|Definition:||An employee's primary work function as a scientist or engineer.|
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The functional classification rests on the principle that the coding of positions to categories will be done on the basis of the function in which the individual is "primarily engaged." The primary function is the single functional category which occupies the largest proportion of the employee's time or which best reflects a combination of functions in terms of the paramount requirements of the job.
The object is to capture, insofar as practical, what a person does. For example, a person who is primarily engaged in designing equipment for a testing program should be coded to Design and not to Test and Evaluation. A person who is primarily engaged in providing expert advice and consultation to others (in different agencies, or States, or foreign governments, etc.) on data collection, should be coded to Technical Assistance and Consulting and not to Data Collection, Processing, and Analysis.
Because of the myriad of different ways in which work is organized in the Federal Government, the categories are not completely discrete. The categories by and large consist of aggregates of subfunctions or activities. Cost estimating, for example, is defined as a subfunction of other functions such as Development and Planning. Similarly, analysis of data, which is defined as a subfunction of Data Collection, Processing, and Analysis, is also performed as a part of Research and other functions. (Even an activity like planning, which constitutes a functional category by itself, may be performed as an integral part of the work of other categories).
The coding of a person primarily engaged in an activity which is a subfunction of more than one functional category should be guided by the work relationships. Cost estimating which is part of the design process should be coded to Design; cost estimating which is a part of the construction process should be coded to Construction. Analysis of data which is an integral part of Research should be coded to Research. In cases like these, selection of the proper category depends upon the purpose and setting of the individual's work.
Separate categories are not provided for each of the activities carried out in the Federal Government. Examples of activities for which a separate category was not established are frequency allocation, valuation engineering, patent examining, and operations research. Generally, these activities are specialized and represent small populations. Data on those that are identified as separate occupations (patent examining and operations research) can be obtained from the Office of Personnel Management's occupational statistics. Jobs in specialized activities such as these should be coded, if possible, to the most appropriate category provided (e.g., patent examination to Regulatory Enforcement and Licensing).
It is fully recognized that there are many "mixed" functional positions. Wherever possible, the use of "Other--Not Elsewhere Classified" should be avoided. Coding of mixed jobs should be guided by the functional category which is most significant in terms of proportion of time or the qualifications required to perform the work successfully. Coding of mixed function positions to "Other--Not Elsewhere Classified" should be limited to those jobs of such generalized nature that no one functional category predominates.
Many positions, particularly in Research and Development, are mixed in that the employee performs over a period of time a sequence of functions such as research, development, production, etc. Coding of such jobs should be done on the basis of the primary function over a reasonable period of time, generally about a year. (Change in primary function which occurs at the end of one or several year periods should of course result in a change in the coding of the job).
Persons engaged in supervision of a function are to be included in the count of those engaged in performing the function.