What is a Justification?

A Justification is a standalone document which clarifies, supports, and details the request. It provides relevant background information and describes how the request aligns with the intended use of the classification that is being requested. It is the who, what, why, and how of a request and fully supports the request by telling the "story” that would not be apparent by looking at the duty statement and organizational charts alone. It should be thoroughly researched and carefully analyzed. 

A Justification is required for most Request for Personnel Actions (RPA), including but not limited to the following: establishing a new position, a reorganization, a promotion in place, and a request to change an employee’s duties. Please reference the Justification Form (OHR 4160)  or consult your Classification and Pay (C&P) Analyst if you have questions.

Why Do I Need a Justification?

The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) is charged with managing the State's Civil Service Classification Plan according to Government Code sections 19818-19818.21. CalHR tasks departments with maintaining thorough and complete documentation and justification of the classifications that are being used. CalHR and the State Personnel Board (SPB) will review randomly selected classification/position packages. SPB’s Compliance Review Unit (CRU) conducts reviews of an appointing authority's personnel practices to ensure compliance with civil service laws, rules, and policies on a three-year cycle. RPA packages need to contain detailed information to support the use of the classification and include a justification. 

Elements of the Justification

The Justification should be on the Justification Form (OHR 4160). The Justification Form can be found at the bottom of this page. There is no minimum or maximum length for a justification, so you do not need to add "fluff" words to make it appear longer; however complete details pertaining to the request must be provided for each question answered. 

Section I Program Information

This section is where you indicate your program or agency name and the unit that is impacted by this request.

Section II Nature of Request

This section is where you indicate the personnel action that you are requesting. The section also includes the previous incumbent’s name, date vacant, current and proposed classification, and the effective date (if known).

  • Backfill with No Change in Duties: This request is to backfill a vacant position with no change in duties. This request does not require a Justification.
  • Backfill with Change in Duties: This is a request to change the duties of, recruit for, and fill a vacant position.
  • Backfill - No Change in Duties (Limited Term): Limited Term (LT) appointments are distinguished from permanent and probationary appointments by the fact that they are made for a limited duration and do not confer civil service employment rights beyond the specified time period. A Justification is required to describe the business need for the Limited Term tenure.  More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Limited Term Appointment.
  • Establish a Blanket Position: This request is to establish a position in the blanket (indicated by a 906 or 925 serial number). The reasons for establishing a new position could include:
    1. there is no coded position available, and there is a need for a permanent (925) position. In this case, the position would need to be included in an upcoming BCP.
    2. the need for the position is temporary (906).

    Please note that all blanket positions are meant to be used short term, whether the positions are established “temporary” or “permanent”.  

    More information is available in DGS HR Memorandum 20-034.

  • Establish New Position: This is a request to establish a new position that did not previously exist. Justifications for new positions must include a business need for the request, which could include a new project or legislative mandate, addition of clients/customers, etc.
  • Hire Above Minimum (HAM): A HAM request is made during the hiring process after a candidate’s eligibility has been determined, a formal offer has been made, and the candidate provides written denial of the job offer and/or request for salary negotiation. The HAM allows payment above the minimum rate in the salary range of a classification for situations when it is necessary to obtain a person with extraordinary qualifications. HAM requests should only be made when there is a candidate with demonstrated extraordinary qualifications that would significantly contribute to the department beyond that which other candidates offer and there is a demonstrated recruitment difficulty. More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Hire Above Minimum (HAM).
  • LT Extension: This request is used to extend an employee’s limited term appointment. Please note an employee cannot serve more than twenty-four (24) months in an LT appointment from any one employment list.
  • LT or T&D to Perm: This request is to transition an employee from a LT or T&D assignment to a permanent position. Personnel Operations Manual section Limited Term Appointment and Training and Development (T&D).
  • Mandatory Reinstatement: This request is to return an employee to their former position with the status and rights that they had before vacating the position. More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Mandatory Reinstatement.
  • Out of Class Assignment: Out-of-Class (OOC) assignments are temporary assignments utilized to fill a temporary staffing need when all other civil service staffing alternatives have been explored. OOC assignments must be requested in advance, in writing, advertised internally, and approved prior to an employee performing OOC work.
  • Promotion in Place (PIP): A PIP provides the opportunity for an employee ready to assume a role of greater responsibility and more complex duties to advance by upgrading their current position. More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Promotion in Place (PIP).
  • Reassignment/Re-Organization: This request is to reassign or restructure position(s) and/or unit(s) with no change in duties to any of the impacted positions.
  • Reclassify and Fill: This request is to change the classification of a vacant position, as well as recruit and fill for the requested classification.
  • Redirect and/or Re-class and Fill: This request to redirect or request to move a vacant position from one division/unit to another division/unit and/or re-class or change the classification of the vacant position, as well as recruit for desired classification in order to meet a program's business need(s).
  • Redirect Incumbent and Position - Change in Duties: This is a request to move a current employee from one unit/division to another unit/division and change their duties. These are rare requests and require a detailed justification.
  • Shift Change: This request is to change the established shift hours of a position (e.g., day shift to night shift).
  • Tenure Change: Tenure changes are requests to change an employee's tenure (e.g. Limited Term to Permanent) in their current position and is driven by a business need. More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Tenure Change.
  • Time Base ChangeTime base changes are requests to change an employee's time base (e.g., full-time to half-time), and may be employee driven (voluntary), or budget, or position driven (e.g., reduction in work performed, reduction in staff, temporary limited duty, FMLA, etc.). More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Time Base Change.
  • Training and Development (T&D):T&D assignments are temporary assignments to provide an individual training and experience to facilitate movement to a different occupational field, and must be advertised and competed for prior to the approval of such an assignment. A T&D assignment is a formal agreement between the employee, the current supervisor, and the new supervisor. The duration of agreements can vary in length but shall not exceed twenty-four (24) months. More information is available on the Personnel Operations Manual section Training and Development (T&D).
  • Transition Coded to Blanket: These are requests to transition an employee from a coded position established through a Budget Change Proposal (BCP) to a blanket position (temporary funding) for the purposes of retirement or an extended leave of absence. These are temporary in nature and are typically indicated by a 906 serial number. More information is available in DGS HR Memorandum 20-034 and DGS HR Memorandum 20-034.

Section III Tenure

This section is where you identify the tenure of the position. Tenure options include:

  • Permanent: A position that has been designated as permanent and is not limited or temporary in nature.
  • Limited Term (LT): A position that has been designated as temporary in nature, with a maximum duration of twenty-four (24) months. LT positions and do not confer civil service employment rights beyond the specified time period.
  • Retired Annuitant (RA): Retired Annuitants are employees who have retired from state service. Appointments of an RA will be for a maximum term of twelve (12) months. Established to perform mission critical work that is temporary in nature.
  • Career Executive Assignment (CEA): An employee who is appointed to a Career Executive Assignment will have a tenure of CEA. CEAs are State employees in high-level managerial positions that develop and implement policy.
  • Emergency: The duration of employment of emergency hires shall not exceed 60 days. Emergency Hires respond to true emergencies such as fire or floods and perform unusual, short duration work.
  • Temporary: Positions that are temporary in nature, and may be no longer than nine (9) months duration in twelve (12) months. Temporary positions do not require the use of a list.

Section IV Allocation Status

Appropriately identifying the allocation status will help ensure the State’s Classification Plan is upheld, and that all positions are properly allocated.  Each justification must have one of the following options selected: Properly Allocated or Exceptionally Allocated. Please feel free to reach out to your Classification and Pay (C&P) Analyst for assistance in completing this section.

Exceptionally Allocated 

Exceptionally allocation positions do not meet allocation standards (e.g., insufficient subordinate staff for a supervisor) and/or that vary from traditional use described in the class specifications as long as those allocations are appropriately justified.  Exceptional Allocations are approved by OHR and reported to the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR).

Section V Background

The background section sets the scene for what you're requesting. It provides a brief historical synopsis of the request and describes what has changed in the office to justify the request.

Information that must be addressed in the background section includes, but is not limited to:

  • What is the mission of the office and unit? Explain the business need and describe what has changed within the unit (i.e., change in duties, level of complexity, new mandates, change in strategic plan, short term vacancy) that warrants this request.
  • Describe the business need and/or authority/mandate(s) (new laws, rules, and regulations, and change in the strategic plan) for establishing this new position.
  • Where did the new duties come from?
  • Explain what has changed from the previous duties and responsibilities (who is taking over the old duties?).
  • Describe how the existing position(s) within the unit have been assessed to ensure the tasks and/or responsibilities do not overlap for this position. If they do overlap, you will need to explain why.

Section VI Classification Considerations
Before you begin writing the Class Considerations section of the Justification Form, it’s imperative you review the classification specifications being impacted. This will ensure that the impacted classification(s) aligns with the classification specification(s) and CalHR’s Classification Plan is upheld. 

Information that must be addressed in the Classification Considerations section includes, but is not limited to:

  • Explaining how the duties of the position support the request.
  • Describe the typical tasks that prove this is the appropriate classification.
  • Describe the change in the position’s supervisory relationship.
  • Explain the nature and extent of the position's authority and responsibility for making recommendations and decisions.
  • What would be the consequence of error for this position? What happens if this position makes a mistake? (e.g., impact to customers, loss of funding, negative media attention, statewide impact, etc.)

 Section VII Conclusion

The conclusion should articulate any consequences if this request is not approved. Some examples of consequences if the request is not approved are:
  • Disruption to daily business functions
  • Delays in timely responses
  • Failure of business operations
  • Jeopardization of public safety and welfare
  • Risk of noncompliance or violation of statutory requirements
  • Loss of funding
  • Negative public or employee opinion/perception
  • Jeopardize relationship with external parties
  • Lawsuits
  • Unnecessary costs

Please review the DOs and DON'Ts of a Justification below before you start writing:

The DOs of a Justification

  • Gather all information relevant to the position.
  • Review the classification specification for all classifications involved.
  • Write simple, clear, concise, and complete sentences.
  • Make sure to spell out all acronyms when they're first used.
  • Explain any technical terms as though your reader is not familiar with your program.
  • Play Devil's Advocate! Anticipate questions and provide the information to address them in advance.
  • Include any attachments supporting your request.

The DON'Ts of a Justification

  • Don't base the justification on funding alone.
  • Don't provide extensive program background that does not address the specifics of the request.
  • Don't use workload as a justification for a re-classification or promotion-in-place.