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Does Your Payroll Violate the Davis Bacon Act?

May 30, 2019

Written by Complete Payroll

Does Your Payroll Violate the Davis Bacon Act_ - Complete Payroll

Construction projects, in general, have timelines, project management, HR support, and so many other components to ensure that contractors are paid on a timely basis and projects are completed efficiently.

Add in federally-funded construction or public-work projects and you’ve got another group of reports to manage. Staying in compliance with the Davis Bacon Act means filing certified payroll every week, along with collecting various pieces of information. Before you embark on the use of federal funds or grants, we’ve gathered some key details to help you confidently take on that project and avoid back-wage penalties and worse, contract termination.

The Davis Bacon Act

The Davis Bacon and Related Acts is a federal law enacted in 1931. Since amended, the law requires that any contracts by the United States or the District of Columbia of more than $2,000 for construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or works be subject to local prevailing wages and fringe benefits for laborers and mechanics employed during the contract.

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Each state has also passed “Little Davis-Bacon” laws which vary by county and adjust the statutory thresholds to be higher, lower, or, in some states, removing the federal $2,000 requirement.  

Keep in mind that the Davis Bacon Act covers contractors and subcontractors; both must be paid the local prevailing wage. Contractors are prohibited, per the Copeland Act, from giving up any part of their wages and benefits.

Common Areas of Violation

The most prevalent areas of violation include:

  • Misclassification of laborers and mechanics.
  • Incorrect prevailing wage and fringe benefits.
  • Missing information or poor recordkeeping.
  • Not submitting weekly certified payroll forms.
  • Not paying contractors weekly.
  • Poor overtime tracking.
  • Failure to post the Davis-Bacon poster and applicable wage determination.

Penalties for Violating Davis Bacon

In 2018 alone, the U.S. Department of Labor Wages & Hours Division collected more than $304 million in back wages and about $1.3 billion in the last five years.

Penalties, however, go beyond back wages. They can include:

  • Withholding funds on federal contracts.
  • Contract termination.
  • Removal from government contracts for three years.

Staying in Compliance

It is recommended but not required that you use Form WH-347 to submit your weekly certified payroll reports. However, you can create and submit your own report so long as the same information is featured.

To ensure you stay in compliance with local, state, and federal laws, make sure you pay contractors weekly, have certified payroll reports, review your county-specific prevailing wages, and don’t forget to track fringe benefits. For your employees, make Davis Bacon and minimum wage information readily available.

Payroll is the nucleus of your workforce. The last thing you want is to be in violation or not have all the proper paperwork completed, poor record-keeping, or worse-yet removed from a contract. Feel confident with your payroll processes with Complete Payroll. We have our pulse on the basic hourly and wage requirements, newly passed legislation, and changes that may be on the way. Complete Payroll has you covered.

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DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting, or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.

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