What’s the Difference Between Davis-Bacon and Prevailing Wages? Answers from Your Local Commercial Electrician in Oakdale, CA

December 29, 2017 9:42 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

For those outside of contractor industries (and even some within), these topics may be unfamiliar or confusing. As wage laws continue to change, it is important to have a solid understanding of these terms. Following is an educational FAQ from your local commercial electrician in Oakdale, CA.

Who is Davis Bacon?

This is actually a trick question. There is no “Davis Bacon.” The Davis-Bacon Act is named after its sponsors, James J. Davis and Robert L. Bacon. Davis was a senator from Pennsylvania and served as Secretary of Labor under three presidents. Bacon was a representative from Long Island, New York.

What is the Davis-Bacon Act?

Congress passed this act and President Herbert Hoover signed it into law on March 3, 1931. It establishes a minimum payment on public works projects for laborers and mechanics. It prevents undermining of local wages and living standards by government-funded projects. “Little Davis-Bacon Acts” also exist in 32 states. These laws apply to state-funded construction projects.

What are prevailing wages?

A prevailing wage is the hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime earned by the majority of workers within a specific area. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for determining the prevailing wage for each location. The DOL collects wage data in each county and publishes the prevailing wage rates online.

Why are prevailing wage laws important?

Pieces of legislation like the Davis-Bacon Act ensure that contractors who bid on public construction projects will pay prevailing wages to their employees. This ensures their pay is sufficient for family support. The laws also safeguard that federally- and state-funded projects are built to high standards. They utilize skilled, safe and well-trained commercial electricians in Oakdale, CA. The result is fairly-paid workers and quality construction projects that stand the test of time.

Are there any disadvantages to Davis-Bacon laws?

Some argue that Davis-Bacon laws increase taxpayer costs. However, research has proven this is not true. When employers oppose the use of a prevailing wage, they are motivated by a desire to increase profits. The goal is to cut employee paychecks and pocket the savings. Therefore, taxpayers never see any savings from a reduction in wages.

If anything, an absence of Davis-Bacon laws lowers standards and costs taxpayers more. Projects take longer to finish, require more repairs and demand additional maintenance down the line.

How do workers know if a project is covered by the Davis-Bacon Act?

Federally funded projects fall under the Davis-Bacon Act. The prevailing wage for these projects must be posted at all times at the work site. It must be displayed prominently in a location where it can be seen by employees. Anyone who wants information on the project’s qualification can also contact the federal agency that is funding or assisting the project.

Stay in the Know

Various lobbying groups are in constant battle to maintain, change or repeal these labor laws. If you are a commercial electrician in Oakdale, CA or are in a position to hire one, it is essential to remain up-to-date on these issues. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact the professional electricians at Wilkinson Electric Inc.

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