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Twenty-plus job classifications to be consolidated into six

STANFORD -- About 1,600 Stanford University employees have been notified that the more than 20 job classifications into which they fall, mainly secretarial and clerical, are being consolidated into six new classifications.

The move will take effect Thursday, Dec. 1, said James Franklin, director of the office of Total Compensation. He said any pay range changes would be either lateral or upward.

In the future, he said, when certain jobs are vacated, the positions may be subject to reclassification. In the meantime, the only reclassifications would be those initiated by either the employee or his/her supervisor.

In addition, there is a related across-the-board 2 percent pay increase for about 1,100 of the affected employees who are in what is known as the "merit zone" (see related story, adjacent). The other 500 or so employees are paid according to predetermined "step ranges."

Lynda Kistler, senior analyst in Total Compensation, called the conversion an operational change that is necessary because previous classifications were two decades old and in most cases no longer reflected the actual work being done.

This is especially true in workplaces where using computers and other high-technology devices are part of the regular job responsibilities, she said. In addition, she said, the new structure "provides a clear career path spanning the non-exempt and exempt pay ranges."

Employees, she said, often perceive a firm "barrier" between the two groups.

"The classifications in each level are based solely on job content," she said. "While there's no automatic progression, the new structure makes clear a 'job ladder' for some of these employees."

The new system also is designed to simplify the hiring and classification processes by reducing the number of classifications, Franklin said.

All staff currently classified as Office Assistant, Secretary or Administrative Assistant I and II will be converted to a new category, Administrative Associate. There will be six levels of Administrative Associate:

The "B" ranges are for non-exempt employees, while "C" ranges are for exempt workers (who are generally higher salaried but do not receive overtime pay). In addition, a few dozen employees who now have the title Administrative Assistant III will move temporarily from the C06 range into the C99 "miscellaneous administrative" category, pending classification reviews, Kistler said.

According to Franklin, most other large employers already have converted classification systems that date from the 1970s or earlier.

Franklin said that after the changes go into effect in December, any employee who feels his or her job was misclassified may request a review under the procedures outlined in the Staff Job Classification and Pay Plan manual.

"We don't expect that to happen in a large number of cases," Franklin said. "I think most of the people affected by this will find that it is to their benefit." He also cautioned that reclassification reviews can produce one of three results - an upgrade, a downgrade or no change at all.

Barbara Butterfield, vice president for faculty and staff services, said that it is "important to us to have specifications that reflect current workplace requirements and technology, and to have the jobs calibrated to pay ranges ([hat] reflect a competitive market position for Stanford."



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