Real Estate Law

Davis-Bacon Act: Certified Payroll Reporting

By Katharina Brekke Powers

The Davis-Bacon Act (the "Act") requires payment of "prevailing wages."  See 40 USC Section 3142(c).  The minimum wages to be paid are those that the Secretary of Labor determines to be prevailing for the corresponding classes of laborers and mechanics employed on projects of a character similar to the contract work in the locality where the work is to be performed.  The Act requires that each contract above $2,000.00 "to which the Federal Government or the District of Columbia is a party, for construction, alteration or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings and public works... shall contain a provision stating the minimum wages to be paid" to "all mechanics and laborers employed directly upon the site of work."  Id. 

In addition to the Act itself, Congress has added these prevailing wage provisions to numerous laws - referred to as "related Acts" under which Federal agencies assist construction projects through grants, loans, guarantees, insurance and other methods.  See US Department of Labor, Memorandum No. 207 (May 29, 2009).

As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act all projects funded by the stimulus package will require the payment of prevailing wages and submission of weekly-certified payroll reports.

In January of 2009 - a month before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was implemented - the Department of Labor ("DOL") revised its certified payroll reporting requirements and Prime/General contractors and subcontractors performing work on federally funded construction projects are no longer required to display the home address and social security numbers of employees on the weekly certified payroll reports.  However, they are required to display the employee's full name and provide an individually identifying number for each employee.  The applicable regulation suggests the use of the last four digits of the employee's social security number.

The DOL provides for convenience a Certified Payroll form (WH-347), and if properly filled out it will satisfy the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act. If you use the form, at least the following information needs to be provided:

  • Information about your business (name/address etc.)
  • Payroll No. and the workweek ending date.
  • Project and location.
  • Project or Contract No.
  • Each workers name and indentifying number
    • Work classification
    • Hours worked and total
    • Rate of pay
    • Gross Amount Earned
    • Deductions
    • Net Wages Paid for Week
    • Fringe benefits

There may be other information needed for completion of the form - please go to DOL's website at for further information.

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Katharina K. Brekke Powers is an attorney with Vandeventer Black where she concentrates her law practice in international business, commercial matters, maritime and government contracts.

Her international and commercial practices focus on the needs of international investors seeking to locate operations in or trade with the United States and U.S. companies setting up operations internationally or engaging in international trade.

Katharina's maritime experience includes representing domestic and international marine interests in matters arising out of collisions, personal injury, charter parties, and cargo loss or damage for cargo recovery.

Her government contracts practice is focused on providing services on public projects ranging from small business supply contracts to worldwide logistics and technology contracts and construction and response contracts, involving local, state and the Federal government.

She received a Norwegian law degree from the University of Oslo. She graduated with honors from the University of Stockholm International Law Studies program and earned a Master of Laws degree from The College of William & Mary School of Law.

Katharina is qualified to practice law in Norway and Sweden. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and before the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

She is a member of the American, Norfolk & Portsmouth and Virginia Bar Associations and the Maritime Law Association of the United States, the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, the Hampton Roads Maritime Association and the Propeller Club - Port of Hampton Roads (Director). She is also a member of the American Bar Association's Section of International Law and Practice and a member of the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce.

Katharina speaks Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and English, and understands German.