Laws, Regulations, Contracts and Responsibilities

1-1 Davis-Bacon and Other Labor Laws

  1. The Davis-Bacon Act (DBA). The Davis-Bacon Act requires the payment of prevailing wage rates (which are determined by the U.S. Department of Labor) to all laborers and mechanics on Federal government and District of Columbia construction projects in excess of $2,000. Construction includes alteration and/or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings or public works.

    Most HUD construction work is not covered by the DBA itself since HUD seldom contracts directly for construction services. Most often, if Davis-Bacon wage rates apply to a HUD project it is because of a labor provision contained in one of HUD’s “Related Acts” such as the U. S. Housing Act of 1937, the National Housing Act, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, and the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996. The Related Acts are often referred to as the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts or DBRA.
  2. The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA). CWHSSA requires time and one-half pay for overtime (O/T) hours (over 40 in any workweek) worked on the covered project. The CWHSSA applies to both direct Federal contracts and to indirect Federally-assisted contracts except where the assistance is solely in the nature of a loan guarantee or insurance. CWHSSA violations carry a liquidated damages penalty ($10/day per violation). Intentional violations of CWHSSA standards can be considered for Federal criminal prosecution.

    CWHSSA does not apply to prime contracts of $100,000 or less. In addition, some HUD projects are not covered by CWHSSA because some HUD programs only provide loan guarantees or insurance. CWHSSA also does not apply to construction or rehabilitation contracts that are not subject to Federal prevailing wage rates (e.g., Davis-Bacon wage rates, or HUD-determined rates for operation of public housing and Indian block grant-assisted housing). However, even though CWHSSA overtime pay is not required, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay is probably still applicable. (See also Labor Relations Letter SL-95-01, CWHSSA Coverage threshold for overtime and health and safety provision, available on-line at the HUD Labor Relations Library at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/davis_bacon_and_labor_standards/OLRLibrary
  3. The Copeland Act (Anti-Kickback Act). The Copeland Act makes it a Federal crime for anyone to require any laborer or mechanic (employed on a Federal or Federally-assisted project) to kickback (i.e., give up or pay back) any part of their wages. The Copeland Act requires every employer (contractors and subcontractors) to submit weekly certified payroll reports (CPRs) and regulates permissible payroll deductions.
  4. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA contains Federal minimum wage rates, overtime (O/T), and child labor requirements. These requirements generally apply to any labor performed. The DOL has the authority to administer and enforce FLSA. HUD will refer to the DOL any possible FLSA violations that are found on HUD projects.

1-2 Davis-Bacon Regulations

The Department of Labor (DOL) has published rules and instructions concerning Davis-Bacon and other labor laws in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These regulations can be found inTitle 29CFR Parts1, 3,5, 6 and. Part 1 explains how the DOL establishes and publishes DBA wage determinations (aka wage decisions) and provides instructions on how to use the determinations. Part 3 describes Copeland Act requirements for payroll deductions and the submission of weekly certified payroll reports. Part 5 covers the labor standards provisions that are in your contract relating to Davis-Bacon Act wage rates and the responsibilities of contractors and contracting agencies to administer and enforce the provisions. Part 6 provides for administrative proceedings enforcing Federal labor standards on construction and service contracts. Last, Part 7 sets parameters for practice before the Administrative Review Board. These regulations are used as the basis for administering and enforcing the laws.

DOL Regulations are available on-line on the World Wide Web: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd

1-3 Construction Contract Provisions

Each contract subject to Davis-Bacon labor standards requirements must contain labor standards clauses and a Davis-Bacon wage decision. These documents are normally bound into the contract specifications.

  1. The labor standards clauses. The labor standards clauses describe the responsibilities of the contractor concerning Davis-Bacon wages and obligate the contractor to comply with the labor requirements. The labor standards clauses also provide for remedies in the event of violations, including withholding from payments due to the contractor to ensure the payment of wages or liquidated damages which may be found due. These contract clauses enable the contract administrator to enforce the Federal labor standards applicable to the project. HUD has standard forms that contain contract clauses. For example, the HUD-2554, Supplementary Conditions to the Contract for Construction, which is issued primarily for FHA multifamily housing and other construction projects administered by HUD; the HUD-4010, Federal Labor Standards Provisions, which is used for CDBG and HOME projects, and the HUD-5370, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction or the HUD-5370-EZ (construction contracts =$100,000) which are used for Public and Indian Housing projects.

    HUD program labor standards forms are available on-line at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/administration/hudclips/forms
  2. Davis-Bacon Wage Decisions. The Davis-Bacon wage decision (or wage determination) is a listing of various construction work classifications, such as Carpenter, Electrician, Plumber and Laborer, and the minimum wage rates (and fringe benefits, where prevailing) that people performing work in those classifications must be paid.

    Davis-Bacon wage decisions are established by the DOLfor various types of construction (e.g., residential, heavy, highway) and apply to specific geographic areas, usually a county or group of counties. Wage decisions are modified from time to time to keep them current. In most cases, when the contract is awarded or when construction begins, the wage decision is “locked-in” and no future modifications are applicable to the contract or project involved.

All current Davis-Bacon wage decisions can be accessed on-line at no cost at: https://beta.sam.gov/

1-4 Responsibility Of The Principal Contractor

The principal contractor (also referred to as the prime or general contractor) is responsible for the full compliance of all employers (the contractor, subcontractors and any lower-tier subcontractors) with the labor standards provisions applicable to the project. Because of the contractual relationship between a prime contractor and his/her subcontractors, subcontractors generallyshould communicate with the contract administrator only through the prime contractor. (See Contract Administrator, below.)

To make this Guide easier to understand, the term “prime contractor” will mean the principal contractor; “subcontractor” will mean all subcontractors including lower-tier subcontractors; and the term “employer” will mean all contractors as a group, including the prime contractor and any subcontractors and lower-tier subcontractors.

1-5 Responsibility Of The Contract Administrator

The contract administratoris responsible for the proper administration and enforcement of the Federal labor standards provisions on contracts covered by Davis-Bacon requirements. We use this term to represent the person (or persons) who will provide labor standards advice and support to you and other project principals (e.g., the owner, sponsor, architect), including providing the proper Davis-Bacon wage decision (see 2-1, The Wage Decision) and ensuring that the wage decision and contract clauses are incorporated into the contract for construction. The contract administrator also monitors labor standards compliance (see 2-6, Compliance Reviews) by conducting interviews with construction workers at the job site and reviewing payroll reports, and oversees any enforcement actions that may be required.

The contract administrator could be an employee or agent of HUD, or of a city or county or public housing agency. For HUD projects administered directly by HUD staff, usually FHA-insured multifamily projects, the contract administrator will be the HUD Labor Relations field staff. But many HUD-assisted projects are administered by local contracting agencies such as Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), Indian tribes and tribally-designated housing entities (TDHEs), and States, cities and counties under HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs. In these cases, the contract administrator will likely be local agency staff. In either case, the guidance for you remains essentially the same.

The DOL also has a role in monitoring Davis-Bacon administration and enforcement. In addition, DOL has independent authority to conduct investigations. A DOL investigator or other DOL representative may visit Davis-Bacon construction sites to interview construction workers or review payroll information.



Consulting Services We Provide

  • Review public works preconstruction contracts
  • Monitor DIR contractor/subcontractor certified payrolls
  • Audit labor classification for each worker employed
  • Review DIR pre-DAS 140/142 submissions
  • Review CAC training fund contributions form CAC-2
  • Review DIR Fringe Benefits Statement PW-26
  • Monitor DIR wage determinations
  • Audit fringe benefits allowances
  • Review DIR holiday payment requirements
  • Audit DIR travel & subsistence requirements
  • Caltrans Labor Compliance
  • County of Sacramento Labor Compliance
  • City of Los Angeles Labor Compliance
  • Los Angeles Unified School District Labor Compliance
  • Federal Davis-Bacon Project Monitoring
  • Federal DBE Implementation & Review
  • Federal FAA AIP Goal Setting
  • DIR & Davis-Bacon Training
  • DIR Civil Wage Penalty Review
  • Local-Hire Review (e.g., San Francisco)
  • Skilled and Trained Workforce

Give us a call to discuss your labor compliance requirements.

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