The Services Contract Act of 1965, The and the are wage laws in the US. These laws were designed to protect employees from exploitative employers. The laws strictly stipulate the specific terms and conditions within which workers would be hired and paid.
At the time, companies were of hiring that led to exploitation and abuse of workers rights. The laws prohibit and restrict the existing employers whether government contractors, private companies or any venture that utilizes human labor from hiring workers on wages below the minimum requirements.
These acts emphasized that whatever kind payment to be made must be based on the given hourly, daily or monthly minimum wage. These legislations have been effected as per each specifications and field of application. Some of the laws have, however, been amended to suit the changing times. To have a better understanding of the laws, an analysis of each act has been conducted.
This law protects workers from public contractors. Independent corporations, organizations or companies bid most of the designed public work projects and initiatives of the federal government. Once the bid has is accepted and approved, the private company has the mandate to execute the required task without external monitoring or interference. To outmaneuver competitors in order to become the successful bidder, it was observed that private companies used the underbidding tact.
The underbidding mostly involved lowering the respective employees wages. (Fulton, 1978) This created and resulted in an inequitable situation which is highly despised in a democratic country where all are equal under the law. The Davis Bacon Act governs contracts exceeding two thousand dollars and was approved in 1931.
The bill had been sponsored and forwarded by Representative Bacon and Senator Davis hence the name Davis Bacon Act. A scenario arose in New York that is said to have fueled the quick adoption by Congress.
It involved Alabama workers in New York. The workers from Alabama had been deployed and hired in the building of a hospital in New York. Since Alabama wages were lower than those in New York, the company that won the bid negotiated and paid the workers from Alabama low wages, yet they were working in New York. They should have been paid using New Yorks wage laws.
The Davis- Bacon act, therefore, clearly stipulated that employees must be paid the prevailing wages of the area at the given time irrespective of their place of origin, gender or race. In other words, employees were to be paid the average wage as expected in the area of work for same job executed. This law corrected the wrongs committed to the Alabama workers and ensured other workers from other states would not have their rights abused.
Perkins, the Secretary of Labor, proposed this law but was sponsored in Congress by Walsh and Healey, both Democratic Senator and Representative respectively. (Sickle, 1952) The act was mainly to apply on government contractors supplying the government goods and services worth more than ten thousand dollars.
The act was signed in 1936 a period heavily affected by the effects of the Great Depression. During this time, millions of Americans were unemployed just like when the Davis-Bacon Act was signed. To ensure there was equity and creation of job, it was required that the supplier be a regular dealer in supplies but manufacturers were preferred to avoid bid brokering where companies would buy goods and then sell them to the federal government at an inflated rate.
Employers were also required to pay the employees not less than what had been clearly stipulated as the minimum wage by the Secretary of Labor. The wage must be consistent with what other persons, employed on similar designated work or working in similar companies as the one in question or in the same area or locality as where the supplies were made or furnished, and the wage passes as the minimum wage.
The Act also put restriction to the number of hours an employee was required to work in a bid to harmonize the working conditions of workers and deter employers from overworking the employees. Eight hours a day or forty hours a week was unanimously agreed as the standard time frame. If a company was to conduct any activity beyond the eight hours, then it had to employ more workers.
This was an initiative at creating employment for the thousands unemployed Americans at the time. In an attempt to further restrict companies from looking for unconventional and cheap labor, the Act put forward that for boys to qualify for employment they must be sixteen years and above, while girls be eighteen years and above. Prisoners were prohibited as a labor force for companies. Workers were to also to be provided with humane working conditions and no work was to be conducted under hazardous or unsanitary environment.
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