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Payroll Specialist Series

Payroll Specialist Series

California State Personnel Board Specification

Series established March 19, 1980


This series specification describes three classifications that perform specialized payroll duties at the State Controller's Office. Classes that perform general office or personnel transactions work have been excluded.


Payroll Specialist Series Specification - Class Titles and Codes
Schem CodeClass CodeClass
KY651311Payroll Specialist
KY601315Senior Payroll Specialist
KY551309Payroll Operations Supervisor (abolished 09/06/2017 per Pay Letter 17-29)

Definition of Series

Incumbents in these classes are distinguished from other classes by being regularly required to apply State civil service and CSU laws, and departmental, control agency, and campus rules and regulations, and bargaining unit provisions pertaining to a variety of payroll transactions. Payroll Specialist incumbents work with a variety of payroll plans, voluntary deduction programs, retirement plans, income tax withholding requirements, and disability insurance programs. The predominant duties of positions in these classes require a thorough and detailed knowledge of appropriate laws, rules, regulations, and contract language pertaining to payroll transactions. Positions in this series are located in the Payroll Operations Unit of the State Controller's Office.

Factors Affecting Position Allocation

Variety and complexity of work, independence of action and decision, supervision received, supervisory responsibilities, level and amount of personal contact with customers, and the consequence of error.

Definition of Levels*

Payroll Specialist

This is a multirange level class, spanning entry through advanced journey levels. Incumbents assigned to Range A perform the least difficult transactions duties. Based upon the appropriate alternate range criteria, incumbents advance to Ranges B, C, and D. Under close supervision at the entry level, and under general supervision at the journey and advanced levels, and in accordance with established procedures, incumbents are assigned progressively more complex and difficult transactions duties in a variety of payroll transactions areas. Experienced incumbents in this class may provide functional guidance to lower-level staff.

Senior Payroll Specialist

This is the expert journey level of the series. Under general direction, incumbents serve as the expert staff resource. As a �staff specialist�, researches critical transactions problems and recommends alternative solutions; develops and maintains specialized training programs; reviews various control agency letters, memos, and bargaining contract provisions, and develops/revises internal procedures as necessary; prepares management reports, spreadsheets, and charts; drafts correspondence; functions as a team member on payroll-related projects; are coordinators for a variety of statewide payroll programs; and may act in a lead role (i.e., training, workload, etc.) over lower-level staff.

Payroll Operations Supervisor

Under the direction of a higher-level supervisor/manager, incumbents are responsible for one or more statewide payroll or control programs for State departments and CSU campuses and supervise a staff of Payroll Specialists performing various payroll/control functions. Incumbents develop and provide training and technical assistance to internal and department/campus staff.

Minimum Qualifications

Payroll Specialist

Either I


One year of experience in the California state service performing office duties at a level of responsibility equivalent to an Office Assistant, Range B.



Two years of office experience. [Academic education above the twelfth grade may be substituted for one year of the required general experience on the basis of either (a) one year of general education being equivalent to three months of experience; or (b) one year of education of a business nature being equivalent to six months of experience.]


(Qualifying experience may be combined on a proportionate basis if the requirements stated below include more than one pattern and are distinguished as Either I, II, or III, etc. For example, candidates possessing qualifying experience amounting to 50 percent of the required time of Pattern I, and additional experience amounting to 50�percent of the required time of Pattern II, may be admitted to an examination as meeting 100 percent of the overall experience requirement.)

Senior Payroll Specialist

One year of experience in the California state service performing the duties of a Payroll Specialist, Range D, Personnel Specialist, Range�D, or Payroll Services Specialist II.

Payroll Operations Supervisor

One year of experience in the California state service performing the duties of a Payroll Specialist, Range D, Senior Payroll Specialist, Payroll Services Supervisor I, or Payroll Services Supervisor II.

Knowledge and Abilities

All Levels:

Knowledge of: Current office methods, procedures, and basic math principles.


Ability to: Think logically, multitask, and apply laws, rules, regulations, and bargaining contract provisions concerning payroll transactions; independently interpret and use reference material; give and follow directions; gather data design and prepare tables, spreadsheets, and charts; communicate effectively; operate a computer keyboard/terminal; deal with departments, campuses, and employees on technical matters and sensitive issues; establish and maintain cooperative working relations with those contacted during the course of the work; organize and prioritize work; create/draft correspondence.

Senior Payroll Specialist

Knowledge of: All of the above, and laws, rules, regulations, and bargaining contract provisions affecting payroll or deduction programs; procedures and policies of the processing of payroll transactions/documents.


Ability to: Perform all of the above, provide technical assistance to staff, and represent the department on intra/interdepartmental teams; coordinate a variety of personnel/payroll transactions; research critical transactions and recommend alternative solutions.

Payroll Operations Supervisor

Knowledge of: All of the above, and a supervisor's responsibility for promoting equal opportunity in hiring and employee development and promotion, and for maintaining a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment.


Ability to: Perform all of the above, and plan, organize, direct, and evaluate the work of subordinate staff; analyze work processes, evaluate suggestions, and develop and implement effective courses of action; effectively present ideas and recommendations; develop subordinate staff and assess training and developmental needs; effectively promote equal opportunity in employment and maintain a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment.


Greater emphasis is placed on supervisory and program administration skills at each higher level in this class series.

Additional Desirable Qualifications

All Levels:

Familiarity with automated systems.

Class History

Payroll Specialist Series History - Dates Established, Revised, and Title Changed
ClassDate EstablishedDate RevisedTitle Changed
Payroll Specialist03/19/198008/07/200106/19/2001
Senior Payroll Specialist06/19/200108/07/2001--
Payroll Operations Supervisor (abolished 09/06/2017 per Pay Letter 17-29)03/19/198008/07/200106/19/2001


* Additional information regarding functions performed, complexity factors, and scope of responsibility is contained in a separate document titled "Allocation Guidelines."

  Updated: 12/13/2017
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