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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Service Contract Act Directory of Occupations

01311 THRU 01315 SECRETARY I thru V (Occupational Base)

Provides principal secretarial support in an office, usually to one individual, and, in some cases, also to the subordinate staff of that individual. Maintains a close and highly responsive relationship to the day-to-day activities of the supervisor and staff. Works fairly independently, receiving a minimum of detailed supervision and guidance. Performs varied clerical and secretarial duties requiring a knowledge of office routine and an understanding of the organization, programs, and procedures related to the work of the office.

Classification by Level

Secretary jobs which meet the required characteristics are matched at one of five levels according to two factors: (a) Level of the secretary's supervisor within the overall organizational structure, and (b) level of the secretary's responsibility. The table following the explanations of these factors indicates the level of the secretary for each combination of factors.

Level of Secretary's Supervisor (LS)

Secretaries should be matched with one of the three LS levels below that best describes the organization of the secretary's supervisor.

  • LS-1
    • Organizational structure is not complex and internal procedures and administrative controls are simple and informal; supervisor directs staff through face-to-face meetings.
  • LS-2
    • Organizational structure is complex and is divided into subordinate groups that usually differ from each other as to subject matter, function, etc.; supervisor usually directs staff through intermediate supervisors; and internal procedures and administrative controls are formal. An entire organization (e.g., division, subsidiary, or parent organization) may contain a variety of subordinate groups which meet the LS-2 definition. Therefore, it is not unusual for one LS-2 supervisor to report to another LS-2 supervisor.
    • The presence of subordinate supervisors does not by itself mean LS-2 applies, e.g., a clerical processing organization divided into several units, each performing very similar work, is placed in LS-1.
    • In smaller organizations or industries such as retail trades, with relatively few organizational levels, the supervisor may have an impact on the policies and major programs of the entire organization, and may deal with important outside contacts as described in LS-3.
  • LS-3
    • Organizational structure is divided into two or more subordinate supervisory levels (of which at least one is a managerial level) with several subdivisions at each level. Executive's program(s) are usually interlocked on a direct and continuing basis with other major organizational segments, requiring constant attention to extensive formal coordination, clearances, and procedural controls. Executive typically has: Financial decision-making authority for assigned program(s); considerable impact on the entire organization's financial position or image; and responsibility for, or has staff specialists in, such areas as personnel and administration for assigned organization. Executive plays an important role in determining the policies and major programs of the entire organization, and spends considerable time dealing with outside parties actively interested in assigned program(s) and current or controversial issues.

Level of Secretary's Responsibility (LR)

This factor evaluates the nature of the work relationship between the secretary and the supervisor or staff, and the extent to which the secretary is expected to exercise initiative and judgment. Secretaries should be matched at the level best describing their level of responsibility. When a position's duties span more than one LR level, the introductory paragraph at the beginning of each LR level should be used to determine which of the levels best matches the position. (Typically, secretaries performing at the higher levels of responsibility also perform duties described at the lower levels.)

LR-1 Carries out recurring office procedures independently. Selects the guideline or reference which fits the specific case. Supervisor provides specific instructions on new assignments and checks completed work for accuracy. Performs varied duties including or comparable to the following:

  • Responds to routine telephone requests which have standard answers; refers calls and visitors to appropriate staff. Controls mail and assures timely staff response; may send form letters;
  • As instructed, maintains supervisor's calendar, makes appointments, and arranges for meeting rooms;
  • Reviews materials prepared for supervisor's approval for typographical accuracy and proper format;
  • Maintains recurring internal reports, such as time and leave records, office equipment listings, correspondence controls, and training plans;
  • Requisitions supplies, printing, maintenance, or other services. Types, takes and transcribes dictation, and establishes and maintains office files.

LR-2 Handles differing situations, problems, and deviations in the work of the office according to the supervisor's general instructions, priorities, duties, policies, and program goals. Supervisor may assist secretary with special assignments. Duties include or are comparable to the following:

  • Screens telephone calls, visitors, and incoming correspondence; personally responds to requests for information concerning office procedures; determines which requests should be handled by the supervisor, appropriate staff member or other offices. May prepare and sign routine, nontechnical correspondence in own or supervisor's name;
  • Schedules tentative appointments without prior clearance. Makes arrangements for conferences and meetings and assembles established background materials, as directed. May attend meetings and record and report on the proceedings;
  • Reviews outgoing materials and correspondence for internal consistency and conformance with supervisor's procedures; assures that proper clearances have been obtained, when needed;
  • Collects information from the files or staff for routine inquiries on office program(s) or periodic reports. Refers nonroutine requests to supervisor or staff;
  • Explains to subordinate staff supervisor's requirements concerning office procedures. Coordinates personnel and administrative forms for the office and forwards for processing.

LR-3 Uses greater judgment and initiative to determine the approach or action to take in nonroutine situations. Interprets and adapts guidelines, including unwritten policies, precedents, and practices, which are not always completely applicable to changing situations. Duties include or are comparable to the following:

  • Based on a knowledge of the supervisor's views, composes correspondence on own initiative about administrative matters and general office policies for supervisor's approval;
  • Anticipates and prepares materials needed by the supervisor for conferences, correspondence, appointments, meetings, telephone calls, etc., and informs supervisor on matters to be considered;
  • Reads publications, regulations, and directives and takes action or refers those that are important to the supervisor and staff;
  • Prepares special or one-time reports, summaries, or replies to inquiries, selecting relevant information from a variety of sources such as reports, documents, correspondence, other offices, etc., under general directions;
  • Advises secretaries in subordinate offices on new procedures; requests information needed from the subordinate office(s) for periodic or special conferences, reports, inquiries, etc. Shifts clerical staff to accommodate workload needs.

LR-4 Handles a wide variety of situations and conflicts involving the clerical or administrative functions of the office which often cannot be brought to the attention of the executive. The executive sets the overall objectives of the work. Secretary may participate in developing the work deadlines. Duties include or are comparable to the following:

  • Composes correspondence requiring some understanding of technical matters; may sign for executive when technical or policy content has been authorized;
  • Notes commitments made by executive during meetings and arranges for staff implementation. On own initiative, arranges for staff member to represent organization at conferences and meetings, establishes appointment priorities, or reschedules or refuses appointments or invitations;
  • Reads outgoing correspondence for executive's approval and alerts writers to any conflict with the file or departure from policies or executive's viewpoints; gives advice to resolve the problems;
  • Summarizes the content of incoming materials, specially gathered information, or meetings to assist executive; coordinates the new information with background office sources; draws attention to important parts or conflicts;
  • In the executive's absence, ensures that requests for action or information are relayed to the appropriate staff member; as needed, interprets request and helps implement action; makes sure that information is furnished in timely manner; decides whether executive should be notified of important or emergency matters.

Excludes secretaries performing any of the following duties:

Acts as office manager for the executive's organization, e.g., determines when new procedures are needed for changing situations and devises and implements alternatives; revises or clarifies procedures to eliminate conflict or duplication; identifies and resolves various problems that affect the orderly flow of work in transactions with parties outside the organization.

Prepares agenda for conferences; explains discussion topics to participants; drafts introductions and develops background information and prepares outlines for executive or staff member(s) to use in writing speeches.

Advises individuals outside the organization on the executive's views on major policies or current issues facing the organization; contacts or responds to contact from high-ranking outside officials (e.g., city or State officials, members of Congress, presidents of national unions or large national or international firms, etc.) in unique situations. These officials may be relatively inaccessible, and each contact typically must be handled differently, using judgement and discretion.


Secretary I (01311), Secretary II (01312), Secretary III (01313), Secretary IV (01314), and Secretary V (01315)

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I 01311

II 01312

III 01313

IV 01314


I 01311

III 01313

IV 01314

V 01315


I 01311

IV 01314

V 01315

V 01315