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Administrative Professional Campus Notification

During the past year, the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) and Human Resources (HR) have been working to implement two campus-wide initiatives; the Talent Management System and the new Administrative Professional Framework. These initiatives were established as a comprehensive approach to CSU’s recruitment efforts for open positions within CSU’s local and national oversight and to respond to changes within state statute and growing federal regulatory challenges.

It has come to our attention through increased discussions around campus that there are some concerns regarding the work being done to classify Administrative Professional, Research and Postdoctoral positions within the Administrative Professional Framework and the assessment of overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Based on these discussions, we have requested additional information about this process and have summarized this information for distribution and use within your units.

Why the Talent Management System (TMS)?

  • TMS is a position documentation tool which allows for the creation of position descriptions in one central library and an automated and streamlined process for selecting and hiring of candidates.
    • The electronic collection, review and selection of candidates within TMS has greatly reduced administrative workloads, documentation requirements (applicant spreadsheets, close-out packets, compliance forms, new position request forms/PDQ hard-copy signatures, etc.) and reduced approval points previously completed throughout the old search process.
    • The enhanced candidate communication and hiring experience within TMS allows for the ability to track the search process, the creation of better analytics/reports for affirmative action and equal opportunity requirements and forthcoming integration into Oracle.
    • Position.Version#s are assigned within TMS for all positions, providing CSU the ability to create better analytics/reports for a variety of requests and assessments from the Oracle system.
  • The schedule of training sessions and user guides for TMS are available on the OEO website at http://oeo.colostate.edu/talent-management-system-tms.

Why the Administrative Professional Framework (AP Framework)?

  • The AP Framework provides a number of benefits to CSU.
    • Establishes a comprehensive classification umbrella for CSU; creates consistency among comparable jobs across campus; and identifies benchmark positions to allow for the development of salary structures for equity and fairness of similar positions (a forthcoming project through HR).
    • Improves recruitment/selection activities through the development of structured job descriptions (duties, minimum qualifications and decision-making factors) which creates stronger applicant pools.
    • Clarifies essential functions for review of disabilities and reasonable accommodations.
    • Allows for the development of a standardized campus Performance Management Review Program.
  • Additional information on the AP Framework is available on the HR website at http://www.hrs.colostate.edu/compensation/classification-fap.html.

Why the Need for Detailed Position Descriptions for All Positions?

TMS and the AP Framework require the creation of detailed position descriptions outlining specific duties and responsibilities, supervisory oversight and decision-making factors and minimum education/experience requirements for each position. This is a significant change from the old process which used job announcements for postings.

  • Detailed position descriptions provide departments/units the opportunity to competitively promote key attributes of open positions to candidates, resulting in better applicant pools, greater candidate selection opportunities and retention of new hires due to candidates having a better understanding of work duties and expectations at time of application.
  • Search Committees benefit through a greater understanding of qualifications and competencies which results in the hiring process being driven by the needs of the position and ranking/evaluative criteria of competencies needed to be successful in the position.
  • Positions are classified into the AP Framework and exempt/non-exempt (overtime eligible) designation for FLSA.

Why Implement a Position Classification Process?

The number of new and vacant positions across campus has continued to grow due to record student enrollment, increased research efforts and an improved national economy. To meet the campus growth and create a more competitive advantage after the passage of HB-1301 by the State of Colorado Legislature, CSU identified certain State Classified positions which could be converted to Administrative Professional positions in 2013. CSU is in no way moving to eliminate State Classified positions, rather creating additional Administrative Professional positions allowing for a broader range of duties and greater oversight, responsibility and accountability to meet strategic goals of the University and compliance with HB-1301.

  • The President was delegated authority to identify positions exempt from the State Classified System. The President has in turn delegated this authority to the HR Executive Director, who must adhere to provisions in C.R.S. 24-50-135 as well as the Department of Personnel and Administration’s Technical Guidelines to retain CSU’s autonomy from the State System which includes:
    • For purposes of this section, a person is in a professional position or is a professional employee or professional staff if the person is in a position that involves the exercise of discretion, analytical skill, judgment, personal accountability, and responsibility for creating, developing, integrating, applying, or sharing an organized body of knowledge that characteristically is:
      • Acquired through education or training that meets the requirements for a bachelor's or graduate degree or equivalent specialized experience; and
      • Continuously studied to explore, extend, and use additional discoveries, interpretations, and applications and to improve data, materials, equipment, applications, and methods.
  • Additional information on the text contained in state statute is available on the Human Resource website at http://www.hrs.colostate.edu/compensation/exempting-state-statute.html.

To meet the requirements of HB-1301 and assess the merits of a position, HR uses the process outlined in the Classification Review Overview in the image above.

  • State Statute: HR must be able to illustrate position duties (not the title) do not fit any job series within the State System and clearly outline duties which exercise discretion, use analytical skill and judgement, have personal accountability, and responsibility for creating, developing, integrating, applying, or sharing an organized body of knowledge.
    • The AP Framework contains additional specific criteria to make classification determinations: oversight received, problem-solving level, interaction/communication both internal and external, university impact, financial/budgetary responsibilities, people management and typical experience or education required.
    • If a position description does not provide clear professional level duties to meet the HB-1301 exemption and the AP Framework guidelines, the position will be classified within the State Classified System.
  • Gift Funding: Pursuant to HB-1301, positions which are 100% grant or gift funded are exempted from the State Classified System regardless of the duties of the position. If a position may move between funding sources which might result in the position’s grant or gift funding to drop below 100%, the position would not meet requirements for exemption from the State Classified System and would not be classified Administrative Professional. Departments need to ensure funding sources and percentages are allocated in the position description for review and proper classification.
  • Position Assessment: A professional position will have duties and responsibilities (with percentage of time/effort) which are absent of routine clerical or administrative characteristics (bookkeeping, purchasing, data entry, web content editing, general IT duties, help desk, etc.) and must include decision-making, discretion and independent judgment. Independent judgment and discretion involves the comparison and evaluation of possible courses of conduct resulting in the incumbent having authority to make an independent choice, free from immediate direction, with respect to matters of significance which can impact the department or the University.
  • Degree Requirements: A position will also be assessed as to the degree requirements which meet the expectation of “learned in-depth knowledge” acquired from a specific degree program (bachelor's or graduate degree) which relates to the established job duties.
    • State and FLSA definitions of professional positions require advance knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study. Positions may not meet the definition of professional if job duties may be performed with only the general knowledge acquired by an academic degree in any field.
      • A professional accountant position would require an in-depth understanding of the theories behind accounting (acquired through a Bachelor's degree in accounting or finance) in order to successfully perform their job duties. Bookkeeping, payroll actions, budget tracking, or transactional accounting would not require knowledge of theory and would not be considered to be professional level duties.
    • A position may meet the definition of professional under the general degree requirements if the generalized degree is supported by equivalent years of experience within the professional field which would normally be associated with the learned knowledge acquired through the specific degree program.
      • An IT/computer position may have minimum education and experience requirements listed as, a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field OR a Bachelor’s degree (general) and four years of experience directly related to system analysis, computer programing or software engineering.
    • Specified degree requirements will differentiate Administrative Professional positions from State Classified positions (technical positions) which may desire a degree (no specific course of study) to enable candidates to think analytically and critically, to write professionally and to support students through their personal experience of obtaining an educational degree.
    • The desire for a generalized degree does not support the goal of a professional position as skills needed to perform assigned duties are usually acquired through “on the job training” and learned in-depth knowledge from a specific degree program would not be required to meet the expectations of the position.
    • If experience is substituted for the learned degree, the duties of the position would be more technical in nature and may be acquired through work experience which would not meet exemption requirements under the State Classified System.
      • If minimum job qualifications indicate a position requires a degree in business administration, accounting, finance or a related field and the duties consist of routine or structured administrative tasks (bookkeeping, data tabulation, database entry/maintenance, or clerical duties) the position would not meet the requirements of “professional” as the degree is not necessary to complete the assigned duties.
  • Position Consistency: The TMS and AP Framework allow HR to develop consistent classifications for Administrative Professional and State Classified positions. This process is critical since similar or like positions should be properly classified across all areas on campus to ensure positions are fair and equitable and to support and retain staff.

Why Create Separate AP Framework and Working Titles?

The decision to create new titles within the AP Framework was made to streamline numerous Administrative Professional titles which have been created over the years.

  • AP Framework Titles: Positions are placed in one of twenty job families reflective of the position responsibilities (Academic Services, Health Care, Athletics, Student Services, Information Technology, etc.) and then placed in one of the five new generalized job categories (Technical/Support, Professional/Individual Contributor, Project/Program Management, Management and Executive Leadership). Once the position has been assigned a title within the AP Framework, the new title will be entered into Oracle. This title will replace any old Oracle titles (Coordinator, Manager, Supervisor, etc.).
  • CSU Working Titles: A larger emphasis is being placed on CSU Working Titles to be more reflective of the position’s oversight. Current use of broad or general titles, such as Coordinator do not accurately reflect the position to applicants during the search process or when engaging CSU customers/clients.
    • CSU Working Titles are used on business cards and in professional correspondence signatures.
    • HR can assist departments with industry-wide standardized job titles (and duties) which can improve recruitment activities. Departments may also want to conduct independent searches through higheredjobs.com, monster.com, indeed.com, chronicle.com (Chronicle of Higher Ed).
    • All requests for new Executive Director, Director, Associate Director, Assistant Director and Chief Officer titles are submitted by HR to the President’s Office for review and approval before being processed in TMS.

Why Designate Overtime Exemptions?

Currently, the FLSA enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor requires employers to pay covered non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 within a work week (overtime = time and a half). There are two main exemption tests under FLSA and misclassification of the overtime exemption can result in significant penalties and fines for CSU.

  • Duties Basis Exemption Test: Primary duties consist of the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to management policies or general business operations which requires consistent exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance as opposed to daily routine decisions.
    • Five main areas applicable to CSU positions: Computer, Executive, Professional, Administrative and Agricultural.
  • Salary Basis Exemption Test: All full-time and part-time employees must earn a weekly salary amount (cannot be paid on an hourly basis) equal to $455 per week to meet the salary basis exemption.
  • Fines and Penalties: Often employers misclassify an employee as EXEMPT who should be NONEXEMPT. The employer is then not keeping track of the employee’s hours and the employee is not paid overtime.
    • The potential financial impact for misclassification of overtime exemptions include:
      • Back pay – 2 years standard and 3 years for willful noncompliance.
      • Liquidated damages (double back pay) for willful noncompliance and punitive damages for retaliatory conduct.
      • Penalties – up to $1,100 per employee and attorneys’ fees, costs and pre- and post-judgment interest.
  • Violations: The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for investigating any reported violations of FLSA.
    • Investigations may be triggered by employees who feel they have been wronged and not properly paid.
    • If a violation has occurred, the Wage and Hour Division can investigate all similar/like positions across the entire campus.
  • New regulations are expected in 2016, which may have a significant impact on salary structure and duty requirements across a multitude of positions on campus.

Conclusion

As with all new initiatives, necessary changes to processes and campus culture are needed for successful implementation. While these changes may appear to be complex and arbitrary as OEO and HR roll out the TMS and AP Framework, with time, support and patience from campus, these changes will become more fluid and will improve CSU’s ability to select, hire and retain top candidates and meet regulatory compliance.

Thank you for your patience and assistance as OEO and HR implement these initiatives and work toward a more cohesive approach to recruitment and retention of staff. HR is developing training sessions to provide information on the Administrative Professional classification process and to assist with development of position descriptions. Information about these sessions will be disseminated this week and registration will be available on the Training and Organizational Development website. If you have any questions regarding the classification process, please feel free to reach out to the HR Classification/Compensation Team via email at HR_CCA@mail.colostate.edu.