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food-service, grounds-maintenance, short-run hauling, automotive-repair, security, and maintenance services,

(2) Collective bargaining agreements that may reflect prevailing wages for employees in special services such as moving-and-storage or laundryand-dry-cleaning, and

(3) Wage schedules under the Coordinated Federal Wage System and the surveys on which they are based. (c) Additional data obtained.-All available additional data are secured to provide a basis for comparison and final issuance.

(d) Response to notice.-If the Branch eventually decides not to issue a new wage determination in response to a particular incoming SF 98, it proceeds as described in section 260, above; otherwise, after issuing an approved new applicable wage determination, the Branch assigns it an identification number, attaches a copy to the outgoing SF 98, checks Response A, and returns it to the agency.

262 SF 98 Response A: revised wage determination applicable.

(a) Incoming notice.-In screening the incoming SF 98 and inspecting the tickle date of an apparently applicable current wage determination, the Branch may find that the determination should be reviewed for possible revision because more recent wage and fringe-benefit data have been published or may otherwise be avaliable. In such a case, one copy of the notice is retained pending completion of the WD's revision and the Branch reviews the working-docket file of the current wage determination.

(b) Relevant data.-In some cases, more current data will be already inhouse, but in others it may be necessary to obtain new data. For example, when an existing WD is based on a collective bargaining agreement which has expired, the Branch obtains current information as to dominance and a copy of the current agreement from the appropriate labor union,

(c) Response to notice.--If the Branch finds that more current data upon which to base a revised determination cannot be secured in sufficient time to respond to the SF 98 before the IFB date, it may respond with the existing wage determination. If the WD is later revised, a copy of it is attached to the original SF 98 which it returns to the agency, checked Response A, providing this is accomplished 10 days before bid opening or before completion of negotiations.

263 SF 98 Response A: current wage determination applicable.

(a) Incoming notice.-During screening of an incoming SF 98, if a wage determination listed in the index of current wage determines appears to apply to the contemplated contract, the Branch carefully reviews (1) the source data on which the current determination was based and (2) the tickle date on which more recent data are expected to become available. The tickle date indicates when the WD should be reviewed for potential revision.

(b) Relevant data. If the apparently applicable WD is found to be based on obsolete data, or if more recent data are expected to become available before expiration of the specified IFB date, the Branch proceeds as described in section 262, above.

(c) Response to notice. If a current wage determination applies, the Branch re-checks it to insure that the service and classes of employees stated on the WD apply to those categories as specified by the incoming notice. In Response A of the SF 98, the Branch enters the appropriate WD number, attaches a copy of the applicable current determination, and returns the notice and the WD to the agency (but never earlier than 30 days prior to the IFB date).


CHAPTER 300-399


General authority. 301 Basis for issuance of determinations. 302 "Prevailing." 303 "In the locality.” 304 “Service employee." 310-329 WAGE AND FRINGE BENEFIT DATA 310 General. 311 Wage surveys: 312

Federal wage surveys: . 313.. . .BLS regular area wage surveys. 314

BLS regular industry surveys.


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BLS SCA wage surveys. 316

BLS SCA food and laundry surveys. 317

BLS SCA forestry and land management surveys. 318

Coordinated Federal Wage System surveys. Other wage surveys. 320 Collective bargaining agreements. 321 Existing prevailing-rate data. 322 Incumbent-contractor data. 330-359 DETERMINING THE PREVAILING WAGE RATE 330 General. 331 Prevailing wage rate. 332

"Best” information available : 333

Occupational class. 334

Availability of data. 335

Locality. 336 Documentation. 337 Sources of determined rates. 340 Survey-based wage determinations: 341

Adjacent-installation application. 342

Prevailing standards: 343

Median wage rate. 344

Mean wage rate. 345

Previously determined rate. 346

Slotted rate as that prevailing. 347

Prevailing rate determined by adding negotiated wage

increase to survey rate. 348

Survey characteristics of adopted rate. 350 Nonsurvey-based wage determinations:

Prevailing standard. 351

Currently prevailing wage rate. 352

Sources of data for nonsurvey-based wage determinations:

Collective bargaining agreements. 354

Coordinated Federal Wage System schedules. 355

Classification under the General Schedule. 356

Revising CFWS-GS Wage determinations. 357

Decisions under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. 358

Incumbent-contractor pay practices. 360–389 DETERMINING THE PREVAILING FRINGE BENEFITS 360 General: 361

"Paid” fringe benefit. 362

Prevailing fringe benefit. 363

Consistency with wage-data basis. 364

National minimum fringe benefits. 365

Types of wage determinations. 370 Survey-based wage determinations : 371

Locality. 372

Health and welfare benefit : 373

Prevalence. 374

Nationwide benefit.

Studies requested under the Service Contract Act. 376

Vacation benefit. 377

Holiday benefit. 380 Nonsurvey-based wage determinations :

Collective bargaining agreements and pay practices of incumbent contractors :

Prevailing practice. 381

Coordinated Federal 'Wage System-General Schedule System
The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts.

w' 300-309 INTRODUCTION *** 3001 General authority

(a) Sections 2(a) (1) and (2) of the Service Contract Act provide in general that every contract subject to the provisions of the act which exceeds $2,500 shall contain a determination specifying the minimum monetary wages and fringe

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benefits to be furnished the various classes of service employees engaged in the performance of the contract or any subcontract thereunder. The act provides for the Secretary of Labor or his authorized representative to make such determinations in accordance with the wage rates and fringe benefits prevailing in the locality for the classes of service employees performing on the contract. The prevailing wages and fringe benefits so determined become the minimum wages and fringe benefits which the contractor may pay to employees performing on the contract.

(b) The Secretary of Labor has delegated administration of the act to the Administrator, Wage and Hour Division. The Administrator in turn has delegated the approval of wage determinations to the Assistant Administrator for Gov. ernment Contracts and Special Wage Standards. The Branch of Wage Determinations is responsible for issuing prevailing wage and fringe-benefit determinations under the act. Every minimum wage and fringe-benefit determina. tion and the basis for its issuance is available for public inspection at the national office of the Wage and Hour Division.

301 Basis for issuance of determinations.

(a) Determinations of prevailing wages and fringe benefits are based on the best, or most probative, available information concerning the wages and fringe benefits for a class of service employees in a specified locality. Relevant information may be secured from surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other state and Federal agencies, from Government contracting officers, and from other available sources including employees and their representatives and employers and their associations. When the wage rates and fringe benefits contained in a collective bargaining agreement have been determined to prevail in a locality for a specified occupational class, a determination may be based on that agreement.

(b) To illustrate the varied bases upon which current determinations had been issued through September 1969, about 66 percent were developed from BLS surveys, 24 percent were based on collective bargaining agreements, 5 percent were based on wages and fringe benefits already determined to prevail under decisions issued pursuant to the Davis-Bacon Act, and the balance were developed from such sources as surveys undertaken by state agencies or the wage practices of incumbent contractors at isolated Federal installations.

(c) Notification by a contracting agency initiates responsive action by the Branch. Upon receipt of the incoming SF 98, a determination of prevailing wages and fringe benefits for the classes of service employees who will perform on the contract may be made or a determination currently in effect may be revised to reflect changing wage rates or fringe benefits (compare sections 260_263, above). The same standards for issuing a new determination apply to any subsequent revision thereof.

302 Prevailing.

(a) The object of determining prevailing rates and fringe benefits is to find those rates and fringe benefits which mirror those in fact furnished to the particular classes of service employees in a locality. The term, "prevailing," is not subject to any precise single formula nor to any exact definition which would be appropriate in all instances; it must be viewed in the light of all pertinent information regarding wage and fringe benefits in the locality. The principles for determining a prevailing rate which are followed by the Branch, in order of preference, are :

(1) Where a single rate is paid the majority of the employees in a classification in a locality, that rate is considered to prevail;

(2) A rate is considered to prevail where that rate or a higher rate is paid to the majority of the employees in a class in a locality. (6) Some general examples of applying the term, "prevailing," follow:

(1) BLS surveys usually report both a mean and a median wage rate for each occupational class surveyed. The median rate is generally considered the better indicator of the prevailing rate; however, this must be measured against all available wage data for a locality.

(2) A wage rate specified in a collective bargaining agreement is considered to prevail if that rate is paid to a majority-50 percent or more of the workers engaged in similar work in a particular locality. Thus, the provisions of an agreement covering 2,100 janitors in a locality would be considered to prevail if it is established that no more than 4,000 workers are engaged in such janitorial work.

303 "In the locality".

(a) The term, "locality”, refers to geographic area. Section 4.163 of 29 CFR 4 points out that the term has an elastic and variable meaning dependent upon all the facts and circumstances pertaining to each wage and fringe-benefit determination. Thus, the limits of a “locality” may be those of a city, a county, several counties comprising a metropolitan area, or an entire state; the determining factor is the geographic scope of the survey on which the determination was based. For example, a BLS survey of the Baltimore, Maryland Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area includes the counties of Baltimore, Harford, Howard, and Anne Arundel. A determination based on this survey would ordinarily limit the area of locality application to that geographic area. The locality within which a wage determination applies is defined in each determination and a determination only applies to contracts in that specific locality.

(0) "Locality” may be geographically limited to a particular Federal installation or facility such as Naval shipyard, an Air Force base, or a similar Department of Defense installation. Such limitation is appropriate for a determination :

(1) If the facility or installation is situated in an isolated locality and the only available information pertaining to prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits is that actually being paid by a contractor, either in accordance with a collective bargaining agreement or company policy, to workers performing on the contract, or

(2) If the facility or installation is situated within a larger metropolitan area for which survey or other wage data are available but with a pattern of wages and fringe benefits differing significantly from that reflected for the overall metropolitan area. For example, survey information in a particular metropolitan area may show that the majority of janitors surveyed received at least $2.00 an hour, whereas the wage level existing at the Federal facility might be $2.25 an hour due to the influence of a collective bargaining agreement covering janitorial employees of a contractor, or because workers performing such duties were, at the time of solicitation for the contract for cleaning services, direct Government hires receiving a higher rate of compensation pursuant to wage schedules established under the Combined Federal Wage Board System. (c) The treatment of Federal facilities as enclaves separate and apart from the surrounding areas in which they are located must be viewed in the light of all the facts and circumstances pertinent to the wage structures existing for the particular classes of service employees to be employed by potential contractors. Such facilities are not considered separate and apart from the larger area in which located if they are situated in the central metropolitan area or business district and indistinguishable from the surrounding metropolitan area. A facility situated within a larger metropolitan area but somewhat removed from the center of business with an employment identity of its own may, upon full consideration of the material facts, be treated as a separate locality for purposes of issuing a wage determination.

304 "Service employee". -The definition of service employee clearly includes guards and watchmen and those classes of employees defined as "blue-collar" workers or "wage-board employees" in the Federal service. Other classifications similar to these may also be considered service employees. Bona fide exempt executive, administrative, or professional personnel as defined in 29 CFR 541 are not considered service employees.

310-329 WAGE AND FRINGE-BENEFIT DATA 310 General.-In the wage-determination process, the Branch seeks to develop all available data for consideration and use in the SCA program. The Branch seeks data from trade associations, contractors, labor organizations, and Government sources. The primary data for SCA wage determinations are studies (called wage surveys) of wages and fringe benefits in specific geographic areas or industries for a number of key jobs or bench-mark classifications. The Branch relies primarily on wage surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Survels by other Government agencies and state and local governments as well as organizations in the private sector provide useful data. In appropriate circumstances, existing collective bargaining agreements, Government pay schedules for wage-board and General-Schedule employees, and data from Government service contractors are sources of information. Data for classifications of constructiontype workers are available in the form of prevailing wage determinations issued by the Department of Labor under the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts. The type of data ultimately relied upon for a particular SCA wage determination is that which the Branch considers to provide the best evidence as to the wages and fringe benfits which in fact prevail.

311 Wage surveys.--Surveys of wages and fringe benefits conducted by the Federal Government and, to a lesser extent, by state and local governments constitute the principal sources of data for SCA wage determinations. The Branch has not used private surveys in the program to any great extent because few such surveys are valid, but considers them sources of information, when available. Wage surveys, because of their scope, are excellent sources of information since the data are usually broad and apply to a recognized geographic locality. Federal surveys are preferable sources of data since the scope of the surveys and the methodology used are uniform throughout the United States. Mostly limited to metropolitan areas, however, they do not cover many rural areas and this presents some difficulties, especially in the southern and western regions where Federal installations such as military bases are located. Military bases generate a large portion of the service contracts subject to SCA.

312 Federal wage surveys. The principal Federal wage surveys used in the Branch's SCA wage-determination program are conducted by the Labor Depart. ment's Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS conducts sample surveys of occupational earnings and related benefits on an areawide basis for some 90 metropolitan areas in the United States. At the request of the Wage and Hour Division, BLS conducts more limited area surveys in additional areas. Under the Coordinated Federal Wage System, various agencies in the Executive Branch participate in conducting wage surveys to establish CFWS pay schedules for the bluecollar wage-board employees they employ. These wage-board employees represent the Federal-Service "counterpart" of the service contractor's employees to whom the SCA is intended to apply.

313 BLS regular area wage survey8.-In each AWS area, BLS obtains wage data from representative establishments within 6 broad industry divisions ; manufacturing; transportation, communication, and other public utilities; wholesale trade; retail trade; finance, insurance, and real estate ; and services. These surveys do not include government, construction, or extractive industries. Common occupations studies on a cross-industry basis consist of:

(a) Office clerical employees,
(b) Professional and technical employees,
(c) Maintenance and powerplant employees, and

(d) Custodial and material-movement employees. Tabulations report supplementary wage provisions-paid holidays, paid vacations, plans for health, insurance, and pensions—as well as other selected employment practices.

314 BLS regular industry survey8.-Regular surveys are conducted by BLS in several industries. The Branch relies on them in developing wage determinations when better data are unavailable. Examples are logging and forestry surveys used for certain western localities, contract cleaning services surveys, and laundry and dry cleaning surveys.

315 BLS SCA wage surveys.--At the Branch's request, BLS conducts SCA wage surveys, more limited in scope than BLS area wage surveys.

(a) In 78 areas studied in fiscal 1970, data were obtained from representative establishments in manufacturing and nonmanufacturing. The latter sector included:

(1) Transportation, communication, and other public utilities excluding taxicabs and services incidental to water transportation),

(2) Wholesale trade,
(3) General merchandise stores,
(4) Eating and drinking places, .
(5) Real estate,
(6) Hotels and other lodging places,
(7) Engineering and architectural services,' .
(8) Personal services, and

(9) Miscellaneous business services.
(b) The occupations studied consisted of: i'll en "

(1) Office clerical employees,
(2) Maintenance and powerplant employees, and . .
(3) Custodial and material-movement employees. .

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