While certainly not the only prevailing wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) may be the most well-known. Administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the DBA is the federal prevailing wage law that applies to contractors performing work on federal contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works. Passed into law in 1931, "Davis-Bacon" is what some contractors may think of when they hear "prevailing wage", but the two terms are not synonymous.
In addition to the DBA, approximately sixty federal laws authorize federal assistance on construction projects through grants, insurance, loans, or loan guarantees. These laws, collectively referred to as "Davis-Bacon Related Acts" (DBRA), include provisions requiring Davis-Bacon labor standards. To the contractor, DBA and DBRA are often indistinguishable, as the requirements for DBRA projects are generally the same as those for DBA projects.
While the Davis-Bacon Act may be the most familiar prevailing wage law to construction contractors, there are several federal prevailing wage laws (i.e. the Service Contract Act), twenty-six states with prevailing wage laws, and over one hundred localities with their own prevailing wage or living ordinance requirements. Each may have their own provisions, wage determinations, overtime definitions, and penalties for non-compliance. A project's funding authority typically determines which set of rules a contractor must follow.
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