55) What are the functions/responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act?
The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Wage and Hour Division has regulatory and oversight authority to assure coordination of administration and consistency of enforcement of the labor standards provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act. The USDOL Wage and Hour Division issues regulations establishing standards and procedures for the administration and enforcement of the Davis-Bacon labor standard provisions.
56) What are the responsibilities of FHWA and recipients of federal assistance under the Federal Aid Highway Acts in administering and ensuring compliance with the labor standard provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act?
The FHWA has the overall responsibility for ensuring that recipients in the Federal-aid highway program comply with the requirements and policies for prevailing wage rates on covered construction contracts. The FHWA is responsible for ensuring that all contracting agencies (State DOTs, local public agencies, and other grant recipients) are correctly administering prevailing wage rate requirements. The FHWA oversees compliance of these requirements through a risk-based stewardship and oversight program administered by each FHWA Division Office but is also charged under DOL guidance to conduct such investigations as appropriate to enforce Davis Bacon Act requirements.
On Federal-aid highway construction projects, contracting agencies are responsible for properly applying and enforcing prevailing wage rate requirements in covered contracts including:
- Verifying that covered contracts have incorporated the required Davis-Bacon clauses and the applicable wage determination(s);
- Verifying that the Davis-Bacon notice and the applicable wage determination(s) are displayed at the site of the work in a conspicuous location in clear view of everyone;
- Reviewing certified payrolls in a timely manner;
- Conducting employee interviews;
- Conducting reviews and investigations of covered contracts in conjunction with FHWA as appropriate;
- Forwarding refusal to pay and/or debarment consideration cases to the USDOL Wage and Hour Division for appropriate action; and
- Submitting enforcement reports and semi-annual enforcement reports to the USDOL Wage and Hour Division.
57) What are some of the typical violations of the DBRA?
The following are some of the typical violations of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts requirements:
- Misclassification of laborers and mechanics;
- Failure to pay full prevailing wage, including fringe benefits, for all hours worked (including overtime hours);
- Inadequate recordkeeping, such as not counting all hours worked or not recording hours worked by an individual in two or more classifications during a day
- Failure of to maintain a copy of bona fide apprenticeship program and individual registration documents for apprentices;
- Failure to submit certified payrolls weekly; and
- Failure to post the Davis-Bacon poster and applicable wage determination.
58) What is FHWA’s guidance regarding late submittals of weekly payroll statements?
Unless the contractor provides a satisfactory explanation, the FHWA recommends that the contracting agency consider initiating a compliance investigation if a contractor is habitually late in submitting payroll statements.
59) What actions can be taken when a contractor is continually late with payroll submittals?
The contracting agency must send the prime contractor a written notice restating the contract requirements for submitting the weekly payroll statements. If the contractor continues to submit the payroll statements late, the following actions can be taken:
- Withhold payments until the payroll submittal requirements are met;
- Terminate the contract; or
- Refer the violating contractor to the USDOL for possible legal prosecution and/or debarment.
60) What actions can be taken if a contractor is not paying prevailing wages?
The contracting agency may withhold contract funds, on its own initiative or at the direction of the USDOL, in a sufficient amount to satisfy any alleged wage underpayments ending resolution of a wage dispute.
When a subcontractor has not paid the prevailing wages, the prime contractor who is responsible for compliance on the contract and liable for any back wages not paid, may decide to withhold final payment from the subcontractor until the back wage issues are resolved.
When contractors or subcontractors are found to have disregarded their obligations to employees, or to have committed aggravated or willful violations while performing work on Davis-Bacon Act covered projects, they may be subject to contract termination and debarment from future contracts for up to three years.
61) Who is responsible for assuring that the standard provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts have been inserted into covered federally-assisted construction contracts?
The Federal agency is responsible for ascertaining whether the clauses required by 29 CFR 5.5 have been inserted into construction contracts covered under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. For Federal-aid highway construction projects, FHWA requires the inclusion of form FHWA-1273 which incorporates the contract clauses of 29 CFR 5.5.
62) What action should a contracting agency take when there is cause to believe a back wage violation exists?
The contracting agency should withhold, or cause to be withheld, from the contractor as much of the accrued payments or advances as may be considered necessary to pay laborers and mechanics, including apprentices, trainees, and helpers, employed by the contractor or any subcontractor the full amount of wages required by the contract. The funds are withheld from active contracts or any other contracts of the contractor where the prevailing wage rates apply.
63) What can contracting agencies do in situations where back wage violations occurred on a contract that has been accepted and paid as complete?
When funds remain on a contract under which a violation occurred are insufficient to cover back wages due, the contracting agency can withhold funds from other contracts subject to DBRA or any other federal contract held by the same prime contractor.
64) Can a contracting agency use accrued funds withheld from a contractor for payment of wages be used to resolve other contract claims against the contractor?
NO. The wages due underpaid employees have priority over any competing claims against the contractor.
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.
This email is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice
or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances.