Date Issued:
Date Revised:

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Topic:  Date Issued: Nov. 15, 1990
Section:  Date Revised:
Number: IX.8.


To identify County practices regarding benchmark classes and relating other classes to benchmarks for salary adjustment purposes.


  1. A "benchmark" class is generally a common, high density (i.e. populous), well-defined class, which is typically journey level.

  2. Classes are usually grouped into job series (e.g., Typist Clerk I, II and III) and into broader occupational groups where similar work is performed. For salary purposes, the grouping of classes into series and occupational groups is done to aid in insuring that internal relationships are maintained and to help insure that like classes are considered together for salary adjustments.

  3. The County has a policy of attempting to adjust salaries based on salary data for benchmark classes. Classes in the same bargaining unit and the same occupational group as the benchmark class usually receive the same adjustment as the benchmark class.

    However, there are technical exceptions and practical limitations with respect to this policy. There are some classes, typically specialized and low-density, which have no benchmark and for which there is no obvious or direct tie to another occupational group. One practical consideration is that there may be stronger ties for one series than another within an occupational group and, especially if there are limited dollars available, the series or grouping with the strongest ties to the benchmark will receive the adjustment but not other series or grouping.

    Another practical limitation is the nature of negotiations itself, where other concerns may determine which classes are adjusted along with the benchmark. An excellent example of this is where certain classes in an occupational group receive adjustments and others did not.

    Another factor to bear in mind is that the linking of classes to benchmarks is not fixed but evolutionary, as both classification actions and negotiations occur.

  4. For middle management and executive management classes, there are no benchmark classes per se but market data is collected on common, well defined classes. Typically, equal or greater weight has been placed on internal salary relationships (primarily to avoid compaction with subordinate classes) than on outside market data.

  5. Employee Relations/Salary Administration (ERSA) Division of Personnel maintains a listing of benchmark classes for the General, Law Enforcement, Detention Officer, and District Attorneys' Representation Units.

    Each class is assigned to an occupational group. Occupational groups, and the classes assigned to each, are shown in the Classification Schematic Listing (PSY8422).


  1. Whenever a new class is created, or a significant change in class concept occurs, or a salary adjustment occurs for a class, the analyst will review the occupational group assignment of that class (or series). Such review will be discussed with the ERSA staff and be documented in the classification or negotiations file.

  2. Prior to negotiations for a particular representation unit, ERSA staff will review benchmarks and assignments of classes to occupational groups for that representation unit to identify changes, and take action accordingly.