Regulations & Compliance

The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA)

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The Davis-Bacon Act is commonly known as the law that requires contractors and subcontractors who work on federally funded projects valued at more than $2,000 to pay workers the prevailing wage for work they do.

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 in excess of $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 (e.g., building, heavy, highway or residential).

The Wage and Hour Division issues two types of wage determinations: general determinations, also known as area determinations, and project determinations. The term “wage determination” is defined as including not only the original decision but any subsequent decisions modifying, superseding, correcting or otherwise changing the rates and scope of the original decision.

General wage determinations reflect those rates determined by the Division to be prevailing in a specific geographic area for the type of construction described. General wage decisions and modifications and supersede as decisions thereto, 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 earlier. If a contracting agency has a proposed construction project to which a general determination would be applicable, the published determination may be used by the contracting agency without consulting 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 is applicable to the named project only 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 is 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.

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

Penalties: Contractors or subcontractors found to have disregarded their obligations to employees, or to have 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. In addition, 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).

Falsification of certified payroll records or the required kickback of wages may subject a contractor or subcontractor to civil or criminal prosecution, the penalty for which may be fines and/or imprisonment.

Additional information can be found at www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/dbra.htm.