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Labor Department to host compliance seminars for Davis-Bacon rule change

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Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor will host compliance seminars in September, the agency announced Friday, in an effort to educate contracting agencies, contractors, unions, workers and other stakeholders on the final rule “Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations.”
  • On Sept. 13 and 14, the free seminars will give participants an overview of the recent DBRA changes and give them a chance to ask questions or clarify concerns. It’s part of the agency’s effort to raise awareness on federal prevailing wage requirements and prompt compliance among federal contractors and subcontractors. 
  • As money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act flows to states and jurisdictions, the DOL updated the DBRA for the first time in 40 years. The changes will go into effect Oct. 23.

Dive Insight:

Vice President Kamala Harris and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su detailed the rule’s major changes Aug. 8 in Philadelphia, after first announcing the change in March. The regulation’s new text was put online last week, will be officially published Aug. 23 and takes effect 60 days later.

The rule will restore the DOL’s definition of prevailing wage to make it equivalent to the wage paid to at least 30% of workers, rather than 50% of workers, in a given trade in a locality. The shift is designed to raise the hourly wages of workers on projects receiving federal funding. 

Construction groups say the cost of taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects will increase as a result.

Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, referred to the prevailing wage rules as a “regulatory boondoggle,” saying it would discourage competition from small businesses in an email to Construction Dive at the time of the announcement last week.

During a 60-day comment period beginning after the rule update’s announcement, the DOL received 40,938 comments.

Champions of the change say it means more money in workers’ pockets.

“Prevailing wage laws ensure that people employed on federally funded construction projects across the nation are paid fair wages and benefits,” Jessica Looman, principal deputy wage and hour administrator, said in the release.

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