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Davis-Bacon Act and HUD Construction Requirements


The Davis-Bacon Act requires the payment of prevailing wage rates (which are determined by the U.S. Department of Labor) to all laborers and mechanics on Federal government and District of Columbia construction projects in excess of $2,000. Construction includes alteration and/or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings or public works.

Most HUD construction work is not covered by the DBA itself since HUD seldom contracts directly for construction services. Most often, if Davis-Bacon wage rates apply to a HUD project it is because of a labor provision contained in one of HUD’s “Related Acts” such as the U. S. Housing Act of 1937, the National Housing Act, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, and the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996. The Related Acts are often referred to as the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts or DBRA.

The Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA). CWHSSA requires time and one-half pay for overtime (O/T) hours (over 40 in any workweek) worked on the covered project. The CWHSSA applies to both direct Federal contracts and to indirect Federally-assisted contracts except where the assistance is solely in the nature of a loan guarantee or insurance. CWHSSA violations carry a liquidated damages penalty ($10/day per violation). Intentional violations of CWHSSA standards can be considered for Federal criminal prosecution.

CWHSSA does not apply to prime contracts of $100,000 or less. In addition, some HUD projects are not covered by CWHSSA because some HUD programs only provide loan guarantees or insurance. CWHSSA also does not apply to construction or rehabilitation contracts that are not subject to Federal prevailing wage rates (e.g., Davis-Bacon wage rates, or HUD-determined rates for operation of public housing and Indian block grant-assisted housing). However, even though CWHSSA overtime pay is not required, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime pay is probably still applicable. (See also Labor Relations Letter SL-95-01, CWHSSA Coverage threshold for overtime and health and safety provision, available on-line at the HUD Labor Relations Library at: www.hud.gov/ offices/olr/library.cfm)

The Copeland Act (Anti-Kickback Act). The Copeland Act makes it a Federal crime for anyone to require any laborer or mechanic (employed on a Federal or Federally-assisted project) to kickback (i.e., give up or pay back) any part of their wages. The Copeland Act requires every employer (contractors and subcontractors) to submit weekly certified payroll reports (CPRs) and regulates permissible payroll deductions.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA contains Federal minimum wage rates, overtime (O/T), and child labor requirements. These requirements generally apply to any labor performed. The DOL has the authority to administer and enforce FLSA. HUD will refer to the DOL any possible FLSA violations that are found on HUD projects.

For more information on HUD requirements, The Department of Labor (DOL) has published rules and instructions concerning Davis-Bacon and other labor laws in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These regulations can be found in Title 29 CFR Parts 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7.