Truck Drivers and Prevailing Wage Requirements: A Friendly Reminder

For contractors and subcontractors who perform construction, alteration and repair work on federally funded public building and public works projects, prevailing wage requirements are a fact of life. Since 1950, the Davis-Bacon Act has required that laborers and mechanics employed on such projects be paid at least the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for similar work in the same geographic area. Many states, including Pennsylvania, have similar laws governing state-funded projects.

Truck drivers present a common conundrum for such contractors and subcontractors. Focusing on the federal Davis-Bacon Act, there are no catch-all rules which determine when truckers do, and do not, perform covered work subject to federal prevailing wage requirements. This is a fact-specific issue that depends on the type of work the driver performs and the amount of time the driver spends on the project site.

Federal prevailing wage requirements apply when truck drivers spend a significant amount of time working on a project site and do more than merely arrive at, load and unload on, and leave from the project site. The question lies in whether the work performed is more than de minimis, meaning work that is not “too trivial or minor to merit consideration.” A truck driver who works in several-minute increments to pick up or drop off materials or supplies at a project site, and spends fewer than 20% of their total weekly work hours at the project site, generally would not be covered work subject to federal prevailing wage requirements.

On the other hand, truckers often are subject to prevailing wage requirements if, for example, they unload materials and supplies at multiple locations on a project site, transport materials from one area to another within a project site or move materials between a “virtually adjacent” facility used for prefabrication purposes and a project site.

Even when truckers are not subject to prevailing wage requirements, they may still need to be disclosed on Certified Payroll Reports to maintain Davis-Bacon Act compliance. This requirement applies to individuals who own and operate their own trucks as independent contractors. The wage rates paid to and hours worked by such owner-operators do not have to be recorded on Certified Payroll Reports, but they must still be denoted as owner-operators on these reports.

Stay tuned to Stevens & Lee’s Labor and Employment Law Center for further updates as developments impacting employee rights and employer obligations continue to develop under the Davis-Bacon Act and other federal, state and local labor and employment laws. 

If you have any questions about how this, or any other, labor and employment law development may affect your business, please contact Daniel J. Sobol at, Alexander V. Batoff at or the Stevens & Lee attorney with whom you regularly work.