Davis-Bacon Act (Federal Prevailing Wage)

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced its decision to once again issue Opinion Letters, Ruling Letters, Administrator Interpretations and Field Assistance Bulletins.  They will be published on the DOL website here, along with past opinions (pre-2009).  Interpretations by the DOL Administrator that interpret the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Davis-Bacon Act

Band Aid ClockA year after President Obama’s executive order establishing paid sick leave for federal contractors, the DOL has finally published its final rule, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, at 29 CFR Part 13. For those of you not wanting to read all 466 pages of the Final Rule, I’ll try to summarize the

ConstructionEach month I receive in my inbox the City of Minneapolis’ Compliance Monthly – a newsletter that the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights Contract Compliance Divisions publishes. Often, as it does in the September 2016 edition, it toots its own horn about how many contractors they have “held accountable”, and how much they have collected

Construction progress of the U.S. Bank Stadium (new Minnesota Vikings stadium), as seen from the Haaf Ramp in Downtown East, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 3 December 2015.

The Minneapolis City Council significantly amended its Prevailing Wage Ordinance today.  The revised ordinance will go into effect following publication (generally 8 days after the approval of the revisions).  Accordingly, the revisions will likely be finalized before July 1, 2016. The revisions provide individuals with a private right of action for violations (they can sue

MinneapolisMinneapolis recently “reaffirmed” its commitment to the 2015 Minnesota Responsible Contractor Act, Minn. Stat. 16C.285, and enacted additional factors and implementation procedures when determining whether a contractor is “responsible” for purposes of being awarded public construction projects.  Are you a responsible contractor?  If you are a contractor doing business with the State of Minnesota

Minneapolis panoramaOn January 15, 2016, the Minneapolis City Council first introduced proposed revisions to the Minneapolis Prevailing Wage Ordinance.  The initial draft was revised on April 13, 2016, and on May 27, 2016, the City Council referred the proposed ordinance to the Ways and Means Committee.  So, what’s in store for Minnesota public works contractors? Not

CementA few weeks ago I got to toot our horn about the J.D. Donovan case, whereby the Minnesota Supreme Court held that transportation of supplies to non-work sites is not “work under the contract” pursuant to Minn. R. 5200.1106, and thus not subject to the Minnesota Prevailing Wage Act (MnPWA), Minn. Stat. 177.41-.44.  Unfortunately, it took the Minnesota Supreme Court to determine whether the MnPWA applied to a Minnesota Department of Transportation project – overruling the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  If those learned judges were unable to determine properly whether work was covered, what about the rest of us?!  Unfortunately, the MnPWA and related rules are not as clear as they could be, leading up to cases such as J.D. Donovan v. Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Generally, the prevailing wage is the hourly rate plus fringe benefits, required by law to be paid for each trade or occupation while performing work on qualifying federal, state, or local municipality-funded construction projects.  The federal Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) and each state (often called “Little Davis-Bacon Acts”) may (and often do) define “prevailing wage” and “covered work” differently.  Thus, even if you are not a Minnesota contractor – if you are doing work in Minnesota, you should take care to understand the MnPWA and how it differs from either the DBA or your usual state prevailing wage statue.

What is the Minnesota Prevailing Wage?

Under the MnPWA, the prevailing wage is the hourly basic rate of pay plus the employer’s contribution/cost for fringe benefits (medical or hospital care, pensions on retirement or death, life insurance, disability and sickness insurance, or accident insurance, for vacation and holiday pay, for defraying the costs of apprenticeship or other similar programs, or for other bona fide fringe benefits—but only where the contractor or subcontractor is not required by other federal, state, or local law to provide any of those benefits).  Whether something is a “fringe benefit” is another big issue – one for another post.  The prevailing wage rates for a project should be listed on the determination included with the bidding documents.  What if the bidding documents are missing the rates, or you want to verify?  The current commercial wage rates can be found here. The highway/heavy prevailing wage rates may be found here. Unlike some other state prevailing wage acts, Minnesota’s prevailing wage rates do not change throughout the project (with some extremely limited exceptions such as a correction).

When Does the MnPWA Apply to a Project?

The MnPWA applies to “laborers, workers and mechanics” that erect, construct, remodel, or repair public buildings or other public works, financed in whole or part by state funds.  
Continue Reading

logo-markOn Wednesday, April 27, 2016, Seaton, Peters & Revnew will be hosting its 11th Annual Upper Midwest Labor Law Forum from 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m at the Doubletree – Bloomington – Minneapolis South (yes, same place the DOL’s prevailing wage seminar is taking place in May).  We anticipate another great turnout and hope you can make it!  It has been approved for Minnesota and Iowa CLE credits as well as HRCI credits.  The agenda is below…notably, yours truly will be presenting the Hot Topics in Employment Law session (and do my best to keep everyone awake after lunch).

If you are interested in attending you can find more information and how to sign up here.

PROGRAM AGENDA:


Continue Reading

USDOL_Seal_circa_blue_2015The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is coming to town!  Oh my!  On May 3 – 5, 2016, the DOL WHD will be presenting its traveling three-day Prevailing Wage Seminar compliance training program just around the corner from our office at the Doubletree, Bloomington – Minneapolis South, 7800 Metro Blvd., Bloomington, MN 55439.