational change initiatives include those:

    1. Impacting services provided to taxpayers,

    2. Impacting services provided to other IRS business units, or

    3. Resulting in excess employees requiring use of mitigation strategies potentially impacting other business units.

  4. The Position Management/Classification (PM/C) Branch and the Embedded Human Capital function, are available to provide advisory and consultative services to management regarding proposed changes in such areas as organizational/supervisory structures, spans of control, use of higher-graded positions, analyst/administrative staffing, new or updating Standard Position Descriptions (SPD), establishing "deputy" and "assistant to" positions, ratio of "lead" positions to journey-level positions, position realignments and impact on supervisory grade levels, workload studies, position design, and other related program areas as needed or requested.

6.511.1.8.2  (03-19-2010)
Authorized Staffing Patterns

  1. Reserved

6.511.1.8.3  (03-19-2010)
Workload Studies

  1. Workload studies are performed to determine the adequacy of an organization’s staffing given past, current, and projected workloads. These studies identify the changes needed to the grade structure of an organization in order to match the appropriate number and grade levels of positions performing the work with the volume and complexity of work to be accomplished.

  2. Each Operating Division is responsible for conducting workload studies as necessary, and preparing paperwork/documentation in accordance with functional guidelines and requirements as well as those outlined in this IRM.

  3. The PM/C Branch will provide assistance and guidance necessary for the study.

6.511.  (03-19-2010)
Workload Studies (Operational Guidance )

  1. The following procedures for conducting workload studies may be used in determining staffing and grade level requirements for all occupations in all organizational segments of the Internal Revenue Service. However, where specific procedures have been developed by the Operating Divisions, guidance in those procedures will take precedence and will be followed by the respective function.

  2. Functions that are not covered by separate functional procedures will adhere to the basic principles outlined within this section.

  3. A workload study involves two basic procedures:

    1. Determining the staff years (or full time equivalents) of work to be accomplished and the skill (grade) levels required; and

    2. Determining the capacity of the current staff to perform current/projected work, given the staff’s current size and skill (grade) levels.

  4. The general process for conducting a workload study is as follows:

    1. Determine the amount of work to be performed (i.e., the work available) by measuring the past and/or present workload data along with information that may indicate future shifts in the workload of a given organizational segment.

    2. Measure the capacity of the staff available to accomplish this work by considering "direct" versus "indirect " time.

    3. Determine the differences between the staff available and the staff needed to carry out workload requirements.

  5. Organizations conducting workload studies are encouraged to coordinate their efforts with the PM/C Branch which may serve as the Human Resources (HR) validation of the findings and determinations of the function’s study, particularly as they relate to changes in grade structure levels.

  6. The PM/C Branch will provide technical assistance and guidance, as necessary.

6.511.1.8.4  (03-19-2010)
Span of Control

  1. It is the policy of the Internal Revenue Service to establish and maintain an effective span of control (SOC), with particular emphasis on first-level and second-level managers. An effective SOC entails, to the extent possible, assigning the maximum number of individuals to the fewest number of managers while ensuring achievement of organizational goals and program objectives.

  2. Management is responsible for maintaining appropriate spans of control in accordance with the guidance outlined in this document as well as in line with sound position management and position classification principles.

  3. Management is responsible for developing and maintaining local SOC guidelines, in concert with agencywide guidelines outlined under IRM 6.511.

  4. Every effort should be made to establish a minimum of 10 subordinates for a first-level manager, where feasible.

  5. No organizational entity with a first-level manager will be established with less than five (5) subordinates unless exceptions are approved by the Division Commissioner or equivalent.

  6. The PM/C Branch will provide guidance and assistance as needed or requested in the establishment and maintenance of SOC goals and local guidelines.

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