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Avoiding Davis-Bacon Act violations

It’s a sore point for many in the construction industry, but violations of the Davis-Bacon Act are serious business.

Sanctions can be onerous.

The law requires federal contractors to pay prevailing wages for work performed on those contracts. Workers who work more than 40 hours per week must be paid overtime on federally funded contracts as well.

The point of the Davis-Bacon Act was to outlaw wage exploitation, since public contracts go to the lowest bidder. Critics insist the law is outdated and forces governments to pay more than is necessary for public projects.

Either way, despite the fact that Davis-Bacon has been in effect for decades, violations still occur regularly.

The government doesn’t take any of this lightly.

For example, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced it will deduct unpaid wages and benefits from future government payments to Lettire Construction Corp. to settle violations of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, as well as the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.

The company and its owner were held liable for the violations — and those of subcontractors — on affordable housing programs in East Harlem, initiated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

A DOL investigation, which included work-site surveillance, revealed that Lettire and its subcontractors failed to properly pay workers who worked more than 60 hours per week. 

Other violations included contractors failing to pay required prevailing wages and overtime, providing inaccurate or falsified payroll records to the government, failing to keep accurate records of hours employees worked and improperly classifying employees who performed work on the projects, resulting in the underpayment of wages and fringe benefits.

The DOL withheld government funding of the construction project to pay the back wages.

Apprentice Personnel can help protect you from this sort of occurance. We are certified by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. This means we can handle your Davis-Bacon payroll. 

America is getting back to work. The last thing your business needs is this sort of violation on its books, especially just as the economy is delivering the sort of jobs that allow us all to beef up our payrolls. 

About the Author


Lon Matejczyk

Lon is the former publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group.He has served in leadership roles at various newspapers in Iowa, Florida and Wisconsin. Lon received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Earlier in his career, Lon spent several years as a sea captain and held a 100-ton Coast Guard license. Lon is a former rugby player, referee and administrator and now coaches under 13 year old kids. Lon has served on the boards of numerous community and business organizations including Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, Peak Venture Group, CS Quality of Life Indicators Business Index Committee, Junior Achievement and is a member of The Colorado Thirty Group.  Lon was given the “Making the Pikes Peak region a better place to live work and play” award by the CS Chamber of Commerce, was the VFW Post 1’s business citizen of the year.

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