Learning/Regulations

The Davis-Bacon Act

The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, as amended, and related acts and regulations

Synopsis of Law, from the Department of Labor
The Davis-Bacon Act, as amended, requires that each contract over $2,000 to which the United States or the District of Columbia is a party for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works shall contain a clause setting forth the minimum wages to be paid to various classes of laborers and mechanics employed under the contract. Under the provisions of the Act, contractors or their subcontractors are to pay workers employed directly upon the site of the work no less than locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits paid on projects of a similar character. The Davis-Bacon Act directs the Secretary of Labor to determine such local prevailing rates.

In addition to the Davis-Bacon Act itself, Congress has added prevailing wage provisions to approximately 60 statutes, which assist construction projects through grants, loans, loan guarantees, and insurance. These Related Acts involve construction in such areas as transportation, housing, air and water pollution reduction, and health. If a construction project is funded or assisted under more than one Federal statute, the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions may apply to the project if any of the applicable statutes requires payment of Davis-Bacon wage rates.

The geographical scope of the Davis-Bacon Act is limited, by its terms, to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. By the same token, the scope of each of the related Acts is determined by the terms of the particular statute under which the Federal assistance is provided. For example, Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions would apply to a construction contract located in Guam or the Virgin Islands funded under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, even though the Davis-Bacon Act itself does not apply to Federal construction contracts to be performed outside the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

Davis-Bacon wage determinations are to be used in accordance with the provisions of Regulations, 29 CFR Part 1, Part 3, and Part 5.