S P D - Alabama

Department Organization
Classification and Pay Division


Maintenance of the State's classification plan and pay plan is among the various statutory responsibilities prescribed to the State Personnel Director by the Code of Alabama. State law instructs the Personnel Director to present to the Personnel Board recommendations of requested amendments to these plans. The Classification & Pay Division helps in this effort by conducting research and studies on each requested change. In addition, monitoring the effectiveness of the current plan is also a function.

This Division is headed by the Classification Manager reporting directly to the Personnel Director and consists of several professional analysts, personnel assistants, and support staff.

Classification Plan Maintenance

The classification plan contains groups or classes of positions. Positions within a classification have similar duties, responsibilities, knowledge, skills, abilities, and minimum education and experience requirements. Such a classification system provides an accurate description of all classifications within state government, and groups jobs so they can be treated alike for purposes of recruitment, examination, and compensation.

Our classification structure is made up of approximately 1300 job classes. Requests for changes to the plan are received from agencies. Changes may be in the form of revisions to existing class specifications, establishment of new classes, and/or the abolition of unneeded classes. Upon receipt of a departmental request, the assigned analyst interviews agency managers and/or job incumbents. Comparative studies of existing classifications are made. Surveys of state and local jurisdictions and Alabama private industry are conducted. The analyst's report and recommendation are submitted to the Manager for review. After a request and recommendation are reviewed, finalized, and approved by the Director, they are presented to the Personnel Board for consideration. If approved, the actions are forwarded to the Governor for review and approval.

Pay Plan Maintenance

Each job class is assigned to one of the salary ranges in the state pay plan. Except for lower levels and expanded ranges in the plan, ranges consist of eighteen steps. Each range consists of an established minimum and maximum with pay steps which are uniformly two & one-half percent apart. The pay system is designed to link salary progress to performance. Under Board Rules, an employee must have a performance appraisal of "Meets Standards" in order to receive a merit increase of one step. An appraisal of "Exceeds Standards" equates to a two-step increase while a rating of "Consistently Exceeds Standards" may be rewarded with either a three or four step salary advance. Since adoption of this plan each Governor has asked agencies to limit possible salary advances to two steps rather than the three or four steps which Board Rules provide. An employee is typically hired into the classified service at the first step of the job's salary range. Then, he/she may secure salary advances in a variety of ways. At the conclusion of a probationary period an employee whose work "Meets Standards" or above may receive an increase of two steps when he/she is given permanent status. (2) This establishes an anniversary date and thereafter he/she may advance in accordance with his/her performance appraisal rating until reaching the maximum of the range. (3) He/she may also receive an increase as a result of a general, across-the-board adjustment of all ranges by the State Legislature. The last such general increase was three percent (3%) effective September 2002. (4) Additionally, employees are eligible for a raise of up to two steps when promoted. (5) Board Rules also provide that an employee may be recommended for an "Exceptional Pay Increase" based on extraordinary performance or some other compelling circumstances. "Special Merit Raises" of this type can only be approved by the State Personnel Board.

Position Control Activities

As a part of the ongoing effort to maintain accurate and current information on jobs, Position Classification Questionnaires (PCQ's or Form 40's) are collected for positions in the classified service. A Form 40 is to be completed by the employee in the position. The supervisor then reviews the form for content and makes additional comments when necessary. A Form 40 should be kept current for each classified position in government.

Additional Responsibilities

This Division provides advice and technical assistance to agencies concerning classification and compensation policies and procedures. Other functions of the Division include the review of various recommendations for personnel actions concerning transfers, pay changes, overtime, etc. In the event of a layoff, Division staff reviews, modifies, and approves proposed layoff plans. In this review process, all actions are checked for compliance with the Rules of the State Personnel Board including the calculation of individual employee’s retention scores. It is important to note that in the event of a layoff, employees are given scores based on performance and seniority in the class and department affected by the layoff.


The overall responsibility of the Classification and Pay Division is to assist the Director and the Board members in ensuring that the pay plan is competitive and the classification plan is equitable. These goals are two cornerstones of the state's personnel system because they are critical to the attraction and retention of the best available applicants to fill state job vacancies. The proper description and classification of jobs and the establishment of general qualifications is the first step in the overall employment process. Before the Examination Division can construct a valid selection device for screening job applicants, the "job" itself must be defined. Before "the best qualified, available people" can be recruited to apply for the job, the pay must be competitive; otherwise, the state becomes the employer of last resort -- unable to attract those with multiple employment options. Remember, registers can be no better than the people who apply. Selection devices are to surface the best of those who apply. The key phrase is "of those who apply." Thus, the classification and pay process flows into the examination process and affects greatly the quality of registers as perceived by hiring managers.

Examination Division
Certification Division
Payroll and Personnel Audit Division
Information Technology Division
Training Division
Legal Division
Administrative Law Division