Civil Service is again at work on a plan that ditches the across-the-board approach for annual state employee pay raises in favor of different raises based on job ratings.

The pay-for-performance approach is advocated by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Past plans advanced by the Civil Service Commission have been refused by Jindal. He wrote that he wanted a plan that would allow agency heads enough flexibility to determine employee pay.

“We have gone completely back to the drawing board on it,” state Civil Service Director Shannon Templet said Wednesday.

Templet said the Civil Service agency hopes to bring a proposal to the Civil Service Commission in November that would affect 54,548 classified employees.

Classified employees are the rank-and-file state workers who are protected from political hiring and firing.

If the commission gives the go-ahead, a public hearing and commission vote on it would occur in December and the plan implemented in July 2012 with Jindal’s approval, she said.

The new look comes at a time when all state employees are going without a general pay raise for the second straight year because of revenue shortfalls.

It’s the third year without a raise for some employees, including many on college campuses.

Prior to beginning of budget woes three years ago, more than 90 percent of state classified employees received a 4 percent annual raise on their employment anniversary date based on job performance reviews. Everyone who met or exceeded expectations or rated outstanding got the 4 percent raise.

Jindal has pushed for a system that provides different pay raises based on job performance ratings. But he wants to give agency heads a lot of flexibility in determining pay raises on a case-by-case basis.

Templet said agency personnel have been in discussions and those will be broadened soon to include human resource officials at state agencies.

As new discussions begin, a three-tier job rating system instead of the five-tiers in place today is under consideration, Templet said.

The three tiers would be along the lines of unsatisfactory, satisfactory and exceptional, she said.

Templet said it is a tiered system that other states are using to streamline ratings and make it easier on those doing the evaluations on which pay raises will depend.

“People can clearly see who is an exceptional employee,” said Templet.

In addition, the agency is trying to develop “a more quantitative system” for performance review to eliminate some of the complaints about favoritism creeping into the ratings, she said.

Jindal earlier rejected a Civil Service Commission proposal that set specific pay raise amounts for the attainment of certain job ratings.

Under the proposal, a set 3 percent would go to employees achieving expectations; 4 percent to those exceeding expectations; and 6 percent for those rated outstanding.

The raises could have been withheld to avoid employee layoffs at an agency — a current practice.

Jindal said he favored more agency discretion than had been contained in a plan the commission rejected.

That proposal crafted by Civil Service staff would have permitted agency heads to award “up to” 3 percent for employees achieving expectations; 4 percent for exceeding expectations; and 6 percent for outstanding.

It gave agency heads broad authority within the pay ranges. Even if an employee rated outstanding there would have been no guarantee of a pay raise under the plan.