What is a classification study?

A classification study is an in-depth evaluation of the work assigned to all positions in a classification or classification series. Studies are conducted to make sure the most effective classification and compensation structures are in place and to improve talent management.

Who is in charge of a classification study?

Washington State Human Resources (not your agency?s HR) oversees classification studies in partnership with the agencies using the impacted job classification/s.

What can I expect to see happen during a classification study?

In addition to regular communication and updates from your Employer, you can expect to see your PD, or PDF, be updated and/or someone observe the type of work you do, to be asked for input into the accuracy of your PDF, and potentially to be reallocated as the study comes to an end.

What is a 'PD' or 'PDF'?

A PD or PDF is a position description form ? its purpose is to describe a position?s main role in your agency and to show how your work helps the agency achieve its mission.

What if the Employer decides that I should be in a different job classification?

If the Employer determines the work of your position best fits into a different job classification then your position may be reallocated.

What is a reallocation?

A reallocation is the personnel action taken by the Employer to officially change your job classification when the work of your position has been determined to best fit into a different job classification based on acceptable allocating criteria.

What is allocating criteria?

Through case precedent established by decisions issued from the Personnel Resources Board, classification series concepts, classification definitions, and classification distinguishing characteristics (in that order) have been determined to be the types of allocating criteria considered in the allocation process.

What if I don't agree with my new job classification?

You have the right to request a review of the decision by the Director of the Office of State HR. The notice of your reallocation should contain your right to challenge the decision however, it is important you do not rely on this notice as any request for a Director?s review must be filed within specific time frames.

What is a PRR?

A: Along the way you may hear the term ?PRR.? This stands for position review request and submitting one is the mechanism by which an employee can initiate their own reallocation process if they do not believe their current job classification is the best fit for the work they perform.

What if my new job classification pays more than my old one?

A: As WFSE-represented employees, this has been negotiated and can be found in Article 41.4.A of your Collective Bargaining Agreement.

What if my new job classification pays less than my old one?

A: As WFSE-represented employees, this has been negotiated and can be found in Article 41.4.C of your Collective Bargaining Agreement. 

Does the Employer have to bargain a classification study with my Union?

In accordance with RCW 41.80 and Article 41.1.A of your Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Employer must bargain the salary effects of a change to an existing class or newly proposed classification. While the Employer has the right to establish, allocate, or reallocate positions it must provide notice to the Union and bargain over the assigned salaries and impacts of the changes.

What is a salary survey?  

State HR is required by RCW 41.06.160 to conduct salary surveys. As described in the RCW, this is a comparison of the wages and fringe benefits paid to state classifications to those of other public and private sector employers.

What is a benchmark?

A benchmark is the most representative classification used to measure or compare data that most accurately represents the major functions of state job classifications when compared to other public and private sector employment in a salary survey.

How might a classification study impact my benchmark? 

Major changes to your job classification or classification series, such as those that can result from a classification study, may change the job classification that is used as your benchmark in a salary survey.

I have been impacted by a classification study and want representation; what do I do?

A: As WFSE-represented employees you are entitled to, and encouraged to engage, representation on any matter adversely effecting your conditions of employment. See Article 36.5 of your Collective Bargaining Agreement. You can obtain representation by contacting a WFSE Shop Steward in your workplace or any WFSE office.

How can I learn more? 

Information on applicable RCW's can be found here:

Information from the Washington State Office of Human Resources can be found here: