The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) requires the payment of Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) prevailing wage rates to “laborers and mechanics employed by contractors and subcontractors on projects funded directly by or assisted in whole or in part by and through the Federal Government” pursuant to the Act. The Recovery Act appropriates substantial funding for construction, alteration and repair of Federal buildings, and for infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, public transit, water systems, and housing.
WHD will promote compliance with the Recovery Act’s labor standards provisions and ensure that the greatest number of workers on Recovery Act projects receive the wages and benefits to which they are entitled under the law. Increased compliance assistance and outreach is intended to minimize coverage disputes and explain compliance principles to federal, state, and local contracting agency staff who have limited experience with the program.
Davis-Bacon Wage Determination Updates
To respond to the demand for updated and current wage rates under the Recovery Act, WHD will reduce the time for conducting highway construction surveys to produce more timely and accurate highway construction wage determinations. WHD is reducing the backlog of building and heavy construction wage surveys to improve timeliness of processing new wage determinations for those industries. WHD is also taking inventory of other wage determinations to determine which are outdated and should be replaced. WHD will expend and estimated $4.688 million and 10 FTE to update prevailing wage rates based on wage survey data.
Prevailing Wage Enforcement
Under the Recovery Act, WHD expects DBA and related complaint investigations to double over the next two years – from approximately 400 to 800. Moreover, WHD believes that it is appropriate to conduct directed investigations of the Recovery Act projects to ensure compliance with applicable labor laws. The agency proposes to increase its directed investigations from the current average of 90 per year to 250 per year – approximately five per district office. As a result, WHD expects to complete over 2,000 investigations over two years beginning in FY 2010 . WHD also notes that the Recovery Act will have an impact on its Service Contract Act (SCA) enforcement program because of the volume of anticipated federal service work to be undertaken with funding from the Recovery Act.
WHD will expend approximately $17.299 million and 106 FTE to enforce applicable prevailing wage statutes on Recovery Act-funded contracts. This includes resources to conduct intensive outreach efforts to train contractors that may not have been previously covered by DBA and other Federal employment laws enforced by WHD.
WHD’s outreach plan includes education and outreach to contractors and their associations, employees and their representatives, and local community groups, so that they are fully informed on the Davis-Bacon requirements and rights provided therein. Specific outreach activities include issuing guidance, creating a Web page for DBA and SCA labor standards, publishing a revised edition of the Prevailing Wage Resource Manual, and numerous conferences and educational events.
•Conducting at least six national conferences for all stakeholders to include: an introductory session on DBA and SCA principles, a more comprehensive prevailing wage conference, a contracting agency training session on contract requirements, wage determinations, conformances, and responsibilities for compliance under the DBA and a session devoted to outline and promote DBA wage determination program enhancements.
•Conduct additional conferences in FY2010 based on stakeholder requests and review of enforcement patterns and complaint data analysis identifying areas where systemic compliance issues by agency, geography, and/or type of construction/industry are occurring.