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Classification and Organization

The Position Classification System

The Position Classification System is based on two fundamental principles:

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

Under the General Schedule (GS) classification system, individual positions are classified to an occupational group, a series representing a specific occupation within that group, and an appropriate grade which has a salary range provided by law. The same applies to the Federal Wage System (FWS) classification except that salary ranges are based on prevailing rates - the rates paid by private employers for similar work in the wage area. The rates are established through geographic wage surveys.

The Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families (Part I for GS and Part 2 for FWS) defines each occupational group and series established by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Position classification standards, issued by OPM, provide guidance and criteria for determining the proper classification for positions in specific occupations.


Related Classification Links: