Salaries of public servants and employees working in government will not be impacted by the revision of the Occupational Classification System (OCS).

These were the views of DPSA’s HRPEPM Chief Director, Dr Anusha Naidoo at the workshop to introduce the new Public Service Occupational Classification System (OCS): Occupational Dictionary 2024 that was held virtually on Wednesday 31 January 2024.

In addition, the DPSA’s HRP acting Director Ms Morongoa Morena outlined the rationale for the revision of the OCS. She said although the OCS is linked to the Code of Remuneration (CORE), the focus was on the revision of the OCS only and, that the remuneration aspect of the Code of Remuneration (CORE) remains unchanged meaning that salaries will not be impacted.

“The OCS is designed to be compatible with the OFO since aligning it with the OFO allows for national and international comparison. Initial consultations on the migration to the OFO were conducted with relevant stakeholders (the DHET and PSETA being some of the key stakeholders) and it was found that although most of the PS occupations could be mapped to the OFO, not all occupations could be mapped to the OFO; customization was necessary” she said.

The benefits

  • To assist the PS to improve management information available for planning and decision making.
  • key tool for identifying, reporting and monitoring skills demand and supply in the PS.
  • Provides the basis for job profiling.
  • Provides for occupational progression options (career pathing).

Occupational Dictionary 2024

Following an extensive consultation with all government departments, the Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) approved the OCS (Occupational Dictionary) in December last year. Departments are required to link all posts to an occupation listed in the OCS.

Occupations in the dictionary are categorised in terms of skill (level and specialisation), into 9 major categories and + 600 occupations (including OSD occupations).

The occupational categories are:

  • Elementary
  • Clerical support
  • Managers
  • Professionals
  • Plant, machine operators and assemblers.
  • Protective, rescue, social, health & supplementary personnel
  • Technicians & associate technical occupations
  • Security & custodian personnel
  • Skilled Agric, Forestry, Fishery, Craft & Related Trades workers.

Regarding programmatic translation to the new OCS on PERSAL, Ms Linda Rabe from National Treasury said departments may submit a System Change Control (SCC) request, together with an Excel spreadsheet for the programmatic update/translation of current Occupational Classification Codes to new Occupational Classification Codes if there are more than 500 records.

Also speaking at the event, DPSA’s Deputy Director: HRP, Ms Thakane Kolobe said: “the new Determination repeals the 1999 OCS and components of the CORE that reflects the associated elements of the OCS”.

According to Ms Kolobe, departments will be required to link all posts to the new OCS codes on PERSAL.

Transitional arrangements

The withdrawal of the old OCS takes effect on April 30, 2024, while the determination takes effect on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

“All appointments must be made against new OCS codes: from 01 February 2024 and bulk electronic translation of employees appointed prior to 01 February 2024 must be completed by 31 March 2024.

“Translation process from the 1999 OCS to the 2024 OCS must be completed by 30 April 2024. Once implemented the old OCS codes will become inactive on PERSAL. The Occupational Dictionary will be updated every two years, should the need arise,” she said.

Purpose of the OCS

Standardise and establish a common language for classifying, naming and defining occupations.

Provide a system that can be used as the basis for developing job descriptions and job titles.

Provide consistency and a common language to reflect and address skills needs and to report on the impact of training interventions.

Assist with more detailed HR planning; skills planning and reporting; and individual career planning that is more occupation specific.