Dated: March 11, 2022
From: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the publication of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as it considers updating the regulations that implement the Davis-Bacon Act and Davis-Bacon and Related Acts to 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. The proposal seeks to speed up prevailing wage updates, creating several efficiencies in the current system and ensuring prevailing wage rates keep up with actual wages. Over time, this would mean higher wages for workers.

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 $217 billion in federal spending on construction each year.

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  • ” Periodically updating prevailing wage rates to address out-of-date wage determinations.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.
  • ” 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.

The DBRA’s stated purpose is to ensure employers on federally funded or assisted construction projects pay locally prevailing wages to construction workers and to prevent the unintended consequence of depressing workers’ wages during the government’s extensive construction contracting activity.

While the Wage and Hour Division solicits comments from across the construction industry, it also encourages all stakeholders to participate in the process. When the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, comments may be submitted online or commenters may address written submissions to: Division of Regulations, Legislation, and Interpretation, Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-3502, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210.