Davis-Bacon and Related Acts
The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, apply to contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works. Davis-Bacon Act and Related Act contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. The Davis-Bacon Act directs the Department of Labor to determine such locally prevailing wage rates. The Davis-Bacon Act applies to contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal or District of Columbia contracts. The Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage provisions apply to the “Related Acts,” under which federal agencies assist construction projects through grants, loans, loan guarantees, and insurance. For prime contracts in excess of $100,000, contractors and subcontractors must also, under the provisions of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, as amended, pay laborers and mechanics, including guards and watchmen, at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act may also apply to DBA-covered contracts.
Frequently Asked Questions that will be answered through this link will be…
I. Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations
- What is a wage determination?
- What is a General Wage Determination?
- What is a project wage determination?
- What are supersedeas wage determinations?
- What is a modification to a wage determination?
II. Obtaining Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations
- How do I subscribe to General Wage Determinations Issued Under The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts? – Are the General Wage Determinations available electronically?
- How do I obtain a wage determination for a construction project to be performed at a location not covered by a published wage determination?
- Where can I obtain a copy of the General Wage Determination needed for a covered federal project?
III. Prevailing Wage Rates
- Is the rate on the wage determination the minimum hourly wage rate?
- Once construction has begun, are the workers- wage rates affected when the wage determination for the area in which the project is located is changed?
- Is it possible for more than one wage schedule to apply to specifications for a particular contract?
- Can apprentices, trainees, and/or helpers work on a project covered by the Davis-Bacon or related Acts (DBRA), and what wage rates must they be paid?
- What wage rates must be paid to supervisory employees (foremen, superintendents, etc.) employed on a covered project?
IV. Davis-Bacon Wage Surveys
- What criteria are used to determine the need for a survey in a particular area?
- What is the purpose of this survey?
- How are Davis-Bacon wage surveys conducted?
- Who does the Department of Labor contact during the survey?
- What is a peak week?
- May we report an average of wage rates?
- In order to submit wage data for a survey, do I have to have worked within the survey time frame?
- Do I have to participate in a survey and is it important to participate?
- In responding to a Davis-Bacon prevailing wage survey, what can we count as fringe benefits?
- How are prevailing wage rates calculated?
- How should wage data be reported for operating engineers on the WD-10 form?
- How should wage data be reported for laborers on the WD-10 form?
- How should wage data be reported for ironworkers on the WD-10 form?
- When is data from federal projects included in Davis-Bacon wage surveys?
US DOL Wage & Hour Division Resources
- DBRA Survey Status by State – Wage and Hour Division
- Frequently Asked Questions: Conformance’s – Wage and Hour Division
- Wage Determination Online Homepage
- Employee Misclassification as Independent Contractors – Wage and Hour Division
State Prevailing Wage Laws
Dollar Threshold Amount for Contract Coverage Under State Prevailing Wage Laws – As of January 1, 2017
Prevailing wage legislation is part of a broader set of interrelated institutional arrangements that promote a strong construction industry and a thriving middle class, including a stronger emphasis on apprenticeship training, skilled workmanship, workplace safety, increased access to health insurance and retirement security. Prevailing wage laws support a high road economy by establishing the underlying legal framework for a construction industry that provides the skills needed to build quality infrastructure for a growing, technologically-sophisticated, and competitive economy. By fostering an economy with a strong middle class, prevailing wages promote sound public sector budgets at all levels of government.
- Source: Illinois Economic Policy Institute – The Economic, Fiscal, and Social Impacts of State Prevailing Wage Laws:
Choosing Between the High Road and the Low Road in the Construction Industry
Misclassification of Workers as Independent Contractors
The misclassification of employees as something other than employees, such as independent contractors, presents a serious problem for affected employees, employers, and to the entire economy. Misclassified employees are often denied access to critical benefits and protections – such as family and medical leave, overtime, minimum wage and unemployment insurance – to which they are entitled. Employee misclassification also generates substantial losses to the Treasury and the Social Security and Medicare funds, as well as to state unemployment insurance and workers compensation funds.
- Source: USDOL – Misclassification
Copeland “Anti-Kickback” Act
The “Anti-Kickback” section of the Copeland Act applies to all contractors and subcontractors performing on any federally funded or assisted contract for the construction, prosecution, completion, or repair of any public building or public work, except contracts for which the only federal assistance is a loan guarantee. … The “Anti-Kickback” section of the Act precludes a contractor or subcontractor from in any way inducing an employee to give up any part of the compensation to which he or she is entitled under his or her contract of employment. The Act and implementing regulations require a contractor and subcontractor to submit a weekly statement of the wages paid to each employee performing on covered work during the preceding payroll period. The regulations also list payroll deductions that are permissible without the approval of the Secretary of Labor and those deductions that require consent of the Secretary of Labor. The “Anti-Kickback” provisions of the Copeland Act give covered workers on subject federal contracts the right to receive the full pay to which they are entitled for the work they perform. The Act also gives such workers the right to receive pay on a weekly basis.
- Source: USDOL – Employment Law Guide
Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. Like all federal agencies, the Department of Labor (DOL) is required to disclose records requested in writing by any person. However, agencies may withhold information pursuant to nine exemptions and three exclusions contained in the statute.
- Source: USDOJ – FOIA
- Source: USDOL – FOIA
- Related Study: The Release of Davis-Bacon Certified Payroll Records, Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, and the Question of Competitive Harm to Contractors – Kevin Duncan, Ph.D., Jeffrey Waddups, Ph.D. (June 2016)
Federal and State Overtime Laws
An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. Unless specifically exempted, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.
Safety and Health Administration
With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. … The OSH Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority.
Individuals who meet the following definition may be employed as apprentices on DBRA projects: (a) A person employed and individually registered in a bona fide apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, or with a State Apprenticeship Agency recognized by the Bureau, Or (b) A person in the first 90 days of probationary employment as an apprentice in such an apprenticeship program, who is not individually registered in the program, but who has been properly certified to be eligible for probationary employment as an apprentice. Trainees employed must be persons registered in a construction occupation under a program which has been approved in advance by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, as meeting its standards for on-the-job training programs and which have been so certified by that Administration.
- Source: USDOL – Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Frequently Asked Questions
- Source: USDOL – Apprenticeship
- Source: NABTU – Apprenticeship & Training
Debarment and Other Penalties
Violations of the Davis-Bacon contract clauses may be grounds for contract termination, contractor liability for any resulting costs to the government and debarment from future contracts for a period up to three years.
Recent Executive Orders Related to Fair Contracting
- Executive Order 13658 – Minimum Wage for Contractors
- Executive Order 13502 – Use of Project Labor Agreement for Federal Construction Projects
- Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects
- U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration: Construction Program Guide
- Executive Order 13495 – Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers under Service Contracts
- Wage and Hour Division (WHD): Final Rule on Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts
- Executive Order 13494 – Economy in Government Contracting