What is The U.S. Department of Labor doing?

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a proposal to update the Davis-Bacon Act and other laws regulating wages for federal and federally assisted construction projects.

Why the changes?

The U.S. Department of Labor seeks to modernize wage determinations and regulatory language to reflect current construction practices.

What is being proposed?

Proposed changes include:

  • Changing the prevailing wage update system to ensure that Prevailing wage rates keep up with actual wages.
  • updating the definition of “prevailing wage” to the one used from 1935 to 1983.
  • Periodically revising prevailing wage rates to address out-of-date wage determinations.
  • Providing broader authority to the government to adopt state or local wage determinations.
  • Issuing supplemental rates for key job classifications when no survey data exists;
  • Modernizing the regulatory language to reflect modern construction practices.
  • Strengthening worker protections and enforcement, including debarment and anti-retaliation.

How to learn more and voice your opinion?

The DOL is inviting public comments on the proposed changes. Interested parties may submit written comments by May 17, 2022. For more information or to submit your comments, visit the DOL website.

Who does the Davis Bacon Act apply to?

The Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts was set into motion by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). More specifically, the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL is responsible for amending and enforcing the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA). The DBA applies to all federally-funded contracts that are over $2,000, and have something to do with constructing, altering, or repairing public buildings.

The two most relevant criteria for the Davis-Bacon Act are:

  • It only applies to contracts that deal with constructing, altering or repairing public buildings, which include: bridges, dams, plants, highways, streets, sewers, power lines, airports, piers, etc.
  • And, the type of work referred to as “construction, alteration, or repair” includes painting, altering, remodeling, demolition work, preparatory clean-up work, etc.

Contractors who meet these criteria should be aware that the Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts apply specifically to the wages of laborers and mechanics on these types of federal contracting jobs.