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Wage and Hour Division
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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Compliance Assistance - Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA)


The Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA), as amended, establishes minimum wage, maximum hours, and safety and health standards for work on contracts in excess of $15,000 for the manufacturing or furnishing of materials, supplies, articles, or equipment to the U.S. government or the District of Columbia. All provisions of the PCA are administered by the Wage and Hour Division except the safety and health requirements, which are administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The PCA does not apply to certain contracts, including the following:

  • Certain “open market” purchases;
  • Purchases of perishables;
  • Certain agricultural purchases;
  • Contracts for public utility services and certain transportation and communication services;
  • Supplies manufactured or furnished outside the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) or the Virgin Islands;
  • Contracts administratively exempted by the Secretary of Labor in special circumstances.

Covered workers must be paid not less that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) federal minimum wage and overtime pay of at least one and one-half times the worker’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.

The contractor must display copies of the Service Contract Act/Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act Poster during the period that covered work is being performed on the contract.


Fact Sheets

Workplace Posters

Interpretive Guidance

  • Field Operations Handbook
    • Chapter 13 — Coverage of the Public Contracts Act (PDF)

Applicable Laws and Regulations

Civil Money Penalty Inflation Adjustments

Starting in 2016, agencies across the federal government must adjust their penalties for inflation each year. Below is a table that reflects the adjustments that have occurred for penalties under this statute. For more information on the penalty adjustments, go here.

Type of Violation Statutory Citation CFR Citation Maximum Civil Monetary Penalty on or before 1/23/2019 Maximum Civil Monetary Penalty on or after 1/24/2019
Knowing employment of persons under 16 years of age or labor by incarcerated persons in the performance of the contract. 41 USC 6503(b) 41 CFR 50-201.3(e) $26 $27