What is Davis-Bacon?

Video Transcript

When people talk about Davis-Bacon, they often mean “prevailing wage.” But Davis-Bacon refers specifically to one federal law that represents the cornerstone of prevailing wage requirements: the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931.

It requires contractors working on qualifying federal projects to pay their laborers at least as much in wages and benefits as what others earn on similar projects.

In other words, contractors must pay the rates that prevail locally for each trade and type of work — as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

It also requires the relevant wage scale be posted prominently on the jobsite.

Davis-Bacon generally applies to contracts of over $2,000 that involve either the U.S. government or the District of Columbia — for employees whose work on the jobsite is manual or physical in nature.

But numerous other federal, state and local laws make up today’s prevailing wage requirements.

And that includes the requirement that contractors certify their compliance with special agency-specific forms known as “certified payroll reports.”

These record the hours, rates and earnings for each worker, each week, on each prevailing-wage job — along with a statement of compliance contractors must sign and submit weekly.

All of this can mean contractors on prevailing-wage projects have a lot to manage — which is where construction-specific accounting and payroll software can really help, to make reporting automatic and compliance easier.

More on Davis-Bacon Payroll

To learn more about navigating Davis-Bacon payroll, check out the five facts every construction contractor needs to know.

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