Dept. of Labor Issues Update to Davis-Bacon Act Labor Standards

The Department of Labor has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking updating the Davis-Bacon Act labor standards. This is the first update to the regulations in 40 years. The Department’s goal in making this update is to “reflect better the needs of workers in the construction industry and planned federal construction investments.” Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) requirements require the payment of locally prevailing wage rates of construction workers that are employed on federally funded or assisted construction projects.

According to the Department of Labor, proposed changes to the regulations 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  • Periodically updating prevailing wage rates to address out-of-date wage determinations.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.
  • 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.

Comments on the proposed rule are due May 17 to regulations.gov. NAHRO will post a more in-depth analysis of the proposed rule in the coming weeks.