Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Frequently Asked Questions
Can apprentices, trainees, 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:
(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, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, or with a State Apprenticeship Agency recognized by the Bureau,
(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.
Trainees employed must be persons registered in a construction occupation under a program which has been approved in advance by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, as meeting its standards for on-the-job training programs and which have been so certified by that Administration.
Information on wage rates paid to apprentices and trainees is not reflected in Davis-Bacon wage determinations. Similarly, their addition through the additional classification procedure (conformance) is neither necessary nor appropriate. On projects funded by the Federal-Aid Highway Act, apprentices and trainees certified by the Secretary of Transportation are not covered by Davis-Bacon labor standards.
The proper wage rates to be paid to apprentices and trainees are those specified by the particular programs in which they are enrolled, expressed as a percentage of the journeyman rate on the wage determination. In the event employees reported as apprentices or trainees 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 ratio to journeymen permitted under the approved program, 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 which may be listed on the submitted payrolls and regardless of their level of skill.
Helper classifications may be issued in or added to a wage determination only where the (a) the duties of the helpers are clearly defined and distinct from those of the journeyman classification and from the laborer, (b) the use of such helpers is an established prevailing practice in the area, and (c) the term "helper" is not synonymous with "trainee" in an informal training program.