Classifications and Reclassifications

Due to the current financial situation, the following guidelines will apply to Classifications and Reclassifications:

  • Requests for reclassifications are on hold until further notice, unless the requested reclassifications are part of a planned or existing reorganization that will result in the overall savings of people and/or funds.
  • Only classification requests deemed critical by Mary Ann Bradley and Dean Gay will be allowed to proceed (outside of those positions that are 100% supported by: sponsored, research, faculty start-up funds or by endowment/restricted funds can be determined as critical at the divisional level).
  • Classification requests for those positions that are 100% supported by: sponsored, research, faculty start-up funds or by endowment/restricted funds can be determined as critical at the divisional level and do not require CPR review prior to being submitted for review by the classification committee.


Once a new position has been approved as critical, it will need to be classified. In order for a new position to be classified, a Classification Review Form (CRF) should be submitted to your HR Consultant.  FAS staff positions are classified on the basis of the complexity and scope of duties and responsibilities assigned and exercised.  Each position is assigned a classification that is used on official records and links the position to a job family, job code and grade.

Reclassifications (including changes to vacant FTEs and downgrades)

In the rare case, when a reclassification request is deemed critical, the following criteria will apply:

  • There have been substantial and permanent changes in job duties, job complexity and/or knowledge and skills required. Changes to a position can occur naturally over a period of time or as the result of organizational changes.
  • More than one third of the job responsibilities have significantly increased in scope and complexity.
  • The employee has successfully carried out the new responsibilities for four months or more.

To be consistent across the FAS, the effective date of all reclassifications for current incumbents will be the first day of a future payroll cycle following the final PMF approval of the action and requested salary. The department must enter approved reclassifications in Aurora in advance of the desired effective date. Retroactive processing of reclassification actions of incumbents will no longer be allowed.

Classification workflow

  1. The FAS Department receives approval through the Critical Position Review Process (CPR). Due to the current financial situation, any request for a classification or reclassification must be approved by the Ad Dean, the Dean of Administration and Finance, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences before they can be brought forward to the classification committee. Positions that 100% supported by: sponsored, research, faculty start-up funds or by endowment/restricted funds can be determined as critical at the divisional level and do not require CPR review prior to being submitted for review by the classification committee.
  2. The FAS Department completes the Classification Review Form (CRF). Typically, the manager of the role (if it is a new or vacant position) writes the description, describing the roles and responsibilities and articulating the scope and scale of the job. If there is an incumbent in the position, the employee should be involved in completing the form to make sure that it accurately captures the duties and responsibilities of the role.
  3. The department submits the completed CRF to their FAS HR Consultant. The HR Consultant works with the department (Department Administrator, manager, and incumbent, as appropriate) to ensure that the CRF accurately and completely describes the work being performed.
  4. HR Consultant submits the completed CRF to the Classification Committee inbox. Because the CRF has been vetted by both the department and HR Consultant at this time, the date the CRF is received in the classification inbox will be recorded as the date HR received the CRF for purposes of calculating the classification review time.
  5. Within one business week of receiving the completed CRF, a Classification Analyst will reach out to the department to schedule an interview with the manager and incumbent (if applicable).
  6. Classification Analyst meets with manager and employee (as appropriate) and conducts the classification analysis. In addition to meeting with the department, the Classification Analyst will look at University benchmarks, FAS and Harvard-wide comparable positions, and when applicable, will review the role with a subject-matter expert.
  7. The FAS Classification Committee reviews the CRF, together with the analysis, and determines the most appropriate classification. Please note, if the role is determined to be an exempt grade 55 or 56 role, the role will be sent to Central Compensation for FLSA review. Once a determination of the FLSA status of the role has been received, the Classification Committee will notify the HR Consultant of the classification decision.

It is important to note that not all changes in a position will result in the position being reclassified to a higher grade. Changes in job duties that may be at a higher level, but are not substantial enough to justify a higher salary grade through reclassification, will result in an update of the existing position description and no change in salary grade or classification. While an equity review is automatically conducted if a position review does not result in a reclassification, it does not mean that every analysis will lead to a salary increase.

HUCTW staff are encouraged to review contract guidelines for further information on how reclassification requests apply to union staff.

Classification and Reclassification Information

Role of the Classification Analyst and Classification Committee

The Classification Review Form (CRF) is the primary means by which the Classification Analyst and the Classification Committee evaluates the proposed reclassification. Through a series of interviews with employees, managers and, if appropriate, department administrators, subject matter experts and the FLSA compensation officer, the Analyst, often in partnership with the HR Consultant, seeks to obtain information to ensure consistent application of classification standards across the FAS. This information is used as a comparison to the HUCTW generic job descriptions, the University’s job benchmarks along with comparable positions across the University.

Common factors discussed:

  • Complexity: the complexity of the program or unit, the problems solved, and the difficulty and originality involved in performing the work.
  • Analytical: the analytical skill required.
  • Knowledge: the depth and importance of knowledge necessary to perform the work. The application of concepts, principles, and practices from professional disciplines is considered, as is the amount of work experience normally required to perform the duties of the position. The extent to which the knowledge of organizational and University policies and procedures is required may also be taken into account.
  • Authority, Independence to Act: the authority, independence or freedom to act in the position.
  • Decision-Making: the decision-making skill required and allowed to exercise.
  • Resource Management - responsibility for human, financial, space, facilities, information, and material resources.
  • Scope and Impact: the scope, or impact that an individual exercises at varying levels within and across the organization. Impact relates to how influential the position is within the organization based on the decisions and recommendations rendered. This factor considers the importance and frequency of interactions with various individuals or groups, as well as the effect of these interactions on the department and the institution.
  • Consequence of Error - the severity and scope of the impact of errors made in the course of work.

Reclassification is not an appropriate vehicle to:

  • Retain a high-performing employee
  • Recognize stellar performance, if the role itself has not grown significantly
  • Reward longevity (an employee who has been in her or his role for an extended period or at the maximum of a salary grade)

While new responsibilities added to a position allow employees to naturally grow and develop in their careers, they do not necessarily mean that the scope and responsibilities of the position have substantially increased.

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Classification Committee Needs from FAS Managers/Employees

  • A CRF that thoroughly describes the complexities, scope, and responsibilities of the changed role
  • A list of positions which are considered to be comparable to the position in question (in addition to those which the Classification Committee gathers)
  • A spirit of partnership – our collective goal is to reach the right decision for the FAS
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To Keep in Mind

  • A thorough CRF allows the committee to understand the breadth and scope of the responsibilities of the position
  • A CRF should not indicate an anticipated higher grade level or salary increase
  • Recognize that classification decisions are often both “art” and “science”
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Equity Reviews

Due to the current financial situation, requests for equity reviews or salary increases are on hold until further notice. Exceptions will be made for approved new hire offers that have been approved through the Critical Position Review Process.

An equity increase is an increase to the base salary that may be granted to an employee under certain circumstances, such as increased duties that do not warrant a reclassification or a significant salary lag to comparable internal positions or the local labor market. The intent of equity review is to provide consideration to critical and/or unusual pay administration problems.

  • A compelling argument must be made concerning the rationale to increase an employee's base salary.
  • Increases are separate and distinct from the merit programs. Equity adjustments are not to be used to circumvent the University’s merit programs.
  • Equity increases are subject to funding availability.

A request for an equity review should be submitted via email by a manager or Department Administrator to your HR Consultant who will work with the Compensation Analyst.