Apprentices can work on jobs that have Davis Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) requirements, as long as they are employed and individually registered in an apprenticeship program through one of the following agencies:

  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Employment and Training Administration
  • Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
  • A state apprenticeship agency

Employees that are properly certified to be on a 90-day probationary employment period as apprentices are also eligible to work on DBRA jobs.

Apprentices and trainees registered in approved programs are the only workers that can be paid less than the prevailing wage rate for their craft on DBRA jobs. However, they must be paid based on a wage schedule in an approved program, which is normally a percentage of the prevailing wage rate for a journeyman. Private apprentice rates and federal Davis Bacon apprentice rates should be compared to each other — it is often recommended to pay the higher of the two rates.  

If apprentices do not get properly registered based on guidelines of a program or there is a higher ratio of apprentices to journeymen on a jobsite, they must be paid the applicable prevailing wage for the work they performed. A “pre-apprentice” that is not registered in an approved program for a probationary apprenticeship is not considered to be an “apprentice” and must be paid the full journeyman’s rate on the wage decision for the classification of work they perform.

Are there mandatory apprentice requirements for Davis Bacon jobs?

There is no mandatory requirement to use apprentices on Federal Davis Bacon jobs. However, state prevailing wage laws may have other requirements. For instance, California requires contractors to hire apprentices for contracts worth $30,000 or more, unless the craft or trade does not require the use of apprentices.

Want to learn more about Davis Bacon requirements?

At eBacon, we make sure our clients and our services are always up to date on the latest prevailing wage laws, including the Davis Bacon Act. Reach out to us today for a free consultation to see how you can stay compliant and save money.

The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.

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