Important Facts about the Davis-Bacon Sponsored Prevailing Wage Act
Many contractors and subcontractors prefer to hire casual laborers who carry out a specified task and when they are through they go on their way. This is mainly because the contractors and subcontractors’ projects are carried out in different sites and jurisdictions. It makes sense to hire laborers when the job is available and where is it is available. Unfortunately, due to how temporal such works are, many construction laborers have been exploited by their employers. This is what prompted Senator James Davis and Representative Robert Bacon to sponsor the prevailing wage bill of 1931. This bill sort to ensure fair wages were paid to construction workers especially those who worked on federal sponsored contracts.
The main mandate of the federal, state, or local government is to create policies and provide government-sponsored projects that benefits the citizenry of the country. Many projects are sponsored or maintained using taxpayers’ funds. This includes the building of public schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges to mention but a few. Once these projects have been completed, they also have to be maintained from time to time. This maintenance is done through structural repairs, maintenance, or painting projects. It is the policy of the USA government that government-funded projects should be issued to privately owned firms through a competitive bidding process.
The federal government, through the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 gives a guideline to the contractors and subcontractors on how they should pay their laborers. The government sets out to ensure that the laborers who work on government-sponsored projects are remunerated fairly and at par with other workers in the jurisdictions where such projects take place. This remuneration consists of the hourly wage pay, fringe benefits, overtime, and other related benefits. This law was passed first and foremost to protect the skilled construction workers from exploitation. It also sets out to prevent the construction employers from contracting unskilled or immigrant workers in a bid to avoid paying the standard prevailing wages.
Not all government contractors are required to pay the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage to their workers. Eligibility is determined by the contract price. Contracts of two thousand dollars and below are not expected to pay this prevailing wage. Many contractors feel that this law increases the cost of labor for their projects. In some cases, the government reconsiders the enforcement of this law in some special cases. In the past, several past presidents suspended the law to allow for specific economic growth or economic recoveries. This includes Presidents Roosevelt, President Bush Senior and Junior, President Nixon. President Bush senior and junior suspended the Davis-Bacon act temporally during their tenure to allow for economic recovery after hurricanes storms caused massive destruction in some states in the country.
The contractors and subcontractors who are required to pay the Davis-Bacon prevailing wages are required to adhere to certain conditions. First and foremost they are mandated to display the said wages at the project site so that the laborers are fully aware of the expected wage package. Such employers are also required to maintain a laborer’s pay record which is also supposed to be submitted to the local labor offices. This record is used to review workers’ pay after every three years. The local labor agency also examines the record to ensure that the contractors and their subcontractors adhere to the local jurisdiction prevailing wage requirement.