The Davis Bacon and Related Acts

The Davis Bacon and Related Acts

Male legs walking from one paycheck to another with crumpled money scattered about on the floor.

The Davis-Bacon Act is generally known as the law requiring contractors and subcontractors working on federally funded projects valued at more than $2,000 to pay workers the prevailing wage for work done.

Who is Covered: The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) are administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. These acts apply to contractors and subcontractors performing work on federally funded or assisted contracts that exceed $2,000 for the construction, alteration or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works.

Wage Determinations: A “wage determination” is the listing of wage rates and fringe benefits for each classification of laborers and mechanics that is determined by the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division to be prevailing in a given area for a particular type of construction.

The Wage and Hour Division issues two types of wage determinations. General determinations or area determinations, and project determinations. The term wage determination is includes not only the original decision but any following decisions modifying, superseding, adjusting or changing the rates and scope of the original decision.

General wage determinations show those rates decided by the Division to be prevailing in a specific geographic area for the type of construction described. General wage decisions and modifications that supersede as decisions, contain no expiration dates and are effective from their date of notice in the Federal Register, or the date written notice is received by the agency, whichever is first. If a contracting agency has a proposed construction project to which a general determination would be applied, the published determination may be used by the contracting agency without checking with the Department of Labor, provided that questions concerning its use shall be referred to the Department of Labor.

Project wage determinations are issued at the specific request of a contracting agency. Each wage determination is solely applicable to the named project and expires 180 calendar days from the date of issuance unless an extension of the expiration date is requested by the agency and approved by the Wage and Hour Division. If such a determination is not used in the period of its effectiveness, it becomes void. Project determinations are issued in response to contracting agencies submitting to the Wage and Hour Division a Standard Form 308 requesting a wage determination.

Recordkeeping, reporting, notice and posting requirements for the Davis-Bacon Act and Related Acts are necessary.

Penalties: Contractors or subcontractors that have disregarded their obligations to employees, or who’ve committed aggravated or willful violations while performing work on Davis-Bacon-covered projects, may be subject to contract termination and debarment from future contracts for up to three years. Additionally, contract payments may be withheld in sufficient amounts to satisfy liabilities for unpaid wages and liquidated damages that result from overtime violations of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA).

Lying on payroll records or about the required kickback of wages may subject a contractor or subcontractor to civil or criminal prosecution, the penalty for which could be fines and/or time behind bars.