The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the Stimulus Act, provides considerable federal funding for construction and related projects. Last week, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a guidance reminding employers seeking to participate in Stimulus Act federal construction projects that such work requires compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act. Davis-Bacon requires contractors and subcontractors who work on certain federal construction projects to pay a prevailing wage for that geographic region. Davis-Bacon is widely considered to be a pro-labor law, because it discourages use of lower wage non-union labor on federal construction projects.
According to the WHD guidance, Davis-Bacon applies to all Stimulus Act construction projects, whether directly or indirectly paid for by the federal government. Thus, employers participating in construction projects funded by block grants to states would need to comply with the prevailing wage rules. Davis-Bacon also applies to rental assistance, electrical grid improvements, and green energy retrofit projects contained in the Stimulus Act.
DOL’s current prevailing wage determinations can be found at www.dol.gov. Specific information on the interaction of labor laws with Stimulus Act provisions can be found at www.dol.gov/esa/whd/recovery.