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Construction Contractors and the New Davis-Bacon Act Rule: Increased Costs, Heavy Regulatory Burden

Costly Prevailing Wages and Fringe Benefits, Retroactive Application, Greater Liability Risk, Enhanced Recordkeeping Requirements

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will discuss the recently released Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations (DBRA) final rule effective Oct. 23, 2023, and the significant revisions affecting most federal and federally assisted construction contracts. The new rule will impose significant regulatory burdens and costs on construction contractors by potentially increasing wages for hundreds of thousands of construction workers. The panel will address what is required of construction contractors under the new rule and provide best practices for compliance.


The DOL recently issued a long-anticipated final rule, effective Oct. 23, 2023, making significant changes to the DBRA that will complicate compliance for federal construction contractors; likely raise wages and costs related to contract performance; and shift more risk and regulatory burden to the contractors. The DBRA applies to the majority of federal and federally assisted construction contracts and requires the payment of locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits to construction workers performing work under these contracts.

Among its more significant changes, the new rule redefines "prevailing wages" and how these are calculated so that it may potentially increase wages for hundreds of thousands of construction workers. Other noteworthy changes include application by operation of law so that the DOL may decide that a contract was incorrectly deemed not to have been covered under the DBRA from the beginning, causing retroactive application, so that contractors and sub-contractors have instant backpay obligations and increased costs moving forward. The rule also allows for contractors to be held responsible for subcontractors' DBRA violations and adopts additional recordkeeping requirements.

Construction counsel should be aware of these sweeping revisions and how they will likely impact their clients moving forward.

Listen as our expert panel discusses the new rule in detail, including how counsel may help their clients determine prevailing wages and fringe benefits, the increased risk of liability for their construction clients, and the danger of retroactive application that could result in backpay obligations and increased costs. The panel will also provide counsel with best practices for compliance.



  1. Overview of Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations
  2. Revisions to DBRA
    1. Definitions affecting construction contractors
    2. Expanded covered site of work
    3. Contractors liable for subcontractors' DBRA violations
    4. Determining prevailing wages
      1. 30 percent rule
      2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Cost Index
      3. Frequency of wage updates
      4. Prevailing state and local wage rates
      5. Use of metropolitan and rural wage rates
      6. Geographic scope of wage determination
    5. Fringe benefit annualization
    6. Administrative cost restrictions
    7. Enhanced recordkeeping requirements
    8. Anti-retaliation provision and worker remedies
    9. Operation of law without notice
  3. Best practices for compliance


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How are prevailing wages and fringe benefits to be determined?
  • How frequently will prevailing wages need to be adjusted?
  • How may the application of the new rule by operation of law affect existing and future contracts and with what effect on contractors?
  • Under what circumstances may a contractor be held liable for a subcontractor's DBRA violations?


Leonard, Eric
Eric W. Leonard

Wiley Rein

Mr. Leonard represents clients on all aspects of federal, state, and local procurement matters, including government...  |  Read More

Nash, Sarah
Sarah Nash

Partner, Chair Labor & Employment Group

Ms. Nash serves as Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Group, one of the few legal practices in the...  |  Read More

Taylor, Timothy
Timothy Taylor

Holland & Knight

Mr. Taylor represents employers, companies and individuals in high-stakes litigation, investigations and compliance...  |  Read More

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