AGC Recommends Improvements for Davis-Bacon Wage Survey Process
In response to a request for comments from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, on Dec. 19, AGC notified the agency that improvements are needed to the way it collects wage data from construction contractors. The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for setting the prevailing wage rate for federal and federally assisted construction projects covered by the Davis-Bacon Act and currently uses wage surveys to collect wage data from contractors. The agency’s request for comments is a required part of the regulatory process as the agency seeks to extend the use of its current wage survey form (Form WD-10), which expires in 2017.
In its comments, AGC expressed that it understands the difficulty involved with getting contractors to voluntarily submit wage data to the government – particularly to the same agency that is authorized to take enforcement action against them. Additionally, AGC explained that the twenty-minute time estimate to accurately complete the survey is grossly underestimated, particularly when there are multiple classifications, sub-classifications, and fringe benefits to include. To ease the burden of submitting such data, help the agency fulfill its need to collect wage data to set prevailing wage rates, and improve the wage collection process overall, AGC made the following recommendations:
- WHD should consider using third-party wage survey specialists with specific knowledge of the construction industry that already collect wage data from construction contractors;
- WHD should collect construction contractor wage data more frequently to more accurately reflect the current conditions of the market (currently, the maximum is once every three years);
- WHD must ensure that wages are solicited and incorporated by both public and private contractors to reflect the totality of the market; and
- WHD should allow the adoption of state prevailing wage rates when the method for setting such wages meets WHD’s requirements.
To learn more about how the WHD determines Davis-Bacon prevailing wages and how contractors can influence those wages, read AGC’s whitepaper, Impacting Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations: A Guide for Contributing to the Accuracy of Published Prevailing Wage Rates in Construction.
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