In a major regulatory update, the U.S. Department of Labor has revised the rules under the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) for the first time in nearly four decades. These changes, impacting a suite of federal wage laws applicable to contractors on federal construction projects, aim to improve clarity, consistency, and enforcement effectiveness. The updated rules, which took effect in October 2023, extend minimum wage mandates to more contracts, modify wage determination methods, broaden enforcement options, and increase penalties for non-compliance. Despite these enhancements, the construction industry has pushed back through lawsuits, challenging the amendments’ legality and arguing that the Department of Labor overstepped its authority.

Historically, the DBA has mandated prevailing wage rates for construction workers on federal projects exceeding $2,000. The new regulations redefine key terms to broaden coverage, including for modern infrastructure like solar installations and electric car chargers. They also introduce provisions for the automatic inclusion of wage clauses in contracts, extend responsibilities to higher-tier subcontractors for wage violations, and permit withholding funds across a contractor’s unrelated projects as a penalty for non-compliance.

The rules also shift the methodology for setting prevailing wages, allowing more frequent updates and a return to pre-1983 calculation methods that consider a broader array of wage data. This includes potentially adopting state or local prevailing wages under certain conditions.

As of March 2024, the construction industry’s legal challenges against these rules are still pending, with decisions that could significantly affect the enforcement and scope of the Davis-Bacon Act and related legislation. This ongoing legal battle underscores the importance and potential impact of these regulatory changes.


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Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems:

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