Guidelines for Preparing Job Descriptions
GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING JOB DESCRIPTIONS
The Job Description form below (CS-25) is FORMATTED to be completed "on-screen." Please open the document in Microsoft Word, place your cursor in the first field to be completed and begin typing. To get to the next field, press the "Tab" key and so on. You MUST type your information on the document, then print it when complete; the form will not work if printed, then filled-in. You may save the document to your files, and complete it or add to it at a later date.
The purpose of a Job Description is to provide employees and department with written statements that summarize the major duties and responsibilities of a particular position. Because job descriptions have the potential to become the subject of contention, including grievances or litigation, it is critical that accuracy be maintained. To ensure this, job descriptions should be reviewed on a periodic basis so they accurately reflect the general nature of work and level of responsibility.
- DATE PREPARED/REVISED
- Date on which this job description was completed or revised in final form.
- PRESENT INCUMBENT
- Name of individual currently filling this position. If position is currently vacant, leave this box blank. If there are three or more of the same position, you may designate this as a standard job description by writing "STANDARD" in this box. If this is a newly created position, write "NEW POSITION" in this box.
- Indicate if incumbent is underfilling position (i.e., temporarily filling this position at a lower level). If yes, indicate title and pay range of underfill in box.
- DATE FILLED
- Date that the present incumbent was appointed to this position.
- PREVIOUS INCUMBENT
- Name of the individual filling this position immediately prior to the present incumbent.
- DEPARTMENT: City department where this position is located.
- BUREAU: If applicable, the Bureau within the department where this position is located.
- DIVISION: If applicable, the Division where this position is located.
- SECTION: If applicable, the Section where this position is located.
- UNIT: If applicable, the Unit where this position is located.
- WORK LOCATION: The building, room number and street address where this position is assigned.
- TELEPHONE/EMAIL: The telephone number and Email address where the incumbent can be reached.
- WORK SCHEDULE: The usual work schedule of the individual filling this position.
- Hours: (e.g., )
- Days: (e.g., Monday-Friday)
- REPRESENTED BY A UNION?
- Indicate whether or not this position is represented by a union.
- BARGAINING UNIT:
- The union/local which represents this position, e.g., District Council 48, Local 423 (Truck Drivers).
- FLSA STATUS
- Indicate whether or not this position is exempt or non-exempt from the overtime and minimum wage provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS EXEMPT FROM CIVIL SERVICE. If you are not sure whether or not this position is FLSA exempt, check with your department's personnel representative or the Department of Employee Relations.
- OFFICIAL TITLE:
- The current official title of this position as found in the City of Milwaukee Salary and Positions Ordinances.
- PAY RANGE: Pay range number to which this position is assigned as authorized in the current City of Milwaukee Salary Ordinance.
- JOB CODE: This job identification number is found next to the job title in the current City of Milwaukee Salary Ordinance, in the back of the Visual Organizational Inventory (VOI), or on PeopleSoft.
- EEO CODE: The EEO Code is found in the back of the VOI or on PeopleSoft.
- UNDERFILL TITLE (if applicable): See description under #2 above.
- REQUESTED TITLE (if applicable): If this Job Description is being submitted as part of a reclassification study request, you may indicate the title, pay range, job code and EEO code (if an existing title) you are requesting for this position. If no change in title or pay range is being requested, leave these boxes blank.
- RECOMMENDED TITLE: This box is for Department of Employee Relations use only. Do not enter any information in this box.
- BASIC FUNCTION OF POSITION
- Briefly summarize the overall purpose and major duties/responsibilities of this position (no more than four or five sentences).
- A. ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS/Duties and Responsibilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that the Essential Functions of each job be identified. The Essential Functions must be known to determine if a qualified individual with a disability can perform these functions with or without accommodations.Essential Functions are duties and responsibilities that are essential to the job. Apply the following criteria to determine if each function is essential. Then list all the Essential Functions in this section. Indicate the approximate percentage of time devoted to each function or group of related functions.
Note: The statement "Performs other duties (or functions) as assigned" is not suitable for covering essential functions. If it is essential, it needs to be described either explicitly or implicitly, if it is an integral part of a function that is expressed.
CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
To determine if a function is essential to a job answer the following questions (yes or no):
- Does the job exist to perform the function?
- Does the person in the job really perform the function?
- Would the job change if the function were removed?
- Is there a limited number of staff who perform the function OR does the function require highly specialized knowledge of skills?
And evaluate the following:
- a. Time Spent on the function relative to time spent on other functions (from very little to very much).
b. The overall consequences of not performing the function (from minor to very bad).
This information in the form of a questionnaire is part of the "ADA Job Analysis of Essential Functions" found on the MINT (under Employee Relations). Referring to or completing this questionnaire should be helpful in completing this section.
TIPS FOR DESCRIBING ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS/Duties and Responsibilities Group essential duties/responsibilities into major responsibility areas.
- Provide approximate percentages of time devoted to each area. Use a range if necessary. Only include the duties/responsibilities requiring 5% or more time.
- Begin each statement with a descriptive verb, such as Supervises, Collects, Analyzes, Manages, Drives, and so forth followed by an explanatory phrase.
- Describe duties/responsibilities as they are today.
- Avoid acronyms and jargon; spell out acronyms if used.
- Avoid describing duties tied to particular brand name equipment, software, systems and the like.
- Do not use "he" or "she" or variations thereof when describing duties/responsibilities.
B. OTHER FUNCTIONS
- These are less important duties and responsibilities that are performed but not considered essential based on the above criteria. List each of these functions and indicate the approximate percentage of time devoted to each. The percentages from the "Essential Functions" and from the "Other Functions" should add up to 100 percent.
C. NAME AND TITLE OF IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR
- If the immediate supervisor of this position is not in the Management Pay Plan, also list the name and title of most immediate management-level supervisor.
D. SUPERVISION RECEIVED
- The extent to which work assignments and methods are outlined, reviewed, and approved by this position's supervisor(s). For example, how frequently and closely is work checked by the supervisor? To what degree are duties and assignments predetermined or structured? Does employee establish own work priorities or are they established by others?
E. SUPERVISION EXERCISED
- See Job Description form for instructions.
F. MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED
- Federal guidelines mandate that employees be selected on the basis of minimum rather than optimum qualifications. Make sure that qualifications listed are those that are necessary at time of hire. Desirable or preferred qualifications may also be listed but should be clearly labeled as such.
G. PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF POSITION
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that the Physical Demands of each job be identified. List the physical demands which are representative of those that must be met to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Referring to or completing the "Job Analysis of Physical and Environmental Demands" available on the MINT (under Employee Relations) will assist in completing this section. The following contains a helpful format and some examples of describing physical demands.
"It is also important to use language that effectively establishes the nature and importance of essential functions without being prejudicial to persons with disabilities. The ADA requires that job descriptions focus on essential functions in terms of what they actually require, not simply the ways they are currently or have customarily been performed. Although care is needed to craft descriptive but nonprejudicial language, the wording need not be awkward. Once simple pattern that may be followed is to:
- Give some notion of frequency, intensity and/or duration (to help establish the level of the work demand).
- Describe the current or customary manner or performance, then add the words "or otherwise (do something)" or use the word "typically" (to acknowledge the possibility that alternate manners of performance may be reasonable, as determined on a case-by-case basis).
- Provide operational linkage to establish importance to the job.
- Frequently (frequency) lifts, carries or otherwise moves and positions (nonprejudicial language) objects weighing up to 25 pounds (intensity) when stocking supply room and setting up equipment (operational linkage).
- Typically (nonprejudicial language) bends, stoops and crouches on a regular basis (frequency) to adjust settings on machinery (operational linkage).
- One way to avoid having to use the words "or otherwise?" or "typically" is to avoid describing specific action verbs. Examples:
- Constantly (frequency) moves about (generic action verb) to coordinate work (operational linkage).
- Regularly (frequency) sets, adjusts, assembles, controls, tests and operates (generic action verbs) computer equipment to generate input and output and transmit data (operational linkage)."
(Taken from "Job Descriptions—an Overview" by Kenneth H. Pritchard, CCP, published on the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Website.)
H. ENVIRONMENTAL/WORKING CONDITIONS
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires that the Environmental/Working Conditions of each job be identified. List the environmental/working conditions which are representative of those that must be met to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Referring to or completing the "Job Analysis of Physical and Environmental Demands" will assist in completing this section.
I. EQUIPMENT USED:
- List equipment that is representative of that which would be used to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
J. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
- See Job Description Form for explanation.
- The Job Description Form is a very important document, often used as evidence in legal proceedings and grievance hearings. Therefore it is critical that the Job Description be carefully reviewed and signed by the department head or designated representative.