Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announces NPRM to update the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts
On March 11, 2022, the Department announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations to better reflect the needs of workers in the construction industry, and planned federal construction investments. The proposed rulemaking by the department’s Wage and Hour Division represents the most comprehensive review of the Davis-Bacon Act regulations in 40 years.
Many of the proposed regulatory changes will improve the Department’s ability to administer and enforce DBRA labor standards more effectively and efficiently.
Proposed changes include:
- Creating several efficiencies in the prevailing wage update system and ensuring prevailing wage rates keep up with actual wages, which over time would mean higher wages for workers.
- Returning to the definition of “prevailing wage” used from 1935 to 1983 to ensure prevailing wages reflect actual wages paid to workers in the local community.
- Periodically updating prevailing wage rates to address out-of-date wage determinations.
- Providing broader authority to adopt state or local wage determinations when certain criteria is met based on sound survey methodology.
- Issuing supplemental rates for key job classifications when no survey data exists.
- Updating the regulatory language to better reflect modern construction practices.
- Strengthening worker protections and enforcement, including debarment and anti-retaliation.
There are 71 DBRA laws applicable to federal and federally assisted construction projects that require the payment of locally prevailing wage rates for 1.2 million U.S. construction workers. The requirements currently cover approximately $187 billion in federal spending on construction each year.
The DBRA requirements also protect workers under the unprecedented federal investments in infrastructure across the country. These projects involve clean energy, power and water infrastructure improvements, legacy pollution remediation, and renovation to the nation’s broadband and transportation infrastructures.
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