DOL Wage & Hour Division Released Proposed Changes to Davis-Bacon Related Acts

March 21, 2022

The Wage and Hour division released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which was developed after the public comment period.

This is the most comprehensive review of DBRA in 40 years and addresses many of the issues that our unions are dealing with. The proposed changes would impact 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.

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  • Periodically updating prevailing wage rates to address out-of-date wage determinations.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 based on sound survey methodology.
  • 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.

Next steps:

Our wage compliance and government relations teams are reviewing the 432-page NPRM document and noting the changes that apply to the types of projects that our clients work on, as well as changes to wage surveys and enforcement. The DOL has opened the public comment period which will run through May 17, and we are working with clients to develop effective comment messages that support their specific needs and goals regarding the proposed changes.

We are also monitoring DOL communications regarding timelines for comments, revisions and implementation, and will continue to share relevant information with our clients.