The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released written guidance on May 29, 2009, to all federal agencies and the District of Columbia concerning implementation of Section 1606 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that requires application of the Davis-Bacon Act labor standards to federal and federally-assisted construction work funded in whole or in part by the ARRA.

The Davis-Bacon Act requires that each contract over $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works to which the United States or the District of Columbia is a party must include a provision stating the minimum wages laborers and mechanics are paid. The Secretary of Labor determines the prevailing wages for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects. The WHD guidance explains, however, that Section 1606 of the ARRA has expanded the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements.

Section 1606 requires that all construction projects “funded directly,” as well as projects “assisted in whole or in part by and through the Federal Government” pursuant to the ARRA, must comply with the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements. The guidance highlights that the phrase “assisted in whole or in part,” encompasses “any assistance provided for ARRA projects through grants, loans, guarantees and insurance.” Additionally, the introductory language for Section 1606 explicitly overrides any limitation to Davis-Bacon coverage contained in other Davis-Bacon related statutes or regulations. As a result, the WHD explains, if a construction project is funded under multiple statutes in addition to the ARRA, the ARRA prevailing wage requirements will apply.

The WHD summarizes government contractor obligations as follows:

On contracts funded in whole or in part by ARRA appropriations, contractors and subcontractors must pay laborers and mechanics employed directly upon the site of the work no less than the locally prevailing wages (including fringe benefits) listed in the Davis-Bacon wage determination in the contract for the work performed. Contractors and subcontractors on covered projects must pay all laborers and mechanics weekly and submit weekly certified payroll records to the contracting or administrative agency.

In addition, WHD has launched a new Web page (http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/recovery/) with ARRA-related compliance information.