- How do I obtain General Wage Determinations Issued Under The Davis-Bacon Act?
- Are the general wage determinations available electronically?
- How do I obtain a wage determination for a construction project to be performed at a location not covered by a published general wage determination?
- Where can I obtain a copy of the general wage determination needed for a project subject to Davis-Bacon labor standards?
- Is the prevailing wage rate on the wage determination the minimum wage rate?
- Once construction has begun, are the workers’ wage rates affected when the wage determination for the area in which the project is located is modified/revised?
- Is it possible for more than one wage determination to apply to a particular contract?
- Can apprentices and/or helpers work on a project covered by the Davis-Bacon or Related Acts (DBRA), and what wage rates must they be paid?
- Are supervisory employees such as forepersons entitled to Davis-Bacon prevailing wages when they work on a DBRA-covered project?
- What are Davis-Bacon wage surveys?
- Who does the Department of Labor contact during the survey?
- Why should I participate?
- Do I have to receive a letter to participate in the survey?
- Does the Wage and Hour Division use data collected during the survey process to target enforcement activity?
- If I do not work on federally funded construction projects, should I participate in the survey process?
- Is my response limited to a certain number of projects?
- Is WHD only collecting data on federally funded construction projects?
- How are prevailing wage rates calculated?
- I am the owner of the construction project. How can I participate in the Davis-Bacon wage survey?
- I am a prime/general contractor and I subcontract for all of the project work. How can I participate in the Davis-Bacon wage survey?
- In order to submit wage data for a survey, must the underlying work have been performed within the construction time frame?
- I have a large number of workers. Can I average my wage rates?
- Do I report forepersons and/or apprentices?
- In responding to a Davis-Bacon wage survey, what should I consider as fringe benefits?
- How should wage data be reported for operating engineers on the WD-10 Form?
- How should wage data be reported for laborers on the WD-10 Form?
- How should wage data be reported for ironworkers on the WD-10 Form?
- How should wage data be reported if multiple subclassification work was performed?
- When do I report wage data under a sub-classification listed on the WD-10 form?
- What types of clarification and analysis are done on the data submitted?
- Does WHD verify the data submitted?
- How do workers on a construction site know that a project is covered by the Davis-Bacon Act? How do they know the prevailing wage to which they are entitled?
- What is the obligation of the contracting officer/federal agency representative when the wage determination(s) applicable to a construction project contains multiple wage schedules (for different counties and/or types of construction)?
- The wage determination applicable to my project does not contain a class of workers which is needed to complete construction. Can other worker classification(s) and wage rate(s) be approved for use on the project?
- After a conformance is approved does the general wage determination get updated to include the newly approved conformed classification and rate?
I. Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations
1. What is a wage determination?
A "wage determination" is the listing of wage rates and fringe benefit rates for each classification of laborers and mechanics which the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has determined to be prevailing in a given area for a particular type of construction (e.g., building, heavy, highway, or residential).
The Wage and Hour Division issues two types of wage determinations: general determinations, also known as area determinations, and project determinations. The term "wage determination" is defined as including not only the original decision but any subsequent decisions modifying, superseding, correcting, or otherwise changing the rates and scope of the original decision.
In accordance with the provisions of 29 CFR Part 1 and Part 5, the wage rates and fringe benefits in the applicable Davis-Bacon wage determination shall be the minimum paid by contractors and subcontractors to laborers and mechanics on projects covered by the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.
2. What is a General Wage Determination?
A general wage determination reflects those rates determined by the Wage and Hour Division to be prevailing in a specific geographic area for the type of construction described. General wage determinations and modifications and supersedeas decisions thereto, contain no expiration dates and are effective from their date of publication on the Wage Determination website at https://sam.gov/content/home; or notice in the Federal Register, or on the date written notice is received by the agency, whichever is earlier. Effective June 14, 2019, the sam.gov website became the official source for contracting agencies to use when obtaining general wage determinations issued by DOL. If a contracting agency has a proposed construction project to which a general wage determination would be applicable, the published wage determination may be used by the contracting agency without consulting the Department of Labor, provided that questions concerning its use shall be referred to the Department of Labor.
3. What is a project wage determination?
A project wage determination is issued at the specific request of a contracting agency (using a Standard Form (SF) 308); is applicable to the named project only; and expires 180 calendar days from the date of issuance unless it is incorporated into a contract within that timeframe or an extension of the expiration date is requested by the agency and approved by the Wage and Hour Division. If such a determination is not used in the period of its effectiveness, it is void.
A project wage determination may be requested under any of the following circumstances:
- The project involves working in more than one county and will employ workers who may work in more than one county;
- There is no general wage determination in effect for the relevant area and types(s) of construction for an upcoming project, or
- All or virtually all of the work on the contract will be performed by a classification that is not listed in the general wage determination that would otherwise apply, and contract award has not yet taken place.
4. What are revisions to wage determinations?
General and project wage determinations may be revised from time to time to keep them current. A revised wage determination replaces the previous wage determination. “Revisions,” refers both to modifications of some or all of the rates in a wage determination, such as periodic updates to reflect current rates, and to instances where a wage determination is re-issued entirely, such as after a new wage survey is conducted. Additionally, a numbering revision occurs annually when wage determination numbers are updated to reflect the current year.
5. When is a revised wage determination applicable to my project?
Whether a revised general wage determination is effective with respect to a particular contract or project generally depends on the date on which the revised wage determination is issued. The date on which a revised general wage determination is “issued,” means the date that the wage determination is published on sam.gov or the date that the contracting agency receives actual written notice of a revised project wage determination.
If a revised wage determination is issued before contract award (or the start of construction when there is no award), it is effective with respect to the project, except as follows:
- For contracts entered into pursuant to sealed bidding procedures, a revised wage determination issued at least 10 calendar days before the opening of bids is effective with respect to the solicitation and contract. If a revised wage determination is issued less than 10 calendar days before the opening of bids, it is effective with respect to the solicitation and contract unless the agency finds that there is not a reasonable time still available before bid opening to notify bidders of the revision and a report of the finding is inserted in the contract file. A copy of such report must be made available to the Administrator upon request. No such report is required if the revision is issued after bid opening.
- In the case of projects assisted under the National Housing Act, a revised wage determination is effective with respect to the project if it is issued prior to the beginning of construction or the date the mortgage is initially endorsed, whichever occurs first.
In the case of projects to receive housing assistance payments under section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, a revised wage determination is effective with respect to the project if it is issued prior to the beginning of construction or the date the agreement to enter into a housing assistance payments contract is signed, whichever occurs first.
II. Obtaining Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations
6. How do I obtain General Wage Determinations Issued Under The Davis-Bacon Act?
Effective June 14, 2019, the Department of Labor migrated to the Wage Determination website at sam.gov as the source for obtaining Davis Bacon Act (DBA) general wage determinations. Instructions for how to “follow” a Wage Determination can be found in the FAQ section of the sam.gov website.
7. Are the general wage determinations available electronically?
Yes. Effective June 14, 2019, the Department of Labor migrated to the Wage Determination website at https://sam.gov/content/home as the source for obtaining Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) general wage determinations. Notice of future revisions to general wage determinations will be posted on sam.gov. Archived versions of the DBA wage determinations that are no longer current may be accessed by searching for inactive wage determinations for informational purposes only.
8. How do I obtain a wage determination for a construction project to be performed at a location not covered by a published general wage determination?
The Federal agency funding or financially assisting the construction project requests a wage determination under the Davis-Bacon Act or any of the related prevailing wage statutes by submitting a Standard Form (SF) 308 via email to DBA308project@dol.gov or to the following address:
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Branch of Construction Wage Determinations
200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20210
In completing a SF-308, the agency must include the following information:
- A sufficiently detailed description of the work to indicate the type(s) of construction involved, as well as any additional description or separate attachments, if necessary, for identification of the type(s) of work to be performed. If the project involves multiple types of construction, the requesting agency must attach information indicating the expected cost breakdown by type of construction.
- The location (city, state, zip code) or locations in which the proposed project is located.
- The classifications needed for the project. Identify only those classifications that will be needed in the performance of the work.
- Any other information requested in Form SF-308
The time required for processing requests for project wage determinations varies according to the facts and circumstances in each case. An agency should anticipate that such processing will take at least 30 days.
9. Where can I obtain a copy of the general wage determination needed for a project subject to Davis-Bacon labor standards?
General Wage Determinations should be obtained from the agency funding the project you will be working on. The contracting agency is responsible for including the applicable wage determination(s) in any solicitation or bidding documents, and in the prime contract. Subcontractors should request the applicable wage determination from the prime contractor or the contracting agency.
III. Prevailing Wage Rates
10. Is the prevailing wage rate on the wage determination the minimum wage rate?
Yes. The prevailing wage rate, both the basic hourly rate and any fringe benefit rate, listed on the wage determination for a particular classification of work is the minimum rate that the contractor can pay to workers who are working in that job classification on the project.
11. Once construction has begun, are the workers’ wage rates affected when the wage determination for the area in which the project is located is modified/revised?
As a general rule, the wage determination incorporated into a bid solicitation and related contract award establishes the minimum wage rates and fringe benefits which must be paid for the entire term of the contract.
There are three exceptions to this general rule. In the following circumstances, the contracting agency must incorporate the most recent revision of the wage determination(s) into an ongoing contract.
- Out-of-scope changes: Where a contract is changed to include additional, substantial construction, alteration, and/or repair work not within the scope of the work of the original contract, the most recent wage determination revision must be incorporated into the contract, to be effective at the date of the change in the contract;
- Additional time periods (e.g., options): If the contractor is required to perform work for an additional time period not originally obligated, including where an option to extend the term of the contract is exercised, the most recent wage determination revision must be incorporated into the contract, to be effective at the date of the contract extension or exercise of the option;
- IDIQs, etc.: For contracts calling for construction, alteration, and/or repair work over a period of time that is not tied to the completion of any particular project (e.g., IDIQs, Multiple Award Schedules), the most recent revision of a wage determination must be incorporated into the umbrella contract on an annual basis at the anniversary date of the contract’s award.
Workers’ wage rates also may be affected after contract award if the wage determination incorporated into a contract had a clerical error or if the incorrect wage determination was incorporated into the contract.
- Clerical errors. A wage determination may be corrected after contract award if it contains an inadvertent clerical error. An example of a clerical error is a transposition of numbers, such as where a fringe benefit of $2.53 appears in the wage determination as $2.35.
- Incorrect wage determination. If the wrong wage determination was incorporated into the contract at contract award, the Administrator may require the contracting agency to incorporate the correct wage determination, retroactive to the beginning of contract award, through supplemental agreement or through change order. In these circumstances, the contractor must be compensated for any increases in wages resulting from such change, and the method of incorporation must be consistent with the requirements of 29 CFR 1.6(f)(3).
12. Is it possible for more than one wage determination to apply to a particular contract?
Yes. Construction projects are generally classified as either Building, Heavy, Highway or Residential for purposes of issuing wage determinations. Wage determinations for one or more of these construction categories may have application to construction items contained in a proposed construction project. Guidelines for the selection of proper wage determinations based on the type(s) of construction involved in a project are set forth in All Agency Memoranda No. 130 (March 17, 1978) and No. 131 (July 14, 1978). All Agency Memoranda No. 236 which was published on December 14, 2020, updated the threshold for incorporating multiple Davis-Bacon wage determinations, and should be reviewed as well when determining the applicability of multiple wage determinations. Any questions regarding the application of these guidelines to a particular project, or any disputes regarding the application of the wage determinations issued for the various types of construction, must be referred to the Wage and Hour Division, together with relevant information, including a complete description of the project and area practice.
13. Can apprentices and/or helpers work on a project covered by the Davis-Bacon or Related Acts (DBRA), and what wage rates must they be paid?
Individuals who meet the following definition may be employed as apprentices on DBRA projects at a rate less than the prevailing wage on the wage determination:
(a) A person employed and individually registered in a bona fide apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Apprenticeship, or with a State Apprenticeship Agency recognized by the Office of Apprenticeship;
(b) A person in the first 90 days of probationary employment as an apprentice in such an apprenticeship program, who is not individually registered in the program, but who has been properly certified to be eligible for probationary employment as an apprentice.
Individuals employed as apprentices may be paid a wage rate lower than the prevailing wage on the wage determination only if the apprentices are utilized on the job site at a ratio (of apprentices to journeyworkers) that is no greater than ratio under the approved program or, the ratio applicable to the locality of the project (where the project is located in a locality different from the one in which the approved program is registered).
The proper wage rates to be paid to apprentices are those specified by the particular programs in which they are enrolled, expressed as a percentage of the journeyworker rate on the applicable wage determination. However, where apprentices are employed to work on a DBRA project in a locality other than the one in which their apprenticeship programs are registered, the appropriate apprentice wage rate (also expressed as a percentage of the journeyworker rate) shall be that which applies to the project locality.
In the event individuals reported as apprentices on a covered project have not been properly registered within the meaning of the regulations and the contract stipulations or are utilized at the job site in excess of the permitted apprentice to journeyworker ratio, they must be paid the applicable wage rates for laborers and mechanics employed on the project performing in the classification of work they actually performed. This applies regardless of work classifications that may be listed on the submitted payrolls and regardless of their level of skill.
A helper classification may be issued in a wage determination only where (a) the duties of the helper are clearly defined and distinct from those of any other classification on the wage determination, (b) the use of such helpers is an established prevailing practice in the area, and (c) the helper is not employed as a trainee in an informal training program. In addition, a “helper” classification will be added to a wage determination pursuant the conformance process only where, in addition, the work to be performed by the helper is not performed by a classification in the wage determination.
For projects that are covered by the Federal-Aid Highway Acts, 23 U.S.C. 113, apprentices and student trainees who are enrolled in programs certified by the Secretary of Transportation under that statute may work on Davis-Bacon projects as recognized categories of workers, at wage rates determined by the Secretary of Transportation in accordance with 23 U.S.C. sec. 113(c).
14. Are supervisory employees such as forepersons entitled to Davis-Bacon prevailing wages when they work on a DBRA-covered project?
The DBRA require the payment of prevailing wages to laborers and mechanics working on covered projects. The term “laborer or mechanic” includes at least those workers whose duties are manual or physical in nature, as distinguished from mental or managerial. The term does not apply to workers whose duties are primarily administrative, executive, or clerical, rather than manual. Persons employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity as defined in under the Fair Labor Standards Act at 29 CFR part 541 are not deemed to be laborers or mechanics. Forepersons who devote more than 20 percent of their time during a workweek to mechanic or laborer duties, and who do not meet the criteria of part 541, are laborers and mechanics for the time so spent and must be paid at least the appropriate prevailing wage rates specified in the wage determination for that time.
IV. Davis-Bacon Wage Surveys
15. What are Davis-Bacon wage surveys?
The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) require the payment of prevailing wages to laborers and mechanics employed on the site of the work of certain federal or federally assisted contracts for construction, alteration, or repair. For more information about the types of contracts covered by the DBRA, visit http://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/govcontracts/dbra. The Davis-Bacon Act requires the Secretary of Labor to determine the prevailing wage and fringe benefit rates in a given area, which are then incorporated into DBRA-covered contracts as minimum rates that must be paid to workers on those contracts. To determine such rates, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) obtains and compiles wage rate information through a voluntary survey program conducted in accordance with the DBRA’s implementing regulations.
The wage rate information collected through WHD surveys is used to publish “general” wage determinations. General wage determinations are published on the wage determinations website at https://sam.gov/content/home and reflect those rates determined by WHD to be prevailing in a specific geographic area, typically a county, for the type of construction described, i.e., building, residential, highway or heavy construction. If there is a general wage determination applicable to a DBRA-covered project, the contracting agency may incorporate the wage determination into the contract without consulting the Department of Labor.
16. Who does the Department of Labor contact during the survey?
An initial request is sent to interested parties to request subcontractor contact information through the use of the Davis-Bacon Wage Survey Subcontractor Contact Information (WD-10a) form. The contact information obtained will be compiled and used for notification when the survey begins.
A survey participation letter is mailed to all general/prime contractors and subcontractors that are identified through this review. This letter includes information regarding the parameters of the survey as well as WHD contact information. The letter also requests that the identified general/prime contractor or subcontractor provide responsive wage rate information in its possession for work performed on projects within the survey parameters.
If after four weeks a response has not been received from all identified general/prime contractors and subcontractors, reminder emails will be sent out. After six weeks a follow-up telephone call may be made. If it is not practical to telephone each non-respondent, a random sample of follow-up telephone calls may be conducted.
Letters announcing a survey are also sent to congressional representatives, contractor trade associations, and unions at both the local and national levels to advise them of the survey and solicit their cooperation in publicizing the survey and/or furnishing payment data. Federal, state, and local government agencies also are notified. These letters contain information regarding the type of construction being surveyed, the area being surveyed, the survey time frame, and the cut-off date for data submission. These letters also ask recipients to encourage contractors to respond to the survey.
Contractors identified by any source, including in response to the initial notification, are asked to provide wage information.
If you are not notified of a survey but have relevant wage data, contact the Branch of Wage Surveys Team, listed here for your geographical area of interest, and request that you be informed of surveys in your geographic area.
17. Why should I participate?
Survey results are based solely on the information received during the course of a voluntary survey. Your participation is crucial to the process. Higher levels of participation can contribute to the publication of accurate prevailing wage rates. When WHD receives insufficient wage data for a particular county, WHD may be required to consider wage data from projects in surrounding counties or even counties across the entire state to determine a prevailing wage rate, or WHD may be required to omit classifications from the published wage determination. Omitting classifications on wage determinations may increase the number of conformances necessary on DBRA-covered construction projects. Your participation makes a difference.
18. Do I have to receive a letter to participate in the survey?
You do not need to receive notification from WHD to participate in the survey. All interested parties, including all contractors who worked on construction projects within the survey parameters in the areas being surveyed, are encouraged to participate. If you do not receive a letter, you can fill out WD-10s electronically at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/government-contracts/construction/surveys/status. You can also download the form at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/programs/dbra/wd-10.
19. Does the Wage and Hour Division use data collected during the survey process to target enforcement activity?
No. Data collected during the survey process is used for survey purposes only. It is not used to target enforcement activity.
20. If I do not work on federally funded construction projects, should I participate in the survey process?
Yes. Contractors that do not work on DBRA construction projects should still participate in the survey process, and any usable data they submit within the survey parameters will be used in establishing prevailing wage and fringe benefit rates. Wage surveys are contractors’ or interested parties’ chance to help ensure that the rates WHD publishes most accurately reflect the prevailing wage rates in the area.
21. Is my response limited to a certain number of projects?
No. Our notification letter encourages you to submit data for projects you have worked on, or for which you otherwise possess wage data, within the survey parameters. You are encouraged to submit data for ALL construction projects that fall with the parameters of the survey.
22. Is WHD only collecting data on federally funded construction projects?
No. WHD collects data on all construction projects within the survey parameters when conducting a wage survey. This includes privately funded, state funded, locally funded and federally funded construction projects.
All wage data within the survey parameters, whether a construction project is federally funded, state funded, locally funded, or privately funded, is requested.
23. How are prevailing wage rates calculated?
The following basic rules apply to calculation of prevailing wage rates with respect to wage surveys for which data collection is completed after the effective date of the DBRA final rule:
Basic hourly rate. The prevailing wage is the wage paid to the majority (greater than 50 percent) of the workers in the classification on similar projects in the area during the relevant period. if the same wage is not paid to a majority of those employed in the classification, the prevailing wage will be the wage paid to the greatest number, provided that such greatest number constitutes at least 30 percent of those employed. If the same wage is not paid to 30 percent or more of workers in the classification, then the weighted average wage rate is used. See 29 C.F.R. § 1.2(a)(1).
Fringe benefit rate. If more than 50 percent of the workers in a single classification are paid any fringe benefits, then fringe benefits prevail. In determining the amount of prevailing fringe benefits, WHD follows the same rules set forth above with respect to calculation of prevailing hourly wage rates, i.e., the prevailing fringe benefit rate is the rate paid to the majority (greater than 50 percent) of the workers in the classification who received at least some fringe benefits on similar projects in the area during the relevant period. If the same fringe benefit rate is not paid to a majority of such workers, then the prevailing fringe benefit will be the rate paid to the greatest number of those who received fringe benefits, provided that such greatest number is at least 30 percent. If the same fringe benefit is not paid to 30 percent of such workers, then the prevailing rate is the weighted average fringe benefit rate for workers who received fringe benefits. See 29 C.F.R. § 1.2.
24. I am the owner of the construction project. How can I participate in the Davis-Bacon wage survey?
You may provide WHD with the name and contact information of the general or prime contractor and/or subcontractors that worked on the project so that WHD may contact these contractors directly about participating in the survey. This information should be provided as early in the survey process as possible. Information can be submitted on Davis-Bacon Wage Survey Subcontractor Contact Information Form WD-10a or email to DavisBaconInfo@dol.gov.
25. I am a prime/general contractor and I subcontract for all of the project work. How can I participate in the Davis-Bacon wage survey?
You may provide a list of your subcontractors, including their contact information, for each of your projects so that WHD may contact the subcontractors directly about participating in the survey. This list should be provided as early in the survey process as possible and can be submitted on Davis-Bacon Wage Survey Subcontractor Contact Information Form WD-10a or emailed to DavisBaconInfo@dol.gov.
26. In order to submit wage data for a survey, must the underlying work have been performed within the construction time frame?
No. The construction time frame is the period in which the project must have been active. A project must have been active and ongoing for at least one day during the construction time frame to be considered.
The work performed by a contractor does not need to have occurred during the construction time frame as long as some portion the project was active during the construction time frame. However, the data submitted must reflect work already performed before the data submission cut-off date.
27. I have a large number of workers. Can I average my wage rates?
WHD may not accept average wage rates as these would skew the results of the wage survey calculations. You should report the individual wage rate and fringe benefit for each of your workers. (See example below)
1 @ $17.00
1 @ $17.50 plus $26.00 weekly health insurance
2 @ $ 18.50
1 @ $18.30
28. Do I report forepersons and/or apprentices?
You should report any foreperson who is performing manual labor on the project more than 20 percent of the time in a workweek. Forepersons who do not spend more than 20 percent of their time performing manual labor on the site of the work in a workweek do not need to be reported for that workweek. Those employees in a bona fide apprenticeship program also do not need to be reported for the survey. WHD does not issue wage rates for forepersons or apprentices.
29. In responding to a Davis-Bacon wage survey, what should I consider as fringe benefits?
Fringe benefits are:
- The rate of contributions irrevocably made by a contractor or subcontractor to a trustee or third party pursuant to a bona fide fringe benefit fund, plan, or program.
- The rate of costs incurred by a contractor or subcontractor that may be reasonably anticipated in providing bona fide fringe benefits to laborers and mechanics, pursuant to an enforceable commitment to carry out a financially responsible plan or program that was communicated to the workers in writing.
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Sick leave
- Other “bona fide” fringe benefits
Payments required by federal, state or local law do not count as fringe benefit contributions for the purpose of calculating Davis-Bacon prevailing fringe benefit rates. For example, payments required to fund Social Security, unemployment compensation and workers’ compensation programs, as required by law, should not be included in Davis-Bacon fringe benefit calculations.
30. How should wage data be reported for operating engineers on the WD-10 Form?
Data for operating engineers needs to be reported by piece of equipment used on the project, e.g., Backhoe Operator, Bulldozer Operator, Loader Operator, etc. You should report the number of workers operating each piece of equipment on the project and the wage rate paid to each worker. If additional details regarding the type of equipment need to be reported, it can be included in “Additional Remarks.” (See examples below).
Labor Classification Number
Labor Classification Name
Hourly Wage Rate Paid
# of workers performing on this project at this wage rate
Power Equipment Operator
Backhoe/ Loader Combo
Power Equipment Operator
Backhoe/ Loader Combo
Power Equipment Operator
Power Equipment Operator
Loader/Front end loader
31. How should wage data be reported for laborers on the WD-10 Form?
Data for laborers needs to be reported by type of work performed on the project, e.g., pipe layers, cement mason tender, general labor, etc. You should report the number of workers performing each type of work on the project and the wage rate paid to each worker. (See example below)
Labor Classification Number
Labor Classification Name
Hourly Wage Rate Paid
# of workers performing on this project at this wage rate
Cement Mason/ Concrete Finisher
32. How should wage data be reported if multiple subclassification work was performed?
Multiple subclassifications can be reported on the same wage line, provided that the same number of workers worked in each sub-classification and were also paid the same hourly rate and fringe benefit. If a worker was paid a different rate than the others working in that subclassification, they should be reported on a different wage line. If a worker only worked in one subclassification and the rest of the worker(s) on the project worked in multiple subclassifications, the worker working in one sub-classification should be reported on a different line than that worker(s) who worked in multiple sub-classifications.
Labor Classification Number
Labor Classification Name
Hourly Wage Rate Paid
# of workers performing on this project at this wage rate
Framing, Interior Systems
33. When do I report wage data under a sub-classification listed on the WD-10 form?
A labor classification should always be selected first. The labor classification is intended to cover all work performed by that classification. A sub-classification(s) is selected when only the work of the sub-classification(s) was performed.
34. What types of clarification and analysis are done on the data submitted?
Craft clarification involves determining the nature of work performed by various occupational classifications reported in an area, particularly for crafts that may perform a number of tasks, e.g., laborers, truck drivers, and equipment operators.
Project and construction type clarification verifies that projects meet the survey criteria. In particular, the project construction type must be verified and projects involving multiple types of construction must be reviewed carefully.
Rate and fringe benefit clarification resolves any questions regarding the rate paid to the reported workers. Only bona fide fringe benefits may be used in the survey. Fringe benefits do not include benefits required by federal, state or local law.
The Administrator may treat variable wage rates paid by a contractor or contractors to workers within the same classification as the same wage where the pay rates are functionally equivalent, as explained by one or more collective bargaining agreements or written policies otherwise maintained by a contractor or contractors.
Area practice determinations resolve questions as to the proper classification of the work performed by a laborer or mechanic, or the proper type of construction (building, heavy, highway or residential). In a wage survey, “area practice” refers to the predominant classification of worker that performs a particular kind of construction work within the geographic boundaries of the survey.
35. Does WHD verify the data submitted?
Third-Party Data Verification. The third-party data is data submitted for use in a wage survey by anyone other than a holder of payrolls. A “holder of payrolls” may include a construction company owner or a government entity enforcing/administering a DBRA contract. Third-party submissions are separated by type of submitter (e.g., union, association, etc.) and by usability because only usable WD-10s should be included in the sample. WHD reviews a random sample of the submissions from each type of submitter and verifies the data submitted by those selected.
Contractor Data Verification Procedures. For each survey at completion, five percent or at least five WD-10s (whichever is greater) of data collection forms submitted by contractors should be randomly selected for verification. Each selected form must be from a different contractor.
V. Appeal Process
36. If it is believed that the rates on a wage determination are not accurate, can the wage determination be appealed?
Yes, as and under the circumstances summarized below. Any interested person requesting reconsideration of a wage determination or of a ruling regarding application of a wage determination to a specific construction project should present their request in writing, accompanied by a full statement of the interested party’s views and any supporting data or other pertinent information, to the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. Requests must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Administrator should respond within 30 days or notify the requestor within this time frame that additional time is needed.
An "interested person" is considered to include, without limitation:
(1) Any contractor, or an association representing a contractor, who is likely to seek or to work under a contract containing a particular wage determination, or any laborer or mechanic, or any labor organization which represents a laborer or mechanic, who is likely to be employed or to seek employment under a contract containing a particular wage determination, and,
(2) Any federal, state, or local agency concerned with the administration of a proposed contract or contract containing a particular wage determination issued pursuant to the Davis-Bacon Act or any of its related statutes.
If reconsideration of a wage determination has been sought and denied, an appeal for review of the wage determination or its application may be filed with the Administrative Review Board, U.S. Department of Labor, Room S-4309, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Requests for review of a wage determination in connection with a specific contract must be filed, and any new wage determination resulting from the appeal must be issued, before contract award or start of construction where there is no award (or under the National Housing Act, before the date of initial endorsement, or the beginning of construction, whichever occurs first; or under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, before the date of the housing assistance payments agreement, or the beginning of construction, whichever occurs first).
The Wage Appeals Board (now the Administrative Review Board) was established by the Secretary of Labor in 1963 to decide, at its discretion, appeals concerning questions of fact and law related to final decisions of the Wage and Hour Division concerning:
Controversies over the payment of prevailing wage rates, overtime pay, or proper classifications;
Wage determinations issued under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts;
Debarment cases arising under 29 CFR Part 5;
Cases involving the assessment of liquidated damages under the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act;
The members of the Administrative Review Board are appointed by the Secretary of Labor and decisions of the Board shall be by majority vote. The Board can act as fully and finally as the Secretary of Labor concerning the matters within its jurisdiction, except that ARB orders are subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 or any successor to that order. The rules prescribed in 29 CFR, Part 7, "Practice Before Wage Appeals Board", govern the proceedings of the Board.
VI. Contracting Agency Responsibilities
37. How do workers on a construction site know that a project is covered by the Davis-Bacon Act? How do they know the prevailing wage to which they are entitled?
The wage determination (including any additional classifications and wage rates conformed) and a Davis-Bacon poster (WH-1321) must be posted at all times by the contractor and its subcontractors at the site of the work in a prominent and accessible place where it can be easily seen. The WH-1321 poster may be obtained at no charge from offices of the Wage and Hour Division. In the absence of such posted information, any person who wants to determine if the project is covered should contact the federal agency that is funding or assisting the project or the Wage and Hour Division.
38. What is the obligation of the contracting officer/federal agency representative when the wage determination(s) applicable to a construction project contains multiple wage schedules (for different counties and/or types of construction)?
It is the responsibility of the contracting officer/federal agency representative to advise contractors which schedule of prevailing wages must be applied to the various construction items in the bid specifications and ensuing contract. Because of the complexities in the application of multiple schedules, the contracting officer should consult with the Wage and Hour Division to resolve any questions.
39. The wage determination applicable to my project does not contain a class of workers which is needed to complete construction. Can other worker classification(s) and wage rate(s) be approved for use on the project?
1. Prior to bid opening, if the only classification that will perform work on a contract is not listed on a general wage determination for the type of construction in the area, the contracting/assisting agency may submit an SF-308 request for a project wage determination for application to that project. In order to ensure special treatment of a request where this circumstance exists, a note explaining the special circumstances should be made in the project description block of the SF-308. Example:
An upcoming contract calls for repainting all the residences at a military base, and there is no painter classification in the general wage schedule issued for residential construction in the county where the project is located. An SF-308 may be submitted by the agency for application to that contract, and a project wage determination will be issued with a painter classification and wage rate for use prior to bid opening (or the relevant applicable date where certain assistance programs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are the basis for coverage under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts). If there is no general wage determination issued for that area and type of construction, the same procedure should be followed.
2. If a general wage determination applies to the contract, but, the wage determination that was incorporated into the contract does not contain a classification of workers that is needed to complete the construction, the contractor must submit to the contracting officer a request for the addition of the needed classification(s), together with proposed wage rates and fringe benefits that bear a reasonable relationship to the wage determination. This is called a “conformance” request.
The contracting officer must require that any class of laborers or mechanics which is not listed in the wage determination, and which is to be employed under the contract, be classified in conformance with the wage determination. A conformance request must be submitted to the Wage and Hour Division and is not valid unless the Wage and Hour Division has approved it. Approval of the conformance request requires that the following criteria have been met:
- The work to be performed by the classification requested is not performed by a classification in the wage determination; and
- The classification is used in the area by the construction industry; and
- The proposed wage rate, including any bona fide fringe benefits, bears a reasonable relationship to the wage rates contained in the wage determination.
The request should not include wage rates for apprentices.
All conformance requests should be responded to in writing within 30 days of receipt by WHD. These responses either approve or deny the request or inform the submitting agency that additional time will be required. Failure to receive a response does not constitute approval. If a response is not received, the Wage and Hour Division should be contacted directly. Every conformance request is analyzed to verify that the criteria for approval are met.
Any interested person requesting reconsideration of a conformance should present their request in writing accompanied by supporting data or other pertinent information to the Wage and Hour Division or send information via email to DBABCWDappeal@dol.gov The Wage and Hour Division should respond within 30 days or notify the requester within this time frame that additional time is needed.
40. After a conformance is approved does the general wage determination get updated to include the newly approved conformed classification and rate?
No. A conformance is the process by which a new classification and wage rate can be added to an existing wage determination applicable to a specific contract subject to DBA wage rates. Because a conformance decision applies only to the specific contract for which the conformance was requested, the general wage determination on sam.gov is not updated to reflect the conformed classification and rate.
However, wage determinations may contain, pursuant to § 1.3(f), wage and fringe benefit rates for classifications of laborers and mechanics for which conformance requests are regularly submitted pursuant to 29 CFR 5.5(a)(1)(iii), provided that:
- The work performed by the classification is not performed by a classification in the wage determination for which a prevailing wage rate has been determined;
- The classification is used in the area by the construction industry; and
- The wage rate for the classification bears a reasonable relationship to the prevailing wage rates contained in the wage determination.
Frequently occurring classifications added to a general wage determination available on sam.gov pursuant to 1.3(f) and 5.5(a)(1)(ii)(A) will be identified on the wage determination with a different identifier than classifications and rates resulting from a survey.
If your question has not been addressed sufficiently in either FAQ, please submit your DBRA related question using the WHD Contact Us Form.