Classification refers to the grade assigned to a position. Positions are graded based on how they fit into the established University-wide classification system. This determination is based on a review of the position's duties and responsibilities, and takes into consideration the scope and complexity of these responsibilities within the position's unit or department. Classification most often occurs upon the creation of the position. In addition to grade designation, positions are also evaluated to determine whether they are exempt or nonexempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If a position is non-exempt, Harvard is required to pay overtime at time and one-half the regular hourly rate for hours worked over 40 hours per week. Exempt positions generally involve much independent work, judgment and decision making. Positions at grade 55 and above are reviewed to determine FLSA status. Classifications are reviewed weekly by the HMS Classification committee for all new or replacement positions with substantive changes, grade 54 and above. The committee is comprised of recruiters, sr. human resource consultants, human resource coordinators and compensation staff members.


Reclassification is a change in grade of an existing or previously classified position. When there has been substantive, measurable change in job content and degree of responsibility or a restructuring of roles within a department, positions should be reviewed to ensure they reflect the appropriate grade. It is natural that over time staff members will have increased knowledge and skills, take on more responsibility and be able to work more independently. Such growth within a position may or may not warrant a reclassification. As a general rule of thumb, an increased work load does not justify a change in classification if the level of work is the same. A change in classification is based on a substantive change in level of accountability and responsibility.