An alternate range is an additional range of pay established for a classification which represents compensation for:

  • Satisfactorily completing the duties appropriate for the classification 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 classification

Concept and Standards
A “deep” classification is a single classification in which every position allocated to that classification can be assigned any duty within the classification 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 classification based upon experience in the classification. The employee does gain status in the alternate range as though each range were a separate classification.

Many of the alternate ranges contain language which stipulates that when the requirements of the particular criteria are met and upon the recommendation of the employee’s supervisor, the employee shall receive a rate under the provisions of the appropriate California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). The following salary rules are applicable to alternate ranges:

  • Rate on Movement Between Classifications with Substantially the Same Salary Range (599.674(a), (b), or (c) is used when the differential between salary ranges is less than two steps (10 %)
  • Rate on Movement to a Classification with a Higher Salary Range (599.676 is used when the differential between salary ranges is two steps (10%) or more. In some instances, both rules will apply to a single deep classification which has more than two alternate ranges with varying salary differentials (Alternate Range [AR] 129 provides an example of this)
  • Movement Between Alternate Ranges is no longer referenced when establishing new deep classifications. It is, however, still needed for some existing deep classifications where the alternate range criteria is silent on salary movement.

Hourly or daily employee
If a particular alternate range criteria states that the completion of duties within a certain period of time (i.e., 12 months of experience) is needed to move to the next higher range, per DPA Rule 599.609, an hourly or daily employee must work the equivalent of 160 hours of service in a monthly pay period or accumulated pay periods to have completed a full month of service. For example:

A half-time employee would work 24 months to complete 12 months of experience. Hours or days worked in excess of 20 days (160 hours) in a month or pay period shall not be counted or accumulated. In other words, any hours worked in excess of 160 hours during a single pay period are not counted towards the next qualifying pay period. Therefore, any excess or overtime hours over the 160-hour limit do not count towards range changes.

Accelerated Movement
Upon appointment to a classification with alternate ranges, an employee with the appropriate, outside experience (outside State service), i.e., private sector, schools, etc., may be accelerated to the next range, or highest range of the classification, upon approval of the supervisor and Classification and Pay (C&P) Analyst. This experience must be equivalent to what is prescribed in the alternate range criteria for the classification.

License and/or Certificate
Specific classifications offer special range changes. For example, for an incumbent who may already possess a valid license or certificate, or who might obtain one throughout the process of his/her employment in that particular classification, would be entitled to the range change, designated for when this particular criteria is met (AR 37 provides an example of this).

Evidence of completion of time (hours/months/years) in graduate school, in some classifications, will allow for movement between ranges. Additionally, possession of a Masters or Doctoral degree can be used in place of time worked and can produce a range change (AR 32 or 107 is an example of this).


Unless otherwise provided by the CalHR, whenever the salary range for a classification is changed, the salary of each incumbent in the classification on the date the range change was made effective shall be adjusted by the total of the range differentials between the maximum salary rates and shall retain the same salary adjustment anniversary date.

  • When range changes are made retroactively, incumbents in the classification between the effective date of the range change and the date of CalHR action, inclusive, shall also receive the same adjustment.
  • When salary range changes become effective the same date as an employee’s salary adjustment anniversary date, the employee shall first receive any salary adjustment to which entitled and then receive the range differential adjustment.
  • When the salary range changes become effective the same date as an employee’s promotion, the salary adjustments shall be made in such order that the employee shall gain the maximum benefit from the adjustments.

The following table depicts the steps and actions for an employee range change:

Step  Action
  1. For incumbent movement, the Personnel Specialist (PS) shall insert the “range change date” into ABMS IF the range change is accelerated or extended (ABMS automatically calculates the range change date and inserts it into the employee’s record when movement is normal). This date will generate an alert to the employee’s supervisor indicating that a Supervisor Certification of Salary Adjustment, DGS OHR 609 needs completion and submission.
  2. For new appointments, the C&P Analyst shall provide the PS, via the Request for Personnel Action (RPA), the appropriate alternate range, from which the PS shall insert the “range change date”:
    • The C&P Analyst obtains a copy of the new employee’s application and resume and determines the appropriate Alternate Range for the classification.

Upon receipt of an alert, the supervisor completes the DGS OHR 609 and submits to the PS in the Office of Human Resources for processing.

Note: Unlike Merit Salary Adjustment (MSA), range changes are not automatic and must be “keyed” for the employee to receive the salary adjustment.

Range change denials

Range change denials are rare. However, the employee’s supervisor has the authority to deny a range change based on documented poor performance. Employees receiving a denial of range change must be notified at least 10 working days prior to the effective date of the range change (you must check the applicable Memorandum of Understanding for specific notification period).

Therefore, as soon as an alert is received that a range change is due for an employee and you are going to deny it, based on appropriate documentation, you should notify the employee in writing. Additionally, you should discuss the issue with the Construction Intervention Consultant as a precautionary measure.


Responsible Control Agency

  • California Department of Human Resources

Laws and Regulations

  • CalHR rule 559.609, 599.674, 599.676, 599.681
  • Government Code section 19826, 19829

Other Resource Materials

  • CalHR Pay Scales section 11
  • Classification and Pay Guide section 220