Prevailing Wages laws & HR compliance analysis

Prevailing Wages: What you need to know

To ensure that organized labor has a fair chance to bid for government contracts, U.S. law requires all employers engaged in the performance of federal contracts to pay “prevailing” wages to their workers. This ensures that nonunion employers cannot gain an unfair bidding advantage by paying wages far below the union rate and passing the savings on to the government in lower bids. Virtually all federal expenditures in the private sector are covered by prevailing wage provisions. The main statutes in this area are the Davis-Bacon Act governing federal construction contracts, the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act governing contracts to provide services to the federal government, and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act governing the manufacturing of goods for the government.
For more information, see DOL's Wage and Hour Division prevailing wage resource book, found at
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The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) requires all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal or District of Columbia construction contracts or federally assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 to pay their laborers and mechanics not less than the prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits for corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on similar projects in the area. The prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits are determined by the Secretary of Labor for inclusion in covered contracts
. Employers can access wage information through the Wage Determinations OnLine (WDOL) Internet website found at The website allows contracting agencies to request and obtain wage determinations through the online services ...

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