Classification Specifications

DEFINITION: The process of identifying the levels of work being performed within a discipline.

Health Sciences offers its membership the services of one full-time staff member (Classification Analysts) to help resolve issues related to classification. Labour Relations Officers help identify which issues are labour-relations related or classification related and will direct members to the appropriate individual(s). In all circumstances please contact your Labour Relations Officer first.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  • Will Reclassifications be Automatic?

    Current positions will NOT be automatically re-evaluated.

    From this point on employers and members will use the 2008 Class Specifications to determine if it is appropriate to initiate a classification review for a specific position. Article 40 in the collective agreement outlines the process for reclassification requests (both Employer and employee initiated) and the appeal process for denials of reclassification requests.

  • What does this mean to my pay?

    Classification and pay are separate entities. Pay rates are adjusted at the bargaining table. The pay rate for each of the 2008 Classification Specifications can be found in the salary index of the Provincial Collective Agreement.

  • Who do the 2008 Classification Specifications apply to?

    At this time the 2008 Classification Specifications only apply to all positions covered under the Provincial Collective Agreement. This is due to the project being a joint initiative between the nine Health Regions and HSAA.

  • What does “May” mean?

    In general “May” is used in the 2008 Classification Specifications to reflect the differences that have developed in positions in the same classification due to factors such as different organizational structures/ programs across Alberta. “May” is used to indicate the variability of positions (not all positions in a given classification perform these duties regularly or at all).

  • What factors are not considered in a reclassification request?

    The following factors are not relevant to reclassification requests. They will not be considered valid rationale/ justification for reclassification decisions.

    • Increases in Workload Volume
    • Incumbent Qualifications
    • Duties Assumed
    • Market Conditions
    • Long Service/ Experience
    • Co-worker Cross-Discipline Comparisons
    • Pay rates

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CLASSIFICATION PROJECT HISTORY

In 2006 HSAA and the nine Health Regions agreed that the Classification Specifications in use (written in 1991) were out of date and no longer suitable for use.

From 2006 – 2008 the Classification Project systematically reviewed each of the disciplines found in the Main salary appendix and the local conditions which are common to all nine Health Regions. The process of review included collecting all current available job descriptions, drafting new Classification Specifications, conducting telephone interviews on the new draft with members and employers, creating a second draft using the feedback, holding member FOCUS group meetings to evaluate the second draft and sending surveys to employers.

Once the review was concluded a third draft was created. This draft was approved by a Steering Committee made up of representatives from HSAA, HBA Services and all nine Health Regions. Copies of the new 2008 Classification Specifications are available on the HSAA website or by request from an LRO.

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STEPS TO RECLASSIFICATION

Note: This article will deal with employee-initiated reclassifications requests. (For Employer-initiated reclassifications please contact your LRO for appropriate steps to take.)

Under Article 40 all employees have the right to ask for a reclassification review by writing to their director. It is your choice whether or not you apply for a reclassification without contacting HSAA. If you wish to get HSAA assistance, please follow the steps below.

Step 1: Call Your LRO

  • Discuss all your issues at work including why you are interested in requesting a reclassification.
  • LRO will help you identify if your issue is actually related to classification.
  • If it is a classification issue, the LRO will direct you to the appropriate Classification Analyst to proceed with the reclassification request.

Step 2: Job Audit

  • You will be sent the HSAA Job Audit to complete. Please be thorough and complete all sections.
  • Once complete return the Job Audit to the LRO.
  • If you take 4 months plus to return the Job Audit, please include a detailed cover page containing all information relevant to the request (name, LRO, dates, etc.).

Step 3: Time Frame for Audit Review

  • The LRO will give the Classification Analyst the Job Audit to review.
  • Please allow for 3 to 6 weeks for the review.
  • The analyst will complete a recommendation regarding your request and send it to you.
  • Regardless of recommendation it is your decision whether you wish to proceed with the request.

Note: If you decide not to proceed the HSAA process stops and management is not informed that you considered asking for a reclassification.
 

Step 4: HSAA Presenting Request to Management

  • The Classification Analyst and LRO will draft a letter on your behalf formally requesting the reclassification.
  • The Classification Analyst will assemble a package containing this letter, a summary of the Job Audit, applicable Classification Specifications and any available comparator job descriptions as appropriate.
  • A copy of this package will be provided to management and the member.

Step 5: Employer Review of Classification

  • The Employer will conduct their own classification review of the position. This will take approximately 1 to 6 months.

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THE APPEAL PROCESS

We are excited to announce that HSAA has finally achieved an Appeal Process of employee-initiated upward Reclassification Requests. Please see the Letter of Understanding in the Provincial Collective Agreement for complete details.

Highlights of the Appeal Process:

The Appeal Process consists of two phases, one internal and the other external. The external is only used if resolution is not achieved within the internal phase.

Internal Phase:

  • Opportunity to gain rationale for employer denial of Request.
  • Opportunity to clarify incomplete information and misunderstandings.

External Phase:

The external phase is a very formal process. It begins with a written request to the Director by the employee. The Classification Steering Committee will appoint one union and one Employer representative to a committee to review the Reclassification Request. Both HSAA and the Employer will submit all relevant documentation collected during the course of reclassification both favourable and contrary to the Request.

The Committee will make their decision by consensus. Possible outcomes include:

  1. Committee agrees with the upward reclassification;
  2. Committee disagrees with upward reclassification;
  3. Committee requests more information; and/or
  4. Committee cannot reach consensus.

*If committee cannot reach consensus it will bring in an external Classification Consultant to cast the deciding vote.

Note: The Classification Consultants do not work for HSAA or for the Health Region(s).

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NEXT STEPS

Starting in 2009 we are reviewing the remaining local conditions to determine the proper allocation of these classifications.

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COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS

Should you have any comments or questions that were not answered please contact Sarah Chernik at sarahc@hsaa.ca or 780-488-0168.

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