Davis-Bacon Act

There are many legally required benefits throughout the public and private sector.

The 1931 Davis-Bacon Act contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. Furthermore, a similar Act, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, requires payment to laborers and mechanics for at least one and one-half times their regular pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

The 1936 Walsh Healy Public Contract Act establishes minimum wage, maximum hours, and safety and health standards for manufacturing contracts in excess of $15,000. These workers must be paid not less that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) federal minimum wage and designated overtime pay. This FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and other employment standards affecting employees in both the public and private sectors. Within the FLSA is the widely known Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963, administered and enforced by the U.S. Equal employment Opportunity Commission (2021), to prohibits sex-based wage discrimination for individuals who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA) is another major safeguard in compensation protections, by prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2021). Advancements, promotions, special programs, and other opportunities rely upon fair and nondiscriminatory actions. This CRA was further amended by the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to protect against compensation discrimination.

Government civilians are common among armed service branches, and are eligible for overtime compensation under the FLSA. However, one example of a related benefit that can be waived is the issued leave days in lieu of overtime pay, since not all departments have extra funds for overtime pay, and many government civilians I have witnessed would prefer to use a gained leave day since overtime pay is heavily taxed.

One example of a financial benefit that I believe should be made into a legally required benefit is that of paid leave for all employees who have a qualifying birth or placement, for as of now, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) makes paid parental leave available to only certain categories of government civilian employees (e.g., those who have completed at least 12 months of service or by changing to a qualifying work schedule or appointment).

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2021). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/title-vii-civil-rights-act-1964

Response

Shaun – This is an interesting perspective, and one aspect that I wanted to highlight is what Sloane & Witney (2010) stated, which is the high benefit cost today. They stated that “benefits make up a significant part of an employee’s total compensation package – 38 percent of compensation goes towards benefits for unionized employees, while 27.8 percent of compensation goes towards benefits for non-unionized employees.” That is a tremendous amount for corporations to pay, and a dramatic increase from the 5 percent total additional cost to employ a person right after World War II.

Organizations are moving to the forefront of reducing benefits cost, and employees are doing the same as dramatic increase in benefit costs has impact employee salaries (organizations must divert more monies from salaries to benefits). Lynch (2012) offered several suggestions to better control these costs, including providing a wellness program which requires employees to participate – if you pay for their health insurance, you have a right to manage those costs as well (require employees to pay more for their health insurance if they do not participate); and second, cost sharing with employees, including higher copays, higher deductibles, etc.

Lynch, R. (2012, January 5). Ten Ways Small Businesses Can Lower Healthcare Costs (And Hire More People) in 2012 – Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/roblynch/2012/01/05/ten-ways-small-businesses-can-lower-healthcare-costs-and-hire-more-people-in-2012/

Sloane, Arthur., Witney, Fred. (2010). Labor Relations. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.