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Position Description (PD)

A position description often referred to as the “PD” is a description of the major duties and responsibilities of a position. It is an official document that must be certified by management for accuracy and necessity before implementation.

The supervisor is responsible for determining the work assignments of an employee and has the responsibility for ensuring the PD accurately states the major duties, responsibilities, and essential knowledge and/or skills required to successfully perform the work.

The PD is a critical document. It is the basis for:

  • determining and evaluating qualifications in the recruitment process;
  • determining competitive level used during a reduction-in-force;
  • developing an employee’s performance work plan;
  • evaluating an employee’s performance;
  • developing a formal training plan;
  • determining organizational structure; and
  • providing the basic evidence of work assigned and performed in a classification appeal.

The PD is the official record of management assigned duties and responsibilities. It also documents the organizational placement of the position. It is the foundation document used to assign a position's pay plan, title, series, and grade level. The officially assigned title, series, and grade governs the base pay the employee receives. It should describe the regular and recurring major duties and responsibilities assigned to a position. It does not spell out in detail every possible activity performed during the work day. Managers and supervisors are responsible for determining what duties and responsibilities are assigned to each position.

Major duties are statements of the important, regular and recurring duties and responsibilities assigned to a position. A major duty can control the title, series, and/or grade if it is officially assigned to the position on a regular and recurring basis for at least 25% or more of the employee’s work time, and requires a higher level knowledge and skill in order to perform the work. This knowledge and skill requirement would be used as a basis for recruitment if the position were vacant. USCG PDs normally include four to five major duty statements.

The goal of the USCG is to streamline and simplify our position classification process. With this in mind, a PD that addresses only the major duties and responsibilities of a position should not be more than 2-3 pages in length. Based on the concepts explained above, a PD should describe only major duties. It is not necessary to describe in detail the specific steps or tasks performed to carry out a major duty. When you include the factors, etc., the length is often more than 2-3 pages. The supervisor is ultimately responsible for decisions on its content.

The automated position classification system, Monster’s Position Classification (PC) Module, will soon be available to assist managers and supervisors in preparing PDs. PC Module will house standard and generic PDs that will help to simplify and streamline the position classification process.

A PD is considered adequate if it documents the major duties, responsibilities, and organizational relationships of a job such that an individual knowledgeable of the occupational field, the organization's functions, programs, and procedures, and position classification criteria, principles and policies, can make an informed classification determination. Only major duties, critical skills, and other important aspects of a position that may affect the final classification of a position should be included in the description. Minor duties, those that would not affect the classification of the position, are not usually included in the PD.

Employees typically have ready access to their PD. When a new employee enters on duty or when an employee changes from one PD to another they will receive a copy of the PD attached to the Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) from his/her supervisor.