The Department of General Services (DGS) adheres to the rules and regulations put forward by both the State Personnel Board (SPB) and the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) in the application and administration of the alternate range criteria.

An alternate range is an additional range of pay established for a class that represents compensation for:

  • Satisfactorily completing the duties appropriate for the class for the period of time noted in the criteria of the alternate range; or
  • Possessing the education/experience/skills/competencies as defined under each alternate range criteria for each class.

Classifications with alternate ranges are referred to as deep classes (e.g., Staff Services Analyst).

A “deep” class is a single classification in which every position allocated to that class can be assigned any duty within the class concept. Placement in an alternate range is based upon the individual’s skill and experience as defined under each alternate range criteria. Alternate ranges are designed to recognize increased competence to perform the duties of the class based upon experience in the class. The employee does gain status in the alternate range as though each range were a separate classification.

SPB has responsibility for “deep class” alternate ranges, including apprenticeship classes. “Deep class” alternate ranges are those in lieu of a separate class and/or where the employee gains status in the alternate range. Alternate range changes within a deep class are those classes in the Pay Scales with footnote 21 (SCO’s online pay scale – CSP – identifies them with a footnote 91). CalHR is responsible for those alternate ranges relating to professional or educational certification, work location, job risk or hazard, piecework rates or performance based pay.

The following alternate range movements are under the jurisdiction of SPB. The distinction between the alternate range of a “deep class” and the alternate range of other classes is when the movement to a higher alternate range constitutes:

  • A permanent promotion;
  • An involuntary placement in a lower alternate range constitutes an adverse action; and
  • The ranges are status ranges.

The following alternate range movements are under the jurisdiction of CalHR:

  • Temporary assignment;
  • Recognition of a working condition; or
  • Recognition of formal certification that is not directly duties related;
  • The distinction is primarily salary.

To determine if an individual’s background and experience meet the criteria for an alternate range of a deep class, the Classification and Pay (C&P) Analyst uses the same standards that are used to interpret minimum qualifications that are found in the Selection Manual section 6200.

The application of the individual selected for appointment shall be routed to the C&P Analyst to determine eligibility and appropriate range designation. When the appropriate alternate range has been determined, the C&P Analyst notes this information on the Request for Personnel Action (RPA) and processes the transaction in accordance with the DGS hiring process.

An individual’s experience may be combined to meet the criteria of the alternate range. Calculations to combine patterns can be done using two methods:

  • Mathematically
  • Conversion chart

Out-of-class experience may be counted for alternate range movement within a deep class under the same standards that apply to meeting minimum qualifications and the out-of-class experience is verified by the C&P Analyst as acceptable under the provisions of SPB Rule 212.

Experience in a Training and Development (T&D) assignment may also be counted towards meeting the alternate range criteria.

Movement to the next higher alternate range of a deep class is not automatic!

Because there is no examination for movement between alternate ranges, it is essential for managers/supervisors to objectively evaluate the performance of each employee. Therefore, an employee should not be appointed to the next higher range until the employee’s immediate supervisor has certified that the employee has performed the duties of the class satisfactorily for the specified length of time. Certification shall be accomplished by:

Undocumented poor performance issues will not support a range change denial. The employee must be fully aware of poor performance issues at least 30 days prior to the potential effective date of the range change and be informed that the range change is going to be denied until such time as the performance issues are improved.

If a person is appointed or transferred to a deep class and is placed in the wrong alternate range, the corrective action is correcting an appointment not a salary rate.

When an individual is appointed to an alternate range for which s/he has no eligibility, the same corrective action process that is used for correcting an appointment must be used (refer to Illegal Appointment).

In general, SPB Rule 435 prohibits single or consecutive transfers that result in classification level increases equivalent to two or more salary steps. However, when an employee transfers to a deep class, subsequent range advancements with the deep class may move the employee to a salary level that is two steps or more higher than the pay level of the last class in which the employee held a list appointment. Even though this occurs, the employee may still transfer out of the deep class to other classes that are exactly at or below the pay level reached in the deep class.

A consecutive transfer involving a deep class is appropriate when:

  • The employee could have transferred into the “to” class from the class of his/her last or highest list appointment; or 
  • The highest range of the “from” class is equal to or higher than the highest range of the “to” class in which the employee gains permanent status.

If a T&D assignment is to a deep class, the standards that are used for selecting a class in a series to which someone can T&D must be used for selecting the appropriate range level for the T&D assignment. These standards are explained in Section 340 of the Personnel Management Policy and Procedures Manual (PMPPM). When applying these standards, each range is treated as a separate class.

When resolving complaints regarding deep class alternate range appointments, the Merit Issue Complaint process should be followed. Refer to Grievances regarding merit issue complaints.


Responsible Control Agencies

  • California Department of Human Resources
  • State Personnel Board

Laws and Regulations

  • CalHR Rule 599.666, 599.669, 599.674, 599.676, 599.681, 599.689
  • Government Code section 19826, 19829

Other Resource Materials


Classification and Pay Unit

Department of General Services
Office of Human Resources

707 3rd Street, 7th Floor
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Contact your assigned Classification and Pay Analyst.