Government Contracts - Labor

Government Contracts - Labor

Tristate Government Contract Employment Attorney

Why Employers Need a Government Contract Employment Attorney

Government contracts are subject to regulations regarding wages and overtime, record-keeping and reporting, and discrimination and affirmative action that do not apply to other employers. Employers in Huntington and the tristate area of West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), and Ohio (OH) seeking to bid or work on government contract jobs benefit from working with a tristate government contract attorney for information and compliance for assistance in understanding and complying with these regulations.

Keeping Employee Wages Compliant with the Davis-Bacon Act

Contractors on federally-funded and federally-assisted construction projects are required to comply with the Davis-Bacon Act, which equalizes wages for construction workers with the prevailing wages in the local area. Enacted in 1931, the act was designed to protect employee wages while allowing bidders on government contracts, whether local or distant, to have an equal starting point for labor costs. The act applies to contracts in excess of $2,000.  

Davis-Bacon Act compliance requires employers to maintain somewhat detailed records of employees’ hours and wages and requires employers to submit payroll reports to the federal government.

Employers who fail to pay employees prevailing wages as required may be subject to Davis-Bacon Act penalties, including being barred from federal contracts for up to three years. Needless to say, falsifying any required records or reports or taking wage kickbacks may subject an employer to civil or criminal prosecution and potential imprisonment.

For federal or federally-assisted construction contracts exceeding $150,000, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act requires that all workers, including guards and watchpersons, be paid overtime pay of one and one-half the employee’s usual hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week.
Contractors and subcontractors with supply contracts exceeding $2,500 with the federal government must comply with the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act. Similar to the Davis-Bacon Act, this act sets the minimum hourly wage based on the prevailing wage in the locality or on rates in a predecessor contract. 

Prevailing Wages for Federal Service and Supply Contracts

Wages paid under federal supply contracts for more than $15,000 are governed by the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act. This act goes beyond setting minimum wages, also setting maximum hours and health and safety standards for workers on applicable projects.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to employees in the private and government sectors. FLSA compliance requires employers to be familiar with the act in a variety of areas:
Working with an FLSA attorney in WV, KY, or OH can help you understand and remain compliant with broad requirements of the act.

Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Executive Order 13658 in Government Contracts

  • Minimum wage;
  • Overtime pay; 
  • Hours worked; 
  • Breaks and meals; and 
  • Youth employment. 

Executive Order 13658, signed in 2014, required a minimum wage of $10.10 hourly for covered federal government contracts beginning in 2015. Beginning January 1, 2019, the minimum wage was raised to $10.60 per hour. 

Federal contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, national origin, color, disability religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran. These requirements are enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, where employees can file complaints.

Discrimination and DOL Affirmative Action Matters

Federal service and supply contractors (non-construction) with 50 or more employees and a contract of $50,000 or more are required to develop an affirmative action program. The requirements for these programs are detailed and statistical. They also require employers to develop an organizational profile and a workforce analysis, determine labor availability, make routine comparisons of the workforce with available labor, and report findings and conclusions. 

Before celebrating winning that government contract—or even bidding on it—make sure your company understands the federal requirements. Employers in WV, KY, or Ohio can contact a tristate government contract employment attorney at Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC using their online contact form or by calling (304) 523-2100 or (866) 617-4736 toll-free.