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Davis-Bacon Act: Who is not covered

Accounting Support • Dec 08, 2020
To assure fair wages to local workers, Congress enacted the Davis-Bacon Act on 3 March 1931. According to this act, employers need to pay minimum wages to laborers and
Davis Bacon Act Compliance

To assure fair wages to local workers, Congress enacted the Davis-Bacon Act on 3 March 1931. According to this act, employers need to pay minimum wages to laborers and mechanics working on government-funded projects. Contractors and subcontractors have to pay the locally prevailing wages to all the employees. These prevailing wage rates are set and determined by the Department of Labor.

Who is not covered under the Davis-Bacon Act?

Davis Bacon act applies to laborers and mechanics working physically or manually on the worksite. It also includes employees using tools and working at a trade employed by contractors and subcontractors on the "site of the work".  All the trainees, helpers, and mechanics are also considered under the laborers and mechanics category. But the workers having primarily administrative, executive, and clerical rather than manual duties are not laborers and mechanics.

Some supervisors and other employees such as foreman, non-laborer, and non-mechanic workers also work on a project. Though their work is not physical in nature they have to devote 20% time of their working week to physical and manual laborers. Such non-laborer and non-mechanic workers are also covered under DBA according to their time spent as laborers or mechanics. The bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees are not covered under the Davis-Bacon Act. There are also some laborers or mechanics classifications that are generally NOT covered under the Davis-Bacon Act. Such workers include

  1. Architects.
  2. Engineers.
  3. Timekeepers.
  4. Supervisors.
  5. Foreman.
  6. The workers performing exploratory drilling services work to obtain data to be used in engineering studies and to plan group projects. Such services include utility location or substance utility engineering services. In exploratory drilling services, the workers have to work for an activity but not on a project. That's why such services are not covered under the Davis-Bacon Act.
  7. Workers employed for railroads.
  8. Workers employed for public utilities.
  9. Inspectors at contracting agencies.
  10. The employees of the public agency performing their services on a public Agency force account basis.
  11. Contractor Quality Assurance Inspectors.
  12. Material men and suppliers.
  13. The workers use equipment to measure the distances, heights and bearing. Such employees that are survey crew members are not covered under the Davis-Bacon Act.
  14. The truck owners that drive their own trucks are not covered under the Davis-Bacon Act. They will have to report on certified payroll that work was performed by the named "owner-operator." But, there is no need to show their working hours or rate of pay on certified payroll reports.
  15. Bonafide programs having pre-fixed wage rates, living allowances, and other compensations are also not covered under the Davis-Bacon Act. Such programs should be approved by USDOL and some of them include:
    • Summer youth opportunity programs. Such programs include projects sponsored by union and management, or by governmental or community groups, and
    • Federal youth programs: such programs include the American Conservation and Youth Service Corps (AmeriCorps), Youth Conservation Corps, Public Land Corps, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA).

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