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The Position Classification System in the Federal Government is based on two fundamental principles:

  1. There should be substantially equal pay for substantially equal work; and
  2. Variations in pay should be in proportion to substantial differences in difficulty, responsibility and qualifications required.

The classification of a civilian position consists of the position title, pay plan or pay schedule, occupational series, and grade or pay band level. Classification decisions, whether made by Human Resources Specialists or managers, are based on:

  • Nature and variety of the work
  • Difficulty of the work
  • Authority and responsibility exercised
  • Extent of supervisory controls over the work
  • Qualifications required to do the work

Department of the Navy (DON) civilian personnel positions are classified in a variety of personnel systems. The predominant system is the General Schedule (GS) for white collar work followed by the Federal Wage System (FWS), commonly called wage grade (WG), for blue collar work. Some of the other systems cover employees under our civilian executive population, the Senior Executive Service (SES) and civilian personnel at science and technology research laboratories to mention a few.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is responsible for creating and maintaining the structure of occupations and systems for classification for all Federal Government positions. Information on occupations and classification of positions in the federal government can be found on the OPM website. The Department of Defense (DoD) provides additional guidance on the classification of certain occupations within the DoD which include the DON. The DON also provides additional supplementary guidance on classification of positions in the FWS and GS positions in the 1600 series.

Position management is the organization of classified positions that achieves maximum efficiency and economy in support of an organization’s mission. DON supervisors and managers play a major role in ensuring sound position structure.



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